June 29, 2006

Israel’s Supreme Court makes Mockery of Israel’s Supposed Democracy

By Caroline Glick

The Jewish Press, June 23, 2006

Sunday morning Israel Radio reported that a delegation of judges met with Justice Minister Chaim Ramon and demanded that he defend them from what they consider to be unprecedented media attacks against them. The meeting with Ramon took place on the same day the Supreme Court went a step further in its usurpation of the power of the people’s elected representatives in the Knesset to set the law of the land.

In yet another breathtaking act of judicial legislation, the Court Sunday demanded that the Knesset show cause why its 2004 law permitting the operation of privately run prison facilities does not breach the Basic Laws regarding individual rights and the delegation of powers by the government.

In so acting, the Court effectively named itself the ultimate arbiter of the wisdom of Israel’s economic policies as set by the people’s elected leaders in the government and the Knesset. This it did on the basis of a petition from a group of law teachers who in any normally functioning democracy would have no standing before the Court because they are neither directly nor indirectly impacted by the law.

The justices’ demand for Ramon’s protection from criticism also came the same day that Justice Ayala Procaccia overturned the rulings of two lower courts to free a 14 year-old girl from Hebron who was arrested last week while protesting in Hebron. Procaccia ordered that the girl be kept in jail until the completion of proceedings against her.

This is the same Justice Procaccia who last summer ordered that three other girls aged 13, 14 and 16 - Mona Goldberg, Chaya Belogrodsky and Pnina Ashkenazi — be held in jail until the completion of proceedings against them for their “crimes” of protesting the expulsion of Israelis from Gaza.

They were held in jail for three months even though the maximum sentence for the charges they were being held for was a monetary fine. At the time, Procaccia announced her agreement with the State prosecutors’ view that the girls constituted a “danger to the society because of [their] ideological motivation?

It is unclear whose criticism the judges want to be protected from. Perhaps the judges sought Ramon’s protection from their own colleagues on the bench. Last month in an interview with Haaretz, retiring Justice Mishael Cheshin had this to say about Chief Justice Aharon Barak’s view of human rights: “He is ready for 30, 50 people to be blown up — but we will have human rights.”

Of Barak’s view of the Court’s oversight of the Knesset Cheshin said, “For Barak, if the Knesset passes a law by a majority of a hundred to two, he can come and assert that the law is annulled.” Cheshin attacked his colleagues on the Court collectively when he strongly hinted that his fellow justices’ political views were what kept them from overturning Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz’s decision last year not to indict then prime minister Ariel Sharon and his son Giladon corruption charges.

Mazuis decision to close the investigation of the so-called Greek Island affair Cheshin said I can only that when someone gets $600,000 and the promise of $2 million more for surfing the Internet [Gilad Sharon’s payments from businessman David Appell, one has to be a fool to think that he really received the money for that work.” Of his colleagues’ decision not to overturn Mazuz’s decision he noted, “if Sharon had stood trial, there would have been no disengagement [from Gaza and northern Samaria].

Sadly, the ideological conformity and anti-democratic tendencies that Cheshin admitted plague the Supreme Court extend throughout the judicial system and state prosecution. The widespread nature of the problem was brought to the fore in three separate cases last week.

First, in Nazareth, Magistrate’s Court Judge Rim Nidaf ruled that Prof. Steven Plaut of Haifa University was guilty of libeling Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University for publishing articles referring to Gordon as a pro-Hitler Jew and likening him to the Judenrat. The first instance related to the positive review Gordon published in Haaretz of Norman Finkelstein’s book, The Holocaust Industry.

In his book Finkelstein accuses the Jewish people of exploiting the Holocaust in order to force the world to support Israel and ignore its “crimes” against the Palestinians! In his own commentary, Plant argued that by supporting Finkelstein, Gordon was abetting a type of Holocaust denial where, through comparisons of the German-led genocide of European Jewry to actions Israel has taken against the Palestinians, the Holocaust itself is effectively reduced to justified act of war!

In the second instance, Plaut condemned Gordon for going to Arafat’s’ headquarters in Ramallah with his associates in the anti-Zionist organization Ta’ayush during the height of the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield in order to protect the terror leader from IDF attack.

Nidaf ordered Plant to pay Gordon NIS 85,000 in damages and an additional NIS 15,000 in court costs. In her decision, she attacked what she referred to as “the phenomenon where anyone who dares to investigate the events of the Holocaust or its dimensions, in any fashion, immediately becomes a target of attacks and accusations as an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier worthy of the title Judenrat or Jew for Hitler. Nidaf wrote, “This phenomenon is incomprehensible and is in my opinion unjustifiable, and opposes the principles of democracy... it is impossible and unacceptable to turn the subject of the Holocaust into a “taboo”, a subject that cannot be studied or analyzed outside of the consensus and the “acceptable.”

She also defended Gordon’s defense of Arafat and Gordon’s defense of Finkelstein’s accusation that Israel has used the Holocaust to force international support for the establishment of the Jewish state “on another nation’s lands.” So for Judge Nidal, Gordon is within his legal rights to obstruct IDF operations in times of war and to support Finkelstein’s marginalization of the crimes of the Holocaust but Plaut is guilty of libel for opining that it is wrong for Gordon to do so.

The same topsy-turvy logic informed the State Prosecution in it’s case against right-wing activist Nadia Matar of Women in Green which opened in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week. In The State of Israel vs. Nadia Matar, Matar is being tried for the crime of “insulting a public servant.” The insult in question involves a letter Matar faxed last year to Yonatan Bassi, the head of the Government’s Disengagement Authority where she likened him to the Judenrat for his role in organizing the government’s expulsion of 10,000 Israelis from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria.

While the presiding judge, David Mintz, ended the court session last week by suggesting that the prosecution review its decision to pursue the case, the fact of the matter is that the damage to Israel’s democracy has already been done. By indicting Matar, the prosecution showed that it will apply anti-democratic laws in a prejudicial fashion. Not only is the law itself draconian, the cases in which leftist activists could, yet are not indicted for similar statements
(As in the case of Gordon) occur on almost a daily basis.

Just a few days ago a group of radical leftist activists including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s daughter Dana Olmert demonstrated outside of Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz’s home and held signs calling him a “murderer” for the deaths of members of Raliya family in Northern Gaza. They called him a murderer even though it was Hamas, not the IDF that caused the deaths. Reasonably no one in the State Prosecution is considering indicting Dana Olmert for these insults even though they were quoted by anti-Israel forces internationally to support their condemnation of Israel for actions it did not commit.

