Saturday, October 31, 2009

Editor's Notes: The fragmenting of US Jewry


Obama's outlook, and that of the two or three officials closest to him, would appear to follow the Meretz vision of a two-state solution rather than that of the governing Likud-Labor axis. Or, generalizing in the highly relevant shorthand of the day, it may mark the distinction between the J Street vision and that of AIPAC.

In a little over a week's time, President Barack Obama will make the short journey from the White House to Washington's Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, to address the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. In a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the president, who received such overwhelming support from Jewish voters in his election campaign - 78 percent, according to exit polls - will presumably speak to the large, attentive audience about the vitality of America's Jewish community and its contribution to America, and about the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.

As previous presidents have done in speeches through the decades, he will probably stress the values shared by the two allied nations - the common commitments to democracy, to personal freedoms, to equality and tolerance - that bridge the geographical distance between them. And he will likely discuss the rewards awaiting Israel if only a path can be found to peace with the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular.

Much as his envoy, National Security Adviser James Jones, has argued on Obama's behalf in a number of recent speeches, the president may well also assert that success in Israeli-Arab peacemaking could have extraordinarily wide repercussions - "ripples and echoes," as Jones put it, potentially clearing a path to greater security, stability and harmony not only in the Middle East but across the globe. Notwithstanding the challenges in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan et al, Obama may even brand Israeli-Arab peacemaking, as Jones has done, his top priority - the global problem in most urgent need of a solution.

If he and his team have internalized some of the criticism emanating from Israel in recent months, he may do better than he did in his Cairo speech in June and speak of Israel's legitimacy less as a response to centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust, and more on the basis of the Jews' historic connection to this land. He will likely highlight Palestinian rights, too, perhaps invoking a formulation along the lines of Palestinian children deserving hope and Israeli children deserving security.

The goal, he will likely say, is "two states living side by side in peace and security - a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people."

These are the lines he delivered at the UN General Assembly last month, and that were repeated, absolutely word for word, in his UN Ambassador Susan Rice's speech at Shimon Peres's President's Conference in Jerusalem last week.

As he has in the past, and again echoing previous presidents, Obama may note that time is short, that courage is required, that difficult sacrifices will have to be made. Doubtless he will pledge his own personal commitment, and that of his administration, to Israel's well-being and to the cause of Middle East peace.

He will have meant every word of what he has said about supporting Israel. And he will be widely applauded for it.

WHAT MAY be left unsaid, however, is that this president, in contrast to his immediate predecessor, among others, does not appear persuaded that his commitment to Israel should extend to its expansion beyond pre-1967 dimensions.

Where president George W. Bush reached understandings with prime minister Ariel Sharon about facts on the West Bank ground - namely, the large Jewish population at certain major settlement blocs - precluding a return to the '67 parameters, the Obama administration initially sought to shake off any such understandings. It then made emphatically plain its dim view of construction anywhere beyond the '67 lines by demanding a complete halt to all settlement building, including in the major blocs and in east Jerusalem.

Strikingly, an ADL survey this week indicated, Americans may be far more skeptical than their president about the kind of "peace dividends" that might result from a freeze on settlements. The survey found that, even were all settlement construction to be halted, 53% of adult Americans believe leaders of the Arab world would continue to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, and only 25% believe the Palestinians would be prepared to achieve a final resolution of the conflict.

For his part, then-candidate Obama set out his philosophy quite unmistakably when he spoke to me during his visit to Israel in July of last year. Asked whether Israel has a right to try and maintain a presence in the West Bank, for security, religious, historic or other reasons, he replied that "Israel should abide by previous agreements and commitments that have been made, and aggressive settlement construction would seem to violate the spirit at least, if not the letter, of agreements that have been made previously... There are those who would argue that the more settlements there are, the more Israel has to invest in protecting those settlements and the more tensions arise that may undermine Israel's long-term security."

Elaborating what he would presumably consider to be a pragmatist's position, he added that "Israel may seek '67-plus and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party." The Palestinians, too, he went on, "are going to have to make a calculation: Are we going to fight for every inch of that '67 border or, given the fact that 40 years have now passed, and new realities have taken place on the ground, do we take a deal that may not perfectly align with the '67 boundaries?"

That philosophy - the implied disapproval of an Israel seeking a West Bank "buffer" at the cost of "antagonizing" the other side, and thus potentially thwarting the prospects for peace - would seem to lie at the heart of the friction that has emerged between the Obama administration and that of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. That, and the question of whether Netanyahu - "weighing" some kind of freeze down the road while limited building goes on for now, and yet to tackle illegal outposts - is serious about seeking an accord.

To put this into domestic Israeli political terms, Obama's outlook, and that of the two or three officials closest to him, would appear to follow the Meretz view of a two-state solution rather than that of the governing Likud-Labor axis. Or, generalizing in the highly relevant shorthand of the day, it may mark the distinction between the J Street vision and that of AIPAC. (J Street's claim this week to be the ideological kin of Kadima simply does not accord with its positions on settlements, the Gaza war or sanctioning Iran.)

These are differences that fall within the Zionist rubric, but what I'm crudely defining as the Obama-Meretz-J Street philosophy sits uneasily alongside the fact that the Arab world sought the destruction of Israel from 1948-1967, when there was no "occupation" and no "buffer." It is a philosophy that is hard to reconcile with the evidence of maximalist Palestinian territorial ambition, as reinforced in the bitter aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza - where the opportunity to build a fledgling, peaceable Palestinian democracy was dismissed, the chance to encourage Israelis to put their faith in territorial compromise eschewed, and instead violent confrontation pursued across the border. It takes little account, either, of the practical complexities of defending a country that, in its narrowest parts, is barely nine miles wide. And it downsizes Jewish claims to the historic Judea and Samaria, and the assertion that the West Bank, rather than "occupied Palestine," is disputed territory where no state was previously sovereign.

Again, there is a small, but not negligible proportion of the Israeli electorate that identifies with this outlook, and a (probably larger) proportion of supporters of Israel around the world that feels the same - that Israel can afford to try and defy bitter recent evidence and bid for an accommodation that returns it, more or less, to its pre-1967 parameters.

But the indications that the American government is urging such an effort, and is frustrated by Netanyahu's disinclination to adopt it, are potentially highly divisive - to American-Israeli relations, and to American Jewry.

OVER RECENT years, as Israel has been drawn into combat in civilian areas - notably during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002; the Second Lebanon War in 2006; and Operation Cast Lead this past winter - it has lost the sympathy of many hitherto supportive governments and opinion-shapers, including Jews, discomfited by images of mighty Israel confronting weaker forces.

Increasingly, in Western European countries most of all, only those most committed to Israel - and most willing to make the intellectual effort to look past those terrible pictures of tanks and bloodied civilians, to understand a context in which callous, cynical enemies fight out of uniform and surrounded by their own civilians - have been prepared to resist peer pressure and stand by us.

But America was different. In contrast to Europe, where Israel has sometimes been fundamentally perceived as an expansionist colonial irritant in the Arab Middle East, America has regarded Israel more as a gutsy democracy in a sea of Arab hatred. And American Jews - across party lines, indeed with no reference to party affiliation - supported that gutsy Israel.

In the Obama era, differences are emerging. For supporters of Obama's efforts at gracious engagement, notably with Iran, and for those who endorse his conviction that the US has too easily withdrawn the carrot and resorted to the stick in this part of the world, Israel can be an annoyance - that arrogant Netanyahu, so skeptical of Arab intentions, so insistent on building those settlements and frustrating the president's will.

And for some of Obama's Jewish supporters - the three-quarters or so of American Jewry, that is, who are instinctive Democrats - the conflicting pressures are becoming wrenching.

The Washington-Jerusalem tensions may be relatively marginal for those Jewish Democrats for whom Israel is not a highly dominant issue. After all, while the two administrations may sometimes be at odds, they are not publicly at each other's throats. If you don't delve too deep, it remains eminently feasible to strongly identify with Obama and with Israel.

But those for whom Israel is front and center either voted for John McCain, with his unqualified support for the Jewish state and his robust positions on Iran, or voted for Obama with the conviction that his commitment to Israel was similarly unstinting.

Now, some are being torn. Is Obama less of a true friend than they had hoped? Or is he right to pile pressure onto Israel, with the implication that the leadership in Jerusalem may not know what is best for the Jewish state? Should they be abandoning the president - and what, then, of their other Democratic values - or backing him?

The ADL survey, which found 67% of Americans endorsing a description of Israel as "a country to be counted on as a strong, loyal US ally," underlines that it would be false to assert that, in Obama's America, broad support for Israel is in decline or an issue of wide controversy.

It may also be exaggerated to suggest that, for Jews in Obama's America, support for Israel is starting to become a partisan issue.

But what kind of Israel, following which policies, toward which parameters for a permanent accord? Those questions, for that majority of Jews in Obama's America who voted Democrat and care a great deal about Israel, are emphatically becoming more fraught and divisive.
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Shalev: Rights Council obsessed with Israel

Israeli ambassador tells UN General Assembly annual human rights report a 'manipulation' aimed at turning Jewish state into a monster

Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - The United Nations General Assembly on Friday discussed the annual Human Rights Council report, just several days before a special discussion on the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev took advantage of the event in order to attack the Geneva-based Human Rights Council and accuse it of discussing Israel more than any other country and isolating the Jewish state intentionally.

The Swedish delegate, representing the European Union, hinted in his address that the GA should conduct itself in a more decent manner and discuss real violations of human rights.

