July 25, 2005

J’Accuse Episcopalians, Presbyterians, et al.

By Martin Peretz

The New Republic, July 18, 2005

ABOUT 40 YEARS ago, when I was a young graduate student at Harvard, I drove the aging and very distinguished bishop of Massachusetts, W. Appleton Lawrence, from Cambridge to some “peace meeting” in the western part of the state. All of our meetings were peace meetings; not least the ones in camouflaged support of some aspect of Soviet foreign policy.

Those were also the days when people on the left would do somersaults to persuade clergy — any ecclesiastic, really, to say nothing of someone high in the Episcopal hierarchy—to bring the imprimatur of God to the cause, rather like the politicized God of the American right today. But we never hoped that these prelates would levitate the crowd. About religion and politics, we were cynical, or, let us say, instrumental. Many of us thought of these divines as useful idiots, in Lenin’s derisive coinage, mustered to assure the assembled that our aims were spiritually lofty and socially respectable. Somewhere around Amherst, I asked Lawrence what Anglicans believed. His face took on a deep, pensive look. “We believe,” he intoned, “in civil rights for Negroes, the admission of Red China to the United Nations, and friendship with Castro Cuba.” I do not at all want to belittle the bishop. I liked him. He was not pompous. And probably he thought that this clever Jewish boy from New York would not really be asking him a theological question, which is exactly what I was doing.

Still, I was immediately suffused with a sense of the impending decline of the Anglican Church, at least here in the United States. There immediately came to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s devastating quip that the Episcopal Church was the Republican Party assembled for prayer. But I knew that it was no longer true, neither as fact nor even as metaphor. It’s not that there aren’t still Republicans who remain Episcopalians — and they may still outnumber Democrats who are Episcopalians, but Episcopalianism seems to have become intensely preoccupied with a misty meta-politics, instrumental about itself in its own way, utopian in pretense, and reckless in result. For all their purified language, the House of Bishops and the consultative councils of the Anglican Communion are settings either for ideological dogmatism, nearly always with unanimous decisions, or for lifestyle fratricide, as in the debates about gay clergy and gay marriage. In any case, the number of Episcopalians is in steep descent. The influence of the American church—such as it is—seems to be limited to the sway it exercises over the bureaucracies of the 35 other declining Protestant denominations assembled in that portentous rump called the National Council of Churches, always “joining hands and voices” for something goofy or worse.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has long been threatening to disinvest from U.S. companies that “support the occupation of Palestinian lands” — such as Caterpillar, whose tractors are used by settlers in the West Bank. (To be sure, it would disinvest from companies that promote violence against innocent Israelis. But which U.S. corporation makes suicide bombs?) The Episcopalians are not the first of the Protestant churches to go down the disinvestment route against Israel. The Presbyterians have that distinction. But, just last week, in England, the Anglican Consultative Council, including the present Archbishop of Canterbury, voted unanimously to do the same. (The previous archbishop criticized the move.) The Anglicans have an analysis backing up their position: “It is the Israeli occupation in its many facets that foments the violence and fuels the conflict.” This ignores so many facts that it boggles the mind. Neither the Arabs of Palestine nor the established Arab states were willing to accept an Israel within very crimped borders; the occupation began in 1967 after the Arabs provoked—but lost — a war to eradicate precisely such a precarious Israel; and the Palestinians rejected out of hand the near-total withdrawals that Israel offered at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001. These peace-mongering Anglican bishops are playing the role of “useful idiots,” this time for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other irredentist and murderous factions of the Palestinian polity that will be remembered for adventures like sending, last week, a troubled young woman to blow herself up at a hospital in Beersheba where she had been treated conscientiously and competently for her maladies.

The Anglican luminaries are either ignorant or mendacious. A church spokesman, James Rosenthal, stated that the resolution expressed the Anglican concern for the situation of Palestinian Christians living in the territories. Now, it is true that Christians are in deep despair in emerging Palestine, but not because they are endangered by Israel. They are tormented and threatened by Muslim extremists inside and outside the Palestinian Authority. Ever since the handshake on the White House lawn, (September, 1993) Christians have been deserting the territories out of fear that the Israelis will abandon them to the twin mercies of virulent Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism.

Until the Oslo agreement, Christians were perhaps 60 percent of the population of Bethlehem. Now they are down to 30 to 35 percent. Bethlehem is not the only town that Christians are forsaking. Some of them have gone to Detroit, others to Australia. The responsibility for the predicament of Palestinian Christians lies squarely with those Palestinian Muslims whom the Anglicans and Presbyterians and everybody else with supposed good in their hearts have long tried to appease. (In carving up the tiny old city of Jerusalem at Camp David, negotiators proposed placing portions of Jerusalem’s Christian neighborhoods under Palestinian sovereignty, and sheer panic ensued among the city’s resident Christians, whose foothold in the sacred terrain is older than everyone’s but the Jews. Relief only came with the news that Yasir Arafat had turned down the Camp
David deal.

I once heard David Pryce-Jones, the learned English novelist and historian, talking about a new instance of the phenomenon of fellow traveling: the fellow travelers of Palestine. This, of course, has its precedents in the blind but exuberant support given to both fascism and communism by intellectuals and clerics who had concealed from themselves the evils of these two ideologies. In England, Anglican clerics were part of the establishment ambit of fascist sympathizers disguising themselves as anti-war idealists. These were the folk who soiréed at Cliveden, read and wrote in the London Times, chatted wittily at All Souls—appeasers all, as seen in the movie, The Remains of the Day. And the Anglican Church also had its devotees of Stalin, the most noteworthy (or notorious) of whom was Dr. Hewlett Johnson, the “Red Dean of Canterbury,” who wrote the adoring agitprop volume, The Socialist Sixth of the World. He was a luminary in Henry Wallace’s pro-Soviet campaign for president of the United States on the Progressive Party ticket. Among Wallace’s most notable supporters were bishops and other high churchmen from the mainstream American Protestant denominations.

They were silly, but they were at least prisoners of ideals. Fascist sympathizers feared the dread evil of communism, and communist sympathizers feared the dread evil of fascism. And communism purported to build a just society, a new relationship of man and man, though it turned out in many ways to be worse than fascism, more murderous, more delusional, more long-lasting. In any event, both of these armed doctrines tried hard to delude their followers with the lure of high ideals, some rooted in one or another version of the Christian ethic. But what vision of a good society do the ideologists of Palestine proffer to their boosters all over the world? Really nothing, except another miserable state like the others in the Arab Middle East. The new fellow travelers lack even the feeble extenuations of the old ones.

Indeed, anyone who envisions a future Palestinian polity must wrestle with the grim and ongoing realities of a stagnant class structure, unproductive economic habits, an uncurious and increasingly reactionary culture, deeply cruel relationships between the sexes and toward gays, no notion of an independent judiciary, and a primitive religious mentality that gains prestige in society even as it emphasizes the promise of sexual rewards in paradise for martyrs — a crude myth that has served successfully as an incentive for suicide bombings not only in Israel but also in Iraq and throughout the Arab world. And no real challenge to any of these backward actualities has arisen in all of the turmoil the movement has sown.

