January 31, 2006

Thank you to Ehud Olmert for making the Israeli election choice so easy

Jerusalem Post International January 27, 2006 - Combined. News Sources

(JERUSALEM) -- Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Herzliya Conference on national security that Israel would implement a second unilateral disengagement from the West Bank if the Palestinians fail to fulfill their Road Map obligations. (Then what would he do if they actually fulfilled their obligations and stopped terrorism along with Hamas. I guess Olmert would be stuck for an answer. Maybe he could just raise the Palestinian flag over the Knesset as a nice gesture?) Jsk

In his first public speech since taking office as acting prime minister after Ariel Sharon’s hospitalization three weeks earlier, Olmert outlined a platform for the Kadima movement. “We support the establishment of a modern, democratic Palestinian state that will respect civil rights,” Olmert told conference attendees. “Their well-being is our well being. Their stability is our stability.” But,” he warned, “The key to advancing the political process is the Palestinians ending terrorism. We are tired of declarations and empty promises.”

“The goal of the current government and any future government under my leadership will be the “implementation of the road map as the only way to bring about peace and stability.” The existence of two national states, Jewish and Palestinian, is the complete solution for the aspiration of both nations. This includes the issue of refugees who will only be absorbed in the Palestinian State,” Olmert added, to the applause of the audience.

Olmert spoke also about the need for an Israeli pullout from parts of the West Bank. “The meaning of a Jewish state is a Jewish majority, It is the foundation of Zionism,“ he said, adding, “A Jewish majority isn’t compatible with continued Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.” Although “we don’t forget even for one moment” that “every hill in Samaria and every valley in Judea are part of our historic homeland,” Olmert affirmed, “the decision to maintain a Jewish majority in the Jewish state means surrendering part of the land of Israel.”

This is the bromide that really rankles. Israeli Jews are to leave an area every time there is a predominance of Arabs. Historically, with the superior standard of living Israel provides for its Arabs, they will continue to flock into Israel and soon again eliminate any local “Jewish majority.” And, finally, everything will all be Arab. Why not stop providing Arabs with so many benefits. Make them pay their own telephone, water bills, taxes and collect taxes themselves. Gaza is proving their governing capabilities every day. And soon as Israel cut down on its ridiculous largess to the Arabs in Judea and Samaria and the living got tougher, the Arabs left in droves. Over 100,000 quickly left for their original countries of origin - Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria. Their declared dedication to the holy land of Palestine and Jerusalem dissipated as soon as the Israeli freebies stopped coming in.)

“We won’t be able to continue to control the territory on which most of the Palestinian population lives.” The most important task facing Israel today,” Olmert maintained, “is the establishment of the final boundaries of the Jewish state.” He assured the Israeli public that Jerusalem would remain a united city, saying, “We need a clear border with a united Jerusalem. There is no Israel without a united Jerusalem as its capital.”

(Ah, the famous buzz phrase that makes everything kosher and is just as dishonest as the rest of the promises made to maintain a Jewish State. It is the final false claim with which Olmert hopes to be elected. After the election he can then fulfill his master plan - divide Jerusalem, give up the vital lands of Judea and Samaria, give up the Jordan Valley, crowd all the Israeli Jews into the Auschwitz corridor along the Mediterranean and as his final “peace” gesture, raise the Palestinian flag over the Knesset.)

Jerome S. Kaufman

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January 29, 2006

Abe Foxman of the ADL wins another award - Not exactly

By Jason Moaz, Senior Editor
The Jewish Press, January 27, 2006

The winner of the Monitor’s second annual Henry Schwarzschild Award for most offensive comments by a Jew in the public spotlight goes to Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The prize, which last year went to Israeli ultra-leftist Uri Avnery, is awarded to the person who, in the Monitor’s considered opinion, by his or her statements displays a contempt for the Jewish people, a disregard for historical truth, a desire to sup at the table of Israel’s enemies, or who otherwise plays into the hands of the enemies of Jews and Israel.

Before we get to Foxman’s words of wisdom, a little something about Henry Schwarzschild and why a prize, like this, deserves to bear his name. Schwarzschild, who died in 1996, was a longtime activist in groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Peace Fellowship. In the wake of the Israeli siege of Beirut in the summer of 1982, he wrote a letter of resignation to the journal Sh’=ma which will stand in perpetuity as a monument to the neuroses and insecurities of a secular leftist. Schwarzschild’s main points:

“For a generation now, I have been deeply troubled by the chauvinistic assumptions and repressive effects of Israeli nationalism. I have experienced the War on Lebanon of the past few weeks as a turning point in Jewish history and consciousness exceeded in importance only by the End of the Second Commonwealth and the Holocaust ... the War on Lebanon has now made clear to me that the resumption of political power by the Jewish people after two thousand years of Diaspora has been a tragedy of historical dimensions....

I now conclude and avow that the price of a Jewish state is, to me, Jewishly unacceptable and that the existence of this (or any similar) Jewish ethnic religious nation state is a Jewish, i.e. a human and moral, disaster and violates every remaining value for which Judaism and Jews might exist in history....
I now renounce the State of Israel, disavow any political connection or emotional obligation to it, and declare myself its enemy.”

Schwarzschild’s piece was immediately published in the leftist Nation magazine, and for better than two decades has remained a favorite of Jews on the Left. Tony Kushner (Steven Spielberg’s screenwriter for “Munich”) and Alisa Solomon thought so much of it that they included it in Wrestling with Zion, a compilation of essays by leftists ambivalent about Israel.

Admittedly, Schwarzschild’S sick screed is an almost impossible act to follow. Maybe someone in some year to come will match that gold standard, but until then we’re forced to make do with efforts like Foxman’s speech last November at the ADL’s national conference in which he tore into the Christian Right for what he described as its efforts “to ‘Christianize’ all aspects of American life, from the halls of government to the libraries, to the movies, to recording studios, to the playing fields and locker rooms of professional, collegiate and amateur sports, from the military to Sponge Bob Square Pants.”

Foxman’s hysterics — never employed when liberal advocacy groups attempt to ram their particular agendas through the courts and Congress — were bad enough. More egregious still was his imputing anti-Semitic sentiments to the majority of respondents in an ADL-commissioned poll. “If 60 percent think religion is under attack,” said Foxman, “who do they think is attacking them? Hollywood, the media and the ACLU? And who is behind those three institutions? The Jews, right?”

As the Monitor observed at the time, “These are the remarks of a man intent on reading the darkest implications where it is far from obvious that any exist. It’s as though Foxman wants to feed the perception among some Jews that conservative Christians opposed to liberal policies are by definition opposed to Jews and the perception among some conservative Christians that the words ‘Jewish’ and ‘liberal’ are interchangeable.”

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January 27, 2006

The Consequences of Polarization in Israeli Society

How Divided Are We?

By James Q. Wilson

Commentary Magazine, February 2006

Redacted from Wilson’s first and final paragraphs

(Please indulge me in this little word game - Just substitute the words, Israeli, Orthodox, Secular, Sharon, Netanyahu, War of Independence, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War, Knesset, Yasir Arafat - wherever you think appropriate -in the paragraphs of James Q. Wilson’s thought-provoking article below.) Jsk

THE 2004 election left our country deeply divided over whether our country is deeply divided. For some, America is indeed a polarized nation, perhaps more so today than at any time in living memory. In this view, yesterday’s split over Bill Clinton has given way to today’s even more acrimonious split between Americans who detest George Bush and Americans who detest John Kerry, and similar divisions will persist as long as angry liberals and angry conservatives continue to confront each other across the political abyss. Others, however, believe that most Americans are moderate centrists, who, although disagreeing over partisan issues in 2004, harbor no deep ideological hostility. I take the former view.