The Goldstone Report was separated from the annual report in order to allow the GA to hold a special discussion at the request of the group of Arab countries, supported by a majority of 118 non-aligned countries. Nonetheless, the Egyptian representative and delegates of other countries addressed the Goldstone Report in detail, forcing the Israeli ambassador to respond.

Shalev said during the discussion that the annual report was a "manipulation and exploitation" by several of the HRC members, who she said were obsessed with turning Israel into a monster and ignoring its democratic nature.

'Is this the work of an objective council?'
She accused the UN of falsifying and distorting the principles on which the HRC was established. Shalev complained that the UN body was engaged constantly in political maneuvers rather than caring for human rights.

She said that the HRC continues to send a delegation to locate facts, giving it the mandate to condemn any Israeli action without considering the reality on the ground. "Is this the work of a decent Human Rights Council," she asked. "Is this the work of an objective council?"

She reminded the UN, which she said is comprised of a majority of undemocratic countries which violate human rights, that "Israel is a democracy honoring the foundations of freedom."

Ambassador Shalev warned that the real victims of the gravest cases of human rights violations in the world are calling out for help, hoping that the international community would deal with their suffering, while the HRC is "deaf and mute."

According to Shalev, the Council didn’t say anything when innocent Israeli citizens suffered from suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.

The Israeli ambassador was invited to address the GA by its president, Libya's Ali Treki, and she thanked him during her speech. The Libyans are boycotting Israel and in similar incidents in the past functionaries representing countries which have no diplomatic ties with Israel left the auditorium in order to allow their deputies to invite the Israeli delegate to speak.

Abbas: Hamas Leaders Used Ambulances To Flee

The United Nations "fact-finding" mission headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone issued a report last month accusing Israel of violating international law and committing war crimes while largely absolving Hamas' conduct during last winter's Gaza war. Despite a significant body of evidence to the contrary, the Goldstone panel said it "did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes."

But the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas says Hamas ignored Palestinian suffering during the war and commandeered ambulances for military use.

"When the [Israeli] aggression took place, [Hamas] leaders in Gaza and abroad said: 'We don't care if Gaza is erased,' " Abbas said in an October 13 speech at the Arab American University in Jenin. "All they care about is that the Hamas movement continue[s] to exist."

Abbas added that senior Hamas leaders Ismail Haniya and Khaled Mishal belittled Palestinian suffering in Gaza.

"Yet the Hamas movement is alive and well," Abbas said. "The Hamas movement was hiding under the domes [of mosques]. The Hamas leaders – and I say this for the first time – fled to the Sinai in ambulances, leaving their people to be slaughtered. Then they say: 'We put up resistance.' "

On September 16 (the day after the U.N. issued the Goldstone report), Palestinian Media Watch re-released a series of reports it has issued dating back to last year about Hamas' use of civilians to shield military operations in the war against Israel. These include the following from the May 20, 2009 edition of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a Palestinian newspaper associated with Abbas, about Hamas' use of ambulances as military vehicles:

"The [Palestinian] Health Ministry stated yesterday that Hamas militias had raided 46 ambulances, donated by Arab states during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, of the medical equipment that they contained…and used them as military vehicles to arrest civilians, after painting [the ambulances] black. The Ministry's director of public relations and information, Dr. Omar Nasr…said that medical equipment removed from the ambulances was expensive. He demanded that the Hamas militias declare, courageously and openly, what had become of the thousands of tons of medical equipment which had been brought into the Gaza Strip as assistance for the Palestinian people."

As it comes under scrutiny, the Goldstone report looks increasingly like an exercise in Israel-bashing and whitewashing Hamas' brutal subjugation of its own people. Read more here about how the Goldstone report largely ignored the many ways in which Hamas' conduct of the war brought death and suffering to Palestinian civilians.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Israel's Response to the Goldstone Report: Exposing a Politically Motivated Fraud

Barry Rubin

One of the most perplexing paradoxes of the media is the battle of facts versus context. We want the media to be as objective as possible—“Just the facts, ma’am,” as police sergeant Joe Friday famously said on the Dragnet American television series of the 1950s and 1960s. Yet on the other hand we want some reasonable degree of context without which the “facts” are not only confusing but misleading. Nowadays the problem is much more with the “context” than with the “facts.” Newspaper articles, and even more television news, are full of what is called “analysis,” which means the reporter’s own opinion. Since almost all the journalists seem to think along pretty similar lines this intensifies the problem.

And on top of that still another contemporary problem is the self-censorship of the journalists since they want to direct your thinking toward things they believe to be “good” and away from what they consider to be “bad.”

Aside from personal bias is the desire to be perceived by others as holding the “proper” opinions combined with the fact that journalists know they will no longer be punished for crossing the line in slanting stories—no matter how outrageous they do it as long as they stop short of provable plagiarism. (I was going to add outright fabrication, too, but even that is almost always successful.)

While total objectivity is impossible to obtain, if there was such a thing as a scientific Objectivity Meter its level in the Western media would have been going steadily downward.

The fact that bias has now become conscious and deliberate makes matters far worse.

Two of the most common examples I’ve seen—and I’ve actually heard journalists and academics admit that they lied “in a good cause” here—are the following. First, deliberately understating the misdeeds and extremism of Iraq and later of Iran “so as not to give [George W.] Bush an excuse to attack them.” Second, they have deliberately understating the misdeeds and extremism of the Palestinian leadership or groups so as to “help” the cause of peace. I call this: the Lying for Peace movement.

Yet sometimes stories, too, cry out for more context. True, these two reporters should be praised for doing their job in presenting the facts plus a limited reasonably accurate context and balance. Still, the reader must learn how to do his or her own analysis. So I have selected two relatively banal pieces to illustrate this point.

Philadelphia Inquirer, October 25: “Palestinian elections scheduled” by Ben Hubbard, Associated Press:

“”Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that his government would hold presidential and parliamentary elections on January 24, regardless of whether it reaches a power-sharing deal with the extremist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.”

Really? On January 24 are we going to be watching the elections? Of course not. As long as the Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn’t control the Gaza Strip it will never hold elections. And the problem is that the way things are going it will never control the Gaza Strip which will remain in Hamas’s hands.

As an aside, it is truly amazing that the world seems set on consolidating Hamas’s control over that territory even though it is a Taliban-like, terrorist, and openly antisemitic regime whose policies will leads repeatedly to violence and block any hope of there being peace. Condemnations of Israel for defending itself, the appropriation of massive amounts of money for reconstruction, and other steps protect and preserve a regime which is up there with Libya and North Korea on the scale of repression.

“Hamas criticized the announcement, deepening the rift between the Islamic group and Abbas' secular Fatah movement, which have led dueling governments in Gaza and the West Bank for the last two years.” Later the article does say: “Hamas seized by force in 2007.”

Well, actually Hamas seized power by violence. You will hear over and over again that they won the elections. They did, made a government coalition, and then seized total power, wiping out all opposition. Consequently, the regime in Gaza did not come to power by elections.

The article correctly states—and this is perhaps the context most needed—that this is “a vote that many see as unlikely to happen, given Hamas opposition.”

Then, too, the article notes:

“The latest round of Egyptian-brokered reconciliation talks fell apart…when Hamas refused to sign a reconciliation agreement after Fatah accepted it.”

So the burden for the failure is put on Hamas. Yet is this something in the Palestinian Authority’s favor? As I have often noted—and as the PA continually demonstrates—the PA is far more interested in making a deal with Hamas than with Israel, and it is impossible to have both.

The second article is “Jerusalem rocked by clashes: Israeli police fought Palestinian protesters near the Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City,” by Richard Boudreaux, October 26, originally appearing in the Los Angeles Times:

“Israeli police stormed the grounds of Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday, using clubs and stun grenades to subdue stone-throwing Palestinians in the worst clashes in a month of unrest in and around Jerusalem's Old City.”

But then the article does, what happens so often, a false balance at the cost of misstating the facts by saying:

“The rioting…sprang from rising tensions stoked by Jewish and Islamic extremists that could keep Jerusalem and its contested holy sites on edge for weeks.”

In the history of the conflict—with its many riots in Jerusalem—there has never been one that has less to do with any Jewish action. The riots were called for by the PA’s ruling party, Fatah; Hamas, Hizb al-Tahrir, and the radical Islamic movement among Israeli Arabs. These statements were made publicly.

So what part did Jewish extremists play? Well, there was a group of French (not Israeli and probably not even Jewish) tourists who were taken on a tour of the Temple Mount. Radical groups spread the false story that these were Jewish extremists trying to pray there and this was used to trigger riots.

By the way, Fatah and the PA needed riots to “prove” their militant credentials after they committed the unforgivable sin, in the eyes of the radicals who dominate the Palestinian movement, of accepting President Barack Obama’s request to let others take the lead in pushing an anti-Israel report at the UN.

Oh, did I say that false rumors were spread by Fatah, Hamas, Hizb al-Tahrir, and the Islamic Movement? I should have added that false rumors are also being spread by the Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In fact, it endorses the following slanders:

“It is also expected to keep Israel on the defensive against international criticism like that registered yesterday by Egypt, Jordan, and the Arab League over what they called Israeli provocations at Islam's third-holiest shrine.”

Well, sure Israel will be kept on the defensive if you join in the chorus of falsehoods.

Kindly, the article adds, “Israel denied starting yesterday's trouble.” Since you have no facts whatsoever to the contrary you perhaps should attest to the accuracy of that denial.

