Saturday, September 18, 2010

0 Years Without Joseph's Tomb

Elad Benari
Arutz 7

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday for a special ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of Israel’s pullout from Joseph’s Tomb. The ceremony was held in the Samaria community of Mitzpe Yosef, which is located on Har (Mount) Gerizim near Shechem (Nablus) and overlooks Joseph’s Tomb. Har Gerizim and Har Eival are the mountains near Shechem named in the Pentateuch as the place where the Priests and Levites addressed the tribes entering Israel after their sojourn in the desert, blessing them at Mount Gerizim if they kept G-d's commandments and elucidating the punishments they would receive at Mount Eival if they did not.. During the ceremony, it was announced that the coming year will be known as the year of Joseph’s Tomb, and will include educational and public activities as well as many other special events.

The ceremony centered around the writing of a Sefer Torah, which the organizers believe will be placed into Joseph’s Tomb once Israel has permanent borders and “takes back the stolen property stolen by the Palestinian Authority to its rightful owners, the people of Israel,” as the organizers said. Each of the evening’s speakers began by writing a letter in the Sefer Torah.

Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hevron, was the first speaker. He said that learning history in the Jewish tradition means learning lessons and drawing conclusions, and that Joseph’s character should serve as an example to Jews in the present generation. “We have a state, army, ability and power,” said Rabbi Lior. “After we returned to our country we have a commandment to reclaim the land and settle it. Handing over of territories is a sin and we have paid a price for it, as we have seen in recent years. Even thinking about it is bad. Terrorists act against the very existence of Israel. We need to strengthen ourselves as the righteous Joseph did.”

Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon told participants about his recent visit to the area with his son two months ago. “My son asked me why we cannot go down to Joseph's Tomb, and I did not know what to say… I believe that with G-d's help we will this year return to Joseph's Tomb and to other places from which we’ve been uprooted.”

Other speakers at the ceremony included Gershon Meskia (head of the Samaria Regional Council), Rabbi Elyakim Levanon (the rabbi of Elon Moreh), and MK Uri Ariel of the National Union Party who read the names of the IDF soldiers who fell while guarding Joseph’s Tomb. Ariel emphasized that those soldiers must be remembered so that the return to Joseph’s Tomb can be accomplished.

The ceremony was initiated by Gar’in Shechem, a group of residents of Judea and Samaria who seek to re-establish a Jewish presence in Joseph’s Tomb. It was organized by the Shomron Regional Council, the Shomron Religious Council, the Samaria Residents Council, the Shechem Echad organization, and Matnas Shomron.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Congressmen come out against US-Saudi arms deal


Saudi Arabia finances terror and doesn’t deserve our aid, says Rep. Anthony Weiner of huge military package.

WASHINGTON – Several members of Congress are opposing the planned American arms sale to Saudi Arabia and have written US President Barack Obama to express their concerns.

“Saudi Arabia is not deserving of our aid, and by arming them with advanced American weaponry we are sending the wrong message,” wrote Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the lead author of the letter.
“Saudi Arabia has a history of financing terrorism, is a nation that teaches hate of Christians and Jews to their schoolchildren, and offered no help to the US as gas prices surged during the spike in oil prices.”

The deal reportedly includes up to $60 billion in sales of advanced fighter jets and helicopters, including F- 15s, Apaches and Black Hawks. The deal could also include expanded missile defenses and naval capabilities for Riyadh.

Once the administration officially informs Congress of the details, which is expected to take place in the next few weeks, the body will have 30 days to pass a resolution blocking the sale.

Fellow Democrats Shelley Berkley of Nevada and Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania joined Weiner in signing the letter to the president, and several Republican members have also separately voiced criticism of the deal.

However, Hill sources noted that they don’t expect the opposition to get sufficient support to prevent the sale.

One Congressional aide tracking the issue said there was “no chance” the sale would be blocked and that the letter and other efforts are “symbolic.”

He said that the White House had “done its homework” to make sure most of Congress would be receptive – and that Israel wouldn’t be strongly opposed – before letting word of the deal leak out.

“The argument that has been made, on paper at least, that support for Saudi Arabia is a bulwark against Iran has a whole a lot of sway for people,” he explained, adding that the number of jobs created in numerous districts by such a massive deal would contribute to congressional backing. Saudi Arabia has also indicated it would buy weapons elsewhere if the US were to refuse.

The aide predicted that if congressional opposition had any impact on the deal, it would be minor.

“It may get to the point where they might alter one or two of the items or reduce it by a symbolic amount,” he said.

A Weiner spokesman, however, differed with the assessment.

He pointed to the passage of an amendment blocking military aid to Saudi Arabia in 2009 as an example of recent congressional action against providing the Gulf state with weapons.

He added that Weiner would only approve of an amended deal “if it doesn’t involve selling arms to Saudi Arabia.”

Israel, however, has given indications that so long as its military edge is maintained, the government and its allies won’t be pushing to block the deal, as Jerusalem is seen as understanding the political realities pushing the sales forward.

Still, the letter points to concerns about the deal’s implications for Israel.

“The United States needs to remain committed to Israel’s qualitative military edge over its rivals in the region and should cease all negotiations over new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia,” the letter declares.

In response to the proposed sale, an Israeli Embassy spokesman said, “We have very close and ongoing and good dealings with the administration, and there’s an ongoing commitment to maintain Israel’s military edge.”

Comment: Signals are critical in the international arena of politics-we just sent the wrong and incorrect signal.An oil-rich nation, more money than... and we send them weapons. Home to known terrorists, funders of mosque development inside America along with other programs enabling infiltration of Sharia law and we reward them-good signal?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Understanding the Threat"

Arlene Kushner

Tomorrow eve ushers in Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, prayer, and repentance before the Almighty. We begin with the Kol Nidre prayer before the sun is down, and end after dark the next day with a single shofar blast and the cry "Next year in Jerusalem!" Here in Jerusalem, everything stops and an other-worldly quiet sets in. Worshippers come and go in the streets, dressed all in white.

I doubt that I will post again until at least Sunday. I extend my wishes and prayers for a gmar hatima tova -- may you, may we all, be sealed in the Book of Life for blessing. And may we emerge from this day strengthened in our understanding of how we are meant to utilize our allotted time on this earth.
Last night I attended a talk by Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. The organization Hadar Israel sponsored this event. Actually, even better than a talk, it was a spirited dialogue with journalist Ruthie Blum Liebowitz that provided a dynamic format for exploring issues.

Dr. Pipes, an Arabist, is a foremost expert on radical Islam. What he said last night merits attention:

Islam is a religion. Islamism is not -- it is a radical utopian ideology that aims for world-wide totalitarian control. In this, it is parallel to Fascism (Naziism) and Communism (Marxism).

The deeply significant difference between Islamists and adherents of the other two movements is that Fascists and Communists remained static in their approach, but the Islamists have learned from their mistakes. Thus, in many contexts they've moved from an "in-your-face" approach to playing within the system. Their goal -- and this should be noted well! -- is to institute stringent Sharia (Islamic) law everywhere.

This doctrine developed in the 1920s, when Muslims saw their people doing poorly in terms of power and wealth. It was thought that a return to tradition -- actually to the Medieval period and a strict application of Sharia -- would make them strong.


There are people who imagine, says Pipes, that ultimately the Islamists will assimilate into Western societies, in the places where they are now attempting to work within the system. But it's not the case.

Either the process of Islamization will be extended, or the Islamists will be rejected.

The major goal being pursued now is peace, especially here in the Middle East. But victory must come first -- just as the Communists and Fascists were defeated, radical Islam must be defeated.

A major problem is that people are willing to work with Islamists if they are not violent. Their radical ideology is more subtle and harder to see, and so they are embraced within the system. There is inadequate comprehension of how dangerous they are. In particular, the political left doesn't see it as a problem: they make alliances with Islamists and open doors for them.