Today the judiciary and state prosecution receive the knee-jerk support of the overwhelming majority of the Israeli media. Indeed, there are less than a handful of journalists who write or broadcast reports critical of their anti-democratic and prejudicial actions. Most of those reporters are found outside the mainstream media and attract little attention. So while it is unclear against whose criticism the judges feel the need for politicians’ protection it is even less clear why they are not criticized more often. It is not just the Right, which the judicial system systematically discriminates against - that should be criticizing the judges. Everyone who holds liberal values and democracy dear should be on his or her feet shouting for our justices in Israel to be brought to order.

Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post and a syndicated columnist.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2006

Blaming President GW Bush via Revisionist History

By Peter Wehner

The Wall Street Journal

(From the White House Office of Public Liaison to Jewish Leaders)

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations – the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so – and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them. Let me examine each in turn:

The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war. "There is no question President Bush misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq," according to Ted Kennedy. Jimmy Carter charged that on Iraq, "President Bush has not been honest with the American people." And Al Gore has said that an "abuse of the truth" characterized the administration's "march to war." These charges are themselves misleading, which explains why no independent body has found them credible. Most of the world was operating from essentially the same set of assumptions regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities. Important assumptions turned out wrong; but mistakenly relying on faulty intelligence is a world apart from lying about it.

Let's review what we know. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the intelligence community's authoritative written judgment on specific national-security issues. The 2002 NIE provided a key judgment: "Iraq has continued its [WMD] programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

Thanks to the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission, which investigated the causes of intelligence failures in the run-up to the war, we now know that the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief "were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE" (my emphasis). We also know that the intelligence in the PDB was not "markedly different" from that given to Congress.

This helps explains why John Kerry, in voting to give the president the authority to use force, said, "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." It's why Sen. Kennedy said, "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." And it's why Hillary Clinton said in 2002, "In the four years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program."

Beyond that, intelligence agencies from around the globe believed Saddam had WMD. Even foreign governments that opposed his removal from power believed Iraq had WMD: Just a few weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to the U.S., said, "I think all of our governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction."

In addition, no serious person would justify a war based on information he knows to be false and which would be shown to be false within months after the war concluded. It is not as if the WMD stockpile question was one that wasn't going to be answered for a century to come.

“The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments.” Earlier this year, Mr. Gore charged that "CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House . . . found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases." Sen. Kennedy charged that the administration "put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis."

This myth is shattered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. Among the findings: "The committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so." Silberman-Robb concluded the same, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . . Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments."

What the report did find is that intelligence assessments on Iraq were "riddled with errors"; "most of the fundamental errors were made and communicated to policy makers well before the now-infamous NIE of October 2002, and were not corrected in the months between the NIE and the start of the war."

“Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren't found, Saddam posed no threat.” Howard Dean declared Iraq "was not a danger to the United States." John Murtha asserted, "There was no threat to our national security." Max Cleland put it this way: "Iraq was no threat. We now know that. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons programs." Yet while we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual.

Upon his return from Iraq, weapons inspector David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), told the Senate: "I actually think this may be one of those cases where [Iraq under Saddam Hussein] was even more dangerous than we thought." His statement when issuing the ISG progress report said: "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities" that were part of "deliberate concealment efforts" that should have been declared to the U.N. And, he concluded, "Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Among the key findings of the September 2004 report by Charles Duelfer, who succeeded Mr. Kay as ISG head, are that Saddam was pursuing an aggressive strategy to subvert the Oil for Food Program and to bring down U.N. sanctions through illicit finance and procurement schemes; and that Saddam intended to resume WMD efforts once U.N. sanctions were eliminated. According to Mr. Duelfer, "the guiding theme for WMD was to sustain the intellectual capacity achieved over so many years at such a great cost and to be in a position to produce again with as short a lead time as possible. . . . Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution."

Beyond this, Saddam's regime was one of the most sadistic and aggressive in modern history. It started a war against Iran and used mustard gas and nerve gas. A decade later Iraq invaded Kuwait. Iraq was a massively destabilizing force in the Middle East; so long as Saddam was in power, rivers of blood were sure to follow.

Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization. "The president now says that the war is really about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. This effort at after-the-fact justification was only made necessary because the primary rationale was so sadly lacking in fact," according to Nancy Pelosi.

In fact, President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. To take just one example, he said in a speech on Feb. 26, 2003: "A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. . . . The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. . . . A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

The following day the New York Times editorialized: "President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. . . . The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time."

These, then, are the urban legends we must counter - else falsehoods become conventional wisdom. And what a strange world it is: For many antiwar critics, the president is faulted for the war, and he, not the former dictator of Iraq, inspires rage. The liberator rather than the oppressor provokes hatred. It is as if we have stepped through the political looking glass, into a world turned upside down and inside out.

Mr. Wehner is deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2006

False Demographics Lead to Destructive Solutions

By Bennett Zimmerman, Dr. Roberta Seid and Dr. Michael Wise:

Jewish Telegraph Agency

Arab demographic momentum has become part of the Israel lexicon. In this theory, population growth in the Arab sector will overwhelm the Jewish population as ‘baby boom’ generations give birth to an even greater number of children. Arab births will accelerate even if birth rates remain stable or drop slightly because such a large number of women will enter their childbearing years.

But the evidence is now in: demographic momentum exists -- but the momentum is occurring among Jews, not Arabs!

Jewish births grew rapidly, from 80,000 per year in 1995 to 96,000 in 2000 and to over 103,000 in 2003. The demographic outlook for Jews has been improving because the Jewish total fertility rate (TFR), or the number of children a woman is likely to bear over her lifetime, has been rising.

In 2005, it reached 2.7, the highest rate in any advanced industrial nation. While the ultra-Orthodox contributed to this rise, secular Israelis and the immigrants from the FSU also experienced increasing fertility. When aliyah and returning Israelis (averaging over 20,000 per year from 2001 to 2004), are added to the mix, the demographic weight of the Jewish sector grows even further.

In contrast, the absolute number of births in the Israel Arab sector grew from 36,500 births in 1995 to 40,800 in 2000 and has remained there ever since. In fact, after rising slightly to a record 41,400 births in 2003, the number of Israel Arabs births fell for the first time in 2004 to 40,800. The overall Israel Arab fertility figure (which includes Israel Moslem, Christian Arabs, and Druze) declined from 4.4 in 2000 to 4.0 in 2004.

Israel recently enacted policies that are impacting the highest fertility sectors of the Israel Arab population. In 2004, the government stopped granting stipends for every child born to a family, restricting them to only the first two children born. There was an immediate drop in Bedouin pregnancies.

The problem with demographic predictions is that they apply yesterday’s or today’s fertility rates to tomorrow’s forecast. However, earlier childbearing patterns may have little relationship to the number of children the next generation will have. By applying the Muslim TFR rates from the 1960s (between 9-10 births per woman) to forecasts, Israeli demographers had projected that Israeli Arabs would overtake Israeli Jews by 1990.