Again, these are small routine articles, but they are just a small part of the daily waterboarding of Israel in all too much of the Western media in all too many stories.

It’s no wonder that people in the West don’t understand the Middle East very well.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan)

Minister Ben-Eliezer to Turkish envoy: We must look ahead

Amid strained relations, Israeli government officials, IDF officers invited to celebrate Turkey's Independence Day at home of Turkish ambassador. 'Our partnership is based on similar democratic values,' trade minister says. Armenian nationals protest outside

Roni Sofer

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer attended a ceremony held Thursday evening at the home of Turkey's ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol in celebration of the 86th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. "The relationship between nations is not the same as one between individuals. Israel must look ahead with the understanding that its relationship with Turkey will continue," the minister said during the event, which was attended by hundreds of people, including government officials, IDF officers, prominent members of the business community and members of the academia.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was conspicuously absent from the event, in another sign of the strained relations between Ankara and Jerusalem.

The current crisis erupted after Turkey called of a NATO military exercise due to Israel's participation. Initially, Turkey said the reason was not political. But its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, later linked the cancellation to Israel's war in the Gaza Strip last December and January.

The diplomatic row deteriorated further when state-run Turkish TV station aired a drama series which depicted IDF soldiers as blood-thirsty murderers who intentionally shoot children.

Ambassador Celikkol told those on hand that Turkey was more than willing to bolster ties. "The relations between Turley and Israel are of the utmost importance, and they are based on special and solid foundations," he said.

Ben-Eliezer added, "We have a strategic partnership and must make every effort to get our friendship back on track. Our relations with Turkey, a founding member of NATO, a regional superpower and possibly a future member of the European are very important.

"Our partnership is based on similar democratic values, economic cooperation, research and development and political dialogue," said the minister.

Addressing the 14th anniversary of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination and Turkey's role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Ben-Eliezer said, "Rabin believed wholeheartedly that the differences between the nations can be bridged and that strong leadership on both is needed.

"As a regional superpower, Turkey has the ability to bridge the gaps and bring normalization and co-existence to the region," he said.

As the celebration continued inside the Turkish envoy's home, some 20 Armenian nationals protested outside. To the Israeli guests they called out, "Shame on you; you're people also went through a Holocaust."

Associated Press contributed to the report

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pro-Israel,' my foot! J Street is an anti-Israel lobby

Oct. 29, 2009

Recently, this newspaper took a rather benign approach to J Street, recognizing its right to criticize Israel and its policies, and suggesting that Ambassador to the US Michael Oren should have consented to appear at J Street's current conference in Washington to "challenge the organization," rather than reject its invitation ("Miles from Main Street," editorial, October 23). As chairman of the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC), an organization that seeks to represent the 250,000 Americans living in Israel, I know many who have firsthand knowledge of J Street and understand the havoc it intends to visit upon Israel. We most respectfully disagree.

Israel is a dynamic, democratic country with a well-established history of feisty internal political discourse and sharp internal criticism of its various governments and policies. Were J Street an Israeli organization which engaged in such battles within Israel, The Jerusalem Post's recognition of its right to do so would be eminently correct.

But that is not what J Street is or does. It is an American organization whose purpose is to vociferously criticize Israel and its policies (as well as lobby for the adoption of policies which are contrary to its best interests) before the US government. The American-Israeli community, having lived in the US, is keenly aware of the serious danger of such activities.

Most American-Israelis I have spoken to recognize J Street for what it really is - a radical, far left organization funded and supported by radical forces. A true wolf in sheep's clothing. Indeed, J Street's executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, just confirmed that truth by declaring at the J Street conference, "[w]e are here to redefine and expand the very concept of being pro-Israel." Israel's greatest enemies could not have articulated it any better.

J Street calls itself a "Washington-based Israel lobby group." However, it has not disclosed its client. Is it the State of Israel, which to date has - correctly - not identified itself with J Street? Hardly. Is it the Americans living in Israel? Ridiculous. Is it the knowledgeable American Jews who are vitally interested in the security and growth of Israel? Certainly not.

IN AN interview in this newspaper a number of months ago, Ben-Ami made numerous highly questionable assertions. For example, he stated:

1. That a State of Israel "accepted both internationally and in the [Middle East]" does not yet exist.

2. "The single most important thing that can be done to guarantee Israel's long-term survival" is to grant the Palestinian demands.

3. The Arab rejection of the 1947-48 partition plan and prime minister Ehud Barak's overly magnanimous offer in 2002 to Yasser Arafat of 97 percent of Judea and Samaria - each of which would have given the Palestinians the land they now claim to covet - are merely old history which is not relevant to solving today's "problems."

4. Although the Palestinian leadership is "corrupt" and has "squandered" the billions of dollars, euros and shekels in aid that has been poured into it, the PA is "not a democracy" and "the West Bank and Gaza are, in effect, like two warring states," Israel should nevertheless grant all of the Palestinian demands (while getting nothing in return).

5. J Street is foursquare against Israel taking any military action against Iran's nuclear threat - "even if it were effective" - on the ground that to do so would "give Iran [an] incentive to restart the program."

This sounds like Orwell-speak. Iran's nuclear activities pose a serious existential threat to Israel and much serious and realistic thought must be put into finding the correct Israeli response. Many in our community recognize that J Street's flippant response to Israel's most critical current issue belies its claim of true friendship with Israel.

Recently, J Street announced that it (along with its fellow travelers Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, which J Street has just announced that it will mysteriously "absorb") calls on Israel to transfer Judea and Samaria to a PA which included Hamas, even if all of the PA government's members refused to recognize Israel or even renounce terrorism.

We cannot imagine any friend of the US suggesting that it agree to negotiate with al-Qaida. Similarly, they cannot imagine how J Street can have the chutzpah to claim that it is "pro-Israel" by advocating that Israel surrender to terrorists.

IF J STREET were truly pro-Israel, it would, at the very least:

1. Support the positions and policies of the duly-elected Israeli government, rather than work to undermine them;

2. Consult closely with Americans living in Israel;

3. Call for the international recognition of an undivided Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital;

4. Call on the international community to more directly and forcefully confront Iran and its nuclear threat;

5. Call for all Arab nations to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state without preconditions;

6. Call for the adoption of democracy by all of the countries within the Arab world;

7. Call on the Arab world to itself solve the "Palestinian problem";

8. Call on the international community to condemn all terrorist organizations and activities, and undertake to do everything within its power to eliminate the scourge of terrorism;

9. Call on the international community to specifically designate Hizbullah and Hamas as outlaw terrorist groups;

10. Call on the international community to take the strongest possible action against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world.

Unfortunately, J Street has failed to do any of the above.

Indeed, the organization's leadership has never clearly explained why it felt the need to form as a separate and distinct American organization to further Israel's goal, rather than simply join one of the many existing pro-Israel American organizations. This is proof that J Street does not actually have Israel's interests at heart.

At its Washington conference, J Street had no moderate speakers. The Israelis whom it recruited to appear are part of the shameful lot of old leftists and self-promoters. On the other hand, many in the American-Israeli community are heartened by the numerous US elected political figures who, upon becoming apprised of J Street's true purposes, withdrew their support for the conference and refused to attend, notwithstanding the threat of the loss of J Street's financial support. Finally, AIAC congratulates the Israeli government for recognizing J Street's dangerous and nefarious goals and deciding not to lend its support to it.

The writer is chairman of the American Israeli Action Coalition.
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Gov't Demolishes EU-Funded Illegal Arab Construction in Judea

Hana Levi Julian
A7 News

The Civil Lands Administration operated Thursday morning against illegal construction and demolished in Kfar Sa'ir, next to Givat HaHarsina, a suburb of the Jewish city of Kiryat Arba-Hevron. The pools and terraces were independently built without permits by "Oxfam," an organization in Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron) and operating under sponsorship from the European Union.

The construction, which encroached upon an area that was included within the municipal boundaries of Kiryat Arba, indicated an attempt at a land grab by local Arab residents who are receiving funds from the European Union.

After repeated calls from local Jewish residents and members of Movement for the Protection for National Lands, the Oxfam signs were removed; IDF soldiers and police officers arrived with an inspection unit from the Civil Administration and destroyed the illegal pools and terraces.

Oved Arad, coordinator of the Movement, welcomed the action: "The law must be enforced equally in Judea and Samaria," he said. "The army and the Civil Administration must act more forcefully against the hundreds of thousands of illegal structures built throughout the region. Today's demolition was a small step to demonstrate the will to enforce the law."

Ban awaits 'debate' in General Assembly

Oct. 29, 2009
E.B. SOLOMONT, jpost correspondent in new york , THE JERUSALEM POST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he would defer to recommendations by the General Assembly regarding the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes during its military operation in Gaza. "I'm waiting for any guidelines, decisions or recommendations by the General Assembly for me to act upon," Ban told reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday during a monthly press briefing.

Pressed to share his view on the substance of the report, he said: "I have clearly stated my support for Goldstone's mission and I have tried my best to provide necessary administrative and technical assistance for their activities."

Ban said he had met with Israeli and Palestinian authorities on multiple occasions and repeatedly urged both sides to conduct independent probes into the war. He said he had repeatedly urged the Israeli government to institute a credible domestic investigative process.

"The Goldstone Report has stated that both the violations committed by Israelis and also committed by Hamas, they should be also subject to investigation," the Ban said. "I hope all aspects and all the allegations should be fairly addressed."