Which takes us back to the church deleriants for Palestine. What kindles the fire in their hearts for Palestine? There is little or nothing in Palestinian society that would fill a progressive with enthusiasm. And these churches do not generally exult in the promise of yet one more nation-state. In fact, these churches are against the nation-state, especially the U.S. nation-state. (In Nottingham last week, the Anglicans. demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.) And, even if you take to the harshest reading of Israeli behavior in their ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, dozens and dozens of other peoples in the world, some of whom have a much sounder claim to be a real nation than those for whom the official Anglicans and Presbyterians shed so many tears, suffer infinitely more deprivation and indignity than they do. But tears are not shed for those people at Canterbury Cathedral in England or, for that matter, at Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose rectors have for years been virtual street agitators against Israel.

So I come to an unavoidable conclusion. The obsession here is not positive, for one side, but rather negative, against the other side. The clerics and the lay leaders on this indefensible crusade are so fixated on Palestine because their obsession, which can be buttressed by various Christian sources and traditions, is really with the Jews. A close look at this morbid passion makes one realize that its roots include an ancient hostility for the House of Israel, an ugly survival of a hoary intolerance into some of the allegedly enlightened precincts of modern Christendom.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2005

How about an election?

By Isi Liebler

The Jewish Press, July 8, 2005

In light of recent events, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon must heed calls to hold national elections: Failure to do so makes a mockery of Israel’s parliamentary system. In a humiliating defeat for the prime minister, the Knesset recently carried three consecutive motions of no confidence against the government. While technically not amounting to the requisite majority to compel Sharon to step down, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, himself a Likud member, publicly urged him to do so and hold elections.

The nation is at a critical turning point. We have been repeatedly misled and fed half-truths. Yet the prime minister still stubbornly refuses to hold a serious discourse on his controversial policies or take counsel from his colleagues. At issue are not the merits of ruling over Palestinians or retaining isolated settlements. That debate ended some time ago and the majority of Israelis now share a broad consensus that their ultimate objective must be to separate themselves from the Palestinians. Nor is the Gaza disengagement the central issue.

In addition to the recent frightening warning conveyed by former chief of general staff Moshe Ya’alon, disaster scenarios are also predicted by a wide range of other distinguished military and security experts, including former Mossad heads Ephraim Halevy and Shabtai Shavit, former intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit, former IDF deputy chief of general staff, Gen. Uzi Dayan and former Air Force commander Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu. In these circumstances one is left aghast at Sharon’s apparent pig-headedness and autocratic behavior.
We are also obliged to assess the new revelations in the book Boomerang by Raviv Orucker and Ofer Shelach, who reject the supposition that the disengagement initiative evolved from strategic deliberations at the highest level. They claim it was Sharon’s lawyer and current adviser, Dov Weislass, who persuaded the prime minister that only a dramatic and drastic step of disengagement proportions could deflect criminal charges against him arising from the Greek Island scandal. They say it was Weisglass himself who “sold” the disengagement concept to the Bush administration. One would ~assume that if such allegations were unfounded, they would surely warrant libel proceedings. Yet, to date, neither the prime minister nor Weisglass has initiated any.

So what is one to make out of all this? The facts on the ground certainly reinforce the critics who predict that Israel’s policies are leading to disaster. This is what is happening: Terror attacks, attempted suicide bombings and the launching of Kassam rockets continue unabated. Israelis are being killed and the IDF is once again being restrained in order not to undermine the “calm.”

Mahmoud Abbas reiterates that he has no intention of curbing the terrorist Infrastructure or curtailing their activities. In fact, he proudly announces that he has invited Hamas ghouls to join his administration and brazenly enrolls terrorists in the PA police force that Israel is being urged to re-arm! Like Arafat, Abbas insists that the Arab right of return is non-negotiable. He refuses to take any meaningful steps to rein in the incitement that continues unabated in the schools, the mosques and the media. There is a general consensus that Hamas is poised to take control of the Palestinian region in the near future. PA ministers have explicitly threatened to unleash Intifada III unless Israel makes further unilateral concessions after disengagement.

The International scene is equally troublesome. Prior to the implementation of disengagement — a time the U.S. and Europeans are supposedly “displaying restraint” in order not to create political difficulties for a domestically embattled Sharon — the Europeans have reinstated ties with the “political” wing of Hamas and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Bush administration appear to have reverted to Clintonian evenhandedness between Israel arid the Palestinians.

The U.S. is also pressing Israel to free additional prisoners despite the fact that of the 900 released to date, some have already resumed terrorist activities. Rice repeatedly reiterates that, contrary to what Sharon says, the purported commitment by President Bush to support Israel’s retention of major settlement blocs is merely a gesture, because it included a caveat that any deviation from the 1949 armistice lines would require Palestinian approval. –

The U.S. administration continues showering paeans of praise on Abbas despite his explicit refusal to dismantle or hinder the terror infrastructure, while even his own Fatah units blatantly continue engaging in suicide bombings and other acts of terror.

It is generally accepted that the government will collapse immediately after the implementation of disengagement. Therefore, although elections will not provide a panacea for Israel’s problems, they would at least enable Israelis to review their options before, rather than after, withdrawal It would also allow the public to express its outrage over the failure of politicians to curb corruption and their predilection to promote personal or sectional interests above those of the nation.

Above all, elections would signal that Israelis are tired of being led by people with Napoleonic delusions and that they demand that no future leader be entitled to embark — without prior consultation and pubic debate — upon a course of action that could have profound repercussions on the nation’s future generations and even impact existentially on the state itself. •

Isi Liebler chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a former chairman of the governing Board of the World Jewish Congress

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July 21, 2005

Enough with the Rationalizations and Alibis

By Tom Teepen

Columnist for Cox Newspapers

The dust is still settling from the London terrorist atrocities, but one thing is becoming clear: this terrorism won’t end until Islam makes, and acts on a decisive commitment to expunge violent religious extremists from its community and definitively disallows the twisted theology that provokes their violence.

Aggressive defenses, particularly determined intelligence at home and crucially unstinting intelligence sharing among nations can quash some attacks and sharply raise the costs for the ones that succeed. But terrorism can last indefinitely when its own community is less than wholly intolerant of it. That is, so far painfully the case with Islam.

Sure, most Muslims and their mainstream leadership now dutifully declare their opposition to, and disappointment with, each new outrage against the innocent. But it often comes with an ambivalence born of secret pleasure in seeing the big guys get it. Terrorism can have a great future in such hesitations.

Or the condemnations come bearing caveats: “the Palestinians,” you know, or “disrespect” or any of a singsong of nurtured grievances. But even grave injustices — and aren’t there always some laying to hand — offer no brief to stint against mass murder after mass murder done in Allah’s name.

Where is the fury that, by now, should have average Muslims competing to turn in the most suspects, the fastest? A few imams here and there have spoken with convincing ardor against extremism and the violence that it claims as both its privilege and duty; but imams from Chicago to Jakarta and beyond should be straining like athletes to see who can write the most righteous and withering fatwa on Osama bin Laden and all the al-Qaida leadership.

Why are Pakistanis and Saudis not demanding that their government close the schools that tutor students in paranoia and hate and send them into the world with fuses primed for any spark? Where is the culture of rejection that Islam so needs? The passivity almost a much as the terrorist’s savagery, threatens to make Islam into a pariah faith, driving it into isolation and pulling its unoffending adherents with it.

This country was built on immigration and was not just open to it but enticed it. Once we got over our lapse into bigoted immigration quotas in the early 20th century we largely took up anew that welcoming heritage.