By polarization I do not have in mind partisan disagreement alone. These have always been with us. Since popular voting began in the 19th century, scarcely any winning candidate has received more than 60 percent of the vote, and very few losers have received less than 40 percent. Inevitably, Americans will differ over who should be in the White House. But this does not necessarily mean they are polarized. By polarization I mean something else: an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group definitively apart from people in another rival group.

Such a condition is revealed when a candidate for public office is regarded by a competitor and his supporters not simply as wrong but as corrupt or wicked; when one way of thinking about the world is assumed to be morally superior to any other way; when one set of political beliefs is considered to be entirely correct and a rival set wholly wrong.

In extreme form, as defined by Richard Hofstadter in The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1965), polarization can entail the belief that the other side is involved in a secret conspiracy that is using devious means to obtain control over society. Today’s versions might go like this: “Liberals employ their dominance of the media, the universities, and Hollywood to enforce a radically secular agenda”; or, "Conservatives, working through the religious Right and the big corporations, conspired with their hired neo-con advisors to invade Iraq for the sake of oil."

But, what, one might ask, is wrong with having well-defined parties arguing vigorously about the issues that matter? Is it possible that polarized politics is a good thing, encouraging sharp debate and clear positions? Perhaps that is true on those issues where reasonable compromises can be devised, but there are limits to such an arrangement.

Sharpened debate is arguably helpful with respect to domestic issues, but not for the management of important foreign and military matters. The United States, an unrivaled superpower with unparalleled responsibilities for protecting the peace and defeating terrorists, is now forced to discharge those duties with its own political house in disarray.

We fought World War II as a united nation, even against two enemies (Germany and Italy) that had not attacked us. We began the wars in Korea and Vietnam with some degree of unity, too, although it was eventually whittled away. By the early 1990’s, when we expelled Iraq, the first President Bush avoided putting the issue to Congress altogether. In 2003, we toppled Saddam Hussein in the face of catcalls from many domestic leaders and opinion makers.

Now, in stabilizing Iraq and helping that country create a new free government, we have proceeded despite intense and mounting criticism, much of it voiced by politicians who before the war agreed that Saddam Hussein was an evil menace in possession of weapons of mass destruction and that we had to remove him.

Denmark or Luxembourg can afford to exhibit domestic anguish and uncertainty over military policy; the United States (please substitute ISRAEL, if you happened to forget our word game) cannot. A divided America (Israel) encourages our enemies, disheartens our allies, and saps our resolve—potentially to fatal effect. What General Giap of North Vietnam once said of us is even truer today: America cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but it can be defeated at home. Polarization is a force that can defeat us.

JAMES Q. WILSON, a veteran contributor to COMMENTARY, is the Ronald Reagan professor of public policy at Pepperdine University in California.

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January 26, 2006

Former IDF Chief of Staff critiques Sharon’s Gaza/Judea/Samaria withdrawal

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) News Release, New York, January 25, 2006

The former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Moshe Yaalon, told the Herzliya Conference that since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and northern Israel, “Israel failed to create reliable deterrence for the future. The Arabs' refusal to recognize Israel is the source of all the violence directed against it from the dawn of Zionism to this day … [even] the 1967 borders do not provide an answer to the threat of rocket attacks and suicide bombing attacks, nor do they provide an answer to the threat of conventional attacks" (Ynet, Jan. 23).

Excerpts from General Yaalon's address:

“ Gaza has turned into "Hamastan, Hizbullahstan and al-Qaedastan … Israel's unilateral withdrawals were perceived as escape from the rocket threat. Israel failed to create reliable deterrence for the future."

"The 1967 borders do not provide an answer to the threat of rocket and suicide bombing attacks, nor do they provide an answer to the threat of conventional attacks. In order to withstand terror we must remain firm in the belief in the justice of our ways; post and anti-Zionist trends have infiltrated public debate and the decision-making process."

"The Palestinians do not recognize our right to live within the 1967 borders. Their decision to wage war in September 2000 was aimed at dodging the need to recognize Israel as a sovereign state."

"As long as there is no acceptance of our right to exist, the Israeli leadership should assume any determined border will be challenged by violent acts, unless there is deterrence. The more vulnerable we appear, the bigger the temptation is to attack us."

Yaalon has warned also previously about the dangers of the Gaza/northern Samaria withdrawal and dealing with Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA):

"We thought, and I was one of them, that Mahmoud Abbas will lead the Palestinian Authority in another direction than Yasser Arafat … I haven't seen leadership on the Palestinian side that is ready for a two-state solution … [Abbas] appears as weak. He is not so weak … He uses weakness as an excuse not to take necessary steps like dismantling terrorist groups within the PA, preferring to keep them in power as a tool … do not underestimate the Palestinian threat" (Israel Insider, November 5, 2005).

"There will be an eruption. Terrorist attacks of all types: shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars, Qassam rockets ... there is a high probability of a second war of terror which will begin in the West Bank … The disengagement will not create a situation of stability. Therefore, I do not rule out the possibility that the Army will return to the Gaza Strip at some point … the establishment of a Palestinian state would lead to war, and such a war could be dangerous for Israel. The idea that a Palestinian state can be established by 2008, and will then produce stability is divorced from reality and dangerous and will be a state that will try to undermine Israel … When the PA permits Hamas to take part in the elections without abandoning its firearms, is that democracy? Its gang, armed gangs playing at pretend democracy. If Fatah continues to behave as it does now, Hamas will eventually take over the Gaza Strip … A two-state solution is simply not relevant. It is a story that the western world tells with western eyes. And that story does not comprehend the scale of the gap and the scale of the problem. We, in Israel, are also sweeping it under the rug." (Haaretz, June 1, 2005).

"I fear that the Gaza disengagement plan will blow up in our faces" (Addressing Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Jerusalem,. February 18, 2005).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "General Yaalon has warned with great consistency and detail about the erosion of Israeli deterrent power and the increase in the danger to the lives of Israelis stemming form a policy of unilateral withdrawals and refusal to recognize Palestinian non-acceptance of Israel. Unfortunately, events have shown that Yaalon is correct – as the ZOA has pointed out on earlier occasions, there has been a huge increase in rocket attacks upon Israel from Gaza, a massive increase in offensive weaponry being brought into Gaza, now that Israel no longer controls the Gaza-Egypt border, and more and more cities and towns within Israel are in danger of attack. As Caroline Glick warned in December when addressing the ZOA National Dinner in New York, there is a grave danger in Israel failing to recognize that it cannot simply make its own borders and pretend that the Palestinians will cease to attack it.

"We strongly urge both the Israeli and US governments to recognize the correctness of General Yaalon's remarks and to cease basing policy on the belief that unilateral concessions can purchase peace and security. Only yesterday, President Bush said ' Israel is our ally. We're committed to the safety of Israel, and it's a commitment we will keep.' The President was speaking about the threat to Israel from Iran, but to be truly committed to Israel's security, it is important, as Yaalon warned last November, not to concentrate solely on Iran, saying 'do not underestimate the Palestinian threat.' The ZOA hopes that General Yaalon's words will be heeded."