As we known, this battle is going on to a far greater degree right now in Europe than in the US, but Americans cannot afford to be complacent.

Pipes says that England is already gone. Recently, he told us, a law was passed there permitting polygamy. People shrug it off: If they want multiple wives, so? They fail to comprehend the very deep implications of such a law (which conforms with Sharia) and the process that is at work with regard to overturning the British system.

Make no mistake about it: Radical Islam is antithetical to Western values of liberal democracy. Where Sharia law is permitted to enter, Western values are weakened. The goal is control, not sharing.

Sweden is not far behind England. But in some places in Europe, there has begun to be a backlash -- the law against the hijab (woman's head covering) in France, against minarets in Switzerland, a closer look at immigration policies in other places.

Pipes believes it is guilt that fuels the reluctance to take on the Islamists, the guilt that is part of the legacy of European colonialism. The British, with the history of their major empire and the sins committed in its name, have been particularly vulnerable to this guilt. There is a certain ambivalence on the part of many British with regard to their own history; it follows from this that budding young Islamists (some, second generation British citizens) pick up on this ambivalence and are thus discouraged from adopting traditional British values. Islamist ideology seems to them to offer something strong and positive. The power of ideology is very real.


Pipes didn't mention Glen Beck and his rally. It was Caroline Glick who did recently -- talking about Beck's interest in restoring pride in the American creed. But this issue of pride in creed is enormously relevant here, implicit in what Pipes is saying about British ambivalence regarding what their country stands for.

The US does not have the same history of colonialism (although there was slavery). Guilt is not the issue in the US that it is in Europe. The main thrust right now, however, is multiculturalism, which, it seems to me, has been elevated to the status of creed.

Respect for others is good. But multiculturalism advances the notion that everything is as good as everything else. It is then forbidden to ever judge another's values, or to elevate one's system as superior. Yet some systems and some values ARE superior to others. Everything is not equal. And some systems and some values are inimical to the American creed that promotes the dignity of the human being, inherent freedoms, democracy, etc.

Before it is too late, Americans must understand that when they embrace the tenets of multiculturalism, they sow the seeds of the destruction of that American creed by opening doors to and providing credibility for Islamists. Islamists are not interested in a "you do your thing, I'll do mine" democratic principle. They are after the whole pie and the imposition of a Sharia system that would deprive all these multiculturalists of their rights in time.

What is interesting here is that Pipes believes that the battle over the Ground Zero mosque may be a turning point for America: it has, he says, brought out anti-Islamist feelings.


At the same time that Pipes insists that radical Islamism must be defeated, he says we should be supporting and encouraging moderate Muslims -- providing them with forums, etc.

Admittedly, those moderates are few in number now. They are, in fact, in despair -- feeling weak and very intimidated.

Many who oppose the Islamic radicals point out that their ideas are found in the Koran: that it is indeed Islam itself that is the problem. Pipes' response to this is that it is a question of the interpretation of the texts, and that Islam is not inherently antithetical to democracy. He says there is a history of Islamic moderation from a different time period, and that we now should embrace the thinkers who can reinterpret the Koran -- giving them visibility wherever possible.

Right now we are going about it the wrong way. Every time we legitimize non-violent Islamists, we undermine the potential moderates. (I think of Raheel Raza, who is a moderate Muslim in Toronto, who made a statement regarding the Ground Zero mosque, saying that when people such as Mayor Bloomberg support it they undermine the case of moderate Muslims.)

Not an easy task, as he would certainly agree. Islam has not yet been reconciled with modernity by its theologians and thinkers -- something that Judaism and Christianity have long since done. The moderates are sometimes killed, and sometimes shunned.

Pipes' argument is that there is no choice. There is no answer to radical Islamist ideology other than the fostering over time of a moderate alternative.


Other thoughts that Dr. Pipes shared -- on Iran, Turkey, etc. -- will wait for another day...

see my website

A scandal in Wellesley

Charles Jacobs

Many of my liberal Jewish friends react negatively to religious Christians and especially to any attempt by Christians to insert religion – prayer in particular – into the public square. Jews generally have had a phobia about Christians proselytizing in public schools; it’s a reasonable fear given the history of European Christian attempts to convert the Jews to accept Christ as their savior. How would Jews react to the news that on a visit by public school students to a church, the priest invited them to join him in prayer? Imagine the outrage from the ACLU, the ADL and First Amendment activists. Imagine the reaction from our civic, political and religious leaders. What would the Globe headline be?

Well, in a way, we are about to find out – except the real incident did not take place in a church, but in the Saudifunded mega-mosque in Roxbury, Boston.

In late May, Wellesley Middle School students visited the controversial mosque run by the Muslim American Society. As time came for the Muslim mid-day prayer, the students were separated by gender, and the boys were asked to join the Muslim adults in prayer. Several of the public school boys took part. They stood with the Muslim men at the mosque and then, along with them, bowed and prostrated themselves with their heads touching the floor in the traditional Muslim prayer ritual.

None of the public school teachers who were escorting the boys intervened.

The school asked parents for written permission for children to visit the mosque – to study its architecture and to give the students “an authentic experience” by observing Islamic religion first hand.

According to a parent escort, a mosque spokesperson gave a presentation that distorted history and sought to make Islam’s past appealing to modern sensibilities. The presentation was far from “educational.” To this parent, it seemed to come close to proselytizing.

Quote: “At the time of Prophet Muhammad women were allowed to express their opinions and vote. In this country women didn’t get that right until less than a hundred years ago.”

In reality, 7th century Arabia at the time of Muhammad was a theocracy, and Muhammad was a supreme ruler who claimed divine sanction from Allah. No one, not even men, were allowed to vote, and in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia today, both men and women have few political rights. Indeed, women still aren’t even allowed to drive. But it’s not surprising that the Bostonmosque would seek to minimize the oppression of Saudi women – more than half of the mosque’s final $15 million price tag was paid by donors living in Saudi Arabia.

Next, the students were told that “holy war” is a false definition of jihad and that it actually only refers to an internal “personal struggle” to improve character. But scholars identify more than 100 violent verses in the Koran that seem to define jihad as an armed struggle in the name of Allah against “unbelievers.” For the past 25 years, we have seen radical Muslims call for jihad against Russia, Israel, India, Southern Sudan and America.

How can this happen? How many public school children are being invited to pray in mosques and taught that women under Mohammed were freer than under Theodore Roosevelt?

We know that across the country, there are reports of radical Islamic groups targeting schools to engage in dawa, which literally means “proselytizing for Islam,” by taking advantage of poorly considered social studies curricula and ideologically driven “educational” non-profits.

One such Dawa organization, Dawa Net, even offers a helpful guide for proselytizing in public schools, noting that students are “receptive to new ideas” and that “schools are therefore fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students.”

Indeed, the Boston mosque’s top donor and trustee, Walid Fitaihi, has boasted about the increase of proselytizing opportunities in Boston. There definitely seem to be many such opportunities.

So will my liberal friends be outraged by this? Or will they continue to make apologies, denying the obvious so as not to undermine their politically correct narrative?

It will be most interesting to see what the ACLU will do: Its New England education director, Nancy Murray, is a strong supporter of the Muslim American Society. Will principle and integrity trump ideology?

In any case, this incident is a wakeup call for schools and elected officials. Our schools must provide honest and unbiased teachings about Islam and take a more vigilant approach in screening for extremist groups like the MAS, which might use educational trips to proselytize to our public school students.

We call on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and responsible school officials to launch an investigation into the relationship between the Roxbury mosque and Massachusetts public schools, as well as to take immediate corrective action.

Moreover, Wellesley Middle School principal Joshua Frank, Wellesley School Superintendent Bella Wong, and the town’s School Committee and Board of Selectmen need to investigate this incident, hold those responsible accountable and ensure that it will never happen again.