But so many nations — Holland, France, now England — have been abused by Muslim immigrants venomous to their new country that nowhere can Muslims any longer expect not to be examined d closely on that point.

Sorry but it’s Uncle Sam, not Uncle Sap. If Islam would determine to be rid of the rationalizations underlying and the excuses making alibis for stark terror; if it would expel its psychopaths posing as prophets, Islam could redeem itself and, although the terror committed under its cover might not end quickly, it would end far faster than it ever will otherwise

Thanks so much to Tom Teepen for getting it just right. He packed a tremendous amount of fact and understanding into his short article asking where is the Muslim genuine outrage against their own terrorists. Enough of the “dutifully declared opposition to terrorism” accompanied by “some sing-song of nurtured grievances” such as “the Palestinians” and “disrespect.”

And enough of the irrational excuses for these awful attacks on our very existence by the politically correct media. How refreshing to read that someone truly sees and understands that the Emperor has no clothes and that we are being told to buy into a gargantuan lie - jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

Americans say, “NO!”

(According to a National Poll* taken June 26-June 27, 2005)

· No to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, by 63%. This only rewards terrorism.

· No to $350 million in US aid to Palestinians, by 80%.

· No to Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem, by 63%. Israel should maintain sovereignty.

· No to believing the claim that a Palestinian state would want to live in peace with Israel, by 58%.

· No to negotiations with Hamas Palestinian Council members even if elected, by 61%.

· No to trusting Saudi Arabia as an ally against terrorism, by 78%.

· But YES to economic sanctions against Saudi Arabia, by 58%.

Americans are smart. They understand that Israel faces daily acts of radical Islamic terrorism. By a margin of 3 to 1, they understand that the goal of a Palestinian state is not to live in peace with Israel, but to destroy Israel. By a margin of 2 to 1, they understand that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the forced removal of 10,000 Israelis from their homes and businesses clearly rewards terrorism. This major, one-sided concession is a bad idea, especially since the US is involved in an international war against radical Islamic terrorism.

Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups see concessions won by their counterparts who are killing Israelis. This sends them the message that continuing terrorism against America may well gain them concessions in the future.

As Winston Churchill said: ‘Those who appease the crocodile will simply be eaten last.”

Tell your members of congress bow strongly Americans feels about these Issues and about their opposition to appeasing terrorism.

Call (202) 224-3121 and an operator will direct you to your US Senator or Representative.

Morton A. Klein, National President
Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of the Board
Saul Waldman, Regional President
Dr. Jerome S. Kaufman, National Secretary

4 East 34th Street, NYC, NY 10016
Tel. 212- 481-1500
Website: www.zoa.org
Founded 1897

*McLaughlin and Associates poll of 1000 Americans

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July 19, 2005

Sharon’s hand picked Attorney General rubber stamps national suicide

By Hillel Fendel

Attorney General Mazuz informed the Knesset today that it need not be consulted on the proposed change to the peace treaty with Egypt.
The government may therefore allow Egypt to deploy soldiers in the Sinai.

It is widely felt that a key component of Prime Minister Sharon's proposed withdrawal from Gaza is the matter of control of the Egypt-Gaza border. Terrorists have dug hundreds of tunnels in the area, through which they have smuggled thousands of weapons and rocket launchers from Egypt into Gaza. Israel refuses to leave the Palestinian Authority in control of the area, and the Sharon government does not want to retain control itself. This leaves only Egypt.

Many Israelis feel that Egypt cannot and should not be trusted in this regard. Likud MK Yuval Shteinitz, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has long warned that Egypt's designs on Israel are far from friendly. He further feels that as the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1978 forbids Egyptian troops from deploying in the Sinai, no such soldiers may be invited to the Sinai without the Knesset's approval. Shteinitz was supported in this position by the committee's legal counsel, Miri Frankel-Shorr, as well as an 8-2 committee vote on the matter two months ago.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, however, rejected this approach, and said - just as Sharon had hoped (ordered?) - that Knesset approval for the change is not necessary.

"The new arrangement [along the Egypt-Gaza border] is not in the category of an international treaty of special importance," Mazuz stated in his opinion, and is not a "material change in the peace treaty."

Both Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin and Shteinitz expressed strong opposition to the decision. Rivlin said he would call a Knesset session on the issue, and Shteinitz said he is considering various steps, "including judicial ones." Shteinitz said that Mazuz's decision is "a great blow to Israel's parliamentary democracy, and is scandalous on the face of it."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2005

Lebanese Politics, Hezbollah and the U.S.

Editorial, Washington Times July 3, 2005

As Lebanese voters went to the polls June 19, 2005 in the fina1 round of their elections, local and international news organizations were focused on the short-term political outcome — an issue that should be of somewhat peripheral interest to US policymakers as they assess the Lebanese elections in relation to the war against Islamofascism.

Whether the alliance headed by Saad Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, captures the 21 seats necessary to reach the magic number of 65 - enough votes to gain a majority in that country’s 128-member parliament - is undoubtedly important to the people of Lebanon as they attempt to build a free independent state after 29 years of military occupation by Syria.

But Mr. Hariri’s political future is less important to Americans (and, in the long, less important to Lebanese who wish to live in freedom) than the answers to the following questions:

First, will there be a working majority in parliament for enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, which would require Hezbollah, one of the world’s most deadly terrorist organizations and the only armed militia remaining from the 1975-1990 Lebanon Civil War, to disarm?

Second, will Syrian President Bashar Assad and his security services be able continue to interfere in Lebanese domestic affairs? Right now there are deeply troubling signs for the future on both questions.

The Bush administration is sharply critical of Syria’s continuing efforts to interfere in Lebanon following the departure of its army in April. Washington charges that Damascus has developed a hit list targeting Lebanese political leaders, and that Syrian intelligence operatives have been filtering back into the country

Lebanese opposition politicians, in chiding supporters of Messrs. Haiti and Jumblatt, charged two weeks ago ‘that individuals working with Syrian security officers are smuggling weapons into Lebanon and that Syrian security agents remain in northern Lebanon, where they harass merchants and at-tempt to coerce Lebanese into voting for one or another party.

Perhaps the most disconcerting developments has been the effort by politicians like Mr. Jumblatt and Michel Aoun — the Lebanese Maronite Christian general who had been driven out of the country in fear for his life 15 years ago by the Syrian Army before returning to Lebanon last month to curry favor with Hezbollah, Syria’s long-time ally. In recent days Gen. Aoun has also sounded like a Syrian PR agent, attacking Lebanon’s interior minister for criticizing Syrian interference in Lebanon. Gen. Aoun is expected to oppose efforts to remove President Emile Lahoud an ally of Damascus, from office. Whatever the final outcome of the elections, it appears highly doubtful that any of the other major parties in parliament will demand that Hezbollah disarm.

On June 17, U.S. Ambassador, Jeffrey Feitman, speaking at a luncheon in Beirut with Lebanese businessmen, outlined a very sound, thoughtful response to this situation. He said Lebanon should not expect any international economic assistance unless U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 is fully implemented, and that that includes disarming Hezbollah. This is exactly right.

Lebanon should not receive such assistance if it continues to harbor an armed terrorist militia that does the bidding of Tehran and Damascus. Lebanon’s democracy will be in jeopardy if its politicians and its army are incapable of disarming the jihadists on their soil.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Exciting political predictions for 2008 from Wm. Safire

Semi-retired sage New York Times political pundit.