When the TFR dropped to 5.4 in the early 1980s and 4.7 in the second half of the decade, demographers applied this rate to their next series of forecasts. However, by 2005, the Arab TFR had dropped even further, to 4.0, echoing the more dramatic drops reported throughout the Middle East where most nations display fertility levels near 3 births per woman while countries such as Iran have displayed fertility below 2 births per woman.

Furthermore, Israel Arab women currently in their 20s will not necessarily repeat the same childbearing characteristics of today’s 30 year olds. Thus, Israeli Arab women who are having fewer children in their late teens and 20s might have fewer children in their 30s than today’s 30 year olds who still display fertility characteristics of earlier generations. In contrast, Israeli Jewish women in their 20s might carry their choice to have more children into their 30s, at numbers above the current set of 30 year olds.

The practice of applying yesterday’s activity to tomorrow’s forecast is a common mistake. The UN Population Division had confidently predicted in 2000 that the world’s population would balloon to 12 billion people by 2050. Remarkably enough, four years later, they dramatically revised the forecast and now predict that today’s 6.3 billion global population will plateau at 9 billion persons by 2050.

With constantly changing birth patterns, what is a forecaster to do? To have any relevance a forecast must constantly be updated with the most current information and any changes in trend. The Gallup organization recently published the results of a survey which showed a convergence in desired family size among Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan. The ideal family size has fallen to 5.1 for Arabs in Gaza and 4.5 in the West Bank.

The desired family size among Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs is now identical at 3.7. While Gallup found no difference in the preferred number of children by younger Israelis, younger West Bankers aged 15 – 19 believe an ideal family should have 4.1 children versus their older relatives over 50 years who believe the ideal family has 5.0 children.

The convergence in desired birth activity among Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and particularly among younger West Bankers is likely to further impact the future demographic outlook for Israel and the West Bank, where Jews now form a two-thirds majority. Demographers had concentrated on past patterns in the Arab population while they were blind sighted to evidence of a slowdown in the Arab sector and the demographic revolution already being measured among Jews. By focusing on the past, forecasters anticipated demographic momentum in the wrong sector and produced an outlook that couldn’t even get the present correct, let alone the future.

Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, and Michael L. Wise are authors of Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza: The Million Person Gap, recently published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel.


The article you distributed on False Demographics is a significant revelation. A similar perspective is being formed in Europe. Rather than project the high birthrates of the past, it is important to appreciate that birthrates DO change when people live in new circumstances (urban, two-income family, etc.) It is also important to appreciate how government social policies can change demographics. China is a dramatic example. The rapid economic growth rate there is due in large measure to the sharply reduced birth rates. Europeans need higher birth rates to sustain themselves, and some governments are implementing governmental incentives. At the same time, high birth rates among the poor people who seem to spend generations on welfare support must be reduced. This can be accomplished through diminishing support for large families, as has been implemented in some states in the United States.

Thomas Malthus must be rolling over in his grave!

Chris Chrisman, Los Angeles

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2006


By Jerome S. Kaufman

We will be hearing a lot of oft-repeated misinformation and some deliberate propaganda, concerning this true icon of Israeli history. Commonly presented is the unfortunate distortion relative to General Ariel Sharon, PM Menachem Begin and Israel ’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982.The episode is always described as some great mistake that Israel made without good cause and from which they have suffered the deserved consequences over the years.

The real history is as follows: Yasser Arafat and his terrorists were driven out of Jordan where they had, as became Arafat ’s modus operendi, set up a mini-state whose purpose was to harass King Hussein and drive him from power. Hussein, not having Israel ’s reluctance to completely eliminate his enemies, began what the Palestinian Arabs call Black September.

On July 13, 1971 the Jordanian army undertook an offensive against Arafat ’s fedayeen bases about fifty kilometers northwest of Amman, destroyed them and arrested 2,300 of the 2,500 fedayeen. Thousands of Palestinian civilians were slaughtered in Jordan ’s crackdown. Arafat ’s forces were forced out of Jordan into Lebanon and in the meantime, he was elected chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization ’s (PLO) executive committee. In southern Lebanon, Arafat again set up his own mini-state from which the fedayeen proceeded to harass Israel ’s northern communities. Israel retaliated.

On July 24, 1981, Phillip Habib, US representative sent by President Reagan, announced an Israeli/PLO agreement that all hostile military action between Lebanese and Israeli territory in either direction would cease. The PLO proceeded to repeatedly violate the agreement. Israel charged that the PLO staged 270 terrorist actions in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and along the Lebanese and Jordanian borders.

Twenty-nine Israelis died and more than 300 were injured in the attacks. Israeli strikes and commando raids were unable to stem the growth of the PLO army which built camps, trained thousands of fighters, and stockpiled arms in south Lebanon. The situation in the Galilee became intolerable as the frequency of attacks forced thousands of Israeli residents to flee their homes or to spend large amounts of time in bomb shelters. The final provocation occurred in June 3, 1982 when a Palestinian terrorist group led by Abu Nidal attempted to assassinate Israel ’s Ambassador to Great Britain, Shlomo Argov.

The IDF subsequently bombed PLO bases and ammunition dumps in Beirut and attacked other targets in Lebanon on June 4-5, 1982. The PLO responded with a massive artillery and mortar attack on the Israeli population of the Galilee. It was the PLO shelling, and not directly the Argov shooting, as is sometimes assumed, that triggered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

On June 6, 1982, under the direction of then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel invaded Lebanon with a massive force called Operation Peace for the Galilee
, driving all the way to Beirut and putting the PLO and residents, as well as the Lebanese civilian population of that city, under siege.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said of the operation: “No sovereign state can tolerate indefinitely the buildup along its borders of a military force dedicated to its destruction and implementing its objectives by periodic shelling and raids.” (Washington Post, June 16,1982).

Arafat and his army was badly defeated and forced to leave Lebanon. An agreement hammered out with the help of several countries sent Arafat to Tunisia with groups of his men dispersed to various other Arab countries.

At that time, Lebanese Maronite Christians were put in charge, by the Israelis, of Palestinians that remained in camps and among whom, it was known, Arafat had deliberately left many of his PLO men in place. At that very same moment, Lebanon ’s newly elected president, Bashir Gemayle, a Maronite Christian, was assassinated and Lebanese Muslims were blamed. The Maronite Christians in charge of the camps, immediately preceded to wreck revenge upon the Palestinians placed in the Sabra and Shatilla camps, killing several hundred. Israel, with General Ariel Sharon in charge was of course, blamed for the killings in which they had no part and no logical motive.

