Thursday, May 15, 2008


Arlene Kushner

The entire situation here.

Many things that call for discussion can be put aside until tomorrow. I would like here to touch only upon the most intolerable elements of our situation.


President Bush arrived this morning, bringing with him (incredibly!) a contingent of 100 prominent American Jews, all of whom seem to think it's just peachy keen that the president is promoting those "peace negotiations" with Abbas. Bush was, of course, welcomed with the most lavish praise from the heads of our government. And Bush, for his part, expressed great admiration for us and pledged undying friendship.


It is important, however, to take a closer look at what Bush has said, and what he is advocating.

He has a plan, you see: He thinks that we need to set our borders once and for all, and that this will help move things along. The borders? Well, you can't give the Palestinians "Swiss cheese" for a state and expect them to be happy. If we're going to make those Palestinians happy, they have to be offered a contiguous state.

And what of the Bush commitment to our retention of major settlement blocs, presumably incorporated into the letter he had written to Sharon? As Post editor David Horovitz wrote, after interviewing Bush: "On borders, Swiss cheese trumps a 4-year old letter."

Horovitz reports that Bush said: "We... try to make sure that the Palestinians understand that we believe in the contiguous state...How can you have a hopeful place if you're not really in charge of a contiguous territory?... It won't be a viable state."


Just the other day I wrote about how sometimes I report on a situation, and how, almost before my eyes, it will metamorphose into something else. It's not long since Abbas came back from his meeting with Bush very depressed because he learned that the president wasn't going to push us on the settlements. Then I wrote that just possibly Bush would come through on his commitment given to Sharon.

How does that dovetail with what Bush is saying now? Not terribly well. Many analysts see Rice's influence here.

But there's more to the plan. Once Abbas is happy about those borders, it is reasoned, he may be willing to compromise on the issue of "right of return."

Unfortunately, Rice has a short memory, because (as I reported here) not long ago Jordan's King Abdullah warned her that if Abbas were pushed into a compromise such as this, his life would be in danger. Abbas, even if he wanted to, does not have the latitude to give away what the Palestinians see as a key "right." Hamas is breathing down his neck.


Bush made a statement today about US loyalty to Israel. In part, it went like this: "...we will stand with Israel against the nuclear threat." And I ponder what that means. To me it sounds like: You take care of it, and we'll be right behind you. The only tolerable statement would be one that pledges in simple terms not to let Iran go nuclear.


We endured another terrorist attack today. This was a Grad Katyusha, shot at a shopping mall in Ashkelon. Fifteen were wounded, including three seriously, when a part of the roof caved in. Among those seriously injured were a mother and her three-year old daughter.

Intolerable indeed!

This was surely timed by terrorists (Islamic Jihad claimed credit) for Bush's visit. In several places, including in Judea and Samaria, there were protests at Bush's coming to celebrate our independence.


Olmert was just concluding a meeting with Bush when the attack occurred. Olmert's subsequent comment was not easy to swallow:

"We will not be able to tolerate continuous attacks on innocent civilians. We hope we will not have to act against Hamas in other ways with the military power that Israel hasn't yet started to use in a serious manner in order to stop it."

We will not be able to tolerate? We have BEEN tolerating, shamefully. We hope we won't have to act? What kind of nonsensical, empty threat is that? We must act. And note: military power that Israel hasn't yet started to use in a serious manner. In the name of all those suffering under the rocket barrages, I ask, and why not??

Channel two cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying, "We are on a certain path of an extensive military confrontation with Hamas." So, when already?

Information is that the IDF is ready and only awaits political go-ahead.


And this, heaven help us, was Bush's comment on the attack:

"We believe that the surest way to defeat the to advance the cause of hope, the cause of freedom, liberty as the great alternative to tyranny and terror."

Will someone please tell this man that the only way to defeat tyranny and terror is by defeating it, not by bringing "hope." Once upon a time, he seemed to know this.


And the last intolerable of this report:

In a conference in the Egyptian parliament, Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni is reported to have said that he "would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries."

This is going to put a considerable strain on our relationship with Egypt.

see my website

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Palestinians Phonebank for Obama

Amanda Carpenter
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A television news segment produced by Al-Jazeera shows Palestinians in Gaza engaging in phone banking activities for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The segment explains how young Palestinians have banded together to call American voters at random asking them to vote for Obama “It all started at the time of the US primaries,” says one of pro-Obama Palestinian organizers. “After studying Obama’s electro campaign manifesto I thought this is a man that’s capable of change inside of America. As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that if he can bring peace to the area. At least this is what we hope.”

Townhall was tipped off to the video by American Spectator’s Phillip Klein, who wrote Tuesday “It’s been around, but I'm just now seeing this Al Jazeera report of Palestinians in Gaza phonebanking for Obama. I hear that Hamas, which has endorsed Obama, has a bit of influence in those parts.”

Ahmed Yousef, a political adviser of the anti-Israel terrorist group Hamas said Hamas supports Obama last Sunday.

“We don’t mind–actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance,” Yousef said in an interview on WABC radio.

In recent days, Obama's position on the Isreali-Palestinian conflict has been scrutinized. One of his Middle East advisers, Robert Malley, resigned over the weekend after reporters found Malley had met with Hamas.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

University student leaves school after Muslim threatens his service dog

Unconscionable. The student who made the threat should be expelled. But because this is an issue involving Islam, instead the multiculturalists start speaking soothingly about "misunderstanding," which means surrender. "SCSU student leaves training at Technical High School," by Dave Aeikens for the St. Cloud Times, May 12 (thanks to all who sent this in):

A St. Cloud State University student in a teacher-training program at Technical High School left the school in late April because he says he feared for the safety of his service dog.

The school district calls it a misunderstanding, and officials there say they hoped Tyler Hurd, a 23-year-old junior from Mahtomedi who aspires to teach special education, would continue his training in the district.

Hurd said a student threatened to kill his service dog named Emmitt. The black lab is trained to protect Hurd when he has seizures.

The seizures, which can occur weekly, are from a childhood injury.

The dog has a pouch on his side that assists those who stop to help Hurd.

Hurd said he was unable to finish his 50 hours of field training at Tech. The university waived the remaining 10 hours, he said. He plans to do his student teaching outside a high school setting.

“We came up with a solution because I felt threatened by it," Hurd said.

The school district and university are working to make sure a similar situation doesn't happen.

Kate Steffens, dean of the college of education at St. Cloud State, and Tech assistant principal Lori Lockhart met Thursday.

The threat came from a Somali student who is Muslim, according to Hurd, St. Cloud State and school district officials.

The Muslim faith, which is the dominant faith of Somali immigrants, forbids the touching of dogs.

Hurd trained at Talahi Community School and Tech. He said his experience at Talahi was good. The Somali students there warmed to the dog and eventually petted him using paper to keep their hands off his fur, Hurd said.

Things didn't go as well at Tech, Hurd said. Students there taunted his dog, and he finally felt he had to leave after he was told a student made a threat. Hurd met with Lockhart but said he did not feel comfortable continuing.

Julia Espe, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for St. Cloud school district, said the school needed to do a better job communicating.

“I think it was a misunderstanding where we didn't really prepare either side for possible implications," Espe said.

Really? So the Muslim student's threats are just a misunderstanding? They ought to be grounds for expulsion.
Thanks Dhimmi Watch

Playing the Death Threat Card

Robert Spencer

Charles C. Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington, lamented Thursday that “at a charter school in Minnesota, what should have been a ‘call the lawyers’ dispute over religion in the classroom has escalated into a ‘call the FBI’ imbroglio involving death threats against school officials.” Haynes was referring to the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, a public charter school in Minneapolis. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month asked the FBI to investigate death threats they said had been made against the school’s director, and they said that the students might be endangered.

Whose fault was this? Mine, evidently: Haynes says that “a longtime critic of Islam, Robert Spencer, suggested that TIZA might be part of a ‘grand jihad’ bent on undermining Western civilization. Not surprisingly, TIZA now receives what the school’s director describes as ‘numerous death threats, harassing e-mails, harassing phone calls.’”

Serious charges indeed. But let’s set the record straight: did I call for the death of anyone at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or ask anyone to threaten them? No, I did not. Did I send anyone at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy any harassing e-mails, or call anyone there, or ask anyone to contact anyone there in any way? No, I did not.

What I did do was point out in a recent article that the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy is housed in the same building as a mosque and the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS), and I quoted journalist Katherine Kersten’s observation that “at MAS-MN’s 2007 convention, for example, the program featured an advertisement for the ‘Muslim American Society of Minnesota,’ superimposed on a picture of a mosque. Under the motto ‘Establishing Islam in Minnesota,’ it asked: ‘Did you know that MAS-MN ... houses a full-time elementary school’? On the adjacent page was an application for TIZA” -- the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy.

I also noted that according to a 2004 Chicago Tribune exposé, the Muslim American Society is the name under which the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the United States. And that according to a 1991 Brotherhood memorandum about its strategy in the U.S., it is embarked upon a “grand Jihad” aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

So the “grand jihad” phrase came not from me, but from the Brotherhood memorandum. Is the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy part of this stealthy “grand jihad”? Well, even Charles C. Haynes might admit that if such an effort of subversion and sabotage exists, and is being pursued by the Muslim American Society, that it would be a neat trick to establish an Islamic school on the infidel dime, paid for by infidel taxpayers. It would be a small but significant contribution to the effort – if it were happening. In fact, the question as to whether or not it were happening would be an important question to investigate. Even he admits that “class is interrupted so that students can fulfill prayer obligations and that Friday assemblies are indeed prayer services – although the school says that all prayers are voluntary and Friday prayers are led by parent volunteers.” This would be a reasonable basis for, to use Haynes’s own phrase, a “‘call the lawyers’ dispute over religion in the classroom.”