Charles Jacobs is president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

"Putting on a Happy Face"

Arlene Kushner

That's what Secretary of State Clinton is doing while in Jerusalem for negotiations. She met today with President Shimon Peres, and afterward said, "They are getting down to business. They have begun to grapple with the core issues that can only be resolved through face to face negotiations." Aaron Lerner was especially astute in paying attention to what Clinton said:

"The status quo," she declared, is unsustainable." That's her standard line, which we've heard more times than we care to count. But this time she added something;

"Now that doesn't mean that it can't be sustained for a year or a decade or two or three [but...]."

Opines Lerner, If we can hold on the way we're going until 2040, "there is certainly more than enough time available for Israel's leaders to come up with solutions that don't involve the creation of a potentially life threatening Palestinian state in Israel's very heart."


If my tone is slightly irreverent here, it's because a touch of humor helps us all to cope. And because the situation merits no better.

Analyst Martin Sherman also takes a deeply irreverent view of the current situation, but he's not laughing:

"In a different universe the recent events regarding the rekindling of the 'peace process' could well be the stuff of a macabre comedy, couched and conveyed in deliberately overstated caricature.

"But sadly in this universe they portend tragedy.

"It has been an almost inconceivable spectacle, beginning with the Israeli prime minister traveling to Washington to express his resolve and commitment to implement a policy that he has repeatedly repudiated – and ridiculed - for over a decade and a half...

"Yet the absurdity does not end here. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of Middle East politics things get 'curiouser and curiouser.'

"No less astounding than Netanyahu's acquiescence to discuss the implementation of the very policy he correctly predicted would fail, is the identity of the 'partner' with whom he assented to do so. The Palestinian negotiation team is led by Mahmoud Abbas, someone who has neither the formal legality (since his terms of office has expired) nor the political legitimacy (since his authority in not recognized by a sizeable segment of the electorate) to do so...

"But perhaps the most macabre aspect of this preposterous tragic-comic spectacle is that it the only conceivable reason for Israel to participate in it at all, is to mollify a floundering US Administration desperate for some indication – any indication - of success to boost its flagging popularity.",7340,L-3953028,00.html

Yesterday I referred to the fact that PA leaders involved in the discussions at Sharm el-Sheikh were talking. Today Al-Hayat (London) reports (via the Arabs) that the Israelis said yesterday that there would be no continuation of the moratorium. The fact that Al-Hayat says so does not make it so. There may be grandstanding here, or an attempt to influence the situation. For this information was followed by a quote from negotiator Nabil Shaath, who said the PA delegation would walk if the moratorium was not extended.

He then reportedly added: "No one asked the Palestinian side to change its mind on the construction in settlements."


On the face of it, I would not believe this. For it's clear that there has to be pressure from the US on Abbas to accept less than a full freeze without walking -- even if no statements are made publicly about this by the Americans, the way statements are made "suggesting" we must continue the freeze.

And sure enough, Khaled Abu Toameh wrote about this in today's JPost :

"In recent days, for all the rhetoric, there have been signs that Palestinian Authority leaders seem to realize that construction in the settlements and Jerusalem will resume in one way or another.

"According to informed sources in Ramallah, the PA leadership has no choice but to accept a partial freeze -- one where Israel would continue to build quietly while the PA turns a blind eye."

Abu Toameh reminds us that this situation, with regard to PA intransigence on building, is likely the result of Obama's policies, for in the beginning he was insisting that all building had to stop. The Palestinians then picked up on this because they could not allow the president to be "more Palestinian than the Palestinians." When Obama moderated his stand on this issue, they were left holding the bag, so to speak.


But now, there will be a price for the Palestinians if they back down: Abbas has been telling his people that he will walk if the freeze is not extended. If he doesn't walk, his already weak credibility in the street will be further damaged. Abu Toameh doesn't say so explicitly now, but the corollary is that, should Abbas come to some agreement with Israel, he would not have the capacity to sell it to his people. What is more, Hamas -- which will charge the PA leaders with having sold out -- will have been strengthened.

This is a point of more than passing importance. Attention must be paid to the dynamics of the society that is being dealt with. The Americans, however, are frequently "tone deaf" with regard to repercussions as they attempt to orchestrate a situation in the Middle East. I've seen it time and again.


Another, and perhaps related, point needs to be made here. The talks are being referred to as "direct" or "face to face," but in many ways the Americans are all too present and each side is actually talking to/negotiating with them instead.

This sort of meddling is ultimately not successful. Unless the two parties are ready and able to sit down together and come to mutual conclusions, all of the hand-holding and prodding by the US will come to naught. The conflict here cannot be "fixed" by a third outside party.


I am fascinated, I confess, by the fact that I picked up information yesterday about a possible trip to the US by Netanyahu right after Yom Kippur, but that today it is not being discussed or even alluded to in the news or by analysts. It's as if this information was released into the outer atmosphere.

We have yet to see if this really happens. Is the silence an indication that this is not being taken seriously? Or what?

We know next to nothing -- not whether he was summoned or asked to go. Actually, we don't even know whether this involves the direct negotiations (the first intuitive assumption -- and the one I made yesterday) or something else such as Iran.


You have read here previously about a law being introduced -- it now has been approved by the Knesset Law Committee and has passed its first reading -- that would require transparency of international funding sources for Israeli NGOs. It was drafted because of concern that European governments or government agencies were funding specific NGOs -- ostensibly "human rights" NGOs -- that have an agenda that works against Israel's best interests.

I spoke above about American meddling. But here we have a different, less overt, sort coming out of Europe. So egregious is this meddling that NGOs that are funded "discreetly" by foreign governments sometimes petition the High Court on issues. We're talking, of course, about pro-Arab NGOs that petition the court, for example, to stop specific building in Judea and Samaria. But what we decide to do or not do in this regard should not be influenced by foreign interests. As well, and perhaps even more significantly, European support goes to NGOs -- such as BTselem and Adalah-- that participate actively in the delegitimization of Israel.

Note: "human rights" organizations has become a code word for those organizations eager to charge Israel in international forums with every human rights violation possible. The problem is that they have international credibility because they identify as standing for the rights of individuals.

While the original version of the bill was considered by some to be too "stringent," I thought it was great. At any rate, it was watered down during negotiations within the Knesset and is now proceeding through the legal process.


Seems to me that what we do in this respect is purely our business. But that's not what the European Parliament thought. This past week, incredibly, they actually held a plenary debate about this bill (although they erroneously debated with regard to the original, more stringent version).

This, of course, is a clear indication of how important this bill is.

According to Asher Fredman, who is Knesset liaison at NGO Monitor, writing in the JPost :

"About two-thirds of the MEPs who participated in the debate adopted a paternalistic attitude, arguing...that the Israeli political and legal system is unable or unwilling to uphold democracy and human rights. In their view, only careful EU oversight and intervention can ensure that Israel remains on the proper course."

Cute, no?

Yesterday, Gerald Steinberg, who heads NGO Monitor, told the JPost that the session "was led by a small group of MEPs who work closely with the NGOs involved in the demonization of Israel."

What was encouraging, he said, was that there were also MEPs "who spoke out against this bias and highlighted the real problem -- the EU's violation of its own transparency norms in funding radical NGO advocacy under the false banners of 'partners for peace' and promoting democracy."

see my website

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

World Leaders and Policy Makers Launch Effort to Combat Delegitimation of Israel

September 15 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Friends of Israel Initiative (FII), a group of leading policymakers and world leaders chaired by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, announced today the U.S. launch of their international campaign to combat the global effort to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Organized and launched in Paris and London in summer 2010, FII is a first of its kind -- a high-level group of international leaders who insist that Israel has a legal right to exist as a normal Western democracy, and that fellow Western nations have a moral obligation to defend that right. "It is not just a matter of Israel being the West's first line of defense against global jihadism, and that if Israel fell the West as we know it would cease to exist," said Prime Minister Aznar.