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January 23, 2006

U.S. Holocaust Museum ignores Arab/German Complicity

By Shelomo Alfassa
The Jewish Press, January 20, 2006

The United States Holocaust Memorial museum in Washington is America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. Yet this premier public-private organization is deficient in its scholarship, leaving out of the historical record any reference to the 1930’s and 1940’s Nazi- Arab conspiracy — no doubt yet one more instance of political correctness trumping truth.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) was officially chartered by a unanimous act of Congress in 1980 and inaugurated in 1993. This grand facility on the National Mall receives millions of yearly visitors who come to learn the truth about what happened during the Holocaust. You wouldn’t think so, but USHMM is the second most popular Washington tourist attraction after the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

The USHMM mission statement describes the Holocaust as the “Systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.” This is not just an incomplete description — it is - erroneous.

Today historians and genocide scholars realize that Hitler’s hand and influence stretched across North Africa from Morocco to Egypt and through the Arab countries to the north and east. The goal of the German leadership was to cleanse not only Europe but also the whole world of Jews.

Though the primary mission of USHMM is to advance and disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust, the museum has made no effort, in either its permanent or exhibits to educate Americans about the role top Islamic leaders played in the Holocaust.

For example, the museum fails to recognize or discuss the Holocaust-era pogrom known as the Farhud, perpetuated by a pro-Nazi coup in Iraq in June 1941. The museum maintains an unspoken taboo against conducting programs or sponsoring research on the Farhud, the deportation of Jews from North Africa to concentration camps, or the relationship of Nazis and Islamic leaders in Egypt, Syria, etc. It is a documented fact that Islamic troops under direction of the Nazis played a significant role in the Holocaust. This is not opinion or “anti-Islamic sentiment” — it is fact.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum declares that it stands as “The nation’s preeminent institution for Holocaust education and remembrance,” even while it overlooks the fact that Hitler and the Islamic leadership conspired together to murder the Jews in both the Balkans and the Arab countries. And while USHMM says it serves as the world’s pre-eminent center “for scholarly research of the Holocaust,” visitors will not find among its exhibits documents or information regarding the intimate relationship between Hitler and Amin al-Husseini, the Islamic leader (grand multi) of Jerusalem.

Al Husseini made an important contribution to the Axis war effort by recruiting 20,000 Bosnian Muslims in Croatia to serve in SS units. Known as the Handjar (Sword) legion, these Nazis murdered 90 percent of the Jews in Bosnia, hunted for Jews in Croatia, and served as auxiliary police in Hungary. In 1943 the Multi established the Arab Institute for Research into the Jewish Question in Berlin, an Arab version of the existing German model that was actually financed by Nazi funds.

A1-Husseini was the uncle of the late Arab terror chief Yasir Arafat. Born Mohamed Abdel-Raouf al Husseini, Arafat shortened his name to obscure his relation to his notorious Nazi uncle. Even so, al Husseini would help Arafat by playing a central role in the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, using his influence to raise fluids for the terrorist organization.

In time, Nazi ideas seeped into the Arab world. Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published in Arabic and the Nazis supplied informational “bulletins” to the Arab press. Nazi agents encouraged Arab nationalists to travel to Germany and study there, while movie theaters in Beirut, Aleppo, and Damascus received German propaganda films and newsreels. The Ba'ath Socialist Party in Iraq existed until the capture of Saddam Hussein, got its start following the mold of German National Socialism.

A quasi-government organization like the American Red Cross, USHMM is funded in large part by American taxpayers. In 1994 USHMM had a budget of $11 million; by 2000 it was up to $21 million, an increase of 91 percent. The museum is supported by a combination of government and private funds, with the U.S. shelling out over 60 percent of the funding. In fiscal year 2003, the budget was $57.2 million ($38.4 federal; $18.8 private).

An internal USHMM 2004 Performance and Accountability Report declared that the museum’s work “has never been more pertinent or more urgent.” That may be so, but while Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, is discussing the German-Arab ties and while the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust devotes more space to the Mufti of Jerusalem than to any Nazi leader other than Hitler, USHMM continues to ignore the ugly truth.

USHMM has exhibits on the genocide in the Eastern Congo and Rwanda and on the persecution of homosexuals, but it makes no mention of Arab anti-Semitism — not of its history in the last century or of its current existence. Other than one brief sentence on anti-Semitism in a Muslim context by Dr. Aron Rodrigue of Stanford University, the USHMM website has nothing on Arab anti-Semitism.

Hitler is long gone, but the paradigm he created by inciting the Arabs join with him remains very much with us today and is one of the main reasons for the virulent anti-Semitism of the Arab world. Mein Kampf is selling briskly in Islamic countries to hungry readers while new generations of Arab children are being indoctrinated to hate Jews. Little wonder, then, that Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and many Jewish academic and social organizations are calling on USHMM to include the relationship between Hitler and al Husseini in its presentation of Holocaust history. Full-page advertisements have been placed in Jewish publications and public forums have been scheduled. The goal is to ensure that the history recorded at USHMM is both accurate and fully inclusive.

Shelomo Alfassa is director of the International Society for Sephardie Progress

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January 21, 2006

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. presents an eye-opening assessment of Ariel Sharon’s legacy to Israel and the Free World

The Washington Times, January 21, 2006

Historians know a departed leader’s legacy cannot be assessed accurately until many years have passed, let alone before he is technically even gone. Yet, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may be the exception that proves the rule. Few statesmen have worked harder or more self-consciously at defining their “place in history” In recent years, particularly as he and his family became embroiled in a corruption scandal, he strove to ensure he would not be remembered for his controversial role in the 1982 massacres in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps.

Instead, Ariel Sharon curried favor with his critics by re-casting himself as a peacemaker. Though he justified his unilateral “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip as a security measure, its true character was evident in the fact he was suddenly lionized by those on the left who reviled him for decades.

Overnight, he joined the peculiar pantheon reserved by the world for Israeli leaders who surrender territory to Israel’s enemies in hopes the Jewish State would thereby, somehow be left alone in peace. Second, Mr. Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal legacy was a distinctly personal accomplishment. It seems unlikely any other Israeli politician could have pulled it off. But Mr. Sharon did, thanks to his reputation as a brilliant military general, his credentials as a lifelong “hawk” on security and the famed tenacity that enabled him to “bulldoze” first his opponents, and then the Israeli communities in Gaza.

Third, after only four months, the repercussions of the Sharon surrender of Gaza are becoming frighteningly clear. As my brilliant colleague, Caroline Glick, put it in her column in the Jerusalem Post two weeks ago: Today, as the Palestinian Authority has ceased to operate in any coherent manner; as the Egyptian border with Gaza has been open for terror traffic for three months; and as Hamas has emerged as the most prevalent force in Palestinian politics and society; it is impossible to deny that Sharon’s decision to withdraw Israeli forces from Gaza and northern Samaria has vastly empowered Palestinian terrorists. Today, the Gaza Strip has become one of the most active and dangerous bases for jihad terrorism in the world!

Moreover, had Ariel Sharon not been struck down by ill-health at this juncture, his ultimate legacy would likely have been even more damning. He was determined to effect a similar, unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank. There, too, Israeli forces’ departure would have been marked by claims of victory over the Jews by those determined to destroy them. There, too, the assertion terror works would justify more of it. There, too, the upshot would likely have been anarchy, at best, at worst, an incipient state-sponsor of terror under a Taliban-style Islamofascist Hamas. The danger posed by such an enclave on one or both sides of Israel will not be confined to the Jewish State. As we saw in Afghanistan prior to September 11, 2001, safe havens for al Qaeda and its Islamist friends are a threat to the entire Free World, including its leader, the United States.