But that polite dispute, says Haynes, has been derailed by these alleged death threats that were supposedly prompted by my asking uncomfortable questions in a column about what is going on at the school, and who is behind it. And of course, maybe the school really did receive death threats. If so, these threats are abhorrent and deplorable, as evil as they are idiotic, as well as contemptible. If someone really did threaten anyone at the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, he should be found and punished.

However, school officials may also want to slip the threatener a thank-you note as the FBI hauls him away, for if there really were threats here, they work to the advantage of the MAS and CAIR. CAIR has played this game skillfully for years: trumping up and exaggerating hate crimes, deflecting attention away from anything Muslims are doing that might cause non-Muslims concern, and doing everything possible to portray Muslims as victims who need a special protected status. For as Haynes’s article shows, just when the school began to face public scrutiny about its use of public funds and its ties to the MAS, the story has now shifted to how terrible it is that Muslims face threats and “Islamophobia.”

It’s interesting also to note how eager the media is to accommodate CAIR in this. CAIR’s claim that the school has received threats has been written up in the Star-Tribune, the local Fox news channel, and elsewhere. And apparently the FBI is right on the case. Compare and contrast: Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Michael Scheuer and I received a veiled but unmistakable threat from the first American to be charged with treason since World War II, on a videotape introduced by Al-Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and -- speaking strictly for myself -- I never heard a word from the FBI or anyone else, and there was no media coverage at all. I’ve received many other death threats, and never received the interest from either law enforcement or the media that the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy is receiving now. Now, I am not saying that anyone should have cared when I was threatened, or that anyone should not care about the alleged threat against this school. But what I do find intriguing is the choice made about which threats to investigate and which are deemed newsworthy, and I think it would be most interesting to discover the assumptions on which such choices are made, and the energy with which the recipients of such threats use them to make political hay.
Meanwhile, Haynes’s implication that I have something to do with the threats is despicable, if not downright libelous, and militates against his claim to be interested in a genuine discussion of what is going on at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy. If he really wants to have a debate about religion in the classroom, and an honest examination of the Academy’s practices and ties, I’m ready. But I don’t think he does.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His next book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is coming this November from Regnery Publishing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Efraim Karsh

Since Israel's founding in 1948, there have been two Arab-Israeli conflicts. The first one is military in nature. Played out on the battlefield, it has heroes, villains, martyrs, and victims. The second conflict, less bloody but no less incendiary, is the battle over the historical culpability for the 1948 war and the displacement of large numbers of Palestinian Arabs. The Israeli narrative views the Palestinian tragedy as primarily self-inflicted, resulting from their vehement rejection of the 1947 United Nations resolution calling for two states in Palestine, and the violent attempt by regional Arab states to abort the Jewish state at birth. By contrast, Palestinians view the episode as one in which they fell victim to a Zionist strategy that dispossessed them from their patrimony.

The New Historians

In the late 1980s the Palestinian narrative was bolstered by the advent of a group of Israeli "new historians" who systematically rewrote the history of Zionism, warping the saga for Israel's survival. Aggressors were characterized as hapless victims and victims became aggressors. Rarely found in these revisionist accounts was the outspoken Arab commitment to destroy the Jewish national cause since the early 1920s, or the dogged efforts of the Jews to achieve peaceful coexistence. Instead, Zionism is depicted as an aggressive and expansionist movement, or an offshoot of rapacious European imperialism. According to Avi Shlaim, a noted new historian, Israel was an "aggressive and overbearing military superpower," while Palestinian Arabs could "only be seen as victims."

Aware that many of their key arguments and revelations were already negated by the existing work of "Israeli writers, not to mention Palestinian, Arab, and Western writers," as Shlaim noted, new historians staked their legitimacy on their supposed use of recently declassified documents from the archives of the British Mandate period and Israel's early days. This pretense, however, was debunked inter alia by a startling admission by Benny Morris of Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva.

In researching The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949, the most influential work of the new historians, Morris had "no access to the materials in the IDFA [Israel Defense Force Archive] or Hagana Archive and precious little to first-hand military materials deposited elsewhere." Nevertheless, he insisted, "the new materials I have seen over the past few years tend to confirm and reinforce the major lines of description and analysis, and the conclusions, in The Birth."

This revelation was very damning. What made Morris and his colleagues worth reading was their claim to have studied newly available documentary evidence. It was this evidence, the new historians argued, that necessitated a reevaluation of Israeli history. Yet there was Morris, admitting that he had not "had access" to, or "was not aware of," the voluminous archives of Israeli institutions whose actions in 1948 formed the basis of his indictment.

Morris and other new historians also failed to confirm and reinforce their conclusions with previously available sources. What they did confirm was what was already known: the collapse and dispersion of Palestinian society was largely the responsibility of Palestinian and other Arab leaders, not of the Zionists.

Morris' Distortion

Upon close examination, it appears that Morris and other new historians engaged in systematic falsification of evidence. They seem to have invented an Arab-Israeli history that fits with the political agenda they promote. Tactics range from the "innocent" act of extrapolating incorrect conclusions from documents, to tendentious truncation of source materials in ways that distort their original meanings, and even rewriting original texts to convey things they did not intend. Two brief examples are worth noting.

In a letter to his son in 1937, David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, wrote:

We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place. All our aspiration is built on the assumption –– proven throughout all our activity –– that there is enough room for ourselves and the Arabs in Palestine.

In The Birth, however, Morris claims Ben-Gurion penned the opposite: "We must expel Arabs and take their place." Curiously, in his Hebrew-language writings, Morris rendered Ben-Gurion's words accurately, perhaps knowing that readers could check the original source.

In a separate article, Morris distorted Ben-Gurion's words from an Israeli cabinet meeting on June 16, 1948:

We did not start the war. They made the war, Jaffa went to war against us. So did Haifa. And I do not want those who fled to return. I do not want them again to make war.

The key sentence, "I do not want those who fled to return," is simply not found in the text of the meeting transcript. Rather, it reads as follows:

We did not start the war. They made the war. Jaffa waged war on us, Haifa waged war on us, Beit Shean waged war on us. And I do not want them again to make war.

Again, in the Hebrew version of his article, Morris did not distort Ben-Gurion's words.

At What Risk?

The discipline of history, the rigorous search for the truths of our past, typically eschews the blatant distortion of facts. Yet, in the highly politicized field of Middle Eastern studies, the new historians are lionized as pioneers. They are viewed by their colleagues and understudies as courageous for debunking Zionist "mythology" at a considerable professional risk.

The new historians have not faced the slightest risk to their careers, however. The humanities and social sciences faculties in most American, European, and even Israeli universities are dominated by like-minded academics. Indeed, the new historians have become celebrated figures and have cashed in on their prestige. They receive book deals and travel opportunities to share their "findings" around the world. As Tom Segev, a journalist and new historian joked, "we perform at weddings and bar mitzvas." Even a minor figure like Haifa University student Teddy Katz, who published phony allegations of a 1948 Israeli massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in the village of Tantura, was taken on a U.S. campus tour to promote his fabrications.

Pals of the Palestinians

Not surprisingly, the Palestinian propaganda machine has embraced the new historians with alacrity. Who could possibly provide better "proof" of the validity of the Palestinian narrative than Israeli scholars who claim access to declassified Israeli documents?

Prominent politicians, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PLO mouthpiece Hanan Ashrawi, and Palestinian academics, including the late Edward Said and Columbia University's Rashid Khalidi, have regularly cited the new historians in support of Palestinian territorial and political claims. The partisan Journal of Palestine Studies has made new historians their favorite contributors. Palestinian propaganda websites contain countless "facts" drawn from their writings. Palestinian negotiators in the failed Camp David (July 2000) and Taba (January 2001) peace summits reportedly invoked the work of new historians, notably Morris' Birth, in attempts to establish Israel's culpability for the 1948 naqba (catastrophe).

Impacting Israel

The new historians also had a profound impact on mainstream Israeli opinion during the Oslo years. Fatigued by decades of terrorism, yearning for normalcy, and desperate for reconciliation with the Arabs, many educated Israelis warmed to the factually incorrect notion that much of the fault for the conflict lay with their own country. If reconciliation with the Arabs could not be achieved through military deterrence, they reasoned, might not a new start be made by accommodating Arab demands, acknowledging Israeli culpability for Arab suffering, and agreeing to political and territorial concessions stemming from the "original sin" of the Jewish state?

This mindset helps explain, in part, the headlong embrace by so many educated Israelis of the Oslo process, and their insistence that it would solve the problem of Arab intransigence. For them, Palestinian violence and vitriol made it more necessary than ever to embrace the idea of Jewish culpability. Convinced that Arab grievances were rooted in Israeli aggression, many Israelis believed that violence could only be overcome by appeasement and concessions.