Per the request of Arab states, and with the support of non-aligned members, the General Assembly is expected to begin discussion of the Goldstone Report in early November. In a letter to GA President Ali Treki of Libya, Arab states urged him to put the item on the agenda for the first week in November.

"Whenever or wherever there is a violation of human rights law," Ban said, "the perpetrators of these crimes and violations of human rights should be held accountable."

He declined to shed further light on possible resolutions in the General Assembly, including the possibility that the 192-member body could try to send the matter to the Security Council or the International Criminal Court. If the matter is discussed in the Security Council, the US is likely to use its veto to prevent prosecuting Israel.

"Now that the Goldstone Report was adopted by the Human Rights Council and is in the hands of the General Assembly, I'm now waiting for the debate among GA member states. I will decide my own course of action upon that," Ban said.

Regarding a request by UN officials that Israel compensate the international body for damage to UN premises in Gaza, Ban said Israeli leaders are considering the issue. He said he has discussed the matter with senior Israeli leaders. "I understand that they are considering this issue," he said. "I expect that they will come back to me as soon as possible with the necessary actions."
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1256740789431&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Friends of Terror

by Mark D. Tooley

Friends of radically pro-Palestinian Sabeel, which is headed by a Jerusalem-based Anglican clergy, hosted a recent conference in Washington, D.C. for U.S. church supporters, where the crowd loudly applauded the suggestion that Israel be dissolved as a Jewish state. Others decried Israel, and the United States, as “genocidal.” Speakers included United Methodist missions official David Wildman and Roman Catholic radical feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. (My associate, Jeff Walton attended, and I am relying on his onsite reports.) Meeting at the historically African American Shiloh Baptist Church, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) tried to connect Sabeel’s cause with Civil Rights and anti-Apartheid movements. Arrogant Israel equals Bull Connor and P.W. Botha, while struggling Palestinians evidently equal Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

Like segregation and Apartheid, Jewish Israel needs to end altogether, Sabeel’s supporters seemed to insist. During a question and answer period after remarks by Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, an audience member urged people to ”vote the Jewish state out of existence”. Enthusiastic applause erupted up and down the pews. Seemingly no speaker disavowed the sentiment. Indeed, their remarks pointed in the same direction. (See Walton’s report here)

“If we are to re-imagine peace, we have to stop thinking of the conventional two-state solution,” Falk insisted. “This idea of two people living in separate states would be a disaster.” Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions heartily agreed. He and Falk want not only to end the “occupation” in the West Bank, but also to guarantee an unending “right of return” by descendants of Palestinians who lived in pre-1948 Israel, who would gain immediate Israeli citizenship and eventually eradicate Israel as Jewish state demographically, if not militarily.

To get there, Sabeel wants to demonize Israel as illegitimate. “We need to build a civil society resistance movement like against apartheid, that will make the occupation unsustainable,” Halper explained. “At this stage, it is a fundamental mistake to look towards intergovernmental diplomacy as a solution,” Falk warned. “Where we should look is towards mobilization and activation of civil society around the world.”

Falk emphasized: “It’s a grave error to think that international diplomacy can reach the goals of peace at this point.” Naturally, Halper agreed: “We’ve got to turn a corner and become a much more effective resistance movement,” he said. But Halper stressed: “Our job is to end the occupation, not [just] to end American involvement.”

Sabeel evidently is displeased with President Obama so far, with Falk complaining that his policies “are not that different” from President Bush’s. “The problem with Obama’s speech is that he refers to Israel as a Jewish state,” intoned Nadia Hijab of the Institute on Palestinian Studies, who claimed Israel’s Jewishness keeps Palestinians as second class citizens.

To jump-start global pressure against Israel, United Methodist missions official David Wildman urged anti-Israel economic pressure. (See Walton’s report here) “Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions is the cutting edge of how we in the international community can be in solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation, working to end the apartheid practices of the Israeli government,” declared Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the New York-based United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GMGM). He evidently had forgotten that his own United Methodist Church rejected anti-Israel divestment last year.

“Boycotts do change bad behavior,” asserted Wildman, who unashamedly cited the Montgomery anti-segregation bus boycott as the exemplar. He called “racist” the supposed idea of “good violence” by colonizers, i.e. Israel, against “bad violence” by native resisters, such as Palestinians. “There are many brutal governments in the world, but these [alleged Gaza war crimes] were done with the consent of the governed,” Wildman angrily complained, referring to Israeli voters, and perhaps American ones too. “As a U.S. taxpayer, I’ve funded violent attacks – benefitted from a system of apartheid and oppression,” he regretted. The missions official also recalled boycotts against napalm producers during the Vietnam War and more recently against repressive Burma and Sudan as models for anti-Israel actions.

Presumably agreeing with Wildman, Rosemary Ruether opined: “This crime [Israeli occupation of the West Bank] has taken place with either the active or passive role of western Christianity.” Ruether, a long-time Roman Catholic dissident, is now Visiting Professor of Feminist Theology at the United Methodist-affiliated Claremont School of Theology. “One must stop using the Holocaust as though it mandates the creation of a state at the exclusion of its former occupants,” she declared. “A Jewish state is systematic discrimination because it’s based on identity,” said Ruether, who faulted a “subtle form of Christian Zionism” that “hands over all of the Middle East to Israel.”

Ruether further blamed “genocidal theologies” for pro-Israel stances by Christians. (See Walton’s report here) The Hebrew Scriptures suggest that indigenous people have a “demonic identity and that they should be exterminated for who they are,” she insisted. “Our confirmation of Israel’s identity myth justifies ours,” Ruether charged. “A God that justifies the removal of one group in the name of another is a racist, tribal God.”

Cherokee feminist and University of California professor Andrea Smith affirmed Ruether. “Genocide is foundational to the U.S. itself,” she claimed, also faulting “heteropatriarchy.” Smith was frustrated that, “Even on the left, we still see the presumption that the U.S. should and always will continue to exist, and then we don’t question the genocide that is foundational to the founding of the U.S.” While fellow leftists faulted President Bush for eroding civil liberties, Smith suggested he was actually “fulfilling” American democracy’s sordid premise.

Echoing Ruether and the Cherokee feminist, “Womanist” Theologian Bea Morris of Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, likewise faulted the Hebrew Scriptures. “Some fundamentalist and Pentecostal denominations spend excess time in the Hebrew text and not very much in the Second [New] Testament,” she lamented.

So according to Sabeel, evidently here is the problem: Israel, and the Bible, are just too Jewish. Many Sabeel enthusiasts would like to dissolve one and rewrite the other. Their intemperate attempts will certainly fail.

Obama’s Website: Hub of Hate

by Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Pamela Geller, founder, editor and publisher of the popular and award-winning weblog She has won acclaim for her interviews with internationally renowned figures, including John Bolton, Geert Wilders, Bat Ye’or, Natan Sharansky, and many others, and has broken numerous important stories — notably the questionable sources of some of the financing of the Obama campaign. Her op-eds have been published in The Washington Times, The American Thinker, Israel National News, Frontpage Magazine, World Net Daily, and New Media Journal, among other publications.

FP: Pamela Geller, welcome back to Frontpage Interview. You have been observing Obama’s official website. What exactly is going on there?

Geller: During the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama’s website, Organizing for America, hosted a series of vile anti-American, Jew-hating posts and pieces.

The onslaught was overwhelming, and it included numerous, heinous calls for Jewish genocide and incitement to hatred. And it is happening again, right now, on the official website of the man who supposedly is the leader of the free world, and who has editorial control over the website.

The site was and is policed closely. The site moderators remove material they consider to be “disrespectful to our other users” and to “detract from a welcoming community where all people can engage in positive discourse.” Yet the most disgusting anti-Semitic ravings remained on the site.

FP: Give us some examples.

Geller: In April 2008 a post appeared claiming that “Jews owe Africa and Africans everything they have today because if Africa did not shelter them when they were homeless and starving, they would not be here today.” On Oct. 5, 2009, a post went up on Obama’s website entitled “Nazi Israel . . . Indeed.” It quoted a Princeton professor, Richard Falk, referring to Israel’s “war crimes,” “genocidal tendencies,” “holocaust implications,” and “holocaust-in-the-making.” It spoke about Israel’s “Nazi-like crimes and human rights violation.”

It claimed: “Comparing the present-day Israel with Nazi Germany one discovers that the majority of the Israeli policies are the exact copies of the Nazi policies. Nazi Germany had invaded its European neighbors extending from England to Russia. Israel had also invaded all its neighboring countries; Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. It is also heavily involved in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Its tentacles had also reached African countries as far as South Africa, Somalia, Sudan, Angola, and Sierra Leone.”

Continuing the lies and blood libels, the post claims: “Worse than the Nazis Israeli forces used to invade peaceful Palestinian towns, execute men, women and children in cold blood everywhere and anywhere they encounter them, dynamite their homes on top of their residents, and finally demolish the whole town making room for new Israeli colonies.” It charges that Israel pursued “a pre-meditated genocidal plan” against the Palestinian Arabs.

Suffice it to say that this entry passed muster with Obama’s moderators and is clearly acceptable to Obama for America. There appears to be a campaign of sorts to normalize this hatred, as if it’s not so bad. Otherwise, why would this poison be up and stay up at Obama’s website under his name for months?