For this reason, much as the passing — politically, if not physically — of Ariel Sharon might be seen as a tragedy for his loved ones and for many Israelis, it may prove providential for his country, and ours. It affords an opportunity for sober reflection about the wisdom of Mr. Sharon’s policies and their repercussions. No longer will Israel be driven headlong by a man who clearly felt he was nearly out of time and was determined to carry out his vision, with little regard for the consequences. Now, Israel and other freedom-loving nations have an opportunity to reckon with the effects of the Gaza withdrawal, before compounding them with further “disengagements” in the West Bank. The Israelis must find ways to deal with the Kassam rockets increasingly fired by Palestinian terrorists, mocking the idea separation alone will secure the Jewish State.

The same goes for the border with Egypt now traversed with impunity by smugglers of evermore-dangerous arms — including, it appears, surface-to-air missiles capable of downing airliners flying into and out of Israeli airspace. Allowing such weapons and those who would wield them free rein in much of the West Bank could cripple Israel’s critically important tourist industry, its economy and in time the country as a whole.

The interlude due to Mr. Sharon’s departure should allow Israel and the rest of the Free World to focus on another, far more pressing problem: the mortal threat of an Islamofascist Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the old general’s absence may make decision making an action more difficult. But, as the saying goes, “the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wondrously.” An Iranian regime bent on “wiping Israel off the map” and “a world without America” represents such an existential threat that the leadership and will must be found to deny Tehran the means to act on these ambitions. If we fail to do so, historians may see Ariel Sharon’s weakening of his country in the face of its enemies as the precursor to a devastating new phase in the war for the Free World.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and lead-author of “War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2006

During the Palestinian Authority “Truce” with Israel

By Margot Dudkevitch
Jewish Press, January 6, 2005

JERUSALEM—As Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee and Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade announced an end to their self-declared truce of January 2005 under which they pledged to refrain from attacking Israeli targets, an annual summary of terror activities for 2005 released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Sunday revealed that a total of 2,990 terror attacks were launched against Israeli targets in 2005.

The attacks occurred after the truce was announced, the report stated. According to the report, motivation among all the terror groups to attack Israel remains high, with the number of monthly terror alerts averaging 57. There was a significant increase in Kassam rocket attacks on Israel, with 377 recorded, compared with 309 in the previous year. At the same time there was a decrease in mortar shelling with 848 launched in 2005 compared with 1231 in 2004. There was a drastic drop in terror attacks launched from the Gaza Strip last year, with 1,205 attacks carried out in 2005 compared with 2,637 in 2004.

With the IDF pullout from the Gaza Strip in September 2005 — and especially after Israeli troops no longer maintained a presence on the Philadelphi corridor between Egypt and Rafah — terror groups succeeded in smuggling vast quantities of explosives and weaponry into Gaza from Egypt, the report noted. The 200 anti-tank grenades, 350 anti-tank rockets, and a number of antiaircraft missiles were among the arms smuggled from Egypt to terror groups in Gaza during September 12-18 alone.

Terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip continued to strengthen their capabilities in preparation for the renewal of violence. Despite assurances by Palestinian security personnel that they were preventing the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, many instances members of the Palestinian security forces received bribes in order to “turn a blind eye,” the Security Agency said.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2006

Finally a pittance of justice after 65 years of hell, sick avarice, unconscionable delay and centuries of congenital anti-Semitism

I Austria rules stolen art to be returned
II Zionist Organization of America’s legal department under chief attorney Susan B. Tuchman seeks justice for Jews.

VIENNA, Austria - (Associated Press, January 17, 2006)

It was a seven-year legal struggle with dazzling stakes — five precious paintings by Austrian icon, Gustav Klimt, that a California woman says were stolen from her Jewish family by the Nazis.

(Why do I hate that word, "Nazis" so vehemently? Because, by connotation, it exonerates the German people, as if just a handful of crazies in black boots and knickers were the only culprits. Did you ever see the newsreels of the time with thousands and thousands of rabid Germans, not Nazis, hysterically applauding Hitler while he cursed the Jews and demanded their Final Solution? Did you ever read, Daniel Goldhagen’s, Hitler’s Willing Executioners? Were they just “Nazis” or were they Germans, Poles, French, Hungarians, Greeks, Belgique, Latvians. Lithuanians, Dutch, etc. etc. How about finally, 65 plus years after the fact, calling a spade, a spade?) Jsk

Now, a court ruling made public on Monday probably will resolve the high-profile case against Austria’s government in her favor. The Austrian arbitration court determined the country legally is obligated to give the paintings to Maria Altmann, the heir of the family who owned them before the Nazis (Germans) took over Austria in 1938, the Austria Press Agency reported. Altmann said she was awakened by a telephone call from her attorney at 7:30 a.m. Monday with the good news. “I tell you, frankly, I had a very good feeling the last few days. I had a very positive ‘feeling thinking things will go all right,” said Altmann, reached by. telephone at her home in Los Angeles. “I'm thrilled that it came to this end.”

Though the court’s ruling is non-binding, both parties previously have said they will abide by it, and Austria’s government is expected to give up the works of art that have been displayed for decades in Vienna’s ornate Belvedere castle. That would represent the costliest concession since Austria began returning valuable art objects looted by the Nazis. The pictures have been estimated to be worth at least $150 million. The case stemmed from a 1998 Austrian law that required federal museums to review their holdings for any works seized by the Nazis and determine whether they were obtained without remuneration.

II Zionist Organization of American Legal Department demands justice

We are pleased to enclose a copy of an amicus (‘friend of the court”) brief (not included here) that the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice (ZOA-CLJ) recently filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in support of an Egyptian Jewish family’s claims against the Coca-Cola Company.

The Bigio family owned land and factories in Egypt since 1932, and Coca-Cola was a long-time customer. When the Egyptian government confiscated the family’s property in the 1960’s because they were Jewish, Coca-Cola remained a customer, paying Egypt for products that rightfully belonged to the Bigios. In about 1993, Coca-Cola purchased the property from an Egyptian government-owned company. Before the sale was completed, the Bigios reminded Coca-Cola in writing that they were the rightful owners and should be compensated, but Coca-Cola went ahead with the purchase without compensating them. When the family sued Coca-Cola in the federal district court in New York, the court decided that it could hear the case, but concluded that the more appropriate forum to resolve the dispute is a court in Egypt.

The Bigios appealed that decision and asked the ZOA-CLJ to submit a brief in support of their appeal. Our brief shows that the hatred of Jews is deeply ingrained in Egyptian society -- even by the government-sponsored media -- and demonstrates that there is no reasonable likelihood that the family’s claims could be decided fairly and impartially by an Egyptian court. For example, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has become a bestseller in Egypt, and a 30-part series based on The Protocols was broadcast on mainstream Egyptian television.

The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists endorsed our brief. This important group is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, which is based in Israel and was founded by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and the late Israeli Supreme Court Justice Haim Cohen.

Exposing the truth about what happened to Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and obtaining justice for the injuries they suffered are among the many objectives of the ZOA Center for Law

Very truly yours,

Susan B. Tuchman, Esq.
Director, ZOA Center for Law and Justice

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2006

Mis-informed “Conventional Wisdom”

By William Krystol, Editor of the Weekly Standard
January 16, 2006

It is conventional wisdom. In fact, it’s more than conventional wisdom. It’s an article of faith among the enlightened: There was no connection, at least no significant connection, between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Senate minority leader Harry Reid put it this way: “There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq.” His colleague, Carl Levin, member of both the Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee, says Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda was “non-existent.” Senators Reid and Levin are Democrats, to be sure. But few prominent Republicans have challenged these assertions. And the Bush administration has been as quiet as a mouse—and just as meek. So the conventional wisdom reigns.