Throughout the 1990s, the new historians' interpretation of the conflict became increasingly embedded in Israeli thinking, the mainstream Israeli media, and even Israeli educational curriculum. "Only 10 years ago, much of this was taboo," the Israeli author of a new ninth-grade textbook boasted to the New York Times. "Now we can deal with this the way Americans deal with the Indians and black enslavement."

Embracing 'New History' Under Fire

Even the Palestinian war of terror in September 2000 (also known as the al-Aqsa intifada) failed to awaken many Israelis to the dangers of the new historians. Indeed, Israel continued to negotiate for peace, even as Yasir Arafat made it clear that he had launched a war to "liberate" Jerusalem.

One Israeli negotiator, Shlomo Ben-Ami, lauded the contribution of new historians to the political process. "The negotiations," he said, "were a struggle of narratives, and the new historians definitely helped in consolidating the Palestinians' conviction as to the validity of their own narrative... the Israeli peacemakers came to the negotiating table with perspectives that were shaped by recent research." So impressed was Ben-Ami with this "recent research" that he vested Avi Shlaim, the new historian from Oxford University, with the task of reading the manuscript of his 2006 book on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Song Remains the Same

Years after the demise of the Oslo peace process, the deleterious effects of new history can still be observed. The intensely anti-Israel and anti-Jewish atmosphere that emerged in the years after the launch of the intifada has not waned. The despicable equation of Zionism and Nazism has become commonplace, alongside outlandish conspiracy theories regarding Jewish and Israeli domination of world affairs. There has even been a surge in attacks on Jewish targets throughout Europe at a level not seen since the 1930s.

Here, too, the new historians have played a role. Take, for example, the working-paper-turned-book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer on the supposed hijacking of U.S. foreign policy by a ruthless Jewish cabal beholden to Israel. Walt and Mearsheimer cite the new history in an attempt to prove Israel's alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians. Indeed, the two international relations theorists cited so much from the new historians that their book drew an angry riposte from Morris for allegedly misquoting him and taking his writings out of context.

Did Morris have a minor pricking of conscience over the untold damage he had wrought on Israel and the discipline of history? In addition to lambasting Walt and Mearsheimer, he was critical of Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority's campaign of terrorism after the failure of the Taba talks. But even as he strove to redress some of the damage he had wrought, Morris brought out a new version of The Birth, which rehashed some of his worst anti-Israel canards and re-writings of history.

Other new historians, including Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe, have seemingly had no misgivings. Pappe falsely claimed to have been persecuted by his university, providing the pretext for the 2005 boycott of Haifa University by Britain's 48,000-strong Association of University Teachers (AUT). In countless tours and media appearances in Europe and North America, Pappe derides the Jewish state as a racist, artificial, colonialist implant in the Middle East, and as worthy of extirpation as the former apartheid regime of South Africa. He is joined by Shlaim, who, in recent years, has become a proponent of the "one state solution" –– a euphemism for replacing Israel with an Arab-Muslim state and reducing Jews to a permanent minority.

Despite his overt advocacy of politicide, along with malevolent falsifications of Israeli history, Shlaim was recently invited to lecture at Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. This invitation affords a stark illustration of the intellectual malaise afflicting Israeli academia, and the Israeli public more generally, to which the new historians have made a significant and corrosive contribution.

Efraim Karsh is professor and head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College London and an author, most recently, of Islamic Imperialism: A History. He is a member of the SPME Board of Directors. This article was published in InFocus, a publication of the Jewish Policy Center It is archived at Spring 2008 Vol II, Number 1

Return_________________________End of Story___________________________Return


Chedva Margolit

Foreword by Steve Kramer

Nothing is more appropriate on the 60th anniversary of Israel's Declaration of Independence than reading the words of a young Jewish wife who left America and came to Israel for love of Eretz Yisrael [Land of Israel]. The letters from Jerusalem which are the source of this article weren't written by me; they were penned by Chedva Margolit to her immediate family in America. Chedva and her husband Yacey immigrated to Eretz Yisrael with the intention of establishing and living on a kibbutz. They arrived in Palestine just in time for Israel's War of Independence. I previously wrote an article entitled "An Unassuming Patriarch" about Yacey, taken from his autobiography These excerpts from Chedva's letters tell a similar story, but from the perspective of a young, pregnant woman in her new country.

Part I –– Partition Plan Announced; Brits Side with Arabs


We landed in Haifa, just weeks after the UN Partition Plan for Palestine had passed and were met by our cousin Chaim, the last survivor of your extensive family in Poland. At Chaim's home, his wife Hada "fed [us] Palestinian food such as cucumber salad, white cheese and lebenia" while we listened to Chaim's stories of his childhood in Poland.


We journeyed to Tel Aviv in preparation for the trip up to Jerusalem, located 3,300 feet above the coastal plain in the Judean Mountains. We were told by our relatives, "Since the UN Declaration for the Partition of Palestine, the Arabs have been on the rampage. ... almost 100 people had been killed or wounded on that road [from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem] in the past few weeks." I was particularly incensed by the British Mandate soldiers who led the small convoy of buses and private cars up the steep slopes, "... firing shots in the air, obviously to alert the Arabs that we were coming. Then, these so-called British Security Police raced on ahead, abandoning us." Unsurprisingly, the convoy was soon attacked by rifle fire from both sides of the road, and I was dazed by the screams of the wounded and the noise of the guns until one single shot jolted me back to reality. One bullet, shot from among the rocks, made a neat hole in the middle of a young defender a few rows ahead of me." There were three fatalities and seven wounded for the survivors to contend with when "... a British patrol car pulled up and we heard, 'I say, has something happened?' We all felt a feeling of revulsion and turned away. The rest of the trip to Jerusalem was 'uneventful'." When we eventually entered Jerusalem and we heard the blast of a shofar (ram's horn) heralding the coming of the Sabbath, it had a surrealistic effect on our emotions.


We settled down near relatives in Jerusalem, and found it "interesting" to hear the British radio broadcasts, which skewed the news to blame the Jews for the fighting: "You'll never hear them [the announcers] mention how English soldiers tear off posters in Arab neighborhoods which had been placed there by the Hagana [fighting force], begging the Arabs to come to peace talks. You'll never hear them mention how British soldiers fire shots in the air intentionally, in order to provoke Arabs and Jews to shoot at each other. I am saddened by the death of one of my young friends from my Zionist youth group. He was among the famous "35" who were ambushed, killed, and mutilated on their way to defend the Etzion bloc of Jewish villages outside of Jerusalem. "Moshe is gone. Was it only a few years ago that we had joyfully danced the 'hora' in Brooklyn and talked fervently about aliyah? It hurts most when it's someone with whom you had shared a dream."


We heard the deafening blast which destroyed the nearby Palestine Post [today's Jerusalem Post] Building, completely obliterating all the printing presses and all the newspaper's files. On the underground Hagana radio station they heard the "claim that it was a British Army truck that had been driven up and was left with a timed bomb. We know that the British have been very disturbed by the bluntness of the Palestine Post editorials in their criticism of the Palestine Mandatory Government. The Hagana believes that this was their way of silencing the newspaper. Yet the Post has not missed one day [of publication]."


Weeks later, we were jolted out of our beds by a tremendous blast from Ben Yehuda St., where numerous houses and a hotel were bombed. We rushed over to the site, where Yacey and others "... began digging in the rubble, pulling out pajama-clad bodies, murdered in their sleep." Yacey then noticed that a truck, similar to the one that had been left at the scene of the Palestine Post bombing, had a British army serial number on its engine. He promptly informed an AP correspondent of the fact. 52 men, women, and children were killed and 123 injured. The BBC "categorically announced that it is unimaginable that members of our security forces should be guilty." Later, two British deserters were implicated in the plot, which was carried out by Arab terrorists. The battle with the Arabs is difficult but the duplicitous British "are intent on sabotaging every Jewish accomplishment and progress we have made in Palestine."

About life here: people rent rooms instead of having houses or whole apartments. Most rooms are set up with day beds and then slept in at night. Sinks have only one faucet: cold! To have hot water for a bath, you have to set a small fire in a little furnace attached to the water pipes. On our wonderful Abyssinian St. there are "long-robed, dignified, handsome, blue-black Abyssinian priests striding to their services at the Abyssinian church. The smells from the street are freshly-laid donkey dung, the aroma of newly baked bread from the bakery next door, and the smell of burnt milk delivered straight from the cow that has just boiled over [to pasteurize it]. When I step out of the freezing house I am struck by the golden sunshine, the azure blue of the Jerusalem skies, and the warmth of the pink stone of the buildings."


I understand your fears for my safety but I remain steadfast in my goal to participate in the rebirth of our people in its homeland. If I and others leave, who will fight for and later rebuild it? "Not the smug, well-fed Americans who feel angels' wings fluttering on their backs every time they put a nickel in a JNF box; not the black-hatted men and shorn women who have made a ghetto for themselves in Jerusalem as they await the Messiah and spurn the efforts of our pioneers, and not even some of the refugee youth who were forced to enter kibbutzim for lack of a family and feel embittered that Hitler blew them Zionward. There are many who still have the slave mentality after the Exodus and are floundering in the desert of their battered souls. We, who have come from a free land of our own free will, must aid in the building of an independent people and remove the scapegoat scar from our image."

Part II –– Jerusalem under seige; the new State of Israel is declared


Because of the siege we are suffering here in Jerusalem, our isolation means the shelves in the stores are rapidly emptying. But at least I can sit on the balcony watching the traffic of carts and people, while I stitch tiny garments for the baby that is swelling my stomach. Last week the Jewish Agency complex was bombed and the toll of dead and wounded was high. But we will prevail.