Other posts do nothing less than deify Obama. A man who says that his “proudest role in the Obama campaign is that of a liason [sic] representative between Senator Obama and the African Union” posted about Obama in messianic terms: “President Obama is the son of Kings and Queens who ruled over the greatest civilizations in human history. The world waited a long time for the arrival of Obama. We did not always know what his name would be or what he would look like but we knew a son of Africa would return to restore light to the world.”

This genius is an adviser to Obama. He is a supporter of the Nation of Islam, and believes Obama is a king descended from Kings and Queens. He is your standard-issue hater of the usual suspects: America, whites, etc.)

The inmates really are running the asylum. This website is Jew-hating, America-hating, white-hating, and you name it. Obama has been hosting it for 18 months, and it is more than disturbing. It’s sick. There are no accidents, Jamie.

FP: Ok, if this isn’t an accident, then why is this anti-Semitism on Obama’s website? What does this say about Obama and his administration?

Geller: Why indeed? It’s not as if they are unaware. When Bill Levinson posted quotes of Obama from his own books, his post was taken down within a couple of hours. So allowing this kind of racism to go unchecked now signals a silent complicity.

Obama’s website attracts the disenfranchised, the haters, the anti-semites. It speaks volumes. If you go to the “contact us” screen on the site, you receive this message:

“Thank you for your interest in submitting a comment. The Obama Administration is accepting comments at”

There are no contact emails for anyone on the website, just a direct link to the White House.

FP: Why this disposition to Israel and the Jews?

Geller: Obama was raised on it. From Frank Marshall Davis to Khalid Al Mansour, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan and his ties to the Nation of Islam, Obama has surrounded himself with anti-semites of the worst stripe. This continues now with his anti-Israel advisers, including Robert Malley, Samantha Power, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. This bodes most ill for the Jewish people. This anti-Semitic slant has shown itself in his strident anti-Israel approach to the Middle East “peace” process.

FP: What can be done about this Jew-hate on Obama’s website?

Geller: Good people should speak out. Good people should call out the White House and the Democrats on it. Silence is apathy. Apathy is deadly. If enough people express their outrage and shame, the White House, the Obama camp will be forced to remove this incitement to hate and violence. It is an abomination.

Something’s wrong with this man

Latest Barak scandal to prompt more doubts about Barak’s character

Baruch Leshem

Ahead of the 1999 elections, Ehud Barak appeared on a television interview and said: “Had I been Palestinian, I would join a terror group and fight.” His words provoked an understandable media storm. The 1990s were among the toughest days of Palestinian terror and many Israelis were killed in terror attacks during that time Barak proceeded to convene several media experts at his office, including myself, in order to look into ways to responding to the criticism. The Labor Party leader failed to grasp what the commotion was all about. “All I wanted to say is that wherever I am, I would naturally be part of the fighting forces,” he explained.

Those present at the meeting traded embarrassed glances: Is this person truly so dense as to fail to see the difference between a dedicated soldier and a national politician? After all, many people could have interpreted his words as approval for terror acts, not to mention the emotional aspect involved in an Israeli saying he would join a group that indiscriminately kills civilians.

To be honest, alongside the negative aspect of this, we also saw a PR advantage in highlighting Barak’s character. It is certainly possible to market imperviousness as leadership.

The first impervious act undertaken by Barak after he was elected as the Labor Party’s leader was to change its name to “One Israel.” Barak’s people explained that this constitutes a minor plastic surgery that does not change the essence. Well, forget the name for a moment, as long as Barak promised to safeguard the Labor Party’s values. For example, continuation of the diplomatic process towards peace, which prompted Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

Well, upon entering the government Barak did not even try to do it for appearance’s sake. The government’s basic lines had no commitment whatsoever to a diplomatic plan, and Barak did not present his own peace initiatives during government sessions. He was impervious to the demands voiced by Labor party ”rebels,” who urged him to stick to his party’s platform; subsequently, he started to lose the support of his ministers and colleagues.

The Israeli Bonaparte
The issue of hedonism was the latest straw. A former Mapai Knesset Member, Eliezer Livne, was kicked out of the party list because he purchased a villa in Jerusalem. The explanation given back then was that this contradicted the Labor party’s values as a workers’ party.

Meanwhile, Barak purchased a luxury apartment, his wife established a PR firm that was about to charge exorbitant sums from people associated with the defense minister, and now it turns out that the Israeli Bonaparte also slept at the same hotels as his French counterpart.

The hotel scandal indeed constitutes improper conduct, yet it’s not the type of thing that could decide the fate of a politician, as long as it is not followed by legal procedures. Yet what may very well undermine Barak’s image is the lethal link between his character and his political actions.

The common theme associated with all these acts paints a picture of a person impervious to his environment, also in respect to his decisions as Labor leader. He will change his party’s name if it will allow him to take power; he will change its platform in order to survive in power; he will also replace his party members if they object to his actions.

Likud election ads declared that “something’s wrong with this man” following Barak’s words in the interview mentioned at the top of this page. Now, Labor party voters are starting to say the same thing: Something’s wrong with this man.

Student ad: Know your anti-Israel professors

Daily planner distributed by Haifa University Student Union includes ad promoting website which warns against 'extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus.' Complaint already filed by student, while Student Union claims ad is legitimate

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich

Students at Haifa University are outraged over the contents of an ad included in a daily planner distributed by the Student Union at the beginning of the academic year. The ad urges students to become aware of "anti-Israel lecturers" from universities across the country, including the Haifa institute. A complaint was sent to University President Professor Aaron Ben Ze'ev pointing to incitement.

The ad directs students to a website which lists names of lecturers from various universities and their quotes on such topics as the separation fence, legitimacy of Israel's existence, and even an article slamming pop singer Madonna's concert in Israel. The website does not offer the lecturers responses to the quotes.

The ad reads, "Warning! A fifth academic corps! Know your anti-Israel lecturers. Professors and lecturers in Israeli universities and colleges engaged in subversive activity such as: openly endorsing terror attacks against Jews, initiating international boycotts of Israel, using their status to anti-Israel preaching and anti-Zionist brainwash, cooperating with known anti-Semites, slandering Israel as a fascist, colonial State with an apartheid regime."

The ad further accuses the lecturers of promoting violence and law violations, encouraging draft-dodging among IDF soldiers and calling for the annihilation of Israel. "Learn of the abuses of the academic platform and beware of extreme anti-Israel lecturers on campus," the ad concluded.

'Ad amounts to incitement'

Maor Dahan, a law and psychology major, filed a complaint with the university administration. "As a Haifa University student, reading this ad made me feel nauseous. Preparing black lists of academics reminds me of dark times in dark regimes when people were persecuted for their different opinions. The ad's title – a fifth corps - clearly amounts to incitement."

Members of the Haifa Student Union claimed that the ad doesn't constitute incitement but a legitimate expression of opinion.

Chairman Felix Koritney commented, "It's an advertisement bought and published in the planner as by other advertisers. We went over the content and it is fine by us. It informs the students, in the way other websites inform of corruption and ethics violations…Students should know who they take classes with. We love the State of Israel and support it and see no wrong with the ad."

Haifa University issued a statement reading, "In accordance with its policy and the student rights law, the University of Haifa allows freedom of speech on campus, even when it opposes the contents of opinions, so long as no State laws were violated."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Judging Goldstone
By Ted Belman

If you haven’t seen the movie Judgement at Nuremberg, you should. It was a movie of the trial of 16 Nazi Justices. One Judge in the dock, Schlegelberger, played by Burt Lancaster, was a good man who had reluctantly served the Nazi Regime until he resigned for reasons of conscience in 1942. He was found guilty. And in the end he agreed the verdict was a just one. This case is referred to by Ayal Rosenberg in GOLDSTONE : A CRITIQUE OF SELF-APOTHEOSIS. He begins with this introduction of it,

The criminal culpability for crimes against humanity of judges enforcing law within an “organized system of injustice” was established in The Justice Case of the Nuremberg Trials and quotes from the Judgement “The prostitution of the judicial system for the accomplishment of criminal ends involves an element of evil to the State which is not found in frank atrocities which do not sully judicial robes”

“Schlegelberger resigned. The cruelties of the system which he helped to develop was too much for him, but he resigned too late. The damage was done. If the judiciary could slay their thousands, why couldn’t the police slay their tens of thousands? The consequences which Schlegelberger feared were realized. The police, aided by Thierack, prevailed. Schlegelberger had failed. His hesitant injustices no longer satisfied the demands of the hour. He retired under fire”

“We are under no misapprehension. Schlegelberger is a tragic character. He loved the life of the intellect, the work of the scholar. We believe he loathed the evil he did, but he sold that intellect and that scholarship to Hitler for a mass of political pottage and for the vain hope of personal security. He is guilty under counts two and three of the indictment.”

Then comments

The legal principles arising from the Nuremberg Justice Case were codified in the Rome Statute which is the founding document of the International Criminal Court. The culpability of a willing judge within an inherently unjust system is covered by the Statute’s declaration that “individual criminal liability will be incurred in crimes against humanity and war crimes by a person…who knowingly aids, abets and otherwise assists, directly and substantially in commission of such a crime, including the means for its commission.”

After pointing out how Goldstone is presented as a man of virtue, an eminent jurist etc, he condems him as follows

Goldstone claims, over and over (the scale and frequency of self adulation in itself should set off alarm bells) that his report is all about accountability for crimes against humanity and the integrity of international humanitarian law. This is a subterfuge coming from a subtle and fraudulent apartheid judge. As far as Goldstone is concerned the report, as everything else in his life, is about self: self-conceit; self-aggrandizement; self-praise; self-righteousness; self-worth; self-adulation and, most importantly, self-promotion.