Excerpted from an interview with David Horovitz, Editor and Saul Singer
International Jerusalem Post, July 14, 2005

Q: Who would you say is the Establishment in Washington now?
It’s an overwhelmingly Republican establishment in power that automatically builds a counter-force. And as of now the counter-force can’t decide whether it’s fiercely, Howard Dean hot or Hillary Clinton cool. It won’t really decide for another year and a half. And then we’ll have an election and I know who the candidates will be on both sides and I know who will win, but you haven’t asked me that.

Q: Go ahead
On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton should come out on top. It’ll be a tough fight. It’ll be the greatest fund-raiser for Republicans and the two I think she'll wind up fighting are Evan Bayh, who is a mid-westerner and a nice guy and, a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand on the horizon, is Bill Richardson, who has a Latino wife and who at the Gridiron Club, where he represented Democrats this year, got up in front of this white tie stiff audience and said, “There are many people who think I will exploit the fact that I have a Latino heritage and that is absolutely untrue. Let me repeat that.” And then he said the whole thing again in Spanish. It went over big.

He’s a big man. He’s been both the UN ambassador and the Energy Secretary and now he’s a governor in the southwest, so he could be a formidable candidate against Hillary but if he doesn’t get it, then he’s going to be the nominee’s vice-president, running against John McCain and Condi Rice.

Q: You’re hopeful or you really think McCain?
Well I always bet my hopes.

Q: He’d be a good president?
Oh, yeah.

Q. And what’s the analysis of him winning?
He’s got the center now; having the center usually means you lose the right or the left. But in this case, having really had the primaries stolen from him back in 2000— and I was a 100% McCain man - he did what was in character. He forgave the North Vietnamese and he forgave Bush and in 2004 he was a stalwart, so in terms of the political establishment and the Republicans, he did the right thing, and you can’t be against him.

And as far as the sociological, he’s been pro-life. He can point to his voting record and you can’t really fault him in that area, if abortion becomes a very important thing to you, which it is to a lot of people. He’s a hero. He’s not anathema to the religious Right the way Rudy Giuliani would be and that’s why I think he’ll win.

Q. What is your sense of future American relationship with Israel?

Of all the administrations I have seen, this one is the best for Israel. Bush and the people who surround him - Rumsfeld, Wolfowltz (now gone) Feith (now gone) and Cheney. Maybe the call in this case has little to do with ethnicity and religion and everything to do with attitudes toward bedrock stuff. I think that is reflected in this president and the men and women closest to him. The relationship has been very good and I don’t see it moving away from that.

Q. How is Israel perceived today in the American psyche?
Israel is seen as being on the right side and is trustworthy. Little bumps come up like the arms sale, technical stuff to the Chinese. So your defense guys need to sit down with our defense guys and Israel is intelligent enough to say, “We know on which side our security is buttered.”
And there has to be some display of, “We mustn’t just be 100% for Israel if we’re trying to make a deal. We have to show our ability to work with the Palestinians or with the Egyptians. But in the context of history, of the last 20 or 30 years, I think you can be confident of Bush looking to his second term legacy as being supportive of Israel.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Abandonment of Gaza only begets more Londons and whose next?

The Dangers of Capitulation

The Washington Times, July 11, 2005

By Professor Louis Rene Beres

If you liked what happened in London on July 7, you'll love what is now planned for Gaza. Next month, the forcible expulsion of Jews from this tiny piece of territory will set the stage for further Arab terror attacks in Europe and the United States. While President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have high hopes that carving up Israel will protect their own countries, they have neglected to understand that a "disengaged" Gaza will quickly become the site for expanded terror violence against the West. They should have learned by now that the smell of carrion always inflames the vulture.

On the eve of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement from Gaza, Israel continues to ignore the obvious. The official map of Palestine remains clear and explicit. Gaza is merely the start of a long-established and never-revoked plan to dismantle Israel in "phases." This carefully-constructed cartography defines the emergent 23rd Arab state to include all of Judea/Samaria (the West Bank), Gaza and the entire state of Israel. A small slice of Jordan is also included on the map, which purposefully excludes any references to Jewish populations.

If you liked London, you'll love Israel's planned August deportation of Jews -- the prime minister's incomprehensible plan of "Land For Nothing." Following this deportation, the Palestinian Authority and its many collaborators will turn Gaza into an organized area for more ferocious Islamic attacks against selected targets in Europe and the United States. The terrorists who are responsible for the July 7 London bombings are in very close association with the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. In essence, in spite of widely-presumed distinctions, they are simply different wings of the same overarching Jihadi movement.

Manifestly delighted that Britain and America have unhesitatingly agreed to turn Israel into a present-day Czechoslovakia, al Qaeda and itsvariousPalestinian cousins fully understand that capitulation has been the West's predictable response to Islamic terror. Yes, of course America and England fight together in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this often heroic effort is strangely coincident with offering tiny Israel as a sacrificial lamb to the very same terrorist enemies. In time, this unforgivable surrender of Israel in pieces will create pieces of terrorist devastation within our own European and American heartlands.

Now London has become Tel Aviv. Tomorrow it could be New York (again), Los Angeles or Chicago. For years, British newspapers and TV news journalists have referred euphemistically to Palestinian suicide bombers as "militants." Today, however, when the victims are not just Jewish women and children in Israel, but English mothers and daughters on London buses and subways, the militants are finally called "terrorists." How desperately human beings always want to ignore what is true.

Soon the body parts will have been properly collected in London, and the affected streets and rails hosed down to a pre-incident state of cleanliness. Soon, London, like Tel Aviv, will return to "normal." Driven by an unstoppable passion for both commerce and self-delusion, British authorities will take prudent steps to ensure that the hotels stay filled and the air charters keep flying. But London, like Tel Aviv, will never return to normal until it understands exactly who is responsible for defiling its people.

Moreover, for the foreseeable future, England, like America and Israel, will also have to prepare for previously unimaginable attacks onciviliansinvolving weaponized pathogens (bioterror)and"dirty bombs" -- that is, nuclear materials dispersed over cities by conventional high explosives.

In Pericles' Funeral Speech, as recorded by Thucydides, Athens' wartime leader commented: "What I fear more than the strategies of our enemies is our own mistakes." Understood in terms of our stubborn march to repeated misfortune in America, in Europe and in Israel, Pericles' wisdom points to the mistake of underestimating one's own national vulnerabilities. For England, for America, for Israel, the only true refuge now lies in a sober awareness that we face a distinctly common enemy and that we should not capitulate to this enemy on one front while combating him on another.

For us, paradise has been bolted shut. No American, Englishman or Israeli can force an entrance there. The persisting Sharon/Peres dream of a New Middle East is based on a theoretical impossibility. Nurtured also in London and Washington, this immature dream is a curious counterpoint to reason, a childlike vision that points determinedly to mass-destruction terrorism on several fronts.

A dying civilization compromises with its disease, sometimes even nurturing the virus that produces the infection. So it is today with Israel and its supposed allies in England and the United States. If you don't like what just happened in London, you will not like what is about to take place in Gaza. "Disengagement" is a virulent compromise that will further endanger us all.

Louis Rene Beres is Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University. He has authored hundreds of monographs, books and articles dealing with strategic issues and international law.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Understanding Ourselves and Those that Hate Us

Redacted from Commentary Magazine, June, 2005

The Anti-Semitic Disease

By Paul Johnson

The author is a world renowned historian and has written Modern Times, A History of Christianity, and A History of the Jews, among many other books.