The latest outrage happened to the convoy of six vehicles carrying doctors and nurses to Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus, while passing through an Arab neighborhood. We were nearby at our brother Shlomo's wedding, standing outside in front of the wedding hall. "We could see the black smoke curling up from the overturned buses, we saw keffiya'd figures shooting from behind rocks, and the bus passengers staggering around, blinded by the smoke and fire, only to be gunned down as they emerged into view. The battle lasted for eight hours and I'll never forget the frightful rumbling of the cannons and the rattling of the machine guns ... there were seven survivors [79 Jews were murdered] from among the Hagana defenders and the finest doctors and nurses."

Now, the stores are absolutely bare and some people are picking weeds from fields. There is food in the country but Jerusalem is rapidly being cut off. Convoys are stopped on the dangerous ascent through the hills to Jerusalem, the trucks overturned "and then the drivers are massacred by the hordes of savages that come pouring down from the hills. The food is either looted or allowed to rot. So the convoys have stopped." At least, as a pregnant woman, I'm given a special ration of milk, cheese, and vitamin pills.


For a while all communications with the outside world were cut off. Our tiny "air force" has set up an airfield nearby and mail service has resumed. The good news is that the Hagana has overcome the Arab forces [in Western Jerusalem] and administrative bodies are being set up. That tens of thousands of Arab women and children are fleeing in panic from the Jewish fighters is partly true. On the short-wave radio we heard Arab leaders in Haifa exhorting their people to flee the city. Those who stayed were threatened with punishment, while those who fled were promised great rewards soon, after the Jews are defeated. "What the world newspapers probably didn't describe was how the various neighborhoods of Haifa were visited by the advancing Hagana with food and medical supplies and kerosene for the terrified Arab families, while loudspeakers were used to plead with them to remain and to live peacefully in the new state. But this is what the Arab League fears –– our sense of justice! They are masters at committing atrocities so they circulate the propaganda that we would do the same."

Yacey's cousin Zvi was an eye-witness to one of these atrocities: after an unsuccessful battle his unit was forced to turn back, leaving thirty wounded comrades behind who were impossible to reach. "Soldiers in British uniforms came along in tanks, got out and crept over to where the wounded Jews lay and dragged them over to the rocks towards the Arabs and received payment for each body! Afterwards, Zvi's unit found only mutilated parts scattered among the rocks. This is the real tragedy of our existence; that we are not fighting on an equal basis with 'civilized' fighters for a cause they really believe in. We are fighting against hordes of paid savages, not the Palestinians with whom we hope to form a state, but Iraqis and Syrians who still live under the terror of feudalistic lords. We are also cursed with the snickering, unscrupulous scum of Piccadilly [British soldiers]."


The Mandate has finally lapsed. On May 15, the British trained and commanded Arab Legionnaires entrenched themselves in the eastern neighborhoods of the city. For the past week we have suffered incessant cannon barrages outside our building. They are trying to break our strength and morale, hitting every hospital, school, church, and consulate in the area with snipers' bullets. We're getting our news from a transistor radio, the only one on our block. Water is being rationed. People stay off the streets fearing shrapnel and most of the shops and movies are closed. But my sister-in-law Chava and I sometimes venture into the streets and go to Cafe Allenby on King George St., a safer part of town, because there we are able to drink Turkish coffee and flirt with some of the soldiers on leave.


Yesterday the Hurva synagogue, the largest and most beautiful Ashkenazi synagogue in the Old City, "was razed to the ground by the Arabs. Everyone stood out on their balconies watching with stunned horror as the enormous flames reached the heaven and the sky's rage was palpable with its flaming glow of reds and oranges and yellows. The fact that no Jewish bullet or shell has ever purposely struck a church or mosque has not been publicized. The only observations the world powers have made have been that the Jews are causing all this furor in this part of the globe by their radical desire to live in peace and freedom in a state of their own." [The Hurva synagogue is currently being rebuilt in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.]


Last night, for the first time in a week, we slept uninterruptedly, but the latest terrible news was that 300 of our brave defenders were unable to save the Jewish Quarter and were taken prisoner by the Jordanians and sent to prison camp in Amman We tremble at the thought of their fate in an Arab prison camp. Meanwhile, we still don't know the status of the 250 prisoners captured at Kfar Etzion. Rumors abound about their fate. [Later, all these prisoners were released.]


Yacey has been a Hagana fighter for more than a month but hasn't had leave yet. He's been promoted to platoon commander. A ceasefire was declared more than a week ago but sporadic attacks are still common. Nevertheless, people take to the streets when they can and are planning many activities. The children are attending school and shops are open, although with meager offerings. [The "Burma Road" through the Jerusalem hills was completed just before the cease-fire, giving access to Jerusalem by sturdy vehicles.] "The world will never comprehend the determination and dynamism on which this country will be built, and because of which it will never be destroyed." Shavuot has come and Yacey has finally finagled a pass for the holiday. What a nice surprise!


Coming out into the summer warmth we greet our neighbors and I realize that the reason we survived all those weeks with little food or water and living in damp shelters, is because of our Maccabean spirit. "One sees normalcy returning; as the movie houses throw open their doors, or the Philharmonic Orchestra entertains us this week (from Tel Aviv), and the Palestinian Ballet Theater performs tomorrow night." We are getting reacquainted with fresh foods from Tel Aviv, and the Sharon and Galilee regions. But I'm getting impatient as the end of my pregnancy approaches. "Please note: our new stamps say Medinat Israel –– State of Israel. So don't write Jerusalem, Palestine, anymore. Now it is Jerusalem, ISRAEL."

Part III –– Settling in a Kibbutz


"Tomorrow marks the last day of our comparatively peaceful ceasefire." We are all pretty tired, tired of the fear, the sleepless nights with shells bursting, dragging pails of water up three flights for our daily ration, and the long, unpleasant waiting in line at the food stores. "But, we are not too tired to fight back and to save every vestige of our honor and existence, to save Jerusalem from its desecraters. Tiredness will never cause us to surrender, only Death itself."


Daddy, I miss you so much. "We are all well, including your new grandchild, Eli, so don't worry about us. Everyone is proud of your attitude. Not every daughter can boast of a father who can put rational, just ideals above the selfish possessiveness towards a child. Your belief in the cause of Eretz Yisrael has comforted me during this pain of separation. I am sure that through your efforts there have been many converts to Zionism and to the fight for Jewish independence. We have the indomitable strength and faith of the Jew and we are using it."


I've observed that there are only two types of Jews in Jerusalem: the Yeshiva students who don't work for a living and the Central Europeans who are professionals. But the "new Jew" –– the proud worker, the builder, the idealist –– doesn't exist in Jerusalem. "The average worker may have once been an idealist as a pioneer two or three decades ago, but now he's exploited, indifferent, or wants to go to America. I think everything will change under our new state because now we have the opportunity to regulate workers' benefits, compulsory education, etc. These were never developed under the British." I'm glad that the terrorist Stern Group was shut down after their terrible assassination of Count Bernadotte [UN Security Council Mediator]. We can't allow terrorists to have their way –– it will hurt us in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world. We must give allegiance and respect to our new government to strengthen our nation and build our land.


Our neighborhood is the only one still without water. We continue to get our water ration from a truck each day and lug pails of water up the three flights. But we can get an occasional chicken. The good news is that Yacey is convalescing from his bout of malnutrition and he hopes to be released from the army before long.


I'm excited by government's accomplishments. "Contrary to all prophecies that the Jews would be a wrangling, uncompromising, helpless pack once given the right to rule, we have become rather competent, fusing the great force of survival with the need to be practical. Many mistakes are being made and will be made, but we are like precocious youngsters with clever, workable ideas, once dreamed of but now materializing." There are contests for everything like anthems, uniforms, even the colors of the flag. Letters to the Editor of the Palestine Post are filled with suggestions. It's a thrill to see our fire trucks with "Jerusalem Fire Brigade" written in Hebrew. We can see our own newsreels in the cinemas –– I saw actual scenes of the fighting in the Negev and the capture of Beersheva. For now, we find the organization of the state to be quite informal. Our statesmen are friends with whom we can discuss and advise how to run the government, and finally, we have flowing water with every turn of the faucet! "What a blessing it is to have water."


Now, to tell you about the kibbutz –– it's not so romantic and adventurous as we believed back in America. We are short of funds, water, and our land is poor. The initial work is unrelenting drudgery. "It's a cruel and miserable finale when you've transcended all these difficulties through years of hardship and have built a beautiful, flourishing community –– then the Arabs decide to fight a holy nationalistic battle." Many of the outlying kibbutzim have been attacked, with all the hard work destroyed and the earth littered with corpses.

"Why then, you might ask, do we still intend to subject ourselves to such a life? And I answer, as a Jew, we must never stay down where they toss us. We will always rise and rebuild until we are secure. In the past year, we lacked food and water, we trembled with fear and anxiety but we had one great prayer –– to emerge from it all alive. We realize today that the comforts and luxuries that you claim we will miss, are just trivialities in the face of our national existence which is at stake. We are eager to start our new life."