You see, Goldstone was one of those culpable judges, who served an evil regime, apartheid South Africa and now serves another evil regime, United Nations.

Need I say more..

Danon: Criminalize 'Peace Now'
by Maayana Miskin

( MK Danny Danon (Likud) revealed Monday that he plans to criminalize the political activities of the Peace Now organization and others of its kind. In an interview with Arutz-7, Danon said he is working on legislation that would forbid all organizations funded by foreign governments from engaging in political activity inside Israel. Peace Now is heavily funded by European governments, particularly those of Norway, Finland and Britain. Danon has previously called for Peace Now to be stripped of its non-profit status due to its failure to publicize its foreign funding.

Danon repeated his call to investigate Peace Now's funding on Monday in wake of a recent incident in which three Peace Now activists posed as students in an attempt to obtain material to use against nationalist Knesset members.

The incident raises an important question, he said: where does Peace Now get the financial resources to spend hundreds of hours on a fake movie that failed to yield results? “We need to figure out where the money for this film was coming from,” he said.

The activists interviewed Danon and MK Fania Kirshenbaum of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israeli Our Home), supposedly as part of a student project on democracy.

“They were asking bizarre questions, like how I would prefer to expel Arabs – by bus, or by train,” Danon recalled. “I realized who I was dealing with and told them to leave. I didn't make a big deal out of it.”

If Peace Now had asked to interview him, he would have agreed, Danon added. “But this just goes to show that they can't get into the Knesset in any other way. They don't have an MK, they don't have enough voter support to get elected, so they were left with this attempt to enter under fictitious pretenses.”

The three were caught after attempting to interview MK Michael Ben-Ari, who grew suspicious and reported them to Knesset security.

Actions and Consequences

Ari Bussel

“Protecting evil and elevating it over good is the surest path to destruction. When civilization stresses the rights of the perpetrators more of those of the victims, the balance of humanity will be thrown off and civilization will crumble.” Norma Zager The current generation in Israel hardly remembers what its founders have known. Many do not even fathom the wisdom to study their own core values, dismissing their eternal code of ethics as archaic, lacking modern luster or being ultra-religious (thus possibly poisonous or infectious).

Israel needs to go back to basics. It is a Jewish state, created from an eternal foundation, the Bible. God Himself had crafted her laws, and they address every manner of life, from the Ten Commandments to governance.

Jewish laws and traditions have evolved over time, adjusting themselves, adapting, flowing like molten lava, with enormous strength and heat, and then becoming solid, harder than any stone. The laws of the Torah are as valid today as they were when Moses presented them to the world, and they will remain applicable until the end of time.

Thus, while the Torah talks about stoning a son outside the walls of a city, stoning is not practiced today. Yet, modern punishments are necessary and imperative to deter the violence so commonplace in Israel today. While the Singaporean example seems very harsh, Israel is soon arriving to the point where youth’s cruelty to elders, severe violence and murders and Russian-style executions, utilization of prostitution and drug-use must be stopped. Soon Singaporean harsh methods would seem suitable and compulsory.

There is yet another pressing matter, instituting – or rather reintroducing – the death penalty to our enemies who like to blow themselves up in crowded malls or kill innocents by launching home-made rockets at civilian populations. Israel has become so comfortable with the “rights” of those who afflict terror, maim and murder that she ignores her own RIGHT to live peacefully, without worry.

Foreigners come into Israel, hailing themselves “international peace activists,” and instigate resistance. They stir and direct, lead and level accusations. These intruders feel immune and just and believe all means justify their goal. They, more than anyone else, are often to blame, yet there are no direct consequences for them. Thus, they return again and again, at times via Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, other times onboard of a “peace vessel” designed to end the blockade of “Gaza under siege.”

Instead of denying them entrance and limiting their movements, Israel closes an eye while looking the other way. During the “non-violent” demonstrations, in which stones are thrown and anyone within range may be maimed for life, trees are uprooted and “the settlers” are blamed. The activists also set houses on fire with fault cast on the “Zionists” for their supposed Nazi-like behavior.

Worse still, the army allows foreign press to be embedded within its ranks. There is no one presenting the Israeli side in these made-for-international-coverage-“non-violent” protests. A vacuum is thus created which should have been avoided in the first place. The pictures are taken out of context, and they are dressed with a narrative that is always against Israel. The result is simply surreal, yet extraordinarily effective.

Stone throwing and other violent activity must be met with immediate response, and in order to protect both the soldiers and the members of the foreign press, the areas must be declared closed military areas.

Then, and only then, when the presence of any journalists is prohibited, much of the fuel would be eliminated, resulting in much needed behavioral change. Why are the “anarchists” so effective? Simply, because the enemies dare Israel and she does not respond. If you have ever seen a bully operate, you would realize this is the worst plan of action. Avoiding confrontation is detrimental to one’s wellbeing, and in the name of some “freedoms,” Israel falls into this trap time after time.

All too often, terrorists with blood on their hands, sentenced in a court of law to multiple life sentences, are released as part of agreements with the enemy. At times, the release is done as a gesture of good will (two hundred terrorist in order to welcome a Muslim holiday or a new President in the White House or to “reignite” the peace process– a sacrificial lamb to appease and satisfy an appetite that will not stop). Other times the release comes as a result of negotiations in order to get back body parts of soldiers who were kidnapped specifically for that purpose from within the sovereign borders of the state.

If a citizen goes into a religious seminary and starts butchering the children, glorifying his action must not be allowed. If the custom of his family is to have a mourners’ tent erected, this must be prevented and if built, it must be taken down immediately. Any “rights,” including payment for burial, survivors’ benefits paid by the Jewish State and other like monetary “entitlements” should immediately become null and void. Only in Israel do ministers have to become involved to fix what should be obvious!

Also in Israel, Arabs riot, and the police react to restore peace and order. Several years later, as the process winds its way down through the court system, the General Attorney’s Office enters into an agreement to pay those among the instigators who were hurt as a result of their “civil disobedience.” If Israel did not kneel the first time, then it did on the turnaround, to the tune of many millions.

Is there any surprise, then, that Israeli Arabs feel a growing strength and raise their heads with newly established “national aspirations?!?” In Israel, violence pays and using the system for its own destruction is working better than Israel’s enemies could have dreamed.

If an enemy holds an Israeli citizen hostage and does not allow the International Red Cross access, all perks and privileges extended to the enemy’s prisoners in Israel (from weekly visitation “entitelment” to TV to access to the internet etc.) must likewise be stopped. Moreover, any humanitarian aid flowing to the enemy must cease.

Preventing the flow of aid to the enemy is crucial when the enemy seeks to bring death and destruction to the country’s kindergartens, schools, hospitals and cities. Where else would a war be declared, for the purpose of annihilating a country, and the country being attacked responds by allowing convoys of hundreds of trucks of humanitarian aid to pass daily through its border to enemy lines? Again – only in Israel. Would the allies have aided and abetted the Germans in their march across Europe?

Israel must stop delivering electricity, medicine and food into Gaza. She is feeding the elements set to destroy her. They launch rockets, she responds by sending more aid. For eight years she allowed it to go on, then when she could bear no longer, she reconciled an action with a soft belly. Why would she, or anyone, be surprised to read the Goldstone Report or have issues with the UN?

A rocket launched into Israel must be met with a like response. The only proportion to be allowed is ten to one or a hundred to one. Missing that proportionate response, the rocket has become a very effective tool against the ineffective ineptness of the so-called leadership of the state. Defend your citizens first. Irrespective of what you do, you would be accused of wrongdoing; at least make sure that in the little you do, you send a message that is clear and unmistaken.

Then, when an elected member in the parliament decides to meet and confer with Israel’s enemies during a war or hostile activities, and such a meeting is clearly against the law, the person must be stripped of his or her position, any entitlements (severance, pension, a car and driver, etc.) and the future ability to hold any office. Loyalty to the state must certainly be above colluding with the enemy bent on a country’s destruction.

As one looks at Israel over the past three years, Israel has failed in each and every one of the above instances, sending a message it is weak, lenient, overly flexible at the point of cowardliness. Worst of all, we discover that such behavior, because it is tolerated by Israel, is an effective weapon to further weaken her.

It is time for Israel to understand that fighting for her existence takes precedence. Protecting its citizenry is the responsibility of any government. Israel’s own rights are as important and valid as any “rights” of those who oppose her and actively seek her demise, downfall and destruction.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this “point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.

© Postcards from Home, October, 2009


Monday, October 26, 2009

Losing Israel

Bill Warner
October 26, 2009

When America entered the war in Vietnam, Ho Chi Min said that it would be a long war and that the communists would win by using propaganda in the media and the universities. He was correct. It is time to take stock in the war between Israelis and the Palestinian (Arabs) and deal with some forbidden subjects. Israel is losing the propaganda war, hasbarah, and for a very good reason.

Israel is not in the hasbarah game, unless one counts belated responses to the Palestinian (Arabs') propaganda offensives. Pierre Rehov, a Moroccan French Jew, is a documentary filmmaker. He claims that the Palestinian (Arabs) have made over 50 propaganda movies, while Israel has done only 8. Of those eight, Mr. Rehov made six.