THE INTENSIFICATION of anti-Semitism in the Arab world over the last years and its reappearance in parts of Europe have occasioned a number of thoughtful reflections on the nature and consequences of this phenomenon, but also some misleading analyses based on doubtful premises. It is widely assumed, for example, that anti-Semitism is a form of racism or ethnic xenophobia. This is a legacy of the post-World War II period, when revelations about the horrifying scope of Hitler’s “final solution” caused widespread revulsion against all manifestations of group hatred. Since then, racism, in whatever guise it appears, has been identified as the evil to be fought.

But if anti-Semitism is a variety of racism, it is a most peculiar variety, with many unique characteristics. In my view as a historian, it is so peculiar that it deserves to be placed in a quite different category. I would call it an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and massively destructive. It is a disease to which both human individuals and entire human societies are prone.

The historical evidence suggests that racism, in varying degrees, is ubiquitous in human societies, so much so that it might even be termed natural and inevitable It often takes the form of national hostility, especially when two countries are placed by geography in postures of antagonism.

By contrast, anti-Semitism is very ancient, has never been associated with frontiers, and, although it has had its ups and downs, seems impervious to change. The Jews (or Hebrews) were “strangers and sojourners,” as the book of Genesis puts it, from very early times, and certainly by the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.E.

Long before the great Diaspora that followed the conflicts of Judea with Rome, they had settled in many parts of the Mediterranean area and Middle East while maintaining their separate religion and social identity; the first recorded instances of anti-Semitism date from the 3rd century B.C.E., in Alexandria. To the anti-Semitism of antiquity was added the Christian layer and then, from the time of the Enlightenment on, the secularist layer, which culminated in Soviet anti-Semitism and the Nazi atrocities of the first half of the 20th century. Now we have the Arab-Muslim layer, dating roughly from the 1920’s but becoming more intense with each decade since.

What strikes the historian surveying anti- Semitism worldwide over more than two millennia is its fundamental irrationality. It seems to make no sense, any more than malaria or meningitis makes sense. In the whole of history, it is hard to point to a single occasion when a wave of and-Semitism was provoked by a real Jewish threat (as opposed to an imaginary one). In Japan, anti-Semitism was and remains common even though there has never been a Jewish community there of any size.

Asked to explain why they hate Jews, anti-Semites contradict themselves. Jews are always showing off; they are hermetic and secretive. They will not assimilate; they assimilate only too well. They are too religious; they are too materialistic, and a threat to religion. They are uncultured; they have too much culture. They avoid manual work; they work too hard. They are miserly; they are ostentatious spenders. They are inveterate capitalists; They are born Communists. And so on.

In all its myriad manifestations, the language of anti-Semitism through the ages is a dictionary of non-sequesters and antonyms, a thesaurus of illogic and inconsistency. Like many physical diseases, anti-Semitism is highly infectious, and can become endemic in certain localities and societies. Though a disease of the mind, it is by no means confined to weak, feeble, or commonplace intellects; as history sadly records, its carriers have included men and women of otherwise powerful and subtle thoughts. Like all mental diseases, it is damaging to reason, and sometimes fatal.

Irrational thinking is common enough in each of us; when anti-Semitism is added in, irrational thinking becomes not only instinctual but systemic. An experienced anti-Semite constantly looks for “evidence” to confirm his idée fixe, and invariably finds it, just as a Marxist, looking for “proof,” constantly uncovers events that confirm his diagnosis of how the world works. Anti-Semitism is self-inflicted, which means that, by an act of will and reason, the infection can be repelled. But this is not easy to do, especially in societies where anti-Semitism has become common or the norm. What is in any case clear is that anti-Semitism, besides being self-inflicted, is also self-destructive, and of societies and governments as much as of individuals.

An important instance of this historical law is the expulsion of the Jews (along with the Moors) from Spain in the 1490’s, and the subsequent witch-hunt of New Christians, or converted Jews, by the Inquisition—a process that took place at precisely the moment when Spain’s penetration of the New World had opened up unprecedented opportunities for economic expansion. The effect of official anti-Semitism was to deprive Spain (and its colonies) of a class already notable for the astute handling of finance. As a consequence, the project of enlarging the New World’s silver mines and importing huge amounts of silver into Spain, far from leading to rational investment in a prow-industrial revolution or to the creation of modern financial services, had a profoundly deleterious impact, plunging the hitherto vigorous Spanish economy into inflation and long-term decline, and the government into repeated bankruptcy.

The beneficiaries of Spanish anti-Semitism, in the near term, were the northern (Protestant) areas of the Netherlands, where an influx of Jewish
refugees settling in Amsterdam and Rotterdam led to the accelerated development of the mercantile and financial sectors and the establishment for a time of Dutch global economic supremacy.

In the longer term, the beneficiaries were England and the United States of America. England ceased to practice institutional anti-Semitism in the mid- 17th century when Jews, who had been expelled from the country in 1790, were permitted to resettle there (and practice their religion) without the need for special privileges. This pattern was repeated in the English colonies in America, so that the new republic became, ab initio, an area where anti-Semitism. never had any force in law.

IN THE evolution of modern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, anti-Semitism once again proved self-destructive. The occupation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 led to a significant exodus of local Jews to Paris and the rapid growth of anti-Semitism in a country already long harboring the disease. One consequence was the Dreyfus affair which convulsed France for the better part of two decades. The ensuing cultural civil war weakened France in a number of ways, not least militarily, and in the early years of the 20th century helped to persuade the Germans that France would prove an easy target, as indeed it was in 1914. A longer-term effect of the Dreyfus affair was felt in the French collapse and capitulation to the Nazis in 1940, as well as in the character of the subsequent Vichy regime.

Another outstanding case was Czarist Russia. Under Catherine II, the early elements in what was to become a complex system of anti-Semitic laws were introduced in the late 18th century after the partition of Poland, which gave Russia a large Jewish minority for the first time. Thereafter, prohibitions and restrictions were constantly enlarged and made more stringent, and were reinforced by official encouragement of “popular” pogroms. The result was a large-scale migration of Jews to the West, particularly to Britain and the United States—again to the economic and cultural benefit of the Anglo-Saxon powers. Russia was correspondingly weakened, not only by the loss of talent but also by the immense increase in administrative corruption produced by the system of restrictions.

But the most notable “victim” of anti-Semitism was Germany under Hitler. Though from a humble background and poorly educated, Hider possessed a fierce intelligence, a strong artistic imagination, and great powers of articulation. As for his criminal defects and deformations, we are rightly aware of them: his inveterate thuggishness and brutality, his narrow chauvinism, his seemingly unappeasable lust for conquest and domination. And, above all, his anti-Semitism which, while exacting its toll in millions of innocent human lives, in the end proved fatal to his own world-conquering ambitions.

Once he was in power his unrelenting obsession with the Jews corroded his judgment at every turn. Anti-Semitism thus led Hitler to fight a needless war against Britain and France and then, military dominance having been effectively achieved in mainland Europe, to extend the war in such a way that he could not possibly win it. He invaded the Soviet Union, thereby giving Germany a war on two fronts—precisely the configuration he once argued had been fatal to Germany’s chances in World War I. Then, when Japan attacked the United States in December 1941, he made the totally irrational decision to declare war on America. Both these acts of madness bore the marks of a collapse of judgment brought on by the intellectual disease of anti- Semitism.

