Thursday, October 01, 2009

"Season of Our Joy"

Arlene Kushner

This (z'man simchatenu) is what Sukkot is called. It begins tomorrow night. A blessing to be here: all over, sukkahs are being erected and decorated. We are commanded to live in them for the week -- eating and, properly, sleeping in them. Even restaurants put up sukkahs, mostly on the sidewalk out front, so religious people can patronize them for the Sukkot week.

As I have indicated, it is unlikely that I will be posting during this coming week. Priorities: eating and sleeping in the sukkah with my children and grandchildren, and doing tiyulim (in this instance, day trips so very popular during hol hamoed, the intermediary days of the holiday.).

The world is a heavy place. Often a cruel and awful place. It is our job to actively defeat the evil and the cruelty. But there must also be a time for celebration, and for gratitude to the Almighty for His protection and for the blessings that are bestowed upon us. To all I wish a meaningful and joyful Sukkot.


Let me return to the subject of the Goldstone Report. I speak, above, of defeating cruelty and evil. Here is an opportunity to be of real service to Israel at a time when we are beleaguered.

I have been advised that it is important to contact members of Congress to combat advancement of this report. Please, go back to what I wrote yesterday, regarding the outrageous bias of this report, and advice on what to say in communication with officials. (Or see my posting at -- it will be second on the home page, after this posting goes up.)

Additionally, here, I offer this, which was put out by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

"When Colonel Richard Kemp, Commander of British forces in Afghanistan was asked about Israel's conduct in Gaza, he replied: 'I don't think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF in Gaza.'"

As you contemplate this -- the fact that Israel is not just innocent of the obscene charges being made against her, but has been extraordinary, absolutely exemplary, in her conduct with regard to innocents -- let it fire your determination to act against this extreme and willful travesty of justice.


To locate your Congresspersons:

To locate your Senators:


The more publicity there is on this subject, the more Obama is likely to feel he must block the resolution. So, please! make noise. Call in to talk shows, write letters to the editor, submit op-eds to your local papers. (Letters and op-eds must be concise, unemotional and factual.) Let the truth ring out loudly.

Finally, please share this with everyone you can -- both so that others can take these actions, and simply so that people can know the truth. If you are in Israel, send this to all your friends and relatives in the States. Put this up on blogs and lists.

The Western nations represent a minority in the Human Rights Council. In spite of Netanyahu's efforts in meeting with ambassadors from nations in the Asia/Pacific region, this report is expected to not only be accepted, but to be sent on to the UN. That is where it must be blocked.


Let me share here a column by Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum, "Netanyahu's quiet success."

It echoes a theme I have been writing about:

"Almost unnoticed, Binyamin Netanyahu won a major victory last week when Barack Obama backed down on a signature policy initiative. This about-face suggests that US-Israel relations are no longer headed for the disaster I have been fearing...

"...On June 4, Obama weighed in: 'The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.... It is time for these settlements to stop.' A day later, he reiterated that 'settlements are an impediment to peace.' On June 17, Clinton repeated: 'We want to see a stop to the settlements.

"And so on, in a relentless beat.

"Focusing on settlements had the inadvertent but predictable effect of instantly impeding diplomatic progress...

"...The geniuses of the Obama administration eventually discerned that this double hardening of positions [by Israel and the PA] was dooming their naïve, hubristic plan to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict within two years.

"Obama's reconciliation with reality became public on Sept. 22, at a 'summit' he sponsored with Abbas and Netanyahu...

"Obama threw in the towel there, boasting that 'we have made progress' toward settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offering as one indication that Israelis 'have discussed important steps to restrain settlement activity.' Those eight words of muted praise for Netanyahu's minimal concessions have major implications:
# Settlements no longer dominate US-Israel relations but have reverted back to their usual irritating but secondary role.

# Abbas, who keeps insisting on a settlement freeze as though nothing has happened, suddenly finds himself the odd man out in the triangle.

# The center-left faction of the Obama administration (which argues for working with Jerusalem)...has defeated the far-left faction (which wants to squeeze the Jewish state).

"...Hats off to Bibi - may he have further successes in nudging US policy to the right track."


I have vast respect for Daniel Pipes, and concur with him that Netanyahu has conducted himself in a manner that has enhanced Israel's position diplomatically, while taking Obama down a peg and making a fool of Abbas.

But I am not sanguine about the situation that faces us with regard to working with the Obama administration. Netanyahu has achieved his diplomatic gains by walking the slippery slope of offering some cooperation, while holding the line on several major issues. Diligence must be the watchword now: Netanyahu must not feel reassured that Obama has mellowed, so that he believes he can now let down his guard. He must not offer more than it is in Israel's best interest to offer. And he must stand strong not only for Israeli security, but for Israeli rights.

It occurs to me that working with the "center-left" faction of the US administration that promotes working with Jerusalem may be more dangerous than working with the "far left" faction that does not.