Why don't Jews and Israel want to deal with propaganda? Simple. It would mean talking about Islam. Jews and Israel must face the facts that the Koran and the Sunna (the actions and words of Mohammed) are filled with invectives against the Jews. At first the words were complimentary, but when the Jews of Medina rejected Mohammed as a prophet they were all enslaved, exiled, murdered and robbed -- all acts of jihad. These were not historical acts, but perfect examples of Islamic action towards Jews -- models prescribed for Muslims to follow up to the present time. To illustrate the severity of this predicament, statistically speaking, in the Koran of Medina 10.6% of the text is devoted to Jew hatred, whereas, only 6.8% of Mein Kampf is devoted to Jew hatred.

The language and actions of Palestinian (Arabs) and all Muslims in general are directly approved by Islamic political theological doctrine. Not only the language, but also policy is set by the Islamic political doctrine. To repeat: political doctrine -- a political theological doctrine of jihad against all kafirs.

Yet, it seems until now that both Jews and Israel choose annihilation over talking about Islam. It is simply not an acceptable subject matter. Political correctness prevails over survival. Unfortunately, these are suicidal choices. It is obvious that the ADL and the Jewish Federations for example, are only two Jewish organizations that have corporate polices of not discussing Islamic political ideology.

The ADL will admit that there are a "few" radical Muslims, and would gladly argue in public that except for a few Muslim extremists, Islam is not the problem. ADL is the first to argue that Jews and Christians have their share of crazies and they are no different from the Muslims. This is the ultimate multiculturalist view, which may well lead to a disaster for Israel and aid in the demise of Western civilization.

Since a propaganda war is about the use of intelligence, one would think that the Israelis would be the world's best and the Muslims would be the worst. Look at Nobel prizes, especially in the sciences. Israelis win them by the handful compared to the Arab world. But in the hasbarah, public relations, the Israelis are lazy fools and the Palestinians are industrious geniuses.

Israeli government officials who will comment off the record say that as a government, Israel cannot launch a propaganda war over Islam.

And, if Israel were to launch an ideological war, who would be the target audience? The ultimate target would be the secular and liberal Jews of America and Israel, who are the near enemy. If you can launch a hasbarah campaign that would open their eyes, enough of the world would tag along.

Otherwise, if the Israelis continue to think that they can keep scoring military victories and by that win this ideological war, they are fools and worse. America won the Tet offensive on the battlefield, but lost the propaganda war in the media and the universities, exactly as Ho Chi Min predicted.

As a brilliant example of ideological war, revisit Netanyahu's UN speech on September 24, 2009. He laid out the civilizational differences between Holocaust deniers and Israel. The same arguments about civilization should apply to the war between the Palestinians and Jews in Israel. This is because the Israel/Palestinian conflict is no different than the jihad in Kashmir, India, the Philippines, or in dozens of fronts in Africa.

After the Mumbai terror attack, the Jewish community in Nashville, TN had a rally at a synagogue. They prayed for peace in Israel. The same day, Christian supporters of Israel held a rally, and they prayed for Israel's victory.

Now, which one of the two maintains a stronger position -- peace or victory? Today Israel desires peace and the Palestinian (Arabs) insist on victory. Guess who wins? Peace is for losers. Regrettably, Israelis and American Jews are choosing to be the losers. The consequences however are too dire; ultimately, Israel may get their peace, but it may be the peace after jihad's victory.

Ironically, Israelis and Jews abroad are not the only ones in a state of denial about Islamic politics; they just happen to be at the frontline. President Bush demonstrated after 9/11 that he too had no clue how to fight this Islamic ideological war. Instead of using military force against our enemies, he and his successor- President Obama should have declared ideological war against our true enemy-political Islam.

They seem to lose their war and so will Israel unless some tough questions are faced and actions are taken.
Bill Warner is Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam

The Goldstone Report - Using Terminology in Service of Deception

October 26, 2009 | Eli E. Hertz

Justice Richard Goldstone and the United Nations Human Rights Council, sought to rewrite history by labeling Judea and Samaria (Known as the West Bank) "Occupied Palestinian Territories" [Paragraph 11], calling Israeli Arabs "Palestinian citizens of Israel" [Paragraph 111], referring to Israeli Arab villages as "Palestinian Israeli communities" [Paragraph 110] and calling Arab inhabitants of Gaza "Palestinian People in the Gaza strip" [Paragraph 1859]. Essentially Goldstone is endowing Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with an aura of bogus peoplehood and statehood, as well as a false history as if title or ownership could be assigned out of thin air.

No legal binding authority has empowered Goldstone or any UN organ, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or the Human Rights Council to decide that the territories of the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria, and Gaza could be transformed into "Occupied Palestinian Territories" or "Palestine." Goldstone's use of these dishonest, loaded terms empowers terrorism and the Palestinians with the right to use all measures to expel Israel.

Palestine is a Geographical Area, Not a Nationality

Arabs, the UN and its organs, and lately the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as well, have repeatedly claimed that the Palestinians are a native people - so much so that almost everyone takes it for granted. The problem is that a stateless Palestinian People is a fabrication. The word Palestine is not even Arabic.

Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian People distinct from other Arabs appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule. During that rule, local Arabs were actually considered part of, and subject to, the authority of Greater Syria (Suriyya al-Kubra).

Historically, before the Arabs fabricated the concept of Palestinian peoplehood as an exclusively Arab phenomenon, no such group existed. This is substantiated in countless official British Mandate-vintage documents that speak of the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine - not Jews and Palestinians.

In fact, before local Jews began calling themselves Israelis in 1948 (when the name "Israel" was chosen for the newly-established Jewish State), the term "Palestine" applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before the state's independence.

Some examples include:

* The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was called The Palestine Post until 1948.
* Bank Leumi L'Israel, incorporated in 1902, was called the "Anglo-Palestine Company" until 1948.
* The Jewish Agency - an arm of the Zionist movement engaged in Jewish settlement since 1929 - was initially called the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
* Today's Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by German Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, was originally called the "Palestine Symphony Orchestra," composed of some 70 Palestinian Jews.
* The United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was established in 1939 as a merger of the United Palestine Appeal and the fundraising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee.

There Has Never Been a Sovereign Arab State in Palestine

The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is reflected in the attitudes and actions of neighboring Arabs who never established a Palestinian state or advocated one prior to the Six-Day War in 1967.

Only twice in Jerusalem's history has it served as a national capital. The first time was as the capital of the two Jewish Commonwealths during the First and Second Temple periods, as described in the Bible, reinforced by archaeological evidence and numerous ancient documents. The second time is in modern times as the capital of the State of Israel. It has never served as an Arab capital for the simple reason that there has never been a Palestinian Arab state.

The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf of the Palestinians rings hollow. Arabs never established a Palestinian state when the UN in 1947 recommended to partition Palestine, and to establish "an Arab and a Jewish state" (not a Palestinian state, it should be noted). Nor did the Arabs recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when the West Bank was under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control; nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for autonomy or independence during those years under Jordanian and Egyptian rule.

So much for facts and accuracy.

Myths and Facts

'Boost Jewish presence on Temple Mt.'


Against the backdrop of heavy rioting on the Temple Mount and inside Jerusalem's Old City, prominent rabbis and politicians called on Sunday evening for Jews to forge a stronger bond with the site, and to ascend the Temple Mount with increased vigor. Nine police officers were lightly wounded and 21 Arab rioters were arrested during clashes on the Mount, in the alleyways of the Muslim Quarter and in east Jerusalem on Sunday.

The declarations came during a conference at the capital's Heichal Shlomo, which was attended by Rabbis Dov Lior, Yaakov Meidan, Yuval Cherlow and Elyakim Levanon, among others.

MKs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Uri Ariel (National Union), Arye Eldad (National Union), Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) were also in attendance, along with Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari (Habayit Hayehudi) and Likud Central Committee member Moshe Feiglin.

News of the gathering, which was organized in part by the Temple Institute - a Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to researching and, eventually, rebuilding the Temple - was linked to Sunday's unrest in the capital, as Islamic groups had apparently gotten wind of the rabbis' intention to call for Jews to visit the Mount.

The Islamic leaders mobilized their followers to head for the Mount as well, "in its defense."

Temple Institute director Yehuda Glick, who welcomed the series of speakers at the event, began by invoking the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, telling the crowd, "Before he was murdered, [Rabin] said that the greatest danger facing democracy in Israel was the surrender to violence.

"Yet, recent events show an alarming phenomenon of police actually caving in to Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount."

Thus was the tone of the conference, in which Glick and others spoke out against "discrimination" against religious Jews who wish to visit the site.

"When a visibly Jewish person wants to go onto the Mount, they are made to wait, sometimes as long as an hour, while police subject them to humiliating security checks and searches," Yosef Rabin, who is affiliated with an organization called The Movement for the Establishment of the Temple, told The Jerusalem Post.

"Meanwhile, secular Israelis and non-Jewish tourists are allowed to enter the site freely. One of the messages here tonight, in addition to the call on Jews to increase their presence at the Temple Mount, is to call attention to, and hopefully put an end to, this discrimination by police.

"It's absurd to me that the only other place I know of where Jews are forbidden from praying, on a state level, is Mecca," Rabin added. "But we're talking about the Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism."

Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, the head of the influential Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, addressed the crowd in a similar vein, saying, "There are many people who believe that the police are leftists, or anti-Jewish.

"But I can tell you that the police are neither leftists nor are they anti-Jewish," he continued. "They are two things - one, they are able to identify the side that has momentum, and two, they prefer less work. Therefore, they will often assist the side with momentum, in order to make their own lives easier."