Yacey's last duty in uniform was as part of the guard of honor at the inauguration of President Chaim Weizman. It was a crisp, bright, glorious day, part-gaiety and part-solemnity, an occasion which hadn't been visited upon Jerusalem in a long time. Blue and white was everywhere, pennants were flying from every window, and people crowded the streets sensing the greatness of the day. Even little Eli, seated in his carriage, was enchanted, not realizing that he was witnessing the opening of the Knesset and the inauguration of our first president.


We are settled in the kibbutz and I have contentedly found my place. We have the unified spirit necessary to live and work together and there is national spirit as well. We Jews have to settle every inch of the land or, so long as the Arabs are goaded and equipped to harass us, our state will be lost. There are still soldiers and guards being killed by Arab snipers. Zionism today isn't just coming to the land. Most of the new immigrants are concentrating themselves in the cities, which is the most dangerous thing for our threatened state.

"The true beauty of Israel is beginning to bloom in this quiet, fruitful summer, so far away from the upheavals of last year. In the full, ripe vineyards around our settlement there are rows and rows of blooming, purpling, glistening clusters of grapes. Here we will reap the ancient joy of planting a vineyard in Eretz Yisrael."

End Note by Steve Kramer

Chedva and Yacey eventually left the kibbutz and raised three sons. Chedva has had a wonderful career as an educator, working with Naamat, a network of schools for youth-at-risk, including youngsters from immigrant families. I met this wonderful couple in Kohav Y'air, where we are members of the small Conservative congregation there. Although Yacey died several months ago, Chedva continues in the wonderful spirit that brought them to Eretz Yisrael sixty-one years ago. If you'd like to write to Chedva, her email address is

This was submitted by Steve Kramer April 28, 2008. Contact him at

Obama is an idiot in foreign policy

As Lebanon turns into Gaza

By Prof Barry Rubin, JPOST

While America’s secretary of state devotes her time to doomed Israel-Palestinian talks and America goes ga-ga over a candidate whose entire foreign policy strategy is to talk to dictators, yet another crisis is empowering radical Islamists and undercutting Western friends and interests.

The Lebanese logjam has broken at last as Hizbullah seized Beirut and inflicted a major defeat on the government. Hizbullah is pulling a more limited version of Hamas’s Gaza strategy in Lebanon as the world stands by.

Iran and Syria back their friends with weapons and help; the West responds with words backed by nothing. Who can blame Hizbullah and Damascus and Teheran for laughing in contempt?

Why should the Lebanese Sunni, Druze, and Christian majority risk their lives when the West doesn’t help them? Every Israeli speaking nonsense about Syria making peace, every American claiming Damascus might split from Teheran, and every European preaching appeasement is engaging in confidence-breaking measures.

At present, Hizbullah and its sponsors seek not the full conquest of Lebanon but to control the government by violence and intimidation. Unable to gain full victory themselves, they hope to win by the other side’s surrender. They want veto power over the government to ensure it does nothing they dislike: no strong relations with the West, no ability to stop war against Israel, no disarming Hizbullah militias or challenging its control over much of the country, and certainly no investigation of Syrian involvement in internal terrorism there.

NOW THEY have a new, albeit unwitting, ally: Senator Barack Obama, who does not understand the damage he does. His May 10 statement on Lebanon tried to sound tough, talking of “Hizbullah’s power grab in Beirut… This effort to undermine Lebanon’s elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hizbullah must press them to stand down immediately.” Obama said he supports the Lebanese government, wants to “strengthen the Lebanese army,” and “insist[s] on disarming Hizbullah.”

How? By “working with the international community and the private sector to rebuild Lebanon and get its economy back on its feet.”

According to the Obama world view, it’s a development problem. But he doesn’t understand that bombs trump business. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri followed that economic strategy; the Syrians blew him up. The only way to gain social peace is to appease Hizbullah, Syria and Iran, whose disruption blocks prosperity.

The statement continues: “We must support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions that reinforce Lebanon’s sovereignty, especially resolution 1701 banning the provision of arms to Hizbullah, which is violated by Iran and Syria.”

Great. But 1701 has already failed. Will you fight on this issue? Mobilize the passive “international community” for action? Threaten Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah with credible, tough action? There’s no hint of that.

As for Lebanon’s army, its commander is Syria’s presidential candidate, its soldiers are mostly pro-Hizbullah, and its US-supplied equipment stood idle as Hizbullah seized more territory.

BUT HERE’S the worst part that few in America but all in Lebanon understand:

Obama writes: “It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.”

This is Hizbullah program: a new Lebanese consensus based on 51% of power for itself and its pro-Syrian allies. What’s needed isn’t consensus (equivalent to getting Fatah-Hamas cooperation or an Iraq coordinated with Iran and Syria) but winning a conflict. Instead, Obama is - whether he knows it or not - backing a Syrian-Iranian- and Hizbullah-dominated Lebanon. Such talk makes moderate Arabs despair.

When Obama says he’ll make Syria and Iran partners in setting Iraq’s future, he is signaling every Persian Gulf regime to cut its own deal with Iran. His stances convince Hamas that he’s the guy for them, with Iran and Syria concluding they merely need stand defiant and wait a few months until existing pressure vanishes. This is how the US position in the Middle East is being systematically destroyed.

This does not mean that Obama is the candidate favored by Arabs in general; he is favored only by the radicals. Egyptians, Jordanians, Gulf Arabs, and the majorities in Lebanon and Iraq are very worried. This is not just an Israel problem. It is one for all non-extremists in the region.

If the dictators and terrorists are smiling, it means everyone else is crying.

The Syrian and Iranian regimes know that while they may walk through the valley of the shadow of sanctions they need fear nothing, because there are all too many who comfort them. If Libya runs the UN human rights committee, UNIFIL forces in Lebanon are scared into passivity by Hizbullah. If Westerners tremble and repeal freedom of speech lest some Muslims are offended, why should the “bad guys” worry?

But the West doesn’t have to play it stupid forever. Now is the time for energetic action on Lebanon to contain Iran and Syria, buck up Lebanon’s government side as well as all those Gulf Arabs and Iraqis who don’t want to live in an Islamist caliphate.

The battle isn’t over, which is all the more reason for real “not just verbal” struggle. Yet with mere words, compromises and impractical economic projects, the battle will be lost eventually.

For all those in the West who don’t like Israel, then at least help the people you pretend to like. Back the Lebanese government with real power and aid, covertly or overtly, those battling radical forces in Lebanon.

Rick: “Sam, if it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?”

Sam: “Um, my watch stopped.”

Rick: “I bet they’re asleep in New York. I’ll bet they’re asleep all over America.”

The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at IDC Herzliya and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal.

J-Street is setting up strawmen and speaks for a small minority

5 Myths About Being ‘Pro-Israel’

By Jeremy Ben-Ami, The Washington Post,

Six decades ago, my father fought alongside Menachem Begin for Israel’s independence. If you’d have told him back then that politicians in the world’s last superpower would be jockeying today to see who can be more “pro-Israel,” he would have laughed at you. Grateful as I am for decades of U.S. friendship to Israel, I have to wonder, as the state my father helped found turns 60, just who is defining what it means to be pro-Israel in the United States these days.

[This is a curious statement. Few countries can be described as pro-Israel . Even those countries act to pressure Israel to not defend themselves and to give up her security. Secondly, the US has been at the forefront of forcing Israel to retreat from Judea and Samaria even though it was given to the Jews in the Mandate.]

Some purported keepers of that flame claim that supporting Israel means reflexively supporting every Israeli action and implacably opposing every Israeli foe — adopting the talking points of neo-conservatives and the most right-wing elements of the American Jewish and Christian Zionist communities. Criticize or question Israeli behavior and you’re labeled “anti-Israel,” or worse. But unquestioning encouragement for short-sighted Israeli policies such as expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank isn’t real friendship. (Would a true friend not only let you drive home drunk but offer you their Porsche and a shot of tequila for the road?) Israel needs real friends, not enablers. And forging a healthy friendship with Israel requires bursting some myths about what it means to be pro-Israel.

[On the contrary, we supporters don’t remotely “reflexibly” support Israel’s every move. In fact we challenge her all the time. As much as J-Street suggests this is true of AIPAC, the truth is that AIPAC leans to the left while not publicly opposing what Israel does. J-Street just leans more to the left. They support the ridiculous notion that friends should force Israel to capitulate. It is a lie to say that criticism of Israel gets you labelled anti-Israel. Only some king of criticism does, namely where a double standard is involved or where the threats to Israel are ignored. Much has been written about his and Ben-Ami should be ashamed of himself for suggesting otherwise.]

1. American Jews choose to back candidates largely on the basis of their stance on Israel.

This urban legend has somehow become a tenet of American Politics 101, which is why politicians work so hard to earn the pro-Israel label in the first place. But it’s a self-serving fable, cultivated by a tiny minority of politically conservative American Jews who actually are single-issue voters. Most Jewish voters make their political choices the way other Americans do: based on their views on the full spectrum of domestic and foreign policy issues.

Moreover, the American Jewish community still has a markedly progressive bent. Exit polls suggest that nearly 80 percent of Jewish Americans voted for John F. Kerry over George W. Bush in 2004; some 70 percent of them were opposed to the Iraq war in 2005, according to the American Jewish Committee; and polls show that most American Jews say they favor a more balanced U.S. Middle East policy that’s aimed at achieving peace.