"It is certainly all of that as well, but even more critically the issue of Israel is an ethical issue. The West has lost the moral clarity required to address anti-Semitic criticisms of the Jewish State and to defend the right of Israelis to live peacefully within defensible borders."

Joining Prime Minister Aznar in the effort are the eleven original signatories of the Friends of Israel statement and the tens of thousands who have signed the group’s petition.

Reflecting Americans' broad, bipartisan support for Israel, FII will not support the specific policies of any government, politician or political party. Instead the organization will defend Israel as a normal, democratic country, with all the virtues and defects of any fellow democracy, and as a key member of the alliance of nations dedicated to defending the West's fundamental values of freedom, tolerance, human rights, prosperity and stability.

In a series of events taking place September 14 and 15 in Washington, DC, Prime Minister Aznar and the Board of FII will highlight this new and vital effort, and launch a U.S. presence for the organization dedicated to speaking out against the rising tide of anti-Israel delegitimization that threatens to undermine the West and our the fundamental tenets of our societies.

A private dinner, an event on Capitol Hill, and an address at the Council on Foreign Relations are open for press coverage. Press requests should be directed to


The Friends of Israel Initiative is a group of leading policymakers and world leaders, chaired by José María Aznar, former President of Spain, with the primary aim of fighting the growing trend of delegitimation of the State of Israel. Started in Europe and now launching a presence in the United States, the Initiative is the first of its kind -- a high-level group of international leaders who speak out in strong support of Israel’s right to exist and our deep conviction that Israel should be viewed and treated as a normal country and fellow western democracy. The Initiative is particularly significant, given the increasing irrational criticism of Israel. We will not support specific policies or any governments, but the right of Israel to exist. The Initiative will defend Israel as a normal democratic country, with all the defects and virtues of any democracy. For more information please visit

A response to Judith Miller's inteview re Imam Rauf‏

Dear Bill,

As an American at present living in Jerusalem, Israel, participating in a think tank here, I look forward to watching Fox News as the network with the greatest effort in balanced news reporting.

On occasion, I would love to pop through the screen and correct someone being interviewed; this occurred today during your discussion with Judith Miller about the Imam Rauf and his push to build the mosque at GZ, Ms. Miller stated that this is the first time that she has heard some of his attitudes so angrily expressed. Bill, in this regard, I am forwarding the following link to you for the National Review Online piece entitled "One Imam, Multiple Messages". While I understand that it is not possible to know all the facts I am sure that you would agree that those in reporting positions should make every effort to investigate as fully as possible.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that we have heard some snap judgment remarks from Ms. Miller. I do hope that a gentle suggestion to her will be constructive.

Again, Bill, yours is one of the best programs!

Good wishes from
Chana Givon

"Enormous Unease"

Arlene Kushner

Not a whole lot to report with regard to the meetings held in Sharm el-Sheikh today because nothing of genuine substance has come out.

After an alleged "rocky start," with the cause unclear, a series of round-robin meetings was held involving host Egyptian President Mubarak, Secretary of State Clinton, US Envoy Mitchell, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and President Abbas. The major meeting of the day lasted for 100 minutes and involved Netanyahu and Abbas, meeting with Clinton and Mitchell. Clinton then met again with Netanyahu and Abbas.

Mitchell has reported that things were going well with the two parties having discussed "core issues" and well on their to establishing a framework for negotiations. Just warms the heart, doesn't it? But then, no matter what happened, Mitchell would put a pretty face on it.

It must be pointed out that "discussing" issues does not indicate anything with regard to coming to terms. In fact, in spite of a request from Mitchell that the discussions be kept private, PA officials have announced that they haven't seen any progress, and expect none until an announcement is made about an extension of the freeze.


Most unsettling was the news that broke this evening, at least in some quarters, that there is a "90% likelihood" that Netanyahu will travel to Washington on Sunday. We can be certain that he's not going 6,000 miles to tell Obama that he refuses to cave on anything. Some sort of deal or bargain, that requires Obama to sign on, has got to be in the works. Something big enough so that dealing with Clinton or Mitchell is insufficient.

The pressure on Netanyahu with regard to extending the freeze on building has been enormous. The other day Obama made a pitch in this regard, indicating essentially that, as things were going nicely, it would be a pity to ruin everything with a new start in building in Judea and Samaria; Mitchell has followed with a similar line. And I understand that, on the plane on the way to Egypt, Clinton told reporters explicitly that the freeze should be extended. Should.


Netanyahu has already suggested in various venues that some sort of "compromise" is likely: It needn't be all or nothing, he is saying. There would not be a total freeze any longer, but neither would there be a vigorous start on construction, with all building starts that were approved before the freeze taking off now. The suggestion in broad terms is that sufficient building to allow "normal life" to proceed would be permitted. What this means is anyone's guess. New clinics and school buildings, yes. But new apartments so recently married couples might have housing near their families?

This is not going to sit well in many quarters. If Netanyahu goes with this, he's reneging on his promise to the people.

He did have a lengthy meeting with his Inner Cabinet -- the Septet -- last night, in preparation for today, and the freeze was one of the subjects discussed.


Meetings will now move to Jerusalem.


Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in Hudson NY with regard to the negotiations, makes a sound observation: "First, Deal with the Enemies of Peace."

"No 'moderate' Palestinian leader will dare make any concessions for peace as long as Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are continuing to issue daily threats against 'traitors.'

"The major threat to the peace process is not an Israeli checkpoint or a new housing project in a West Bank settlement, but the threats coming from the evil forces in the Gaza Strip, Damascus, Beirut and Tehran.


You've heard it here, my friends, when I've spoken about Hamas setting the tone of political discourse. This is not just about making concessions in negotiations, although it is that. That tone calls on Abbas, as well, to laud the worst of the terrorists, and otherwise show how he supports the "resistance." Every time he fails to do this, he risks losing credibility in the street.


My posts have been focused on the "negotiations" and related issues, but it's important to note that it has not been quiet on the Gaza border, with attacks picking up considerably in the last several days:

Yesterday, the 10th rocket -- a Kassam -- to have been launched from Gaza since the beginning of Rosh Hashana hit southern Israel.

Today, an IDF unit operating near the Gaza fence came under attack when Arabs on the other side of the fence launched an anti-tank missile at them. Our soldiers returned fire, killing one terrorist and wounding four.

We can expect more of same: Ahmed Jaabari, head of the Hamas military wing, issued a statement today threatening a wave of violence to undermine the "peace process."


I heartily recommend Caroline Glick's piece, "A Prayer for 5771."

She begins with reference to Glen Beck's massive rally in Washington, which he called "Restoring Honor," explaining that "it wasn't really about restoring honor. It was about restoring something even more important. It was about restoring the American creed."

In a splendid segue she then moves to a discussion of our creed:

"By building our lives in the land of Israel, our birthright, the Jews are able to cultivate our heritage and perform our dual mission in relative peace and make the blessing of choseness tangible for ourselves and the world as a whole.

"For 3,500 years, successive generations of Jews have understood our mission and creed. They internalized it and lived their lives by it.

"Since the dawn of modern Zionism, the overwhelming majority of Jews, in Israel and throughout the world have recognized the return to the land of Israel as the harbinger of redemption for the Jewish people - and through it, for the world. This understanding has been so ingrained that it has seldom necessitated a mention.

"On almost every level, the State of Israel has been an overwhelming success for the Jewish people and for the world that has enjoyed its blessings...

" flourishing in Israel today as it never has at any time in the past two thousand years. The Jewish people emerged from the brink of annihilation 65 years ago to build a Jewish state whose population is more learned in Jewish law than any Jewish community has ever been. More Jews study in institutions of Jewish learning in Israel than have studied at any time in our history. And even non-observant Jews live Jewish lives in Israel to a degree their families could never have enjoyed or imagine just four generations ago.