Meidan went on to explain that it was the Arabs who had the momentum on their side, and therefore the police preferred to keep Jews from praying on the Temple Mount, out of concern for Arab reactions.

"But if Jews were to increase their presence, keep coming to the Temple Mount, and if they get thrown out, come back and file a complaint, then we would gain the momentum, and I'm not talking about a few people here. I'm talking about hundreds and thousands," Meidan said.

Other rabbis discussed the halachic rulings that had been reissued by prominent rabbis recently, forbidding Jews from entering the Temple Mount out of concerns of ritual purity. Many high-profile rabbis, such as Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Lithuanian haredi Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv have publicly reiterated these rulings of late.

"But this is simply because they're afraid that people who don't know where they can or can't go, will go up and enter the truly forbidden places," said Rabbi Yosef Elboim, who heads The Movement for the Establishment of the Temple.

"If we were able to go up there and mark where it is permissible to go and where it is forbidden, I believe these rabbis would change their rulings," Elboim said. "Unfortunately, given the current climate, we cannot do that right now."

The rabbis weren't the only ones to make such calls. At the conclusion of the conference, Hotovely told the Post that a stronger bond needed to be forged between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people.

"And the way to do that is to declare it," she said. "The way to do that is to go there. True, this is something the rabbinical world is divided on at the moment, but I think it's something that the Jewish people should begin to do more."

Asked if she believed calls to increase Jewish visits to the Mount would only inflame tensions, Hotovely said, "It's the opposite.

"The more we back away from the Temple Mount, the more violence will increase. And not only will it increase, it will spread to other parts of Jerusalem, to the Kotel for example."

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Confronting the identity challenge


Several years ago, when I served as minister of industry and trade, I often led delegations of businesspeople on trips abroad, seeking out opportunities for economic partnerships around the globe. We would typically land in a foreign country - say, Brazil - spend a day or two in business and political meetings, and then, afterward, I would make it a point to spend a final afternoon visiting the local Jewish communities. I would visit with schoolchildren and parents, or see the synagogues, or would meet the leaders of local Jewish life. I relished the opportunity to get a real feel for the texture of Jewish life in that locale. The businessmen were usually more than delighted to accompany me wherever I went - from meetings with important trade ministers, all the way down to visiting even the most obscure factory or trade union. But I was struck that when it came to my visits to the Jewish communities, very few would exhibit a real interest to come with me. Most would use the extra day to do their shopping, sightseeing and restaurant hopping. I was puzzled by this.

These Israelis were people who proudly identified themselves as Jews. Why was it that they were so disinterested in Jewish life elsewhere in the world?

Eventually, I asked some of them about this. What became clear is that they, like many other Israelis, tended to view Diaspora Jewish life as something to be glimpsed at in the rear-view mirror. It was a vestige of an antiquated past - a past in which Jews were humiliated and oppressed, and a past that, through modern Israel, we Jews were finally beginning to outgrow. They didn't need to bother visiting Jewish schools where kids struggled with Hebrew, for that was yesterday's world.

The old Portuguese synagogue is quaint, but essentially uninteresting. Why do I need to spend my time visiting these living museums? The soccer games in the sands of Copa Cabana are so much more interesting.

THE CONDESCENDING attitude of my Israeli friends toward the Diaspora has been mirrored, I think, in a way the Diaspora itself has historically related to Israel. Jews from the Western Diaspora were used to seeing themselves as the strong ones, aiding Israel in its desperate hour of need. Whether it was emergency appeals of the UJA to help settle destitute immigrants from Arab lands, or even something as simple as buying Israel Bonds for your cousin's bar mitzva, Diaspora Jews tended to see themselves as the big brother of Israeli Jewry, someone upon whom Israel could depend on when the chips were down.

In a strange sort of way, Israeli Jewry and Diaspora Jewry had each viewed the other as if it were an unfortunate younger brother in danger of sinking into oblivion at any moment. And, truth to be told, neither attitude was entirely wrong - and each served its purpose.

On the one hand, the lion-like spirit of David Ben-Gurion, his unwavering conviction that the new Israel would be strong, self-sufficient, and could leave behind the wretched past of exile - that had its place. This vision gave the halutzim strength, and provided them with the fortitude to surmount almost impossible challenges. Similarly, the Diaspora's romantic notion that they were saving Israel from imminent threat, helped rally millions of Jews to Israel's side in times when Israel's future really was quite precarious. Each of these attitudes was rooted in reality, and served an important purpose.

Nevertheless, this paradigm - the "unfortunate younger brother" image that each community harbored toward the other - has run its course and has become outdated. Israel has become a hi-tech powerhouse, and can more or less take care of itself. By the same token, the Diaspora has proven that it will be around for quite a while yet; rumors of its death are much exaggerated. As such, each community must recognize that its paradigm, the pair of glasses through which it has traditionally peered out toward the other, is due for an updated prescription.

In seeking to adjust our vision going forward, we need to ask: If building the state and facilitating the aliya of more than 3 million of our brethren from countries of oppression were challenges that defined the last 60 years, what are the challenges that will define the next 60? And as we move toward that next 60, can the Diaspora and Israel forge a new relationship - a relationship based on something more enduring than mutual charity or patronizing beneficence toward the other? And finally: On what basis can Israel and the Diaspora develop a shared way of looking at the future, rather than clinging to the bifurcated vision that has defined their respective pasts?

LET'S BEGIN by tackling the first of these questions: What are the emerging threats, opportunities and needs that will occupy our attention and resources for decades to come? The most obvious answer is the existential menace to Israel coming from Arab terror and from Iran. But while that's true, I firmly believe there is another existential threat, too, and it comes not from the outside, but from the inside. In a word, the overriding challenge of the future will be posed by one innocent sounding phrase: identity. The great threat that faces us is mass assimilation, by default, into a homogenized, global culture.

In a world in which clerks in New Delhi answer the phone for Alamo Car Rental in San Francisco, in which national borders seem to evaporate in a blur of McDonalds and Twitter messages - in that world, Israel will be under greater and greater pressure to justify its existence as a Jewish state, and the Jewish people will be under greater pressure to maintain itself as a distinct entity. In such an environment, our future will rise or fall based on our ability to communicate to ourselves, to our children and to the world why the Jewish people must continue to exist as a unit unto itself. If we fail to meet this challenge, we will silently disintegrate from the inside, as surely as if we had been attacked from the outside.

How do we confront the identity challenge? I am convinced that one way to do this is to leave behind the old paradigm - the sense that we are isolated communities - and begin to encounter, in each other, our larger nationhood.

Somehow, for the last 60 years, it seems that the most obvious of truths managed to escape the consciousness of both Israeli and Diaspora Jewry: We need each other. We need each other materially, but even more than that, we need each other to understand who we really are, as a people. The reason to bother looking across the ocean was not just so that you could help the other community survive, or be grateful that you were not going to disappear like them. It was so that you could engage the other, for real - and in so doing, practice what it means to be part of Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people, writ large.

Indeed, growing numbers of Diaspora Jews, thousands and thousands of them, are starting to understand: To experience Israel is to encounter Jewish nationhood in a riveting, visceral, tangible way. Birthright, Masa and other Israel experience trips make powerful impressions on students - and there's a reason for that. It's because a trip to Israel is more than a visit to a foreign country; it is a visit home. From hearing spoken Hebrew on the streets, to seeing images of apples and honey in print advertising around Rosh Hashana, the hallmarks of Jewishness pervade everyday life in Israel, even everyday secular life.

For a student used to experiencing his or her Jewishness primarily through a "prison-like," multi-year stay in afternoon Hebrew school, this is an encounter with one's peoplehood that is at once different, refreshing and real.

ISRAELIS, TOO, are starting to understand the converse: That Jewish life does not begin and end in Israel, that encounters with Diaspora Jewish life, too, can be good for the Israeli soul. I recently met a prominent Israeli businesswoman who in the past had no interest in the life of Diaspora Jewry but today is a leader of the Jewish Agency's partnership programs. She reported to me that her encounter with a Diaspora community had reinvigorated her. It turns out she wasn't just talking about economics. She had discovered a vibrant face of Jewishness that was different than the stereotypes with which she grew up with at home, and she found it enlightening - as well as spiritually refreshing.

The bottom line is this: Diaspora Jewry offers Israeli Jewry something of value. When Israelis meet Jews in the Diaspora who have grown up in a gentile society and have chosen, proactively, to remain Jewish anyway, that's inspiring. Moreover, we Jews have a rich past. To have a real sense of Jewish identity, Israelis need to understand the importance of the last 2,000 years of Diaspora Jewish life, learn about it - and incorporate the best of what it has to offer in their own lives.

In the post-identity world, Diaspora and Israeli Jewry need one another. Neither of us alone is Klal Yisrael; we, together, are Klal Yisrael. When we engage the other, we encounter something majestic, wondrous and larger than life. We encounter our own peoplehood.

For the last 80 years, the Jewish Agency has been a bridge between Diaspora and Israeli Jewry. Working together we have done historic things. We built a state in the land of our fathers and we brought millions of our brothers to its shores.

Now let us take the next great step that destiny demands of us. Let us embrace our shared land of Eretz Yisrael and our shared peoplehood of Am Yisrael so that we can teach our children about the meaning of their Jewishness and make them care passionately about Israel.

In so doing, we will maintain the vibrancy of our nationhood for centuries to come.

The writer is chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
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