[Once again, he is setting up a strawman. Everyone knows that Jews are joined at the hip with Democrats. No one can argue that Democrats have been better for Israel than Republicans have. So they are voting for the party regardless. But there is a minority that uses, as a litmus test, the attitude to Israel expressed by each party. I can assure you that while most Jews support the Democratic Party and will continue to do so, they do not back J-Street which wants the US to apply pressure on Israel for their own good.]

2. To be strong on Israel, you have to be harsh to the Palestinians.

Wrong, and counterproductive to boot. One popular way for members of Congress to earn their pro-Israel stripes is to come down as hard as possible on the Palestinians, by using economic and diplomatic pressure or giving the Israelis a freer hand for military strikes. That may satisfy some primal urge to lash out at Israel’s foes, but it does Israel more harm than good.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has argued, Israel’s survival depends on offering the Palestinians a more hopeful future built on political sovereignty and economic development. As long as Palestinians despair of a decent and dignified life, Israel will be at war. And as long as the only channel for the Palestinians’ ingenuity is building better rockets, not even the Great Wall of China will protect Israel’s cities from their wrath. Helping the Palestinians achieve a viable, prosperous state is one of the most pro-Israel things an American politician can do.

[The converse of this is to be good for the Palestinians you have to be weak on Israel. This is what J-Street recommends. History has shown that the Palestinians aren’t interested in their welfare. They just want to destroy Israel. They receive the highest per capital aid and prefer to spend it on armaments than developement. They organize for hatred and war. J-Street would have you believe that they do so because Israel is harsh on them. They blame Palestinian terror on Israel. Palestinians have been trying to destroy Israel from the beginning. The fact that Israel is now harsh on them is due to their murderous intent. The West has been offering them economic development since Peres introduced Oslo based on a “new Middle East”. They rejected it then and rejected it again when Israel disengaged from Gaza. Yet J-Street won’t change their paradigm. Israpundit believes that only strength will bring peace.]

3. The Rev. John Hagee and his fellow Christian Zionists are good for the Jews.

Hardly. Are Israel and American Jewry really so desperate that we must cozy up to people whose messianic dreams entail having us all killed or converted to Christianity? Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, and his ilk believe that Israel dare not cede any territory in the quest for peace, claiming that the Bible promised all of the holy land to the Jews. In other words, Christian Zionists look at the trade-offs that Israel must make to achieve peace — and hope to thwart them. Then again, peace is not what these folks have in mind; they hope that Israel will seek to permanently expand its borders, thereby goading the Arabs into a war that will become the catalyst for Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. Do your ambitions for Israel extend beyond turning it into the fuel for the fire of the “End of Days”? Then Hagee and company are not — repeat, not — your friends.

[Since when do progressives worry about what will happen when there is a second coming. While some religious Jews, like evangelicals, believe that Israel shouldn’t cede any land for religious reasons, they both believe, along with the 2/3 of Jewish Israelis, that no land should be ceded for security reasons. Ben-Ami proceeds on the proposition that trade-offs can achieve peace. That is wishful thinking. He favours embracing the the Saudi Plan. But no where is there any evidence that to accept such a deal will deliver peace. In a democracy, the majority rules. Since 2/3 don’t want to cede any more land and certainly don’t want to be forced to, he is ignoring democracy and simply wants to support the minority in Israel who want such pressure. Not for a moment do I believe that the evangelicals are resisting ceding any territory as a means to bring on Armageddon.]

4. Talking peace with your enemies demonstrates weakness.

You don’t need an advanced degree in international relations to recognize that pursuing peace only with people you like is pointless. Most Israelis know this; a recent poll in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found that two-thirds of Israelis favor cease-fire negotiations between their government and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, exactly because Hamas is such a bitter foe. But in Washington, we self-righteously refuse to engage — even indirectly — with Hamas, Iran or Syria.

Hamas won the most recent Palestinian national elections in a landslide. Do we seriously think that it can be erased from the political landscape simply by assassinations and sanctions? Precisely because Hamas and Iran represent the most worrisome strategic challenges to Israel, responsible friends of Israel who’d like to see it live in security for its next 60 years should be engaging with them to search for alternatives to war.

[The appropriate question is given the Charter, words and intention of Hamas, does he really believe Hamas will abandon its goal if we talk to them. Hamas must be destroyed not talked to. Nowhere does he at all care for Israel’s rights. Its tantamount to demanding Israel share its home which they have a legal right to, simply because Hamas is demanding it.]

5. George W. Bush is the best friend Israel has ever had.

Not even close. The president has acted as Israel’s exclusive corner man when he should have been refereeing the fight. That choice weakened Israel’s long-term security.

Israel needs U.S. help to maintain its military edge over its foes, but it also needs the United States to contain Arab-Israeli crises and broker peace. Israel’s existing peace pacts owe much to Washington’s ability to bridge the mistrust among parties in the Middle East. So when the United States abandons the role of effective broker and acts only as Israel’s amen choir, as it has throughout Bush’s tenure, the United States dims Israel’s prospects of winning security through diplomacy. The best gift that Israel’s friends here could give this gallant, embattled democracy on its milestone birthday would be returning the United States to its leading role in active diplomacy to end the conflicts in the Middle East — and help a secure, thriving Israel find a permanent, accepted home among the community of nations.

[His theory is that a friend should help Israel make peace which means should force Israel, against the will of its majority and government, to make peace. Wrong. The peace process exacerbates the conflict, just the opposite of what Ben-Ami suggests. If the world would stop forcing Israel’s retreat and butt out, Israel will achieve peace in her own way. If the US insisted on all refugees being resettled in other countries, they would be serving peace. If the US supported Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria, it would serve peace. Despair doesn’t lead to terror, hope does. So kill the hope.]

Jeremy Ben-Ami is executive director of J Street, a lobby and political action committee that promotes peace and security in the Middle East.

The New Republic just published a takedown of J-Street under the title, Street Cred?
Who does the new Israel lobby really represent?

It starts with

Consider the plight of the American Jewish peacenik. With Hamas in control of Gaza, Ehud Olmert under investigation, and the West Bank government of Mahmoud Abbas shaky as ever, a negotiated deal between Israelis and Palestinians doesn’t exactly appear imminent. Meanwhile, closer to home, the likely Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, has said he won’t negotiate with Hamas. Under these grim circumstances, what’s a Peace Now type to do?

And ends with

Given that AIPAC and other similar groups already speak for most American Jews, and given that J Street’s founders are well outside the mainstream of Jewish public opinion, it’s far from clear what, exactly, the new organization can realistically hope to accomplish. Of course, if J Street someday surpasses AIPAC in membership and manages to convince the majority of pro-Israel voters in the United States that negotiations with Hamas are a smart idea, then it will rightly be able to accuse other groups of misrepresenting American Jews. But that is about as likely as crossing J Street on a journey from I to K.
Thanks Ted Belman

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why Jews Vote the Way They Do

Burt Prelutsky
Monday, May 12, 2008

If I am asked one question by my readers far more frequently than any other, it’s why do so many American Jews insist on aligning themselves with the far left. Believe me, being Jewish myself, it’s the question I most frequently ask myself.

It’s certainly not because Jews are stupid, evil, unpatriotic or dependent on government handouts for their survival, four reasons that certainly explain why millions of my fellow Americans will eagerly line up to vote for any political crackpot so long as he or she is running as a Democrat. Having given it a great deal of thought, I believe the explanation is to be found in the way we tend to be raised. It’s not so strange if you think about it. After all, most people are Catholics or Protestants, Mormons or Muslims, because that was the religion practiced in their homes. Well, for most Jews, liberal politics played an essential role in their upbringing. It’s why a much higher percentage of us vote for Democrats than attend synagogue regularly or keep kosher.

Furthermore, we are raised to think of ourselves as victims or at least potential victims. Considering the fact that we are often among the best-educated and most successful members of American society, it must seem odd to non-Jews to even imagine such a thing. What is easily overlooked, however, is that when a group of people have been oppressed for thousands of years, the sense of impending doom almost becomes a part of their DNA. No matter how well things are going today, tomorrow you and your friends and all of your relatives could be on your way out. And the only question is whether it’s merely out of the country or into the ovens.

As a result, Jews have an inclination to identify -- some might say over-identify -- with those they see as fellow underdogs. In America, those people would more often than not be blacks, Hispanics and even criminals, which helps explain the large Jewish presence and financial stake in the ACLU. The pathetic irony is that those are three groups that are among the most virulently anti-Semitic in America. But it also explains why a great many Jews -- particularly those who are young, secular and on college campuses -- are such vocal partisans of the Palestinians.

At times, it seems as if we exist in some surrealistic universe in which, with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter, American Christians are often more devoted to Israel’s survival than American Jews are. At the same time, many Jews feel they have more to fear from fundamentalist Christians than from fundamentalist Islamics!

I know what you’re thinking, ladies and gentlemen, but keep in mind I only said I’d try to explain it. I never said it would make sense.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Democracy demands transparency

Isi Leibler
May 12, 2008

Two months ago I predicted that in order to delay as long as possible the drastic military action which will eventually have to be undertaken in Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would seek a face-saving formula by which to consummate a truce with Hamas.