"Israel's extraordinary success is marred by but one failure. Since Theodore Herzl's untimely death in 1904, Israel has lacked a leader who recognized the importance of espousing the Jewish creed both to the world and to the Jewish people. That is, since Herzl, Israel has lacked leaders who have understood the first principle of statecraft.

"For a nation to flourish and succeed over time, its leaders must assert its creed with utter confidence both to their own people and to the world at large. They must assert their nation's creed with complete confidence even to leaders who reject it. And they must never give anyone else the right to deny their people their identity.

"...It is my prayer for the coming year that our leaders take a measure of strength from our people and our creed. I pray that they recognize that it is both their sacred duty and their great privilege to confidently represent and defend our exceptionalism and our destiny as the nation of Israel.

Amen v'amen!


"The Good News Corner"

Two instances of something good, and heartwarming, that evolved out of something painful -- the antithesis of good.

Some of you may remember: Ten years ago, a young American Jew named Tuvia Grossman, who was here in Israel studying, found himself attacked by a mob of Palestinian Arabs. He was saved by the officer of an Israeli border guard unit. The NY Times ran a picture of the officer, standing over a bleeding Tuvia, with an outrageous caption "explaining" that this was an Israeli soldier attacking a Palestinian. A particularly egregious example of media bias. It was enormously negligent reporting, as well, for the caption said the incident took place on the Temple Mount -- but there was a large street sign behind the officer, and there are no such signs on the Mount.

When Tuvia's father vigorously protested, the Times printed a correction, and a campaign to guard against such media bias was initiated. But Tuvia never met his rescuer, Gideon. Until now. See the video:


Many will also remember the horrendous attack in Mumbai in 2008, when Rabbi Gavriel Noah Hertzberg and wife Rivka were murdered viciously by terrorists at the Mumbai Chabad House. Their two-year old son Moshe was left weeping, sitting next to his parents' bodies, smeared with blood. His nanny, Sandra Samuel, risked her own life to rush in and grab him away to safety. When his grandparents brought him here to Israel, Sandra, the person to whom this little boy now clung, came along. A widow with two sons in India, she has remained and is helping to raise Moshe.

Now Sandra has been given honorary Israeli citizenship by Interior Minister Eli Yishai. See the video, in which she speaks of her delight and her devotion to Israel, for which she expresses love and a readiness to give even her life. One of the world's really good people who deserves whatever honor we can give her.

see my website

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How I became an evil settler

I am the 'other,' the archetype of Israeli evil. Otherness is the darling of people who love to hate. It allows people from any camp, left, right or center, to isolate themselves from certain people, turn them into an inhuman group and hate them without guilt or torment.
By Avinoam Sharon

I am a "settler." Because I am a settler, artists and members of the academic community - some of whom are my close friends - have decided to boycott my home. I am a settler, the archetypical Other of Israeli evil. Otherness is the darling of people who hate. It allows people of every stripe, left, right and center, to dissociate from certain people as a dehumanized class without thought or regret, and to hate without pangs of guilt. Throughout history, Jews have played the role of Other. In the world community today, Israel itself often plays the role of Other. Now I am the Other. I am the Other because I am a "settler," and in the eyes of some, that is what defines me.

How did I become this embodiment of all that is wrong and unjust?

When I married, I had hoped to continue to live in Jerusalem, to raise my family in the city in which I had grown up. But the Israeli Government had different ideas. By the time I married, successive Israeli Governments - left and right - had pursued a policy of discouraging young couples from purchasing homes in the major cities, and of directing them to development towns and to the Territories. It was a policy that, for example, made it necessary for a young couple to put up as much as 60 percent of the purchase price of an apartment in cash in order to qualify for a mortgage or other housing loans, while providing free land and subsidized housing assistance of 85 percent and more of the cost of a home in "areas of national priority."

My wife and I did not want to live in an area of national priority. We didn’t want to leave Jerusalem. But after moving from one rented flat to another four times in five years, I wrote to the Minister of Housing. He replied. He advised me that generous incentives were available to those who moved to rural communities and to the Territories.

Like many in our situation, we began to look. We found a small community near the Green Line, overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport - a settlement "in the national consensus." It was a community that had been built after the Government had convinced the Supreme Court that it was absolutely needed to serve vital interests of national security.

Despite the high-sounding pronouncements of the politically correct, greater legal minds than Oded Kotler, Zeev Sternhell, Cynthia Nixon and Mandy Patinkin (among them, the Israeli Supreme Court and the legal advisors of the U.S. Department of State and of the United Nations) had determined that there was nothing illegal about building my home. And even after the Government of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin announced a policy of "drying up" the settlements, my community continued to receive preferential loans, grants and generous incentives from his Government.

But things have changed. Negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state have turned me and my neighbors into political pawns. The security barrier now separates us physically from the State of Israel. The two policies have contributed to rendering my home a valueless asset, an economic trap - a prison. Yet, no Israeli government, left, right or center, has been willing to state what will become of me or of my neighbors.

Like most settlers, I am a Zionist. I believe that settling the Land of Israel is about national self-determination. I believe - in true Zionist tradition - that Zionism is about Jewish national sovereignty in the Jewish homeland, not about its specific borders. I believe that the so-called "settler leaders" who declare their determination to remain in their communities even if they become part of a Palestinian state, represent a misguided minority that puts the Land of Israel before Jewish sovereignty. Their messianic view is not Zionism at all. It is a betrayal of Zionism.

A Zionist, by virtue of his ideals, must say that if the duly elected Government of the State of Israel has decided that a particular piece of territory is to be relinquished to another sovereign, or that a particular community does not serve the national interest, then he will move to a place where the Jewish national interest will be realized. The opposite statement is anti-Zionist.

Nevertheless, I am now dismissed as an irredeemable Other - unworthy of education, of culture and of support. I am condemned for my choices by those who have robbed me of choice. The signatories of the various petitions and supporters of the boycotts might bear in mind why I have become the object of their anger, hate and condemnation. It is because, like them, I dreamt and continue to dream of a better Israel. It is because, by and large, we value the same ideals. So, when they accuse me, they should bear in mind that I am guilty only by association with them.

Avinoam Sharon is a retired IDF lieutenant colonel, a lawyer and a resident of Nili.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Printer-friendly Comment on this Digg this Save to RSS Feed The Ongoing Claims Conference Controversy

Isi Leibler
September 13, 2010

In recent weeks Claims Conference president Julius Berman and treasurer Roman Kent published a spate of articles in various Jewish media defending their position and bitterly attacking me, even trying to reverse my allegations that they had failed to adequately promote the interests of survivors, by accusing me of jeopardizing the limited support survivors were receiving.

As I had already written extensively on this issue for the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Week, I requested the Jewish Telegraphic Association (JTA) which published an article by Berman to provide me with a right of reply. They ultimately declined to publish my response. I attach links to the articles by Berman and Kent as well as my (unpublished) response to the JTA.

If you agree with my concerns about the manner in which the Claims Conference is being managed and the need for them to divert more resources to survivors, some of whom have insufficient funds to cover their food ,electricity and medical needs, I would ask you to circulate this material to your friends and urge your local Jewish representatives to speak up.

Berman OpEd in Jewish Week - Aug 31:

Kent OpEd in Jewish Week - Sep 3:

Berman OpEd in JTA - Sep 6:
The Case against the Claims Conference Management

The angry response from Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman to my concerns about undemocratic behavior, conflicts of interest and the failure to prioritize the needs of the aging and rapidly dwindling Holocaust survivor community speak for themselves. He failed to refute a single charge I had raised.

Berman disingenuously misrepresented my remarks about the organization's huge $1billion in "investments" (defined as such in the Claims Conference Financial Statement), which grew by $33 million since the last financial report. I never said that all these funds should have been disbursed to survivors. I said more should have been allocated, a statement I emphatically reiterate.

But my principal charge - to which Berman failed to respond - was that if only a greater percentage of the $70 billion allocated by the Claims Conference over the years had been distributed to survivors instead of other charities - many not even Holocaust related - we would not today face the scandal of survivors unable to meet their basic food, medical and electricity bills.