As an example of the self-destructive force of anti-Semitism, the case of Hitler and Nazi Germany is paralleled only by what has happened to the Arabs over the course of the last century. The year 1917 saw both the issuance in London of the Balfour Declaration, authorizing the creation of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, and the wartime British occupation of Jerusalem, followed thereafter by an international mandate to govern the country. In the Balfour Declaration the British pledged to use “their best endeavors” to further the national home project, but “without prejudice to the rights of the existing inhabitants.”

Had Jewish-Arab cooperation been possible from the start, and had money from oil been creatively invested in education, technology industry, and social services, the Middle East would now be by far the richest portion of the earth’s surface. This has been one of history’s greatest lost opportunities, comparable, on a much greater scale, to Spain’s mismanagement of its silver wealth in the 16th century.

Anti-Semitism, helped by an ingenious forgery, was the key to the present Arab disaster. In the l890’s, the Czarist secret police, anxious to “prove” the reality of the Jewish threat to Russia, had asked its agent in Paris to provide corroborating materials. He took a pamphlet written by Maurice Joly in 1864 that accused Napoleon III of ambitions to dominate the world; re-wrote it, substituting the Jews for Napoleon and dressing up the tale with traditional anti-Semitic details; and titled it, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In 1921, after a full investigation, the London Times published a series of articles exposing the origins of the tract and demonstrating beyond all possible doubt that it was a complete invention. But by then the damage that Deedes had warned about was done. Among those who read, and believed, the forgery was Adolf Hitler. Another was Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, head of the biggest landowning family in Palestine. Al-Husseini was already tinged with hatred of Jews, but the Protocols gave him a purpose in life: to expel all Jews from Palestine forever. He was a dedicated killer who devoted his entire life to race-murder. It was he who first recruited Wahhabi fanatics from Saudi Arabia and transformed them into killers of Jews—another tradition that continues to this day.

Over the last half-century, anti-Semitism has been the essential ideology of the Arab world; its practical objective has been the destruction of Israel and the extermination of its inhabitants. In the meantime, by allowing their diseased obsession to dominate all their aspirations, the Arabs have wasted trillions in oil royalties on weapons of war and propaganda at the margin, on ostentatious luxuries for a tiny minority. In their flight from reason, they have failed to modernize or civilize their societies, to introduce democracy or to consolidate the rule of law.

IN Europe, too, anti-Semitism has returned after being supposedly banished forever in the late 1940’s. Fueled by large and growing Muslim minorities, whose mosques and websites propagate hatred of Jews, it has also been nourished by indigenous elements, both intellectual and political.

No less worrying, to my mind, is a related European phenomenon, namely, anti-Americanism. I say “related” because anti-Semitism and anti- Americanism have proceeded hand in hand in today’s Europe just as they once did in Hitler’s mind. Like hatred of Jews, hatred of Americans can similarly be described as a form of racism or xenophobia, especially in its more vulgar manifestations. But among academics and intellectuals, where it is increasingly prevalent, it has more of the hallmarks of a mental disease, becoming more virulent, widespread, and intractable ever since the United States began to shoulder the duties of the war against international terrorism.

That anti-Americanism shares many structural characteristics with anti-Semitism is plain enough. In France, as we read in a new study, intellectuals muster as many contradictory reasons for attacking the U.S. as for attacking Jews. Americans are excessively religious; they are excessively materialistic. They are vulgar money-grubbers; they are vulgar spenders. They hate culture; they are pushy in promoting their own culture. They are aggressive and reckless; they are cowardly. They are stupid; they are exceptionally cunning. They are uneducated; they subordinate everything in life to the goal of sending their children to universities. They build soulless megalopolises; they are rural imbeciles. Americans are blamed for all the ills of today’s world, starting with (real or imaginary) global warming.

Looking at Europe as a whole, and at the continuing malaise of the Middle East, I suspect we are approaching a new crisis in the pathology of nations. Once again, America is the only physician with the power and skill to provide a cure, and one can only pray the hour is not too late for the patient to be revived.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

Britain Suddenly Discovers the "T" Word

(Or does it all depend upon whose ox is being gored?)

Now what? Will the West finally comprehend that Israel and we are in the same war? And creating another terrorist state named “Palestine” will only contribute to our own, G-d forbid, undoing. Do not hold your breath.

By Steven Plaut

Well, I am sure you were all relieved to hear that neither Red Ken
Livingston, the Commie mayor of London, nor George Galloway, the British
pro-Baathist MP, were among the victims of the al-Qaeda bombers in London.

Incredibly, the British press is actually using the "T" word. Yes, they are referring to the London Underground perps as terrorists. Why is this so unusual? Because the British media have been religiously scrupulous in
referring to all terrorists and mass murderers who attack Jews as "activists" and "militants".

It is suddenly like a parallel universe out there, not the one with which
we are familiar. The ‘activists' and ‘militants' are suddenly referred to as ‘terrorists.' Even the Guardian and the BBC have discovered the ‘T’ word. The governments of Europe, which ordinarily spend their days insisting that Israel deal with terrorists through capitulation, were suddenly enraged, expressing their disgust.

It was suddenly not a legitimate form of protest against occupation to
mass-murder civilians. The British newspapers did not issue special
editions documenting the abuses of human rights by Britain, nor bemoan the
grievances of those angry at the UN. Not a single Euro-politician made a speech denouncing the illegal British occupations of the Channel Islands and Gibraltar.

The World Court in the Hague did not begin an indictment of the UK for the
conditions of its illegal occupation of Cornwall, not to mention Scotland, Wales and Ulster. Museum and convention hall exhibits were not opened
documenting the social and economic inequalities that plague British Moslems, which obviously are what really drove the London bombers.

And the BBC has not demanded that the Brits re-examine their own behavior,
to discover which manifestation of their arrogance provoked the Al-Qaida
savages. The networks were not full of messages about how Moslems regard
Gibraltar as their own holy land and that only their liberation to Moslem control can bring peace.

The European parliament did not send millions of Euros to fund leftist
political organizations in London devoted to encouraging British soldiers
to refuse orders and to desert and refuse to serve in the army. There
were no protests against British plans to implement profiling at its
airports and train stations. The Scandinavians did not demand that the UK
open up dialogue with the bombers, and British liberals did not lecture
their countrymen about how there are no police nor military problems to
the challenges of terrorism. Human rights groups did not demand that any
captured subway terrorists be treated as prisoners of war with full Geneva
Convention privileges and good lawyers.

And unlike in Israel, British leftist professors are not (yet) marching in
solidarity with the bombers and demanding that the world establish a
boycott of British universities because of the grievances of the bombers.
British poets have not sung the praises of the bombers. Students on
British campuses are not marching with al-Qaida banners and posters of
Saddam, nor do they chant, “In Blood and Fire we will redeem thee,
Gibraltar.” British schools are not teaching the poetry composed by
al-Qaida poets, nor did the Opposition in the Parliament demand that the
British national anthem change its words to make British Moslems feel more
welcome and less alienated in the UK. British citizens who engage in
espionage for al-Qaida are not declared candidates for a Nobel Peace
Prize, voted rector of a Scotland University, nor have their posters
carried in peace marches.