Alas, despite the latest allegations of scandal directed against our prime minister, that is precisely what is happening. In the face of repeated and dire warnings by the IDF that a truce now with Hamas will rebound against us with a vengeance, Olmert lurched in this direction as though oblivious to the dangers, dangling before us illusions of the "peace" and "quiet" for which we all desperately yearn. There is absolutely no basis for suggesting that such a truce will in any way advance our efforts to achieve peace or security. It is no coincidence that the most extreme Palestinian factions - all 12 of them - support the tahadiyeh agreement. To this day, Hamas leaders repeatedly stress that this is merely a short term tactical expedient. They even relate it to a portion in the Koran which recounts how the Prophet Muhammad entered into a temporary pact with the Jews which he subsequently breached in order to vanquish them. They remain adamant that their primary objective remains the annihilation of the Jewish state, a goal which will never be compromised.

The terrorists desperately want this truce. Reeling under the impact of IDF pressure, they are exhausted and require a respite in order to rearm, upgrade their missile infrastructure, send their members for training abroad and prepare for the next round. They consider themselves currently ill-equipped to confront an Israeli invasion of Gaza, fearing a repetition of 2002's Operation Defensive Shield when Israel destroyed the terrorist infrastructure on the West Bank which they have since been unable to replicate. They believe that given time to regroup and acquire more lethal weapons they will be able to inflict far heavier casualties on the IDF.

The Egyptians, who are brokering the deal, want the Palestinian Authority to control the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza in the presence of European monitors. They promised Hamas that "the siege would be lifted and the border crossings would be reopened." They also had the gall to demand that Israel accept the deal without amending the terms negotiated. However, when questioned about Hamas exploiting the truce to import weapons, they responded that "Egypt does not control the Gaza Strip and is only a neighbor."

In light of the hitherto dismal record of the Egyptians in stemming the flood of weapons to Gaza through their borders, it would surely be lunacy for us to rely on a combination of Palestinians, Egyptians and European "monitors" to prevent Hamas from exploiting the tahadiyeh to construct an offensive Hizbullah-style infrastructure capable of inflicting enormous damage on us.

Besides, it is now increasingly evident that the differences in approach toward Israel between our duplicitous and impotent peace partners and Hamas amount to form rather than substance. Mahmoud Abbas recently proclaimed that he would not meet anyone who visited Israel for its 60th anniversary celebrations and also warned that he may revert to the "armed struggle." We should entrust our security to such people?

So let us be clear. If we agreed to this truce for the sake of a few months of quiet, we would merely be replicating the debacle with Hizbullah in Lebanon by providing the Iranians and their Hamas proxies the opportunity of gearing themselves for a new round of hostilities at a time of their choosing. The likelihood of Lebanon now becoming a Hizbullah state suggests that in the event of a future conflict we could well become involved in simultaneous combat on three fronts.

If this analysis is flawed it is surely incumbent on our prime minister (or his successor) to enlighten the nation and at least provide a broad outline of government strategy instead of making daily contradictory proclamations.

Over the past fortnight, in addition to the Hamas truce imbroglio, we have witnessed yet more chaos as Olmert suddenly reversed his approach to the Syrians and reportedly offered to hand them the entire Golan. He was publicly opposed by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former Defense Minister, who warned that this would bring Iran to the Golan Heights. More recently, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced "this is not a time for a cease-fire with Hamas," but as is his custom, soon afterwards contradicted himself. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet, asked "Does the government really want to stop the terror?" and blasted his own prime minister's failure to respond to missiles attacks from Gaza.

What sort of government is it in which senior ministers cannot either commit themselves to supporting their own government or to resigning?

The other problem is that beyond contradictory rumors about concessions relating to borders, Jerusalem and refugees, nobody is aware of the details of what Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are secretly negotiating with the PA. There is an utter lack of transparency. Olmert and Livni, without explicit cabinet approval, are taking it entirely upon themselves to negotiate these crucial issues with the PA.

We should be under no illusions. When these shelf agreements now being secretly consummated with the Palestinians are ultimately tabled to the Knesset, efforts by legislators to reverse or modify any aspect would encounter fierce international censure and accusations of intransigency.

Of course, in light of the enormous personal pressures arising from the latest allegations of impropriety, one would assume regardless of whether there is any merit to the latest accusations, the prime minister is no longer capable of negotiating peace or leading the nation to war. He would therefore be expected to either freeze or at the very least withdraw himself from such negotiations. It would be unprecedented and utterly unconscionable if he intends to tough it out over a potentially lengthy legal process and continue making awesome life and death decisions about our future.

This raises questions as to whether we can still honestly continue describing ourselves as a genuine democracy. Democracy is more than holding elections. It presupposes a government taking account of and respecting the will of the people. Today, while confronting the most difficult, even existential, threats since statehood, our failed and unpopular leaders continue making crucial life and death decisions without any sense of accountability to the cabinet, Knesset, or the nation. Surely the people are entitled to be informed whether their government has a game plan or is merely responding to pressures as they arise.

In the course of our 60th anniversary celebrations, it would surely be appropriate if our prime minister or his successor, instead of making yet another empty speech, submitted a broad strategic plan (if it exists) for cabinet approval and insisted that ministers cease carrying on as though they were operating their own private fiefdoms. They should either adhere to the policies endorsed by the majority or tender their resignations. The government program should then be submitted and either approved, amended, or rejected by the Knesset. That is how a genuine democracy would function.

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Lebanon to West: Wake Up Fast!

Barry Rubin
May 12, 2008

While America's secretary of state devotes her time to doomed Israel-Palestinian talks and America goes ga-ga over a candidate whose main foreign policy strategy is to talk to dictators, still another crisis strengthens radical Islamists and endangers Western friends and interests.

William Butler Yeats said it best: "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst , Are full of passionate intensity." The "best" are often too innocent indeed, sunk in constant self-criticism, persuading themselves they must atone for having done too much in the past by doing nothing in the present, trying to convince the other side of their niceness and sensitivity. Their priority is to ensure no one will accuse them of being imperialistic. And to prove it they will let another country fall into the enemy camp.

The Lebanese logjam has broken at last as Hizballah seized west Beirut and inflicted a big defeat on the pro-government side.

While Iran and Syria provide guns and strong backing to their friends, the West responds with words backed by nothing. Who can blame Hizballah and Damascus and Tehran for laughing with contempt, believing they are the tide of the future, assuming their "passionate intensity" will inevitably triumph over the weak-willed West?

The historic great powers act as pitiful, helpless giants but their enemies will take no pity on them. In short, Hizballah is pulling a two-stage version of Hamas's Gaza strategy in Lebanon and no one does anything effective about that either.

What Spain was in 1936; Lebanon is today.

Does anyone remember the Spanish Civil War? Briefly, a fascist revolt took place against the democratic government. The rebels were motivated by several factors, including anger that their religion had not been given enough respect and regional grievances, but essentially they sought to put their ideology and themselves into power. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy backed the rebels with money and guns. The Western democracies stood by and did nothing.

Guess who won? And guess whether that outcome led to peace or world war.

Funny, I thought September 11 changed everything.

Why should Lebanese Sunni, Druze, and Christians risk their lives when the West doesn't help them? Every Israeli speaking nonsense about Syria making peace; every American claiming Damascus might split from Tehran; every European preaching appeasement has in fact been engaged in confidence-breaking measures.

Hizballah doesn't need to win a military victory but only to show it can win one, using that position of strength to try to force its demands on the moderate government. . The government has already accepted Michel Suleiman, Syria's candidate for president. But Hizballah and the rest say this is not enough: they want veto power over everything.

The goal of Hizballah, and its Syrian and Iranian backers at present is not the full conquest of Lebanon--something beyond their means--but to control the government so it does nothing they dislike: no strong relations with the West, no ability to stop war against Israel, no disarming Hizballah's militias or countering that group's control over large parts of the country, and certainly no investigation of Syrian involvement in terrorism there.

Why, three years after Damascus ordered the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri do investigators dawdle, having edited out the names of top Syrian officials they blamed for the killing in their initial report?

Israel bombed a nuclear reactor being built in Syria. Rice reportedly opposed the action. The world yawned.

Iran drives for nuclear weapons. There is some effort but too little, too slow. Whether or not the war in Iraq was a mistake, when terrorists murdered Iraqi civilians, much of the West blamed America; all too many Americans agreed.

Far too much Western media, intellectual--sometimes political life--reviles Israel. But Israel is no threat to them; other forces are. And events in Lebanon are one more proof that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is only a portion, say one-fifth, of the wider Middle East crisis.

Many in the West think Israel will pay the price for their follies. But Israel is ready to do what it needs for its self-defense. If anything, the mistakes of the last round in Lebanon reinforced this determination.

Instead, the main victims will be Arabs, mostly Muslims, in Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq, and Lebanon, killed by the various Jihad groups, or ruled by them where they take power or dominate through intimidation. And second they will be Western interests, which would not fare well in a region dominated by a combination of Islamists and those who feel they have no choice but to appease them.

When Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama says he will negotiate with Syria and Iran over Iraq's future, he signals every Persian Gulf regime to cut its own deal with Iran. When his stances convince Hamas that he's the guy for them; when Iran and Syria conclude they merely need stand defiant and wait until January 21 for any existing pressure vanishes, the U.S. position in the Middle East is being systematically destroyed.

Note that this does not make Obama the candidate favored by Arabs in general but only by the radicals. Egyptians, Jordanians, Gulf Arabs, and the majorities in Lebanon and Iraq are very worried. This is not just an Israel problem; it is one for all non-extremists in the region.