The core of the problem is that a small self-perpetuating clique of leaders operates the Claims Conference like a private fiefdom and determines how these sacred funds are to be allocated.

Julius Berman has retained the role of chairman for over eight years - an extraordinary long tenure for a public organization dispensing billions of dollars annually.

Berman also occupies the chair of the crucial advisory committees for disbursement of funds both in the US and even Israel. Beyond that, he also chairs seven of the key committees, including the powerful allocations committee. In any organization, absence of checks and balances and the concentration of power, even amongst a well-intentioned leadership clique, inevitably lead to a corruption of genuine governance.

In addition, dissent from survivor groups and others is not tolerated. Leo Rechter, who heads a respected survivor group, recently disclosed that a $200,000 loan from the Claims Conference was withheld from a major umbrella survivor group until it formally undertook not to criticize them.

It is unconscionable for an organization dispensing such huge sums to operate in this manner. The Board meets annually, but the well-intentioned delegates inevitably endorse the allocations determined by a small clique, many of which in retrospect proved to be highly questionable. Haim Roet, a survivor, resigned this year as an Israeli director of the Claims Conference, because he refused to be "a rubber stamp for the automatic majority the chairman has and exploits in the decision making process". Most Board members were unaware that vast amounts of funding were being channeled into institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and general welfare operations in which survivors only benefitted as a small percentage of the overall population and were usually still obliged to pay the standard fees. In addition, large sums were funneled into projects only peripherally related to the Holocaust.
Roman Kent, the Treasurer of the Claims Conference recently provoked another storm by justifying the refusal of the Claims Conference to provide potential heirs access to the list of German properties published in 2003 because they would "think that they could file claims but will not be able to do so because the Claims Conference sold many of these properties since 1 March 2004 deadline". He failed to mention that only six months' notice was provided to file claims and many legitimate heirs only learnt of their right to reclaim their properties after the deadline had expired.

The sheer chutzpa of refusing to provide access to such documents should be viewed in tandem with the huge uproar and litigation which arose over the manner in which this matter was handled. There were allegations of questionable practices related to the sale of properties - amounting to up to $7 billion - which led to an internal investigation, the findings of which to this day have been suppressed. There is no detailed breakdown available of the sale of the properties or a record of those which the Claims Conference still retains. Allegations of an absence of "transparency and democratic accountability" resulted in the current investigation of the Claims Conference by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Whilst the management adamantly denies any culpability for the fraud which was perpetrated for over ten years, Haim Roet, insists that had the internal audits, which are undertaken by one person as a part time job, occupied a higher priority, the massive fraud may have been averted. The Claims Conference Executive Vice President actually had the gall to inform the Jewish media that no holocaust survivors lost money (ignoring the fact that Hardship Fund recipients were cut off for three months) and blithely denied that there had been any failure in operating procedures. Such a statement surely trivializes the fraud and reflects an absence of accountability.

There is also great uncertainty as to how much money was stolen, obliging the auditors KPMG to refuse signing off on the accounts. In February, it was announced the amount was $350,000. At the July Board meeting, this sum grew to $7 million, although Treasurer Roman Kent cautioned that this was "only the tip of the iceberg". The current gossip in Claims Conference quarters is that as much as $40 million was stolen. Berman has an obligation to inform the public how much he estimates was purloined. If the sum substantially exceeds the $7 million disclosed at the July meeting and the management failed to update its Board, it would be in breach of its fiduciary responsibilities and obliged to resign.

Whatever the situation, instead of hiring the "biggest and the best" Madison Avenue PR firm, the Board should set up an independent forensic audit and appoint an ombudsman to protect the interests of survivors and heirs. An independent authority should also be commissioned to review the conflicts of interest, the governance and transparency of the organization and in particular investigate the manner and decision making process in which funds are being allocated.

The arrogant response from Berman signals a determination to resist reform and retain control. If so, the Jewish public should demand a change in the leadership. The Claims Conference is coming to the end of its life, but over the few remaining years this important organization must enjoy the confidence and respect of the public as it allocates the residual of the sacred restitution funds.

The top priority remains the distressing plight of ailing survivors. The Claims Conference must ensure that the declining numbers of ailing survivors are enabled to live out their remaining years in dignity. There may indeed be insufficient funds available because of previous flawed allocation priorities. But the situation can at least be partially alleviated if all grants not explicitly committed to heirs or linked directly to exclusively holocaust survivor related projects are frozen and directed towards survivors in need.

Sharia Degradation of Women

Eileen F. Toplansky

The unremitting degradation of women in most of the Mideast, Africa, and other parts of Asia where Islamic law plays a huge role is horrifying and appalling. Islamic law endorses slavery, demands executions for apostasy, and condones the repression of women. The debasement of women plays a critical role among Palestinian women where little girls live under a death threat of honor killing. The male sexual abuse of female children is quite pervasive. It traumatizes and shames women into obedience and renders them incapable of resistance or rebellion. This degradation of women is not merely restricted to the Palestinian community whose lives have been repeatedly squandered by their terrorist leaders. In Iran, for instance, the Islamic government does not recognize women as fully human. In 1992 over 100,000 women were arrested in Tehran for "improper veiling" and "moral corruption." Scores of pregnant women were flogged in public on the same charge. Women appearing in public without traditional veiling are sentenced to up to 74 lashes. As I write this, there is a worldwide protest concerning the injustice being meted out to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Unfortunately, she will probably be flogged to death.

Books highlight the terror that permeates daily life for women. Reading Lolita in Tehran describes the endless tales of frustration, humiliation, and sorrow of female college students. The women endure daily indignities of the militia who patrol the streets to ensure that the women are wearing their veils. The patrols demand that the women students walk in public with men who are either their brothers, husbands or fathers. Sporting jewelry or wearing nail polish are punishable crimes. If a woman uses a bus, the seating is segregated. Female students are penalized for running up the stairs if they are late for a class. The age of marriage has been lowered from 18 years to nine years of age. Stoning is a punishment for adultery and prostitution. Women found guilty of any infraction are forced to wash toilets, fined, jailed, and flogged. Humiliation is the source of the Islamic fundamentalist power.

Not only confined to Iran, such abuse is common elsewhere as well. In March 2002, a Nigerian woman, who had a small baby, was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. In Pakistan an average of two women every day die from "honor killings." In the book entitled Princess by Jean P. Sasson, a father drowned his own daughter because she had met with foreign-born men.

This is not an isolated situation. It is emblematic of a world where girls are sold into marriage to men five times their age and brutally murdered for the slightest transgression. In Afghanistan, women are beginning to wear the burqa again because they fear the resurgence of the Taliban. When the Taliban reigned supreme, music was forbidden and the female voice banned. To walk in shoes that clicked would elicit the Taliban's wrath. Young female children attending school have acid thrown in their faces. Where does such turpitude, cruelty and vile behavior come from?

Either a strong willed woman will resist with all her might and possibly die trying. Or those who are broken become physically and mentally impaired shells of a human being. And, in a horrifying perversion, the constant brainwashing so common in totalitarian regimes, molds women to become partners in their own demise and in the destruction of their own offspring. After all, Palestinian women are pleased to offer up their own children as suicide bombers--have these mothers been so unalterably changed that even the fundamental maternal instinct of protecting one's young has become brutally extinguished? Is this why women hold down small girls about to undergo the atavistic ritual of female genital mutilation?

And where are the voices of western feminists so eager to burn bras, but hardly a word about burning burqas? What more evidence is needed to rise up to aid those sisters around the world who are desperately in need of genuine activism? Hatred, humiliation, suppression, coercion, and discrimination of women make up the fabric of so many societies in the world. The misery and abject conditions of these women is shocking.