Contrary to the usual uninformed assessment, Menachem Begin made no mistake by invading Lebanon and removing Yasser Arafat and the PLO from their mini-state in South Lebanon. Begin was protecting Israel ’s northern communities from Arafat ’s Katyusha rockets and fedayeen attacks. The mistake Begin made was to assume personal guilt over the killing of Palestinians by their Lebanese Christian antagonists and allowing blame to fall upon himself and Ariel Sharon. The far bigger mistake was made much later, in 1993, by Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin who allowed an exiled powerless Yasser Arafat to leave Tunisia and set up shop in Israel under the inane, suicidal Oslo “Peace ” Accords.

Arafat immediately developed a typical Arafat mini-terrorist state in the West Bank, a territory that should have been Israeli territory to begin with under the original League of Nations Mandate. Israel, unfortunately, unlike Jordan ’s King Hussein, has never had the internal fortitude to drive Arafat and his forces out permanently - even now with Hamas, an enemy outspoken in their goal of destroying Israel, having taken Arafat ’s place.

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

June 20, 2006

Kissinger Defrocked in His Own Words

By Jason Maoz, Senior Editor,

Jewish Press, June 2, 2006

Since returning to private life some three decades ago, Henry Kissinger has doggedly attempted to restore some luster to a rather badly tarnished image. Lionized by the press in the mid-1970’s as “Super K,” the unprecedented powerful secretary of state and mighty architect of American foreign policy during the Nixon-Ford era, Kissinger saw his stock fall rapidly in the 1980’s and 90’s as conservatives criticized him for what they saw as his defeatist policy of détente with the Soviet Union and liberals lambasted him for what they viewed as his amoral, Machiavellian sacrifice of American ideals on the altar of pragmatism and realpolitik.

On the Middle East, Kissinger has labored to re-cast his image from that of a play-no-favorites geo-strategist — in whose eyes Israel chiefly served as an impediment to greater U.S. influence in the Arab world — to someone who has always recognized Israel’s great political value, first in the cold war and now in the war on terrorism. Such a pro-Israel image is quite at odds with eyewitness accounts of Kissinger’s dealings within the Nixon administration during the 1973 Yom Kippur war and with Israeli and Arab leaders as he brokered a cease-fire and attempted to craft some sort of peace accord in the months after the fighting stopped.

In Gerald and Deborah Strober’s, Nixon: An Oral History of His US Presidency, former congressional staffer, State Department official and AIPAC executive director Morris Amitay described Kissinger as trying “to fine-tune the outcome of the Yom Kippur war so that both sides would be dependent on the United States, which is what ultimately happened. But it involved bloodshed from the Israelis and it robbed them of a decisive military victory....” Though Kissinger had his defenders in the Strobers’ book, the consensus of Nixon administration insiders is that the secretary of state wanted Israel to suffer at least a limited hit, in the hope that a bloodied Israel would be more malleable at the negotiating table,

On the issue of the massive U.S. military airlift to Israel, most of those interviewed by the Strobers saw Kissinger as being an impediment to a smooth and timely transfer of arms. Former Nixon aide Leonard Garmen recalled:
“Henry was always trying to titrate the administration’s support for Israel, so as not to get the Arabs angry: ‘We can do this but we can’t do that.’ Kenneth Rush, who served as a deputy secretary of state and a deputy secretary of defense, painted a picture for the Strobers of Kissinger at his manipulative best (or worst): “Nixon wanted the re-supply; Kissinger delayed.... not because he didn’t want to help the Israelis, but he wanted to make them feel that they owed the re-supply to him; he could use this in his negotiations, as well as for his personal benefit. So he delayed, and the Israelis, at the time, thought that he was the hero who had stepped in and made Defense and Nixon come through.

The fact is that Nixon was pressing like mad for the re-supply. Defense was ready to go forward, and Kissinger was holding it up by various means.” What brought all this to mind was the release last week by George Washington University’s National Security Archive of 28,000 pages of Kissinger-related foreign policy papers. Kissinger is on record as assuring the Iraqi foreign minister in 1975 that while “we can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel, we can reduce its size to historical proportions.”

What Kissinger had in mind when referring to Israel’s “historical proportions” is anyone’s guess, but his feelings about Israel — and his wildly-off-the-mark projections about Israel’s future — come through all too clearly in his statement to the Iraqi official that American public opinion was turning more pro-Palestinian; that the then-current level of U. S. aid to Israel would inevitably be reduced; and that in not too distant future “Israel will be like Lebanon — struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.” Once it reaches a comprehensive settlement with its neighbors. “Israel will be a small friendly country.” Kissinger happily predicted.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2006

Blacks Should Support Jews in Repelling anti-Israel Threats

By Reverend Glen Plummer

The Detroit News May 23, 2006

A queen of England once asked her prime minister: “What is the primary evidence for the existence of God?” Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli thought for a moment and said, “The Jew, Your Majesty, the Jew.” His answer was profound and insightful. According to the Bible, God has completely associated and identified himself with Israel and the Jewish people. He calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.

Because history is filled with attempt after attempt of people desiring to hurt or annihilate the Jews, there is no other logical explanation of their continuation as a people other than the protection and favor of God. So when one considers the blistering threats of Israel’s modem-day enemies, like the president of Iran. “… to wipe Israel off the map,” I am confident his delusional statements will never happen. They and he will fall to the ground like so many of his like-minded delusional predecessors. As will the attempt to pull financial support from Israel

As an African-American, I identify with Israel, Black Americans history has a wonderful, yet strange parallel with Jewish people. We were both slaves for hundreds of years. Many black American slaves likened the end of slavery to the biblical Exodus of the Jews. Some Negro spirituals like “Crossing over Jordan” and “Moses, Lead Your People Out” attested to that fact. It is no surprise that blacks and Jews stood arm in arm during the civil rights struggle in the United States. Blacks and Jews together, founded the NAACP, the Urban League and other civil rights organizations. Fifty percent of all attorneys representing the civil rights movement were Jewish. The deep friendship that existed 40 years ago between blacks and Jews is thankfully rekindling once again.

Unfortunately the Presbyterian Church USA voted two years ago to explore phased, selective divestment from certain companies dealing with Israel. This summer, the Presbyterian Church USA meets in Birmingham, Ala, with the debate and profound disagreement over these policies intensifying. The call for “disinvestment” of Israel is nothing more than a modem-day act of racism. Black America will see it for what it is and stand with Israel. It is not surprising that certain white traditional church denominations have joined the misdirected disinvestment movement. History is unfortunately filled with people who, in the name of Christianity, have been involved with efforts to hurt the Jews. When will we ever learn?