If the dictators and terrorists are smiling, it means everyone else is crying.

The Syrian and Iranian regimes know that while they may walk through the valley of the shadow of sanctions they need fear nothing because there are all too many who comfort them.

After all, if the UN human rights committee is run by Libya, if UNIFIL forces in Lebanon tread lightly so Hizballah won't be angry with them, if Westerners tremble and repeal freedom of speech lest some Muslims be offended, why should the "bad guys" worry?

Yet the West doesn't have to play it stupid forever. Now is the time for energetic action on Lebanon to wipe that confident sneer off their faces. To contain Iran and Syria, to buck up the Lebanese government side and all those Arabs who, whatever their faults, don't want to live in an Islamist caliphate.

If you want to know what's wrong, consider Obama's May 10 statement on Lebanon. He starts out playing tough, talking about "Hezbollah's power grab in Beirut....This effort to undermine Lebanon's elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately." He calls for supporting the Lebanese government, strengthening the Lebanese army, and to "insist on disarming Hezbollah."

But how to do this? By "working with the international with the international community and the private sector to rebuild Lebanon and get its economy back on its feet."

In other words, according to the Obama world view, it's a problem of development. If people have more money they won't be terrorists. Of course, that was the policy of Hariri, which was countered by Syria blowing him up. In politics, bombs trump business. And any way you can't have a strong economy with no government and chaos. Part of the mistake here is Obama's assumption that Hizballah (and other radicals) want stability and prosperity. In fact, they want to use instability as blackmail in their pursuit of power. They don't want conciliation. It's a military-strategic problem, not one of community organizing.

The statement continues: "We must support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions that reinforce Lebanon's sovereignty, especially resolution 1701 banning the provision of arms to Hezbollah, which is violated by Iran and Syria."

Great. But the UN is no substitute for U.S. power. As David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy writes, "It is highly unlikely that the UN -- which failed to even prevent the rearming of Hizballah--would agree to more dangerous deployments in Lebanon." America doesn't need a president whose solution is to turn over crises to the UN.

Nor can Obama pass the buck to Lebanon's army. Its commander is Syria's presidential candidate, its soldiers are mostly pro-Hizballah, and the quarter-billion dollars of U.S. aid given since 2006 may well become additional assets for Tehran.

As President Harry Truman said of the president's desk, the buck stops here. So the president of the United States must take the lead, be tough, and make credible threats. What's needed is not a conciliator but a confronter.

These are the questions Obama isn't even pretending to try to answer: Are you willing to fight on this issue? To defy an "international community" that opposes action? To intimidate and defeat the radicals? Answer: No.

But here's the worst part that few in America but everyone in Lebanon will understand all too well:

"It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment."

Here, make no mistake, Obama is endorsing the Hizballah program. It wants a new Lebanese consensus based on it having, along with its pro-Syrian allies, 51 percent of the power. What's needed is not consensus (the equivalent being getting Fatah and Hamas to bury their differences, or bringing in Iran and Syria to determine Iraq's future) but the willingness to fight a battle. In effect, Obama without realizing it, is arguing for a Syrian-, Iranian-, and Hizballah-dominated Lebanon. Such talk makes moderate Arabs despair.

Here, at the "From Beirut to Beltway" blog, is a typical, sarcastic, reaction by Lebanese government supporters:

"Oh the time we wasted by fighting Hizballah all those years....If only we had engaged them and their masters in diplomacy...sitting with them around discussion tables, welcoming them into our parliament, and letting them veto cabinet decisions. If only Obama had shared his wisdom with us before, back when he was rallying with some of our former friends at pro-Palestinian rallies in Chicago. How stupid we were when, instead of developing `national consensus' with them, we organized media campaigns against Israel on behalf of the impoverished people who voted for them.

"During that time when we bought into the cause against Israel, treating resistance fighters like our brothers, we really should have been `building consensus' with them. Because what we did...was...unnecessary antagonism, a product of a `corrupt patronage system and unfair distribution of wealth.'"

"We stand today regretting the wasted time that could have been wisely spent talking to them, to the Syrian occupiers who brought them into our system, and the Iranian revolutionary guards who trained them.[1]

The battle isn't over, which is all the more reason for real--not just verbal--international action. Hizballah has made its point for the moment, that it is the most powerful and to it every knee must bend. Yet without serious political and diplomatic support for Lebanon's government and real costs inflicted on Syria and Iran, the battle will be lost eventually.

For all those in the West who don't like Israel, then at least help the people you pretend to like. Back the Lebanese government with real power and aid, covertly or overtly, those battling the radical forces in Lebanon.

Rick: "Sam, if it's December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?"

Sam: "Um, my watch stopped."

Rick: "I bet they're asleep in New York. I'll bet they're asleep all over America."

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). Prof. Rubin's columns can be read online.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rev. Wright Seeks Revenge for Obama’s ‘Betrayal’


The Rev. Jeremiah Wright wouldn’t mind seeing Barack Obama’s presidential campaign derailed — that's how angry he is over his former parishioner’s “betrayal” of their long relationship, the New York Post reports.

“After 20 years of loving Barack like he was a member of his own family, for Jeremiah to see Barack saying over and over that he didn’t know about Jeremiah’s views during those years, that he wasn’t familiar with what Jeremiah had said, that he may have missed church on this day or that and didn’t hear what Jeremiah said, this is seen by Jeremiah as nonsense and betrayal,” a source with ties to Wright told the Post’s Fredric Dicker. “Jeremiah is trying to defend his congregation and the work of his ministry by saying what he is saying” and “doesn’t care if he derails Obama’s candidacy or not.”

Obama’s relationship with Wright has been under fire ever since videos were made public earlier this year in which Wright claimed that the United States brought 9/11 on itself and people should say “God damn America” instead of “God bless America.”

Obama has recently sought to distance himself from Wright, calling his remarks “divisive and destructive” on April 29 — which angered the minister. But according to the source, Wright first became disillusioned with Obama last year when Obama unexpectedly barred him from participation in the public announcement of his presidential campaign.

After Obama was “embraced by this congregation as a brother in Christ, after his pastor was a father figure to him and gave him credibility in a city he had not grown up in, and in a black community that was suspect of someone from Hawaii and Harvard, he thanks him by not allowing him to speak publicly at his announcement last year?” the source told Dicker.

“Rev. Wright, as well as other senior members of his church, believe Obama has betrayed over 20 years of their supposed friendship.”

Obama's Rabbinical Neighbor

Naomi Ragen

Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf is a good friend and neighbor of Barak
Obama, and he has written a letter urging all of us Jews to vote
for him.

Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf is also a Reform rabbi who was one of the
earliest Jewish advocates for "dialogue" with the PLO (he himself
met with the PLO back in the 1970's) and was a founding member of
Breira, a short-lived organization whose only purpose was to urge
Israel to give into Arab pressure and give up land for peace. We all know how that worked out. Rabbi Wolf is also a member of
the Rabbinic Cabinet of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance
for Justice and Peace whose entire mission "is to educate and
mobilize American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state
resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." I urge you to
check out their truly sickening agenda

Rabbi Wolf thinks Obama would be good for Israel, and that he is
a friend of the Jews. In fact, if he has any criticism of Obama
at all, it's that he's not radical enough in demanding Israel
make "painful concessions."

Rabbi Wolf: "Many people remain concerned that Obama isn't
committed to Israel. Some want him to fall in line behind the
intransigent, conservative thinking that has silenced Jewish
debate on Israeli policy and enabled the Bush Administration's
criminal neglect of the diplomatic process. For my part, I've
sometimes found Obama too cautious on Israel. He, like all our
politicians, knows he mustn't stray too far from the conventional
line, and that can be disappointing. But unlike anyone else on
the stump, Obama has also made it clear that he'll broaden the
dialogue. He knows what peace entails."

Yes, we all know what people like Rabbi Wolf thinks "peace"
entails. When put into practice, it put Israel into an Orwellian
hell, in which daily bombings became 'sacrifices" for peace. In
which people sitting down to Passover seders got real blood, and
real tears, not the symbols. But of course, Rabbi Wolf was in
Chicago pontificating on what was good for us Jews actually
living in Israel when all hell broke loose when his ideas were
put into practice. He's still pontificating with more of his
"good" ideas for us.

"Obama's strong positions on poverty and the climate, his early
and consistent opposition to the Iraq War, his commitment to
ending the Darfur genocide - all these speak directly to Jewish
concerns," writes Rabbi Wolf.

Well, dear Rabbi, as a Jew in Israel, where only last month eight
young boys where slaughtered in the library of a yeshiva by a
Palestinian mass murderer, my deepest concerns are not global
warming. As for the Iraq war, didn't that rid us of Saddam
Hussein and his Haifa 1, 2,3 long-range missiles? And when you
can take time off from wringing your hands over Darfur, where the
slaughter of innocents by Muslim fanatics continues its toll, why
not worry about your brothers and sisters in Sderot, who are
victim to the same Muslim barbarism?

Rabbi Wolf is also not concerned with Mr. Obama's longstanding
friendship with Rev. Wright:

"If we're sidetracked by Wright's words, we'll be working against
these interests. After all, a preacher speaks to a congregation,
not for the congregation."

That's true, Rabbi Wolf. You certainly don't speak for me - and
most Jews. And I'm happy to say I'm not a member of your