We have long dissented from this conventional wisdom. We have argued in these pages (Weekly Standard) that the connections between Saddam and terrorists were substantial and significant. Stephen Hayes—among others—has reported over the past three years on extensive evidence of terror ties to Saddam’s regime. In our judgment, the evidence for such ties has become more convincing, not less, as more information has become available.

Can we ever really know the whole truth—or almost the whole truth? Yes. How? Let us—all of us—read the mass of documents captured after the fall of the Saddam regime. Stephen Hayes’s reporting, including his article in this issue (Weekly Standard January 16, 2006) suggests to us that these documents would confirm the argument for a terror connection. But let everyone make up his own mind, based on his own reading of the documents.

The U.S. government should release the aforementioned documents. It should authenticate documents where possible, and then release them promptly, as they are authenticated. Or, if that is too onerous a process—and lots of time has already gone a-wasting-—it should simply release all the documents, perhaps with whatever is known about their provenance and likely authenticity, and let news organizations, experts, and others make their own judgments. Aren’t most of these documents classified? Actually, no. And why should they be? After all, Saddam’s regime is gone, all the information is at least three years old - and where there are still actionable items relating to individuals, that information could of course be redacted. Perhaps a few documents could not be released. But a great many could be.

In fact, some of these documents have already been the subject of media reports:

(1) A 1992 internal Iraqi Intelligence memo lists Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset in “good contact” with the Iraqi Intelligence section in Damascus. The Defense Intelligence Agency told 60 Minutes the document is authentic.

(2) Another internal Iraqi Intelligence memo, this one from the mid-1990s, reports that a Sudanese government official met with Uday Hussein and the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in 1994, in order to set up meetings between bin Laden and Iraqi Intelligence in Sudan. According to the Iraqi document, bin Laden was “approached by our side” after “presidential approval” for the liaison was given.

The former head of Iraqi Intelligence Directorate 4 met with bin Laden on February 19, 1995. Bin Laden requested that Iraq’s state-run television network broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda; the document states that the Iraqis agreed to honor this request. The al Qaeda leader also proposed “joint operations against foreign forces” in Saudi Arabia; there is no Iraqi response provided in the documents. When bin Laden left Sudan for Afghanistan in May 1996, the Iraqis sought “other channels through which to handle the relationship, in light of his current location.” The ITS memo directs that “cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement.” Pentagon analysts told the New York Times that the document appears authentic.

(3) Another set of Iraqi Intelligence documents were recovered by two journalists scouring the bombed-out headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in Baghdad. The documents, taken from the US accounting department, show that on February 19, 1998, the Iraqi Intelligence Service had finalized plans to bring a “trusted confidant” of bin Laden’s to Baghdad in early March.

The following comes from the Telegraph’s translations of the documents:
The envoy is a trusted confidant and known by them. According to the above mediation we request official permission to call Khartoum station to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq. And that our body carry all the travel and hotel expenses inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden, the Saudi opposition leader, about the future of our relationship with him, and to achieve a direct meeting with him.

A note at the bottom of the page from the director of one IIS division recommends approving the request, noting, “we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden.” Four days later, on February 23, final approval is granted. “The permission of Mr. Deputy Director of Intelligence has been gained on 21 February for this operation, to secure a reservation for one of the intelligence services guests for one week in one of the first class hotels.”
The al Qaeda emissary came to Baghdad on March 5, 1998. Notes in the margins of the Iraqi Intelligence memos indicate that someone named, or using the name, Mohammed E Mohammed stayed as the guest of Iraqi Intelligence in Room 414 of the Al Mansour Melia Hotel. The documents note that bin Laden’s envoy extended his trip by one week, departing on March 16. The U.S. intelligence community has these documents and believes that they are authentic.

Why can’t the American public be permitted to read these documents in their entirety—and all the rest?

The Bush administration has shied away from engaging the issue of Saddam and his terror ties. This is both foolish and unmanly. The president is neither. It is past time that he insist that his subordinates get the facts out. Then we can have a serious debate, and reach a better-grounded judgment, about the terror connection. Our reporting so far convinces us of the reality and the significance of the terror connection. But we want all the facts— and we trust the purveyors of the conventional wisdom will join us in asking for all the facts as well.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2006

Is Israel writing the preface for her own Final Solution? G-d Forbid!

By Louis Rene Beres
Professor of International Law, Purdue University

The Jewish Press, January 6, 2006

Increasingly rapid nuclearization in Iran carries especially serious existential risks for Israel. Already well aware of this, the Jewish State’s political and military leadership is currently examining and updating all elements of its still undeclared and un-codified nuclear strategy. Here it should be carefully understood that each of Israel’s developing nuclear adversaries will be more or less animated by a Jihad-based version of Islam, and that Israel’s own emerging military strategy of survival (deterrence; defense; preemption) must therefore be founded upon associated assumptions of inevitable enemy aggression and even outright enemy irrationality.

There is also the related issue of a Palestinian state. When an independent state of Palestine is declared in the not-too-distant future, on Jewish territories carved out of the still-living body of Israel, it will become an optimal platform for future Islamic war and terrorism. But the truly existential threat posed by this platform could require some antecedent form of Israeli nuclear disarmament. Once a new enemy state and its allies believed that Israel had bent sufficiently to “nonproliferation” demands, the pertinent Islamic military strategy would progress from terror to war, from attrition to annihilation. In this respect, any expression of Israeli denuclearization could represent the last nail in Israel’s coffin.

Lest anyone think that Israel’s unilateral nuclear disarmament is inconceivable and beyond question, consider that certain of the country’s “leading” academic strategists continue to make this unimaginable recommendation. Moreover, their peculiar view has recently been supported in parts of a high-level report (November 2005) issued by the highly respected Washington Institute For Near East Policy.

For many people, it is difficult to ever imagine nuclear weapons as anything other than inherently evil implements of destruction. Yet, there are circumstances wherein a state’s possession of such weapons may be all that protects it from catastrophic war or genocide. Moreover, because such terrible weapons may deter international aggression, their possession could also protect neighboring states (friends and foes) from war-related or even nuclear-inflicted harms. It follows that not all members of the Nuclear Club need be a menace. Indeed, some may offer a distinct and indispensable benefit to world peace and security. This point should already be perfectly obvious to anyone who remembers the history of the Cold War.

Let us speak specifically here of Israel. Should it be deprived of nuclear forces because of misunderstood hopes for peace, the Jewish State could then become vulnerable to overwhelming and unspeakable attacks from certain enemy states — most worrisome of all, from Iran. Although such existential vulnerability might be prevented in principle by instituting parallel forms of chemical/biological weapons disarmament among these enemy states, such parallel steps would never actually take place. After all, verification of compliance in these matters is exceedingly difficult. Such verification would be especially problematic where several Islamic states would be involved.

Nuclear weapons are not the problem per se. In the persistently bad neighborhood that we know as the Middle East, the problem is a far-reaching and essentially unreconstructed Islamic commitment to “excise the Jewish cancer.” Faced with this profoundly genocidal religious commitment, Jerusalem should soon understand fully that the “Road Map” — like Oslo — is little more than another temporary enemy expedient, a nicely-phrased stratagem designed to sound reasonable and lawful as it simultaneously weakens Israel to the point where it can no longer endure.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, at least one Arab state that is now formally “at peace” with Israel remains effectively at war with the Jewish State. There can be little doubt that Egypt, should tactical opportunities arise, would quickly revert to its traditional stance, joining enthusiastically in joint Arab/Islamic attacks against Israeli population centers and certain military targets. Syria, should it sometime sign a comparable peace agreement with Israel, would surely not hesitate to abrogate that agreement if Damascus felt the time were right for a gainful final assault.