There is a growing movement worldwide among Bible-believing Christians to stand with Israel and the Jewish people. I never forget those Jews who stood with my African forefathers when we needed friends. As a pastor of a Christian, church in Metro Detroit, it grieves me that many white Christians and Christian leaders refused to stand with black Christians during the American civil rights struggle. I am deeply grateful for our Jewish brethren who showed themselves to be faithful friends. In a day when Israel needs friends, I unapologetically declare my friendship and loyalty with Israel and the Jewish people.


Glenn K Plummet is co-chairman and chief executive officer of a new group called Fellowship of Israel and Black America, which is in partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He is also senior pastor of Ambassadors for Christ Church in Detroit.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2006

What really happened between G.W. and Ehud Olmert

Isi Leibler, THE JERUSALEM POST , Jun. 7, 2006

Ehud Olmert did indeed receive a magnificent reception at the White House last month, and he must have been delighted when President George W. Bush signaled his intention to retain with him the warm relationship built up with Ariel Sharon. In turn, Olmert acquitted himself with distinction, maximizing his communication skills. He delivered a magnificent address to the joint houses of Congress and his responses at the press conference were exemplary. But aside from the important commitment by Bush to defend Israel against Iran, the warm messages of goodwill cannot conceal the fact that the visit failed to achieve any genuine political progress.

Even during the Sharon era the Americans had reservations about disengagement. In recent months, the Europeans warned the weakened president that they adamantly opposed endorsing borders unilaterally determined by the Israelis. In addition, the Jordanians pleaded with the White House to pressure Israel not to withdraw unilaterally because it would destabilize their regime.

Even Egypt's Hosni Mubarak urged Olmert not to proceed. In this environment Bush softened his earlier vague reference to recognizing the reality of Israeli settlements, a reference Sharon had misleadingly spun as support of Israel's right to annex the major settlement blocs. On this occasion Bush welcomed Olmert's "bold initiative" but stressed that "no party should prejudice the outcome of final negotiations on a final status agreement." In other words, don't rely on US or international recognition of unilaterally defined borders.

In a somewhat surrealist reverse scenario, it was therefore the Israeli prime minister who desperately tried to persuade the administration to endorse additional unilateral withdrawals. OLMERT'S WARM welcome was also predicated on an obligation to reverse previously adopted policies. Prior to the trip he had been adamantly opposed to reopening negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas, the impotent president of the Palestinian Authority. He realized that negotiating with a weakened Abbas would merely divert attention from Hamas and intensify demands for further unacceptable concessions. Olmert had rightly said that "there can only be a reason for a meeting [with Abbas] if it serves a political purpose. If the government is Hamas, what political purpose can it serve?"

of Israel. By renewing negotiations with Abbas, Olmert will also ease the barriers inhibiting a European accommodation of Hamas.
But with a little arm-twisting the Americans managed to persuade him to repeat the same blunder committed by his predecessors vis-a-vis Arafat.
Olmert is now obliged to close his eyes to the fact that Abbas initiated the "prisoners' letter" hoax, which calls for uniting Hamas and Islamic Jihad with the PA while demanding a "right of return" Arab refugees and an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice Lines - in short, a prescription for the demise

HOWEVER, THE most sobering example of capitulating to American directives was the mind-boggling decision to permit weapons to be made available to 10,000 members of Abbas's presidential guard. It is inconceivable that, of his own accord, Olmert would have agreed to repeat the tragic blunder of Oslo, when Palestinian militias were provided with Israeli weapons that were subsequently employed to kill Jews.

To underline the obscene nature of this bizarre and shameful arrangement, Abbas subsequently appointed Col. Mahmoud Damra as overall commander of his presidential guard. Damra is on Israel's most wanted list of terrorists for having carried out deadly attacks against Israeli citizens, planted bombs, and reportedly organized suicide missions.

OLMERT ALSO seems to have alienated American conservatives. A recent article by former CIA chief James Woolsey in the Wall Street Journal described the Gaza withdrawal as an abject failure and detrimental to US interests because it "also makes the US look weak." He claimed, moreover, that the withdrawal led to the strengthening of all terror groups in the region and contributed to the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections.

Woolsey warned that there was no basis for negotiating with the Palestinians so long as the centerpiece of their agenda remained maximizing Jewish deaths and "ending the occupation" - code for justifying terror. He stated that a genuine two-state solution could become a reality only when Palestinians were held to the same standards as Israelis, and when Jewish settlers in a Palestinian state could be treated the same way as Israel treats its Arab citizens. Until that day, Woolsey maintained, Israel should offer no further concessions.

Even the unabashedly pro-Israeli evangelical Christian, Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNet Daily, went so far as to say "I give up on Israel" because its "national retreat" amounts to "appeasement of the global Jihad." Even more worrisome, many American Jews from both sides of the political spectrum have begun publicly condemning Israeli policies - a trend which will have highly negative repercussions if it is not reversed.

To top this off, in Israel the outgoing head of the National Security Council, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland described the country's decision-making process as "unsound" and described the disengagement from Gaza as a "missed opportunity of historic proportions."

One can thus only hope that Olmert's first encounter with the Bush administration as prime minister will encourage him, at least for the time being, to desist from further unilateral withdrawals, especially if they would strengthen Hamas. Besides, no one has yet explained how in the absence of anticipated American economic aid, an issue the White House pointedly ignored, the Olmert government could conceivably cover the astronomical costs of withdrawing 70,000 settlers without wrecking the entire Israeli economy.

OLMERT SHOULD dispense with rhetoric and adopt pragmatic policies that can serve the long-term strategic interests of Israel. Who knows, perhaps in a distant utopian future, with reconstructed Palestinians willing to coexist with us, international support could be forthcoming. For now the premier can reiterate that the consensus among Israelis today clearly favors a two-state solution and a desire to separate from the Palestinians. But until Israel's neighbors are reconciled to its existence, beyond minor adjustments designed to improve security, Israel should not make major territorial concessions.

Such concessions would never be recognized by the international community and would, moreover, necessitate cashing in the remaining bargaining chips required for a negotiated end to the conflict. If Olmert moves in this direction he will also avoid the most painful possible domestic schism, one that would undoubtedly create enormous dissension and lead to violent upheavals throughout the nation.

The prime minister should, then, concentrate on resolving outstanding domestic problems: first and foremost the need to restore harmony and heal the pain from the events of the past year, and ensure that the resilient economy is maintained in a compassionate manner. Olmert's first priority, in a word, should be to restore unity and stabilize the nation.