The State Department Washington did not threaten trade sanctions against
Britain if it took military action against the bombers. Not a single
newscast referred to the Isle of Wight or Wessex as a settlement. The
British left did not send reps to Geneva and Oslo to negotiate secretly
with the bombers. French politicians did not puff themselves up and
lecture the British about their cruelty and insensitivity. Kofi Annan did
not demand that talks begin. The International Solidarity Movement failed
to send crews of human shields to protect the homes of al-Qaida members in
Northern London. Yale students did not announce a campaign to divest from
the UK. Tikkun magazine did not devote a special issue to the suffering
and pain of the bombers. Special teach-ins on human rights abuses by the
UK were not held at Berkeley, nor did the students re-enact street theater
in which cruel bobbies bully poor Pakistani passengers getting on trains
with large suitcases. Jimmy Carter did not offer to serve as liaison
between the government of London and the bombers.

We will know that the world has reverted to normality when it discovers
that the Madrid bombings were all somehow the fault of the Jews. Some
neo-Nazi web sites are already spreading the invention that Israeli Finance
Minister Bibi Netanyahu was warned in advance of the attacks and so stayed
in his British hotel, and so the same conspiracy kooks who claim Dem Jews
knocked down the World Trade Center on 9-11 have a new "theory".

Counterpunch, always to be relied upon to support anti-Western terrorists
even when they target Alexander Cockburn’s own homeland, has already come
out with an article that support the terrorist bombers. It runs a piece
by notorious British Neo-Nazi, Gilad Atzmon, famous for his justifying the
burning own of synagogues and so openly anti-Semitic that large numbers of
British leftists are urging the Socialist Workers Party in the UK to cut
all ties with him. Atzmon writes about the London bombings that the real
lesson should be:

"It tells us that we must never again give our votes to war criminals.
More than anything else it tells us that we have a moral duty. It is down
to us to stop our governments. It is our duty to stand up and to demand
the resignation of Blair who is responsible for the death of so many
Iraqis and arguably now many Innocent Britons. We must remember that
voting in a non-ethical politician, makes us all into active shareholders
in a criminal company. It tells us that we must never again give our
votes to war criminals."

Cockburn is truly a disciple of Oswald Mosley.

Steven Plaut (BA from Temple University, MA from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ph.D. from Princeton University) is an associate professor at the University of Haifa, Israel

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2005

Explaining Evangelical Christians, American Jews and the State of Israel

By Ruthie Blum, The International Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2005

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein discusses the difficulties he’s encountered in trying to change the attitude of American Jews toward evangelical Christians.

The Jewish community sees the evangelical leadership as operating on its own agenda,” says Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, as we chat in the Jerusalem office of his Chicago-based IFCJ. This assumed “agenda,” he explains, involves “changing the status quo in America on Church-State issues, on trying to impose a Christian nation and on eroding civil liberties.”

Rather than appreciating the unconditional support evangelicals have given the state of Israel, he claims, American Jews have been more suspicious of than sympathetic to this vast community that has been “putting its money where its mouth is” for more than two decades - to the tune, Eckstein declares of tens of millions of dollars annually.

Two major things happened in the last few years that have enabled Eckstein — who founded the IFCJ in 1983, after serving as national co-director of inter- religious affairs for the Anti- Defamation League, to make headway in bridging the interfaith gap: The rise of terrorism (in the form of September 11 and the Palestinian suicide-bombing war) and the simultaneous rise in anti-Semitism.

Feeling suddenly isolated in the world, Eckstein describes, and the Jewish community began to understand the importance of forging alliances with pro-Israel groups. This, he stresses, has not made Jews any less suspicious of ulterior political and theological motives on the part of the evangelicals. Yet it has been effective in altering what he sees as their stereotypical view of Republicans in general and evangelical Christians in particular. As for the evangelicals, he says, “They support the Jewish People and Israel because the Bible tells them to.”

Question: One of the main controversies surrounding evangelical support for Israel is the idea that it is based on the desire to convert all the Jews. As a rabbi, how do you reconcile yourself to that?

I’ve been working with evangelicals for 30 years and I can tell you there is much misconception about who they are and what their positions are. A few years ago we conducted a poll among evangelicals to find out the root of their support for Israel. Their answers were extremely interesting. For example, the main reason for their support wasn’t religious, but because of the shared values of democracy and freedom. When pressed about theology they referred to Genesis Chapter 12, verse 3, where it says that God promises Abraham: “1 will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”

In other words, they believe, God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. The Jews are the Chosen People, and therefore Christians are commanded to bless Israel and the Jews. It’s a mitzvah (fulfilled commandment resulting in a personal blessing) for them. So, it has nothing to do with “End of Time” revelations. Only a small minority held that view of the prophecy and its fulfillment.

My principle in relation to evangelicals has always been: cooperate whenever possible, oppose whenever necessary, and teach and sensitize at all times. What I’ve done a poor job at is getting traction within the Jewish community for the idea that the Jews ought to work with evangelicals the same way we do with other segments though we’re beginning to witness a slight change in that.

If we go back 25-30 years, when Jerry Falwell first appeared on the cover of Time magazine, and Jimmy Carter — a Southern Baptist, born-again Christian, was president of the United States, all of a sudden, the Jewish community started to ask, Who are these folks? The initial Jewish reaction to them was that they were all anti-Semitic, Elmer Gantry types: Southern rednecks with pick-up trucks and shotguns drinking Pabst's Blue Ribbon beer. In other words, there was a real fear, almost hatred of the Christian Right. Jews were not aware that these people supported Israel or of their importance with Israel’s survival is at stake. Western values, America itself, are at stake. As a result, my position in America among Jews is much better than it was in the past.

I’ve had four goals vis-à-vis the Jewish community and its relation to the evangelical Christians, that I call the four A’s: awareness, acknowledgement, appreciation and attitude change. I’d say that in the almost 30 years my organization has been involved in this; we have seen the achievement of the first three to a great degree. There’s awareness now that these evangelicals are supportive of Israel; people are acknowledging it. Some of them even show appreciation, but there’s been very little change in attitude.

Here’s where the media come in. Much as I hate to be one of those people who blame the media for everything, in this case, there is a clear connection. The media have created and perpetuated the negative image of Evangelicals (I believe, because the evangelicals do support the Israeli cause and also because they support GW Bush, who the media hates – jsk)

Once they acknowledge that the evangelicals support Israel, they need an explanation for the phenomenon or rather they need to explain it away, to undermine it. So, they say the support isn’t genuine but a ploy just so that Jews will come to Israel, convert to Christianity and then those who don’t will die as in the Book of Revelations.

David Parsons from the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem wrote about the difference between Judeo-Christian societies and Islamic societies being based on the Ten Commandments. Evangelicals do see what they share with Jews as a theological thing. So, there are many evangelical leaders who call Islam intrinsically different from Judaism and Christianity.

From a Jewish perspective, that is totally false, because if anything, historically Judaism had an easier time reconciling itself theologically with Islam than it did with Christianity. Christianity is much more problematic for Jews because of the Trinity of God concept, while none of the great Jewish scholars had a problem designating Islam as a monotheistic religion.

Question: What about in terms of political philosophy?

More and more Jews are beginning to see Christians as their partners in the global “Clash of Civilizations,” Like the title of Huntington’s book – in other words, Jews and Christians vs. the Wahabbism that has taken over Muslims. Yet, while evangelicals consider themselves theologically in the same boat as Jews, I don’t think Jews see themselves theologically in the same boat as evangelicals.