With nuclear weapons Israel could deter enemy unconventional attacks and most large conventional aggression. With such weapons, Israel could also launch non-nuclear preemptive strikes against enemy state hard targets that threaten Israel’s annihilation. (At the moment such strikes appear especially vital as viable defensive options) Without these weapons, such acts of anticipatory self-defense would likely represent the onset of a much wider war because there could be no compelling threat of Israeli counter-retaliation. It follows that Israel’s nuclear weapons represent an indispensable impediment to the actual use of nuclear weapons and to the commencement of regional nuclear war.

As Prime Minister, Shimon Peres once expressed an inexplicable willingness to “give up the atom” in exchange for “peace.” This strategic largesse was a splendid example of what we international law professors call “naive legalism.” Left to depend upon the hollow security guarantees of Israel’s mortal enemies, the Jewish State, denuclearized and incrementally dismembered by the Road Map, could not long survive. Indeed, as war and genocide need not necessarily be mutually exclusive, and as murderers in the missile age would no longer need to transport victims to the gas, a denuclearized and dismembered Israel would inevitably invite another “Final Solution.” Jerusalem, take heed.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with nuclear strategy and nuclear war and is Chair of Project “Daniel.” A story in the December 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly deals, in part, with Professor Beres and the “Daniel” project on Israeli nuclear posture.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2006

What do you know about Moses Maimonides, the Rambam?

Excerpted from a review of the book Maimonides by Sherwin B. Nuland
Review is by David E. Lowe, The Weekly Standard, December 12, 2005

Among post-Talmudic Jewish scholars, Moses Maimonides stands alone. His commentaries on the oral law, codification of rabbinic ordinances, and writings incorporating Aristotelian principles into Jewish belief—each a monumental achievement—address the most profound questions faced by modern man and offer fresh insights into the human condition many centuries after they were written.

But Maimonides was much more than a scholar, and in the latest chronicle of his life and work, the physician-author Sherwin Nuland emphasizes his roles as a court physician in 12th-century Egypt, and as a statesman whose authority came to be recognized in Jewish communities throughout the world.
Maimonides is one of the first two volumes—the other is a biography of the biblical David by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky—of an ambitious project of Nextbook and Schocken entitled “Jewish Encounters,” whose subjects range from Yehuda Halevi to Marc Chagall, from messianism to “Jews and power.”

In light of his scholarly output, it is all the more remarkable that the life of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known in Hebrew literature by the acronym “Rambam” and in the West, since the Renaissance, by the Greek name Maimonides, was beset by turbulence, uprootedness, and, in his later years, a physically exhausting workload.

Born in Cordoba under Muslim rule, the young Moses received tutoring from his father, Rabbi Maimon ben Joseph, a dayyan (judge) of the rabbinical court of Cordoba, as well as from others versed not only in Jewish law but also such secular subjects as philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. The takeover of Cordoba during Moses’ bar mitzvah year by the Alhomades, a fanatical Muslim sect that presented non-Muslims with the choice of conversion or death, forced his family to abandon an ancestral home that had produced eight generations of scholars.

The family’s wanderings eventually led it to the North African city of Fez, but continued persecution at the hands of the Almohades forced Maimonides to take a hazardous voyage to Palestine, then in the grip of the Crusades. Ultimately, he settled in Cairo, after a brief stay Alexandria.

(One reason he would give for the need to codify Jewish law would be to make it comprehensible to those Jews perpetually moving from place to place, and therefore unable to take the time to study it.)

With the financial support of his half-brother, David, a dealer in precious stones, he was able to spend the next period writing and serving as a leader of Egyptian Jewry. David’s untimely death at sea while on a business trip removed that source of support. It also delivered a devastating personal blow. Maimonides’ outspoken opposition to the practice of the day—allowing rabbis and scholars to live off community support—led him to pursue the practice of medicine.

Eventually, he became one of the physicians of al-Fadil, the vizer of Saladin, who had become the virtual ruler of Egypt. It was during his years as a physician that Maimonides completed his two most significant works, the Mishneh Torah, an unprecedented codification of Jewish law, and the Guide for the Perplexed, a treatise that made use of scientific and philosophical concepts to explain complicated passages from Biblical and rabbinic literature. Although these works were vastly different from one another in terms of Maimonides’ objectives and the audience he sought to address, he developed both from the premise that religion can, and should be, informed by rational philosophy.

It was his view, in the words of Rabbi David Hartman, that “love and reverential fear of G—d, the two ultimate goals of Judaism, may be realized through knowledge of the natural and divine sciences.” As Maimonides himself expressed it, far from being at odds with faith and belief, “it is through wisdom, in an unrestricted sense, that the rational matter that we receive from the law through tradition is demonstrated.”

These works would not only help establish his reputation but would also make Maimonides a figure of controversy, both during his life and for centuries after his death. While the conflict between tradition and reason did not begin with Maimonides, his writings, which included frequent denunciations of the religious authorities of the day, brought it to the fore. For example, the very notion that one could presume to “codify” the vast oral law of the Talmud was seen as a threat to religious authority by making study of the sacred rabbinic texts superfluous, despite Maimonides’ contention that his intention was, in fact, to stimulate further study.

Maimonides, who wrote with bold self-confidence, was not one to shrink from controversy, and many of the debates he provoked stemmed from allegoric explanations of Talmudic texts and Biblical tales, his conception of the proper understanding of anthropomorphism and attempts to rationalize miracles …

David E. Lowe is vice president for government and external relations at the National Endowment for Democracy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

Israel’s very own Stockholm/ Patty Hearst Syndrome

From Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA), January 4, 2006

“The following is not a parody. It does, however, reflect what happens frequently in Israel when people struggle to find a way to merge reality with ideology. As in the story of the philosopher who climbed out of the pit by hypothesizing that there was a ladder …

Israel territorial withdrawal supporters overcome the problems created by their ideologically driven agenda by hypothesizing that leaving territory doesn't matter. This is nothing new on the Israeli scene. For years ex-brass who support retreat from the Golan have been arguing that Israel can leave by hypothesizing that the Syrian/Israel military balance would remain the same for eternity.”


-- The government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, planning a withdrawal from the West Bank by 2009, has sponsored an effort to redefine Israel's national security doctrine. Government sources said the high-level panel of experts was formulating a doctrine that would end Israel's traditional stress on strategic depth. They said the new doctrine would deem the West Bank and Golan Heights as lacking strategic significance amid the Palestinian insurgency and the prospect of Iranian nuclear attack.

"Many of these concepts have already been adopted by the military," a
government source familiar with the panel said. "The panel would employ
these concepts as part of a proposed national security doctrine."

The panel has been headed by Sharon's longtime confidant, former Israeli
Finance Minister Dan Meridor. (Under possible indictment for Israel’s own Jericho-Arab, casino gambling pay-off to Sharon family. The panel also included Israeli National Security Adviser Giora Eiland and his deputy, Itamar Yaad. The military was represented by an unidentified senior air force officer.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2006

Good News for a change! Conflict and Connection by Moshe Aumann Gefen

Robert Aumann’s (Nobel Prize winner) little brother.

(Excerpted from a review of his new book by Orley Halpern ,The Jerusalem Post International, December 29, 2005)

As Pope John Paul II was eulogized by world leaders, one poignant image kept recurring throughout the mourning period — that of the Polish-born pontiff, his head lowered in reverence, his lips quivering in hushed prayer, placing a note in the Western Wall on a sunny Jerusalem day. The note spoke of past transgressions committed by the Church against its Jewish brethren, but was forward looking, calling for further religious harmony and dialogue.