The writer chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a veteran international Jewish leader. ileibler@netvision.net.il

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2006

Jimmy Carter’s Foot in Mouth Disease

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

(Redacted plus addendums) Jsk

When it comes to Arab Israeli affairs, is former U S President Jimmy Carter a) uninformed, b) misinformed, or c) blinded by an anti-Israel animus? His May 16 USA Today op-ed, “Israel’s new plan: A land grab” (May 16 print edition) makes a strong case for “all of the above.” Among Carter’s false claims:

Carter - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan to establish Israel’s permanent eastern border in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) would take the Palestinian West Bank.’...

According to the Israeli Supreme Court decision calling for the realignment of the route of the security barrier to lessen impact on Arabs in Judea and Samaria, the barrier will encompass only 7 percent (not “all”) of the West Bank. Olmert’s “convergence” proposal - to be enacted if Palestinian Arabs do not negotiate a final agreement in good faith - would lead to withdrawal from the more isolated Jewish communities to the east of Israel’s security barrier. The residents of those settlements would be consolidated in the major settlement blocs west (on the Israeli side) of the barrier.

Carter “The barrier is not located on the internationally recognized boundary between Israel and Palestine, but entirely within and deeply penetrating the occupied territories.”

In the first place there is no “internationally recognized border between Israel and Palestine.” The 1949-1967 “green line” separating Israel from the Jordanian-occupied West Bank was and remains a temporary armistice line. The Arabs, refusing to recognize Israel, refused to negotiate a permanent border. Given the impermanent nature of the armistice lines, UN Security Council Resolutions 242(1967) and 338(1973) called for, among other things, negotiations to establish “secure and recognized” boundaries. The authors did not expect Israel to return to the vulnerable pre-’67 armistice lines.

While there may be a sovereign nation of ‘Palestine” in the future, currently there is no “Palestine.” The British Mandate for Palestine terminated in 1948. The West Bank is not “Palestinian” but disputed land and subject to negotiations, as Resolutions 242 and 338, and subsequent diplomatic initiatives like the “roadmap” made clear. Jordan and Israel are successor states to ‘Palestine,” and the West Bank and Gaza Strip await final allocation.

- “Deep Israeli intrusions would effectively divide the West Bank into three portions”

In fact, the security barrier’s route and an Israeli proposal to connect the suburb settlement of Ma’ale Adumin to Jerusalem still would leave the West Bank as one contiguous area. At its narrowest the West Bank would be about nine miles wide — the same as Israel at one of its most constricted points inside the pre-’67 “green line. ”

• Carter - “This confiscation of land is to be carried out without resorting to peace talks with the Palestinians, and in direct contravention of the ‘road map for peace’....”

Despite constant, gross Palestinian Arab violations (including terrorism and anti-Jewish incitement) of the Oslo Accords and related agreements, Israel persisted in negotiations from 1993 to 2001. This effort included the 2000 Israeli-US offer of a state on 95 percent plus of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and on 97 percent-plus in 2001. In violation of the Oslo agreements, the Palestinians launched the al Aksa intifada terrorist war in 2000. Terrorism continues at a high level, with occasional deadly attacks. Olmert is still offering negotiations — provided the Palestinian Arabs put forth a serious partner. But he said Israel will not wait much longer.

(Olmert will just give away more vital territory making Israel even more vulnerable to military invasion and diminishing tremendously its own ability to grow and prosper - not to mention planting a mortal enemy terrorist state in its own back yard! - Jsk)

•Carter - Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government rejected the key provisions of the ‘road map’ by the ... the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia....”

Sharon and his government accepted the road map, but included a list of concerns that stressed that Palestinian obligations to halt terrorism and destroy terrorist infrastructure had to be carried out, not just Israeli Obligations.

•Carter - Lack of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is one of the major causes of international terrorism....”

Nonsense. Fanatical Islamists reject modernism and religious freedom. Any country or government that is not a theocracy practicing Islamist’s particular extreme interpretation of Islam would be on their terrorists’ enemies’ list. Israel is just one of many hated countries and moderate Muslims are also targets. Numerous commentators have pointed out that al Qaeda’s terrorism stemmed primarily from Osama bin Laden’s desire to oust the “infidel US presence from Saudi Arabia and overthrow the “sacrilegious” Saudi dynasty. Destroying the Jewish state was low on the priority list until bin Laden expanded his targets to include other pro Western Arab regimes like Jordan and Egypt. Islamic fundamentalism, personified by Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution has always seen the United States as “the Great Satan with Israel as only “the Little Satan”

Carter’s failure to recognize that threat, or to respond forcefully during the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, helped drive him from office. He appears to have learned little in the subsequent quarter-century.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2006

The Growing U.S. Political Divide on the State of Israel


(Some may have had difficulty comprehending the numbers wherein 367 members of the Congress voted for the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act (H.R. 4681) with 37 against. Of the 37 against, 31 were Democrats, as were the 9 Congressman who chose to abstain. Especially for those that have difficulty correlating these numerical facts, Dr. Pipes draws a political picture utilizing a much needed historical perspective.) Jsk

Middle Eastern issues will likely play an unprecedented, important role in the U.S. mid-term elections less than a half-year away. Three topics top the agenda: the course of the Iraq war, the proper response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the soaring price of fuel. Despite their prominence, these are momentary issues, where voters will make decisions on the basis of transient circumstances and without clearly defined differences between two major parties; what is the Democratic position on Iraq, anyway, or the Republican one on Iran?

A fourth Middle-Eastern issue, the Arab-Israeli conflict, though less high profiled this year, has deeper electoral significance. It is a perennial topic that helps define the two parties. The. U.S.-Israel bond is the most special “special relationship” in the world today. In many areas — foreign policy, strategic cooperation, economic ties, intellectual connections, religious bonds and intervention in one another’s domestic politics — the two countries have unusual if not unique relations.

This reaches down even to local politics; as a New Yorker article put it in 1994, at times:
“it seems that the Middle East — or, at any rate, Israel — is a division of New York. In addition, a significant number of Americans (Jews, Evangelicals, Arabs, Muslims, anti-Semites, leftists) vote according to Israel policies.

Since Israel came into existence in 1948, Democrats and Republicans have changed places in their attitudes toward Israel. In the first era, 1948-70, Democrats sympathized more with the Jewish state and Republicans distinctly less so. Whereas Democrats emphasized spiritual bonds, Republicans tended to see Israel as a weak state and a liability in the Cold War.

The second era began in about 1970 and lasted for 20 years. In the aftermath of Israel’s extraordinary victory in the Six Day War, Richard Nixon, a Republican, came to see Israel as a military powerhouse and useful ally. This new regard rendered Republicans as positive toward Israel as the Democrats. Noting this reality I concluded in a 1985 research piece: “Liberals and conservatives support Israel versus the Arabs in similar ‘proportions.”