As rabbi, teacher, and activist, the late Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote in "The Meaning of This Hour," about the horrors of the 20th century. He was adamant when he wrote that there can be no neutrality. Either we are ministers of the sacred or slaves of evil. Let the blasphemy of our time not become an eternal scandal. Let future generations not loathe us for having failed to preserve what prophets and saints, martyrs and scholars have created in thousands of years. The apostles of force have shown that they are great in evil. Let us reveal that we can be as great in goodness[.]

It is particularly noteworthy that the Jewish New Year is upon us. Also known as Yom Harat Olam or the "Day of the Birth of the World", it is meant to usher a new beginning for all people, not just Jews. It is a universal holiday and commemorates when G-d made man and woman and completes the physical creation of the world. The process of creation, however, is never over. Each generation is given a choice to make a difference.

Moderate Muslims, like moderate Christians and moderate Jews need to acknowledge the horror of sharia law, address this autocratic mind-numbing enslavement of women, and never retreat. While Muslim worship is protected under the First Amendment, Islamic sharia law should never be protected or condoned. Only then will the liberating phraseology of the First Commandment be enacted and slavery broken down, brick by brick by brick.

Eileen can be reached at

Page Printed from: at September 13, 2010 - 09:39:07 AM CDT

Ifs, Ands and Buts

Ari Bussel

“I understand what you are saying, Ari, the rockets launched at the City of Sderot created eight long years of horror and hardship, but…” or “the significance there was not a maritime route to Gaza is noteworthy, but there is, after all, a naval blockade causing the population to starve…” and a new all-time favorite accepted by Jews and Palestinians alike: “The Palestinians are eager for a two state solution, people living side by side in peace, but the right-wing Netanyahu Government is blocking any prospects for peace.” There always seems to be a “but” at the end of the sentence. An omnipresent, towering and defying all logic “but.” It matters not what one says, their rationale or factual reasoning. Straight ahead is the doubt, the lingering bad taste, the truth in all its ugly nakedness, the supposition that whatever was just said is invalid, there is a bigger, more important truth, one which the speaker choose to so skillfully ignore.

Thus, I always find myself on the side that is right, yet does not win the argument and is constantly stumbling to stand straight. Then self-doubt trickles in, maybe we are wrong after all, maybe the sun, at a zenith, is an illusion and we are really in the middle of a dark night, or the heat outside is imaginary and the sweat soaking our shirt is only a figment of the imagination.

The BUT comes from within our own ranks, American Jews, Israeli Jews, those who love Israel and would do everything for it (“still, it is legitimate to criticize the State, Israel is not exempt from criticism”).

This ever present BUT is dangerous. It is the door beyond which there is a cliff, and the person walking through is bound to fall into the abyss below. There are no safety nets, just the lure of a simple, innocent, quiet “but,” where fate is sealed, the person beheaded, the end near. The Devil stands hands quivering with anticipation, a laugh struggling to escape his lips. Alas, another human fly headed straight into the trap!

Since we are, generally speaking, intelligent and observant human beings, capable of learning and not repeating mistakes, I wonder how we fail to see the lure. Like a landmine that explodes after a person steps onto it, here too the trap is armed, awaiting a victim.

It is time we realize “criticizing Israel” and “legitimate criticism” are no more than keywords for “anti-Semitism.” We must not run after an elusive peace either. “Peace” can only be achieved when actively sought by two sides. We must reject misleading titles like “Jews for Peace” or “Americans for Peace Now.” Neither wants peace. Both seek to create a platform for further attacks on the Jewish State and Israelis.

Gazans are no more under siege than is my ability to drive to Rodeo Drive and buy as much as my bank account affords me, Nor are the Arabs in Israel oppressed or otherwise disadvantaged more than Spanish-speaking Americans from all points south of the border.

Palestinians do not thirst for water, at least not more than any other desert inhabitant Jewish or Muslim.

Jerusalem has always been the Jewish center of existence and the capital of the State of Israel. Worship for all religions is only feasible in Israel, the Jewish State. It is not permissible in Saudi Arabia, it is as weak as a person on a dying bed in Palestinian Authority rule (e.g. Christians in Bethlehem) and it did not quite exist under Jordanian rule (1948 – 1967 in Jerusalem).

There are no “two Palestines,” one in Gaza the other in Judea and Samaria. Similarly, there are no “moderate Fatah” and “terrorist Hamas.” They are all one and their goal the same, the Jewish State is to be eradicated, uprooted and destroyed. In fact, until three decades ago, even the Palestinians did not realize there was a Palestine belonging to them, just the urge and the process to fight the Jewish State to death.

There is no partner for peace, unless “peace” is understood to be complete submission and conversion to Islam. Actually, it is not even that, for Jews will be slaughtered, possibly a token few left to show the world the benevolent nature of Islam or serve as a living deterrent to others.

The next time you are told, contrary to what you see staring you in the face, the entertaining and so simply luring word “but,” stop the speaker and say: “no ifs, ands and buts. There are no half pregnancies.” And as President George W. Bush liked to say “you are either with us or against us.”

In the new war of Evil vs. Good, one must take sides. One must remain focused as the enemy uses our methodology, culture and very being against us. We find ourselves doubting the correctness of our ways, our convictions start fading and diminishing. We are in a precarious position so away with the “ifs, ands and buts.”

There are indeed shades of grey remaining as not everything is black and white. In Schindler’s List there was a red dress among the black and white and a glowing pair of Shabbat candles within the darkness. Likewise in today’s world one can still find hope and a better existence.

The shaded area, even the one most full of colors, is a place where children play, where love is free to roam, laughter to roll and life to blossom. This amazing pastoral location can be found in legends, fairytales and the story lands of our imaginations. It is an amazing land called Israel and as the adults attempt to protect this world, the Devil stands, his whole being quivering with anticipation, seeking new lambs to slaughter, new blood, another innocent poised to burn on the altar of “ifs, ands and buts.”

The time has come to take sides. An enemy shooting at you, firing rockets, arming itself with missiles and other methods of destruction, cannot turn its face toward peace. That same enemy sends its young ones shouting “Allah u Akbar” to become shaiids, as an example to their friends. Exploding themselves with those “pigs” and “apes,” they cannot crave peace but seek destruction. Israel’s so-called “partners for peace” stand by and watch as the horrors unfold. Wake up, Israel, and witness the evil you so easily ignore.

We dare not compare the values of life and friendship Judaism (and thus Christianity) teaches with those of the death cult of 7th Century Islam – a geopolitical cancer expanding the world over.

And those who still wear the eternal “but” on the tip of their tongues, stop this nonsense designed to bring about our downfall. If you are so convinced life is better with the enemy, or that you must act to bring about change – try life in Gaza for a few months. Live in Palestinian Authority or even Saudi Arabia where slavery and trafficking are commonplace and women are treated as disposable possessions.

Interestingly, even Muslim Arabs living in Israel will not trade their “oppressed, inferior and unbearable conditions” under Israeli “brutal Zionist Occupation” to live somewhere else, specifically not under Palestinian rule of any sort. It makes one wonder at these claims of such oppression. Just something to chew on in lieu of the usual “but.”

The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” September, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

3 in 4 U.S. mosques preach anti-West extremism

2010 WorldNetDaily

An undercover survey of more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools in America has exposed widespread radicalism, including the alarming finding that 3 in 4 Islamic centers are hotbeds of anti-Western extremism, WND has learned.

The Mapping Sharia in America Project, sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, has trained former counterintelligence and counterterrorism agents from the FBI, CIA and U.S. military, who are skilled in Arabic and Urdu, to conduct undercover reconnaissance at some 2,300 mosques and Islamic centers and schools across the country.

"So far of 100 mapped, 75 should be on a watchlist,
" an official familiar with the project said. Many of the Islamic centers are operating under the auspices of the Saudi Arabian government and U.S. front groups for the radical Muslim Brotherhood based in Egypt.