This act signified a climactic episode in the historic papacy of Pope John Paul II. His piecemeal efforts at reconciliation with the Jewish people had turned wholesale, culminating with the Holy Father’s pilgrimage to Israel. The overtures reflected the sensibilities of a holy man whose adolescent years were shaped by war in Europe and deep-seated anti-Jewish propaganda at home. Jewish neighbors and friends were identified, ridiculed and then vanished, Perhaps guilt-ridden and possibly tormented, by engaging the Jewish people, Pope John Paul H charted a new course for the Catholic Church.

Rapprochement between Christians and Jews, though, is not confined to the Catholic Church. Indeed, a transformation has occurred within many Christian circles regarding their relationship with Jews and vice versa, which raises a series of important questions: What caused this transformation? Why now? Can these positive developments be sustained? These are some of the questions author and Israeli diplomat, Moshe Aunmann sets out to answer in Conflict & Connection: The Jewish-Christian-Israel Triangle.

If the name Aumann sounds familiar, it should. Moshe Aumann is the brother of this year’s Nobel Prize winner in economics, Robert Aumann. But he is also well known in his own right, as an expert on Jewish-Christian relations. From 1987 to 1990, he was consul general and minister-counselor for church relations at the Israeli embassy In Washington and is forthright in his support for continued dialogue:

“This process represents an opportunity not to be missed for a historic reconciliation between the Christian and Jewish communities, on the basis of the new thinking in the Churches, coupled with the need for a loud and clear positive Jewish response for effective Jewish-Christian cooperation."

The reviewer, Adam Sharon, is a reporter with Talk Radio News in Washington, DC and holds an MA in international affairs.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2006

Two Different Insights into the Would-be Prime Minister of Israel

Friday, January 06, 2006

I. Olmert Taxes Donations to Gush Katif Victims!

By Batya Medad

Just a couple of months ago, Daryl Tempkin, of California, had a wonderful idea how to help the Disengagement victims. He heard that not only didn't most of them have their possessions, but that it would cost them money to go through their storage containers. Winter weather meant that they wouldn't have warm clothes, and most are in climates much colder than Gush Katif. Buying new clothes, when unemployed and homeless, would be foolish. So, Darryl mentioned his idea to send the refugees some warm clothes, and the project mushroomed.

Tons of clothes and other needed items were donated. El Al was generous about the shipping. Everything was going great until the donated items arrived in Israel and Ehud Olmert's taxmen got started! Olmert wants so much tax, that it is impossible to release the items. Due to the unresolved crisis, more than 30 tons of donated clothing, toys,and medical supplies intended for Israel's needy have been stranded for three weeks in warehouses at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

The American Jewish community that is trying to help the refugees are livid! When I heard about it I contacted Daryl, to make sure this unbelievable situation is really true. And he confirmed it. Olmert's ministry and government are demanding tens of thousands of dollars above the shipping fee for these donations. And due to the delays, thousands of dollars of storage fees.

This is unheard of for humanitarian donations any place in the world. In the meantime, it's winter, and the clothes, medicine and other items haven't arrived. Haven't those loyal, hardworking Israeli citizens suffered enough? Now, even when some sort of help is on its way, the government, led by Ehud Olmert is preventing to donations to get to the victims. Ehud Olmert is now Prime Minister, subbing for the ailing, if not already dead, Arik Sharon. He has the power to release the tons of donations, so that the Disengagement victims and other needy Israelis can benefit from them. It's time to protest.

II. Ehud Olmert: Israel´s Acting Prime Minister

By Hillel Fendel

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News Service, January 5, 2006

Ehud Olmert became the Likud's left-wing marker in late 2003, when he preceded Ariel Sharon's announcement of the planned disengagement from Gaza with an about-face of his own. In what was later viewed as the flying of a trial balloon for Sharon's new position, Olmert told the Yediot Acharonot daily that he favored a unilateral withdrawal from nearly all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including the uprooting of almost all the Jewish communities there.

Olmert all but agreed that the only differences between his approach and that of the left-wing were that it would "sear his heart" to give up parts of the Land of Israel, and that he would not give up the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Olmert's positions of the last two years thus contrasted strongly with his previous ideology, as he grew up in an atmosphere of love for the entire Land of Israel. His father Mordechai was an MK of the 3rd and 4th Knessets, a founder of Betar in Harbin China, a founder of two towns in the Land of Israel, and Head of the Settlement Department of the Herut Movement.

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, who also grew up in a Herut-party home, expressed disgust at Ehud Olmert's new positions. Rivlin said at the time that Olmert reminded him of the absolute turnabout of his hareidi-turned-secular cousins: "When they became not religious, they went all the way - not only driving on the Sabbath, but also eating pig."

In November 2003, Trade Minister Olmert antagonized the nationalist camp with his decision to facilitate the European Union's taxation of Yesha-made goods by ordering the city of manufacture to be listed on every Israeli product.

With the announcement that Olmert had been named Acting Prime Minister, the Shabak (General Security Service) immediately increased security around him. The area around his home in Jerusalem has been declared a "sterile" area.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2006

Mindless Program at Ben Gurion University - January 9-10, 2006

(The Jewish Left’s perfidious perversion of the biblical term, Tikkun Olam, continues unabated, as they remain in denial as to the unequivocal facts of history that surrounds them) Jsk

Redacted from a notice by Professor Steve Plaut, University of Haifa:

We will all be happy to learn that Ben Gurion University is now
officially sponsoring a conference in communist indoctrination!

The conference is called:

Contemporary Capitalism:
USA, Europe and the Middle East in the Beginning of the 21st Century
International Workshop

Ben Gurion University
In cooperation with the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

From its contents, it is clear that this is to be nothing more than a
session in Marxist brainwashing. No pro-capitalists are welcome.

The conference was organized by fanatic anti-Israel "post-Zionist" New
Historian Uri Ram from BGU (a lecturer in sociology).

Among the memorable moments at this Bash-Capitalism conference are:

Opening remarks by Far-Leftist Tikkun Magazine columnist and member of
Tikkun Board Prof. David Newman, a "political geographer" (whatever that
is) at Ben Gurion University.

First Session: Capitalism, Class & Politics
Chair: Prof. Fred Lazin (Ben Gurion University. Leftist political

Prof. Stanley Aronowitz, far leftist Marxist moon bat and candidate for
Governor of NY from the rabidly anti-Israel Green Party - from
sociology department at City University of New York.

Dr. Dani Filc, Far Leftist anti-Israel Leftist who supports insurrection
and mutiny by Israeli soldiers - lecturer in Political Science - Ben Gurion University: Popular Sovereignty and Populism: The Political Logic of Neo-liberal Globalization.

11:45 - 13:30 Second Session: Capitalism, the State & Politics
Chair: Dr. Daniel De-Malach (Sapir College. never heard of him)

(There are seven more sessions in the conference of much of the same but you get the idea.)

(These are the same people, of course, that think the Israeli Kibbutz movement was a great success, that the Soviet Union was on the right track - only they made a few minor mistakes along the way and that Israel and Zionism are grave misconceptions and social injustices that must be eliminated!) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2006

The Next Major Threat to the Western World - Islam in Central Asia

(Is it not way past time to discard President Bush’s euphemism, “War against Terror”; remove the confusion and define our real world-wide adversary - at least call it Militant Islam?) Jsk

Redacted from an article by Tyler Rauert
Journal of JINSA (Jewish Institute for International Security Affairs), Fall 2005

Today, the United States faces a daunting set of challenges in Central Asia, ranging from the ideological to the strategic. None, however, are more complex than responding to Hizb ut-Tahrir al Islami, the Islamic Party of Liberation or HuT. Highly secretive, HuT is a pan-Islamic movement that aims to seize power in Central Asia as the first step in an elaborate plan aimed at creating a unified worldwide Islamic state.