As the Cold War ended in 1990, a third era began. Democrats cooled to Israel and Republicans further warmed to it. The Left made the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its worldview (think of the Durban conference in 2001), while the Right deepened its religious and political alignment with Israel. This trend has become increasingly evident. In 2000, survey research commissioned by the left wing, anti-Israel, Arab spokesperson activist James Zogby found “a. significant partisan split” on the Arab-Israeli conflict, with Republicans significantly more pro-Israel than Democrats. For example, asked the question “With regard to the Middle East, how do you feel the next president should relate to the region?” 22 percent of Republicans and only 7 percent of Democrats said he should be pro-Israel.

Recent research by the Gallup Poll finds that 72 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats sympathize more with the Israelis than Palestinians. A detailed look at this same data finds more dramatic results, with conservative Republicans over five times more sympathetic to Israel than liberal Democrats.

The Democratic coolness toward Israel fits into a larger pattern of conspiracy theories about neo-conservatives and anti-Jewish outbursts by such party luminaries as Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Cynthia McKinney and James Moran. One observer, Sher Zieve, concludes that among Democrats, “anti-Semitism is and has been on the rise” for some time.

The current trend appears to be deepening, with an attendant sorting out of Jews and Arabs and Muslims in American politics. This leads me to expect that Muslims, Arabs and others hostile to Israel will increasingly vote Democratic, even as Jews and those friendly to the Jewish state increasingly vote Republican.

In this light, it bears noting that American Muslims see themselves in direct competition with Jews — the Brookings Institute’s Muqtedar Khan predicts that Muslims in the United States soon “will not only be able to out-vote, but also out-bid the Jewish and most other ethnic lobbies.”

These developments have potentially profound implications for U.S.-Israel relations. The cross party continuity of policy of the past will end, replaced by a major shift whenever the White House changes hands from one party to the other. As the political consensus breaks, Israel will be the loser.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006

Israel’s Attempted Escape into “Peace for a Moment”

By Dr. Aaron Lerner, IMRA

Years ago I attended a local panel discussion on the prospects for peace in the Middle East. The late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz was one of the speakers, and he said something that both disappointed and angered me.

In the course of the discussion I cited the long history of conflict in our region, much of which has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, and asked Leibowitz what he thought the long-term prospects were for peace in the Middle East. Leibowitz replied that it was clear that peace, any peace, would not last forever, and that the most one could expect was peace for a few years, possibly decades. He added, though, that Israel must make every sacrifice and take every risk in order to get a state of peace, no matter how fleeting.

There was no mystery about the difference in outlook between Leibowitz and
myself: Being considerably closer to the grave than the cradle, the professor felt compelled to see peace in his time at any price, and for any period.

Today there are many who are willing to sacrifice our security in the desperate hope that we will enjoy a moment of quiet in return. I say "moment" because it would be an insult to the intelligence of the people supporting these various schemes to assume that they are so incompetent in their analytical skills that they actually believe they are bringing long term peace and security via the programs they promote.

And in the case of Prime Minister Olmert's retreat idea, he isn't even claiming retreat will bring us peace - just possibly a temporarily easier conflict (this despite the horrific results of the retreat from Gaza that indicate that retreat will only worsen the situation).

But is "peace for a moment" moral?

This attitude of sacrificing the welfare of future generations for the sake of short-term gain runs counter to Jewish tradition. The story is told of Honi Hame'agel, the Jewish Rip Van Winkle, who saw an old man planting a carob tree. He asked the man why he was working so hard, since the tree would bear fruit only in 70 years. Replied the man: "I found a world with carobs because my forefathers planted them, and I say: I also plant a carob tree ... for my children after me."

We owe it to ourselves, to previous generations who sacrificed so much to get us here as well as to the unborn future generations, to resist the temptation to forfeit the future in return for what at best may be momentary relief.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2006

Deliberate Confusion over the Medicare Prescription Drug Program

Editorial Commentary - The Washington Times, May 28, 2006

Two weeks into the rollout of the Medicare prescription drug program, the media had written the new benefit off as too confusing, too expensive and too measly for anyone to sign up. One “objective” reporter wrote: “The Medicare drug program, that was supposed to win political points for the Republicans, has exploded in their faces as this election year has begun?’

At the time, Senator Ted Kennedy, claimed that Medicare is facing “system wide failure” that “puts the health of our frailest citizens at great risk.’ Senator Hillary Clinton said the program was “man-made disaster” on the scale of Hurricane Katrina.

But the actual facts of the case prove quite the opposite. As of this writing, 11 million of the 13 million seniors who never had drug insurance are now enrolled. Nearly 80 percent of all seniors eligible for the low-income subsidy now have coverage. What’s more, surveys show that nearly 90 percent of consumers had no problem signing up or using the benefit.

This is not just the most successful implementation of a federal program in recent memory; it is also a historic breakthrough in the effort create a true market for health care. More than 30 million seniors are using their own money to choose a drug plan that meets their needs. In response, companies have slashed premiums, improved customer service and added new medicines. Enrollees are saving up to 75 percent on their drug costs. Taxpayers are saving too because competition has cut the cost of the benefit by 20 percent and seniors who take medicines for chronic illness will be less likely to use more expensive hospital services.

Incredibly, as the op-ed by Robert Goldberg suggests on the opposing page of this paper, Democrats are proposing to rob seniors of their newfound freedom and replace it with a one-size-fits all government drug plan if they take power next November. All the more reason that the Bush administration and members of Congress who voted for Medicare reform should take credit for the program’s success in this fall’s elections. Linking the fear mongers to something sensors should truly be afraid of would be both good politics and good policy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Senator John McCain - views on Israel

By Jason Maoz, Senior Editor, Jewish Press

In statements to The Jewish Press this week, Arizona Senator John McCain reacted sharply to an article earlier this month in the Israeli daily Haaretz that he said left “several serious misimpressions” regarding his views on Israel and the Middle East.

As reported in the Media Monitor column in last week’s Jewish Press, the May 1 Haaretz article portrayed McCain, the early front-runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, as someone who, if elected president, would “micromanage” a more evenhanded Middle East policy than that of President Bush; envisioned “concessions and sacrifices by both sides”; and expected Israel to eventually retreat, with some modifications, to pre-Six Day War borders.

A source in McCain’s office characterized the Haaretz interview as a brief, impromptu session and the resulting article as long on the reporter’s suppositions and short on concrete quotes from McCain. “You’ll note,” said the source, “that the article featured perhaps one complete sentence from the senator. Otherwise the report is basically the reporter’s narrative interspersed with several fragmentary quotes” from McCain. (sound familiar?)