Question: Do evangelicals find it easier to connect with Israelis — who are not involved in internal American politics - than they do with American Jews?

There’s no question that evangelicals have little problem dealing with Israelis, from tour guides to leaders, while the American Jewish community — other than exceptions within the Orthodox community and the Jewish Right — is still reluctant to give them any kind of a platform or reach out to them. In fact, when Israeli leaders come to the US and meet with evangelical leaders, the American Jewish leadership opposes it.

Question: Doesn’t Jewish theological and political rejection cause resentment on the part of evangelicals toward the Jews?

Evangelicals don’t support Israel to please Jews; they support it because they believe in it — because God said in the Bible that they are to support Israel. It’s a commandment for them. Therefore, they don’t care whether the Jews agree with them or not. (Or, whether Jews truly believe in their own Bible or not! Jsk)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2005

The Insanity of Self-Destruction Continues

From: Outpost published by Americans for a Safe Israel, June 2005

Egypt’s Noose Tightens

As Jerusalem-based writer P. David Hornik points out: “To cap off the unfolding security nightmare [following “disengagement”], Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that “Israel is willing to gradually give up control of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip (the Philadelphi corridor), handing it over to the Egyptians within a few months of disengagement.”

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, compares this most recent folly of the Sharon government to the decision of the ancient Greeks to allow the Trojan horse to enter their city. “The strategic blindness of both decisions is equally complete,” says Steinitz.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit has already said Egypt plans to deploy 1,500 to 2000 troops along its border with Israel.

Hornik sums up: “According to the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty,
Egypt was only allowed to deploy lightly armed civilian police along its border with Israel. The newly planned contingent, however, is supposed to consist of border guards or, as Gheit put it, ‘strong enough forces to control that part of the border.’ In other words, it sounds as if the sole lasting achievement of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty -- the demilitarization of Sinai -- is well on the way to unraveling. It sounds, that is, like territorial continuity for Jihad from Cairo to the Negev.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2005

Pope Benedict II and the Jews

Pope Benedict II has not been wasting any time. Just days after his election, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a secret religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope won, they would have to leave or convert.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged, but wise, Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a "silent" debate. On the chosen day, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.

Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, that Rabbi Moishe was too clever and that the Jews could stay in Italy.

Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened.

The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He had me beaten at my every move and I could not continue."

Meanwhile the Jewish community were gathered around Rabbi Moishe. "How did you win the debate?" they asked. "I haven't a clue," said Moishe. "First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy , so I gave him the finger! Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him, we're staying right here." "And then what?" asked a woman. "Who knows?" said Moishe, "He took out his lunch so I took out mine.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005

Jews in the United States Armed Forces since 1776

By Seymour ("Sy") Brody
Published in Detroit Jewish News

On May 30, 2005, Memorial Day ceremonies were held throughout the country to remember and honor our deceased and living veterans. We also gave our respect and support to our men and women now in uniform, who are in battle with the enemies of democracy. On this Memorial Day, let us also remember our Jewish men and women, who are in the forefront of combat and those who have served our country in the past.

National Commander Louis Abramson represented the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) of the USA at Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. JWV echelons throughout the country will be involved with Memorial Day ceremonies in their areas.

As of today, there are 15 Jewish men that we know of, who have been killed in combat in Iraq. Many of our Jewish men have been wounded. From colonial times to the present, there have been over one million Jewish men and women in America’s military. There have been 17 Jewish recipients of the Medal of Honor, the highest award for bravery in combat. In 1654, when Jacob Barsimson, Asher Levy and other New Amsterdam Jews achieved the right to do guard duty it was the beginning of Jews serving in our military.

In the Revolutionary War, Jews served with distinction and honor. Lt. Col. Solomon Bush was the highest-ranking officer in the Continental Army and was decorated for bravery in battle. Francis Salvador was known as the “Paul Revere of the South” and on Aug. 1, 1776, was the first Jew to die in a Revolutionary War battle, Mordecai Sheftall acquired the reputation of the “great rebel” in fighting the British in the South. Haym Salomon was a fervent patriot and a civilian hero. His love of liberty and business acumen made him a vital force in obtaining the financing necessary for the success of the Revolutionary War.

In the War of 1812, Captain Uriah P. Levy was a naval hero. He ended the practice of flogging sailors. He also wrote many technical journals for training naval officers. He bought, restored and presented to the government the estate of President Thomas Jefferson.

The Civil War not only divided the nation, but also, the Jewish population of about 150,000. There were about 8,500 Jews in uniform: 6,000 for the North and 2,500 for the South. Their officers commended them for bravery. In 1862, rabbis were permitted to become chaplains in the military. The law stated that a chaplain had to be an “ordained Christian minister.” After much lobbying, the law was changed to read that a chaplain had to be an “ordained minister.” The word “Christian” was deleted.

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA was organized on March 15, 1896, because of anti-Semitism. In that period, Mark Twain and other writers wrote in their publications “Jews didn’t serve in the Civil War.” In response to this charge, 78 Jewish Civil War veterans met in New York City and formed the Hebrew Union Veterans, the precursor organization to the Jewish War Veterans.

Today, the JWV is the oldest veterans organization in the country. It is the only active Jewish organization with a congressional charter. It is the sponsor of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History; the only accredited veteran’s museum in the country.

In World War I, there were more than 250,000 Jews in the military: About 3,500 were killed, about 12,000 were wounded and they received about 1,135 decorations for bravery. On April 9, 1917, representatives from the Union of Hebrew Congregations, Central Conference of American Rabbis, United Synagogues of America, Council of Young Men’s Hebrew Congregation, Union of Orthodox Congregations, Aguda haRabbonim (Federation of Orthodox Rabbis) and the Jewish Publication Society created the Jewish Welfare Board for Welfare Work in the United States Army and Navy. The name was changed in March 1918 to the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB).

The JWB takes care of the spiritual and religious material needs of our Jews in the military They are also responsible for monitoring and recommending rabbi applicants for the military chaplains corps. Through the efforts of the Jewish Welfare Board and our Jewish chaplains in the military, Passover Seders are held in many combat areas.

In World War II, more than 550,000 Jewish men and women served in the U.S. armed forces. About 11,000 were killed, more than 40,000 wounded and they received 52,000 medals and citations for bravery They were a part of the military forces that opened up the gates of the concentration camps in Europe, freeing the survivors.

Jewish women were an important segment of our country’s military forces. They served with distinction in all branches of the military Two Jewish women were killed during World War II: Lt. Frances Slanger, an Army nurse, in the invasion of Normandy; and Seaman Elizabeth Korensky, U.S. Navy, in au explosion at the Norfolk - Naval Air Station.

Jews continued to be active in the military from the Korean War to the present. They are presently engaged in the combat situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are fighting terrorism to maintain our democracy.

Jews have never shirked their responsibilities in defending and fighting for our country. Jews have given the best years of their lives to protect and preserve our democracy. In their youth, Jews gave their “today” so that our children and grandchildren will have their “tomorrow.” On this Memorial Day, in remembering and paying respect to all veterans, let us also remember our Jewish men and women veterans.

Seymour “Sy” Brody is the author of, “Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America” and a former editor of “The Jewish Veteran.” He has created six
exhibits of Jews in America for the Web site of the Molly Freiberg Judaica
Collections of Florida Atlantic University He is president of the Jewish
Heroes and Heroines of America Foundation.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)