Frank Gaffney, a former Pentagon official who runs the Center for Security Policy, says the results of the survey have not yet been published. But he confirmed that "the vast majority" are inciting insurrection and jihad through sermons by Saudi-trained imams and anti-Western literature, videos and textbooks.

The project, headed by David Yerushalmi, a lawyer and expert on sharia law, has finished collecting data from the first cohort of 102 mosques and schools. Preliminary findings indicate that almost 80 percent of the group exhibit a high level of sharia-compliance and jihadi threat, including:

* Ultra-orthodox worship in which women are separated from men in the prayer hall and must enter the mosque from a separate, usually back, entrance; and are required to wear hijabs.

* Sermons that preach women are inferior to men and can be beaten for disobedience; that non-Muslims, particularly Jews, are infidels and inferior to Muslims; that jihad or support of jihad is not only a Muslim's duty but the noblest way, and suicide bombers and other so-called "martyrs" are worthy of the highest praise; and that an Islamic caliphate should one day encompass the U.S.

* Solicitation of financial support for jihad.

* Bookstores that sell books, CDs and DVDs promoting jihad and glorifying martyrdom.

Though not all mosques in America are radicalized, many have tended to serve as safe havens and meeting points for Islamic terrorist groups. Experts say there are at least 40 episodes of extremists and terrorists being connected to mosques in the past decade alone.

Some of the 9/11 hijackers, in fact, received aid and counsel from one of the largest mosques in the Washington, D.C., area. Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center is one of the mosques indentified by undercover investigators as a hive of terrorist activity and other extremism.

It was founded and is currently run by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Imams there preach what is called "jihad qital," which means physical jihad, and incite violence and hatred against the U.S.

Dar al-Hijrah's ultimate goal, investigators say, is to turn the U.S. into an Islamic state governed by sharia law.

Another D.C.-area mosque, the ADAMS Center, was founded and financed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been one of the top distributors of Wahhabist anti-Semitic and anti-Christian dogma.

Even with such radical mosques operating in its backyard, the U.S. government has not undertaken its own systematic investigation of U.S. mosques.

In contrast, European Union security officials are analyzing member-state mosques, examining the training and funding sources of imams, in a large-scale project.

Some U.S. lawmakers want the U.S. to conduct its own investigation.

"We have too many mosques in this country," said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. "There are too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully."

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

Arlene Kushner

And in this case, just shortly after Rosh Hashana as well.

"Facing the Future"

For those of us who are observant Jews, the world of news has shut down for the last three days.

I wept as I prayed this Rosh Hashana. How could one pray from the heart for the defeat of our enemies and not weep? And I note the date: 9/11. It's been nine years. Also cause for weeping, twice over. For what happened on that horrendous day, and for the failure even now of Americans to fully grasp the import of that attack. If anything, the understanding has dissipated over the years.

In memorial observances today, as I understand it, much of the focus has been on the Ground Zero mosque. I will not deal with that now. Before turning to other matters, I prefer to share the posting on the subject of 9/11 by Daniel Greenfield (writing as Sultan Knish ) -- "The Day the Sky Fell":

"That Tuesday we faced a new world. A world in which the sky fell. And some of us rose to face the challenges. And some of us fled into the comforts of the Monday that had [come] before, and all the days and years before it. Escaping history. Fleeing destiny. Forgetting that the world had changed, and no amount of politics as usual could make it stay the same."

(With thanks to Gary A. for calling this to my attention.)


I've picked up rumors of a plan that may be advanced by PM Netanyahu with regard to "peace negotiations": Sign an agreement now, and implement it in stages over the next 30 to 40 years. Unless this has been put out by a comedian, seeking to poke fun at the whole process (and I don't believe that), it is breathtakingly stupid -- whether it truly belongs to our prime minister or is being floated by someone else seeking to advance an idea.

What this represents is a colossal admission that establishing a "Palestinian state" within the parameters routinely touted (viable, democratic, etc. etc.) is a total impossibility. And not something that can be established in a short time (two years? five years?) either. We're talking generations here. Thirty or 40 year might be realistic (putting aside the question of whether there should be a Palestinian state on our land at all).

Why, then, even think about coming to an "agreement" now, if it cannot be implemented? To make Obama and the larger international community happy. If that isn't stupidity, I confess that I don't what is. Who knows what might happen during those years. Besides which, once the terms were to be set out in writing, it's almost a sure thing that the Palestinian Arabs would come around to demanding implementation sooner. Either the PA is in a position to establish a state, or there should be nothing to talk about.

But, alas, Netanyahu is planning to show up in Sharm el-Sheikh this week to continue those "negotiations."


I wrote the other day about a PLO demand for all of Jerusalem, rather than just "eastern" Jerusalem. Now reader Jerome V. has sent me a piece from JPost of August 8 of last year, when the Fatah (the controlling party of the PA) held its conference:

“The sixth Fatah General Assembly decreed on Saturday that the return of both east and west Jerusalem to Palestinian control was a ‘red line’ which was nonnegotiable...Israel Radio reported.

“According to the report, a document adopted by the delegates of the assembly declared that Fatah would ‘continue to sacrifice victims until residents of Jerusalem are free of settlements and settlers.’ The document went on to state that all of Jerusalem, including the surrounding villages, belonged to the Palestinians, and lands conquered following the Six-Day war shared the same status as those located within the green line.” (Emphasis added)

I stated the other day, and say it again here: The call for "eastern" Jerusalem is bogus -- a stage in the infamous PLO "Strategy of Stages" -- with the ultimate intention being to take all of our city.


I confess that I entirely missed this, when it happened. That's because I was very focused on the fact that the Fatah, at its conference, also voted not to remove the clause about "resistance" (i.e., violence) against Israel from its charter.

Our "peace partner."


Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said last week that making sure that a Palestinian state was "sustainable" would cost the international community some $50 billion.

This is for the state that's supposed to be "viable." The PA probably has the worst collective case of "welfare mentality" the world has ever seen. It has already received more in international assistance, per capita, than any other group or nation. Why should anyone have confidence that they'll ever be viable?


U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones is promoting the idea that a multinational force should be placed in Judea and Samaria to expedite the possibility of Israel pulling back. This is an overt acknowledgement that the PA security forces are not ready to handle matters (i.e., prevent a Hamas takeover or major Hamas infiltration and step-up of terrorism) on their own.


These are worrisome variations on a theme: The Palestinians cannot cut it on their own. But the international community, infuriatingly, wants to create that state for them and buoy them up in a host of different ways. This state has become some sort of holy grail of the diplomatic community.

The IDF is opposed to the use of international forces, and with very solid reason. UNIFIL, for example, has done zero with regard to preventing the re-arming of Hezbollah.

See Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror on this issue:


See JINSA Report# 1,020 on why the "peace talks" will fail.

"Senator Mitchell said there is a 'window of opportunity' now. With due respect, it is not a window but trompe l'oeil - the French decorating trick that 'fools the eye' by drawing outdoor scenery on solid walls..."

The Report then provides a hypothetical conversation between Netanyahu and Abbas that manages to shed a good deal of light on Abbas's real concerns.


Aaron Lerner, who directs IMRA, is of the opinion that Netanyahu is playing games (he calls them a "striptease") with regard to negotiations, but expresses some very serious concerns as to the dangers of doing this:

"Now if the post talk scenario indeed turns out to be an indefinite stalemate in which the Palestinians are blamed for their short sightedness while Israel gains points as it implements a series of measures to improve the lot of the Palestinians...then there might be some logic to an Israeli 'striptease' before the music stops.

"But that's a huge 'if.'

"Because the Palestinians are gearing up for a very different post talk scenario.

"They anticipate an internationally imposed 'solution' in the wake of the breakdown in the talks. A 'solution' that would take into account the Israeli and Palestinian positions at the failed talks.

And if the PA walks before there is sufficient negotiation to have put Israeli positions on the table?


Closing tonight with the latest from Caroline Glick's Latma satire:


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