The senator himself was clearly miffed at his portrayal in Haaretz, saying that “after reading the Haaretz article and subsequent report in The Jewish Press,” he felt the need to “clear up several serious misimpressions.” McCain said, “in contrast to the impression left by the Haaretz article, I never held the position that Israel should return to 1967 lines, and that is not my position today.”

The senator further maintained, “in the course of that brief, off-the-cuff conversation, I never discussed settlement blocs, a total withdrawal, or anything of the sort.” Final settlement lines, McCain added, “depend on the decisions of the Israeli government and its interlocutor on the Palestinian side.” The problem, he continued, is that “at the moment there simply is no Palestinian interlocutor, as it is impossible to negotiate with people calling for one’s destruction.”

And that, McCain said, is where he believes “the confusion about the article comes in. The questioner asked a few hypothetical questions about some time in the indeterminate future —but that future will never arrive as long as Israel lacks a partner for peace. Talk of concessions on either side or of negotiators is premature so long as Hamas remains dedicated to the use of violence and the extinction of Israel.”

McCain sounded a pessimistic note on the viability of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, at least in the short term. “There can be no comprehensive peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians until the Palestinians recognize Israel, forswear forever the use of violence, recognize their previous agreements, and reform their internal institutions,” he said. “Unfortunately, with the election of Hamas, this process has taken a huge step backward, and it’s simply impossible to push today for a comprehensive accord.”

McCain’s remarks reflect a long-standing commitment to Israeli security and skepticism about the readiness of Palestinians to co-exist with Israel. It is precisely his outspokenness in defense of Israel and strong pro-Israel voting record that had observers scratching their heads over the Haaretz article. “That just didn’t sound like the John McCain everyone in Washington knows said a political consultant who’s worked with both Democrats and Republicans and who requested anonymity because he doesn’t know who, if anyone, he might sign on with in 2008.

“If there’s anyone who doesn’t buy into the State Department, striped-pants view of the Middle East, it’s McCain.” The McCain that both supporters and opponents have come to know, said the consultant, is the McCain who in June 2001 told a special AIPAC seminar that “America’s unequivocal support for Israel — not evenhandedness, not moral equivalence, not winking at Palestinian violence is the best guarantor of peace in the Middle East.”

AIPAC spokesperson Jennifer Cannata told the Jewish Press that McCain has a strong record on behalf of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The senator consistently supports U.S. foreign aid to Israel and is a co-sponsor of bills currently under consideration in the Senate that impose sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program and isolate the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, characterized McCain’s record on Israel-related issues as “excellent.” “McCain has identified with many Jewish causes,” said Hoenlein, who noted that the Presidents Conference will be hosting McCain in a few weeks. “He’s definitely a staunch supporter of a strong US-Israel relationship.”

MeCain was unequivocal in his remarks to The Jewish Press. “I'm proud1y pro-Israel and my positions have been consistent and clear,” he said. “Israel, as one of America’s closest allies and the only democracy in a dangerous neighborhood, deserves our support and assistance. That’s why I view with such alarm the victory of Hamas and the Iranian president’s vile comments about wiping Israel off he map.”


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2006

A Digression - Mental Health in a Nutshell

How To Choose Your Own Reality

By Dr. Dovid Lieberman

The Jewish Press, May 26, 2006

The basic tenet of Reality Therapy, an effective short-term therapy, is that people do not act irresponsibly because they are “ill.” Instead, they are ill because they act irresponsibly. As long as a person believes that he is unhappy because of something done to him, rather than because of his own choices, he can never, ever move forward and become well.

Perhaps, you think, I can accept this, but what about the big things in life? How does a person cause his own suffering when something very bad happens to him? Who wouldn’t be upset from a significant tragedy? The same rules of the universe apply. It just becomes harder to see as the situation becomes more “negative” because one needs a higher level of self-esteem to see the situation with greater clarity. This is why an emotionally immature person, one with low self-esteem, (or a child, perhaps) gets upset over every little thing that goes “wrong.” He lacks perspective.

As perspective widens, so, too, does our ability to remain unbothered. This is because as self-esteem increases the ego decreases, and every negative thought you have ever held, hold now, and ever will hold is a function of the ego. When we understand that we create our own reality, it produces a profound shift in our thinking. We torture ourselves. Understanding that you are responsible for your thoughts, which then shape your feelings, helps you better control your thinking. Not only do we create our reality but we continue to either renew it or recreate it by giving it a different meaning.

Let’s be very clear here. How you feel toward any situation — past or present — is based upon how you see it. You can change your perception, thus changing the meaning you give it, any time you choose. How we see things for the very first time and how we see them (in our mind) every time afterward depends upon how we see and feel about ourselves.

A person literally brings his suffering to life by giving a negative thought or impulse more attention. You give it the energy to sustain itself. By not giving it attention, it’s not just that it does not bother you. There is no longer anything there to bother you. It disappears. Its lifespan is only moments, if not made to fester. Your very focus is what fuels it.

Let’s use an analogy. Emotional wounds are similar to physical ones. If a person has a cut, for instance, and if he constantly picked at it, it will never heal. If it does a scar will remain. However, if one simply bandaged it, and left it alone, it heals naturally.

The mind is like the body, in that it intuitively knows how to heal itself. We just need to get out of our own way. And it is through this process that begins with self-control that a person is able to calm his mind of the clutter and chaos, while reducing anxiety and the breeding ground for negativity. One who is self-absorbed will naturally dwell, thus causing his wound to be re-infected and spread to other areas of life.

To be clear, when it comes to anxious thoughts, one should not try to ignore, suppress or give it life by analyzing it. When you re-direct your focus, it eventually goes away; it loses its pull. You can drop a thought on a dime — something we do all the time — but when our perspective is narrow, any thought can become all-consuming.

Because the person who is egocentric cannot calm his mind so easily, his imagination shifts to overdrive, and he is forced to resort to analyzing endlessly every possible scenario and machination until lie is emotionally exhausted. This process can deplete crucial neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, forcing one to medicate to compensate for one’s thinking. When we expand our perspective, these thoughts naturally lose their pull, eventually seeing that the only thing that matters is choice. Then nothing can ever bother you — except you.

What are you keeping alive in your mind? Why not give yourself a vacation from the negativity. You can always go back to dwelling (or draying - jsk) tomorrow. Please remember that you can choose to think negative thoughts all day long if you want; but understand that you are doing it to yourself. You are responsible for your own thoughts. No one else is responsible. You can either feed the negativity or release. You have the power to do both.

DOVID LIEBERMAN, Ph.D., is an award-winning author and internationally recognized leader in the fields of human behavior and interpersonal relationships. Techniques based on his five books, which have been translated into 17 languages and include two New York Times bestsellers, are used in more than 25 countries.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)