When working with those who are adamant in their hostility to Israel, it is clear what our positions must be. But when working with those who are predisposed to us in a "lukewarm" manner, ambivalence starts to creep in with regard to correct positions. Do we want to cross or embarrass those who promote working with us or do we want to motivate them to even further cooperation? Do we want to risk giving the upper hand once more to those hostile to us? These are dangerous -- inadvertently, I would suggest, almost subversive -- questions that may lead to an entrapment.

For it must be remembered that even those in the Obama administration prepared to "work with" us have in their sites goals for a Palestinian state that are not consistent with our rights and our needs.

Indeed, diligence, on the part of all of us, from the prime minister and members of his coalition, to the average Israeli citizen. The right flank of Netanyahu's coalition, and very much including his own party, will hopefully play a watchdog role here.


I must mention Iran here. As Iran's nuclear capability comes closer to reality and the time for acting draws to a close, the media is filled with commentary on what is happening,

"Dialogue" with Iran is now beginning and the US, incredibly, is taking it seriously. "Towards the end of the year, we'll be able to calculate how much progress" has been made in talks, intoned a State Department spokesman.

But, in truth, these talks can be seen only as a farce. Ahmaninejad, who is supposed to agree to IAEA inspections, is bragging that he'll buy enriched uranium elsewhere.

And so there is serious consideration being given (with China and Russia still intransigent) to stiffer sanctions when talks fails. The sanctions that will be put in place are likely to be of a financial nature, strangling Iran's capacity to function, rather than involving a blockage of imports such as refined petroleum. Insurance companies and banks would be high level goals. According to the Washington Post, the "Obama administration is laying plans to cut Iran's economic links to the rest of the world."

Playing into what is happening right now is the public announcement of Iran's second, clandestine uranium enrichment plant. (Note: Western Intelligence knew about this for some time.) It makes more clear to certain governments (who were slow to see what was staring them in the face) what the duplicitous intentions of Iran really are, and has stiffened many backs with regard to those sanctions.

One of the questions being raised is whether, with the prospect of more serious sanctions, Israel will hit Iran militarily. That hit would have to come within six months, I believe.


"Good News Corner"

I began with a sense of joy and will end with a happy feeling, sharing news of innovative medical advances in Israel and other good things:

[] It is well known that antioxidants protect and work against cancers. An Israeli doctor, relying upon an ancient herbal remedy text written in Arabic, has discovered (or rediscovered) a plant that may turn out to be a powerful weapon against cancer.

Dr. Fuad Fares -- working in the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa -- has developed an antioxidant drawn from a non-edible plant that grows in Israel. In early lab tests -- on mice and in vitro cancer cells -- this compound is showing enormous promise ("a dramatic effect"). Ultimately, following more tests, it is hoped that the anti-oxidant can be purified into a new compound that would be ingested much as a vitamin pill is.

At this point the doctor will not reveal the identity of the plant. Nor is he saying if the Arabic text he is referring to is a text by Maimonides, the great 12th century Jewish scholar and philosopher, who was a physician and wrote in Arabic.


[] Neurim Pharmaceuticals has developed an answer to insomnia that is far superior to standard sleeping pills, which have side effects. The product, Circadin -- developed by Neurim's founder, Professor Nava Zisapel of Tel Aviv University -- works with the body's natural processes.

Melatonin, which is released in the body at the onset of darkness, prepares the body for sleep by lowering blood pressure and body temperature. But factors such as artificial lighting, anxiety and aging can interfere with this process.

Explains Zisapel, "Circadin produces melatonin in the same way as the pineal gland: It starts slowly at around 10:00 PM, gets to a peak at around 2:00 AM, and gradually stops by the morning. It releases melatonin in a gradual manner."

Circadin is being distributed now in Israel and some European countries, and is awaiting US FDA approval. It is expected to be most helpful to people over 55.


A native American tribe, the Coushatta of Louisiana, has reached out to establish a relationship with Israel.

"It is natural that we feel a connection to you and your people," says Kevin Sickey, a chairman of the Coushatta Tribal Council. "You stand for the same fundamental principles and values upon which the sovereign nation of Coushatta was [founded]: freedom and opportunity, justice and deep respect for your history and culture."

Additionally, tribe members felt that they and Israelis both have ancient languages, spoken by a minority; both struggled for sovereignty against suppressive forces; and both have a deep respect for their ancestors.

Some months ago, in a colorful ceremony highlighted by a traditional “stomp” dance, the tribe signed an unprecedented “affirmation of friendship” (an unofficial document) with the State of Israel. Asher Yarden, Israel’s Consul General in Houston and members of his staff were present.

1 comment:

justjames said...

It is my personal opinion that ‘writing the wrongs’ constitutes propaganda that is poorly checked and inaccurate. This is not a personal attack on the author(s), but a stand against the spread of information that deliberately defies accountability for human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories, and the deliberate use of degrading and generalised material on the real problems of Palestinian statelessness.
Don’t fund ignorance. Make your own mind up, not someone else’s.!OpenDocument