Thus far, HuT has managed to operate for the most part away from the eyes of Western governments thanks in large part to a sophisticated worldview that simitaneous1y supports violent jihad and publicly proclaims peaceful Islamic change. It has not, however, escaped the attention of the governments of Central Asia - the “stans” at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East —and has become the target of massive clampdowns and domestic repression.

Much about Hizb ut-Tahrir is unclear including its leadership, organizational structure and financing. What is less ambiguous however, is that HuT poses a growing danger to U S interests and long-term objectives in the region

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s roots are shrouded in mystery. The organization appears to have been established in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordanian-occupied
East Jerusalem in or around 1953 by a group of Palestinians led by Taqiuddin an-Nabkhani al-Filastyni (1909-1977), a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. A party spokesman admits that “Hizb ut Tahrir has been involved in a number of failed coup attempts in the Middle East, including several attempts to overthrow the Jordanian government in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as involvement in an attack on the military academy in Egypt in 1974.

In Central Asia, HuT cells began to emerge after the fall of the Soviet Union. Uzbek officials assert that the movement was introduced into Uzbekistan in 1995 by a Jordanian by the name of Salahuddin. From there, it quickly spread through the Ferghana Valley at the crossroads of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Little is known about HuT’s organizational structure, chain of command, or leadership. The group’s major organizational center is said to be in London, where most of its literature is published and a good deal of its fundraising and training occurs. There are no photographs of HuT leaders in Central Asia. There is no hint of who they are, precisely how the chain of command functions, or where they are based. By contrast, the group’s platform and ideology are well defined.

Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects the modern political state. It disavows nationalism, democracy, capitalism, and socialism as Western concepts alien to Islam. Instead, the organization seeks a return to the Khilafat-i-Rashida, which ruled Arab Muslims from the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 until 661 under the four “righteous caliphs.”

The modern caliph envisioned by an-Nabkhani in his day, and thus by Hizb ut-Tahrir, controls the religion, army, economy, foreign policy and internal political system of the caliphate. He is not accountable to the people. There are no checks, balances, or branches of government. In fact, Hizb ut-Tahrir explicitly rejects democracy and sees it as a Western concept alien to Islam.

Instead, sharia, Islamic law, will be the law of the land. It is left up to the caliph and his deputies to interpret and apply it. The imposition of sharia will solve all social, economic, and ethnic problems that the ummah (Islamic community) may have. Arabic will be the state language. The role of women will be restricted to the home, though they will be allowed to liberally pursue education. The defense minister—the emir of jihad—will be appointed by the caliph to prepare the people for and to wage jihad against non-believers, including the United States and the West. Military conscription will be mandatory for all Muslim men over the age of 15.

It is widely reported that Hizb ut Tahrir shuns violence. This view, however, lacks the nuance necessary for useful analysis. Outwardly, HuT advocates the peaceful creation of an Islamic government in any region where the organization might initially gain power, including Central Asia. HuT literature supports Jihad primarily as a means of mobilizing supporters against non-Muslims.

With respect to Muslim regimes, the organization attempts to win over mass support in the hope that one day its adherents will rise up in peaceful demonstrations to overthrow the regimes they live under, ostensibly including those of Central Asia. To assert, however, that it is opposed to political violence per se is erroneous. …

Tyler Rauert is an Assistant Professor at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. The views expressed here are the author’s alone.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006

A brief refresher on the Spanish Inquisition

By Dr. Yitzchok Levine - As part of the Glimpses into American Jewish History
(Redacted From an article in the Jewish Press, December, 2005)

In 1478 at the request of the Spanish sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella, Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) issued a papal bull allowing for the creation of the Spanish Inquisition. It lasted until it was abolished in 1834, although its most fervent activity was during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Spanish Inquisition is notorious for two reasons. First, it was more cruel because it was administered by a secular government. Second, it was concerned, in large part, with the Conversos. These were Jews who had converted either under duress or out of social convenience, and were suspected of secretly practicing the Jewish faith.
“The Spanish Inquisition was particularly terrifying because of its inherent characteristics. The accused never knew who their accusers were. Once arrested, the accused heretic’s properties were seized. These properties were then administered - at first, by the Crown and later by the General Inquisitor. This fostered the means for anyone to accuse another for personal reasons, or to get gain. In many areas men began to wonder whether a man’s worldly wealth, as well as his descent, had become an incriminating circumstance. The Inquisition certainly did not limit itself to purifying only those of the Jewish faith. This was especially true if the accused was found to have any Jewish blood in his ancestry. Even if the accused was now a devout Christian, he was tried as severely as possible because of his roots. The accused was also not allowed to have a lawyer or counsel for his defense, and the names of all witnesses were kept secret from him. More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition. Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492.

The next phase of the Inquisition began around 1531, when Pope Leo X extended the Inquisition to Portugal. Thousands of Jews came to Portugal after the 1492 expulsion. A Spanish style Inquisition was constituted and tribunals were set up in Lisbon and other cities. Among the Jews who died at the hands of the Inquisition were well-known figures of the period such as Isaac de Castro Tartas, Antonio Serrao de Castro and Antonio Jose da Silva. The Inquisition never stopped in Spain and continued until the late l8th century. By the second half of the 18th century the Inquisition abated, due to the spread of enlightened ideas and lack of resources. The last auto-da-fe (burning at the stake) in Portugal took place on October 27, 1765. Not until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte, was the Inquisition abolished in Spain. An estimated 31,912 heretics were burned at the stake, 17,659 were burned in effigy and 291,450 made reconciliations in the Spanish Inquisition. In Portugal, about 40,000 cases were tried, although only 1,800 were burned, the rest made penance.

In 1497 Jews living in Portugal were forced to convert to Christianity. These Jews were known as “New Christians” or Marranos. Despite the obvious dangers involved, a considerable number of these New Christians while outwardly professing to be devout Catholics, secretly kept as many mitzvot (commandments) as possible. They remained loyal Jews for hundreds of years, and married only other “New Christians” who did the same. Of course, if at all possible, these New Christians sought ways to flee from Portugal. Their goal was to go to a country that would allow them to openly practice Judaism. Very few families actually succeeded in doing this. …

(Dr. Yitzchok Levine, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor in the department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. His Glimpses Into American Jewish History series appears the first week of the month.)

My dear sir:

Dr. Levine ought to visit the web and do a little more research. His discourse is inaccurate and doesn't begin to describe the monstrosity of the Inquisition. It started earlier than he describes and may have lasted even beyond 1834. There were over 300,000 subjected to the autos de fe, including some fortunates already dead. Michener wrote Spain has never recovered from the travesties of Isabella and that is true. The Catholic Church merely exemplified and exaggerated what all religion does to man. It has been suggested that if we lined up and shot all the religious leaders, we'd do away with terrorism and might even have peace on earth.

Howard Bernbaum

Jsk response - I am sure Dr. Levine is well aware of the much greater extent and impact ot the Inquisition and I take blame for posting just a small segment of the article plus there was a considerable bibliography. You all might want to look up the original article in the Jewish Press plus the huge number of other sources that Mr. Bernbaum refers to. Maybe this just whet the appetite of those truly interested.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)