March 30, 2007

Relying on the “International Community”

By Moshe Feiglin
The Jewish Press, March 9, 2007

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have only one significant solution for the Iranian nuclear threat. They suggest that we turn to the international community for help. Olmert explains, “We must pressure the international community”

Olmert’s “pressure” includes development of the Arrow missile that is supposed to neutralize ballistic missiles in the final stage of their trajectory. But the Arrow missile is a terrible conceptual error. It is a weapon that essentially breaks Israel’s Samson Option - its power of deterrence. The idea that the Arrow projects to the world is that it is fine to attempt to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons; Israel’s response will still be conventional.

If the Arrow would at least be effective, perhaps the loss of deterrence that it creates would be worth the price. But the Arrow has no chance of protecting Israel if it is attacked at once by several ballistic missiles or by one missile with multiple warheads. If Israel intends to use the Arrow to intercept all the missiles with which its enemies are armed, it will have to invest its entire defense budget exclusively on Arrow missiles. Even so, the Arrows would provide Israel with only 60% of the protection it needs — far from adequate in the face of doomsday weapons.

In other words, we are paying astronomical sums of money for a national sleeping pill. And what are Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to deal with the Iranian threat? Like Olmert, Netanyahu puts his main emphasis on shifting the burden to the international community. In addition, he proposes that Israel turn to the international business community and request that businesses transfer their investments out of Iran. This may be a creative idea, but it is unrealistic. No significant international company will give up its profits just to help Israel.

That leaves us with the solution common to both Olmert and Netanyahu - turning to the international community. If we are “lucky,” the sheriff from Washington may decide to attack Iran, and we may have to absorb the entire counter-attack. Even if Iran is not yet nuclear, it does have biological and chemical weapons. But it is most likely that President Bush’s precarious political position will not allow him to open up a new front — and we had best not rely on him.

The last time someone attempted to destroy the Jews — and succeeded in great measure — we turned to the international community for help. But the British and American bombers that flew over the death factories didn’t have time to bomb Auschwitz.

The State of Israel, built on the ashes of the Holocaust, was supposed to provide security for all Jews. Only 60 years later, Israel once again faces the threat of destruction — and neither the prime minister nor the head of the opposition can find any reasonable solution. Could it be that instead of creating a safe haven, we have created a death trap?

A world leader who has the audacity to declare that he intends to destroy the State of Israel should automatically become a clear and legitimate target for Israel’s special commando forces. His circle of aides should be targeted as well. There is no reason to give notice. “Shoot, don’t talk” is the order of the day.

If, after taking such action, Iran would continue producing nuclear weapons, Israel would have to destroy them at all costs — even if that would mean employing nuclear weapons. Setting the stakes high will decrease the chance that we will actually have to make good on our threat.

To carry out this plan, Israel needs leadership that understands what we are doing in this land, leadership with a strong Jewish backbone. When Israel’s government gave the keys to the Temple Mount — Judaism’s holiest site — to the Arab Wakf, it’s as if they said, “Take this hunch off our backs; we are no longer Jews. We are Israelis. Take the Temple Mount and give us a little bit of peace and quiet.”

And that is exactly what Ahmadinejad reminds us: “You decided to negate your own Jewish legitimacy? You decided to destroy your souls? No problem. I’ll help you out. I will destroy your bodies, as well.”

To solve this problem at its source, we need leadership that returns to the source. We will not be destroyed if we return to the Temple Mount. Just look at what is happening today. We are being destroyed because we betrayed the Temple Mount.

We no longer have the luxury of choosing whether we want to have a Jewish State or a state of all its citizens. Our only choice is between a Jewish State — and no state at all.

Moshe Feiglin was born in Israel and is the founder and president of Manhigut Yehudit and a candidate for Chairman of Likud. He founded and led the Zo Artzeinu movement in its struggle against the Oslo Accords.

Feiglin graduated from Rabbi Chaim Druckman's yeshiva, Or Etzion, and served as a captain in a combat unit in the IDF. He is the author of the book "Where There Are No Men", publishes numerous articles and appeares on international TV and radio frequently. Moshe and his wife Tzippy have five children and one grandchild. They live in Karnei Shomron, Israel.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2007

A Match Made in Heaven

Redacted from a book review by Abby Wisse Schachter

By Zev Chafets
The Weekly Standard, March 26, 2007

… When Zev Chafets moved back (from Israel) to the United States, Chafets discovered that, especially after 9/11, he was out of sync with the mainstream of American Jewry. He voted for George W Bush, agrees with the aims of the war on terror, and got curious about the vocal and passionate Christian voices he heard speaking out in support of Israel.

Just how out of sync was he? One Jewish guest at a birthday party told Chafets that “A Jew who voted for Bush is a Jew for Jesus.” A Match Made in Heaven is his effort to get to know Christian Zionists, understand why they are so supportive of Israel, and educate American Jews that they should reconsider their negative attitude. “Evangelical Christians,” Chafets writes, “are, in an unprecedented way, extending a hand of friendship and wartime alliance to Jews; and the ancient tribal instinct to slap that hand away is a dangerous one.”

The part of the book devoted to “discovering” evangelicals is more light-hearted. Here is Chafets with Jerry Falwell at Liberty University; join Chafets touring Israel with a colorful cast of evangelical pilgrims; watch as Chafets handily rebuffs the conversion efforts of a Baptist church secretary on the phone from Pontiac, Michigan. He writes about evangelicals with genuine interest and curiosity, but also skepticism. He is forever asking his interviewees whether they think he’s going to hell or whether they want to convert him.

One subject finally turns the tables, demanding of Chafets—and Jews generally, ”Why not judge us by our fruits?” It’s a legitimate question that gets a halfhearted response.

When Chafets shifts his attention to Jews, he gets more serious and drops the skepticism. Chafets meets with Yechiel Eckstein, the Orthodox rabbi turned televangelist, who is raising millions from Zionist Christians to help Israel. But he spends more time describing Jews who are openly fighting Zionist Christians. Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, for example, has been campaigning against what he describes as the Religious Right’s efforts to “Christianize America.”

But as Chafets discovers, religion or religious coercion aren’t really the problem: Politics is the problem. Most Jews aren’t really worried about proselytizing evangelicals, or even Christian Zionists’ belief in Armageddon. What Jews hate are Republicans and the conservative agenda, even if that agenda is much more pro-Israel.

Chafets has a conversation with Shira Dicker. She’s a public relations consultant, a mainstream liberal Jew, and very pro-Israel. Chafets even met her while she was doing PR for Yechiel Eckstein’s annual Evangelical/Israel love-fest. When he interviewed Dicker after the conference, she admitted she couldn’t abide evangelicals. Dicker was angry that a prayer had been said - even though it was delivered by a Jew. “I wasn’t comfortable,” she told him. “I’ve come to see that their leaders are corrupt, horrible people - people in cahoots with Bush. If we cede power to right-wing Christians, we’ll be marginalized. We’ll have a Christian America. To me it’s a moral issue.” But, asks Chafets, are her objections moral or political? “I guess the issue is more that they are Republicans than they are evangelicals,” she replies.
Shira Dicker isn’t really worried about America becoming more Christian; she hates that the country is more Republican. For the fact is that Dicker, like Alan Dershowitz, and like most American Jews, is more committed to the liberal
Democratic political agenda than she is to Israel.

Unlike evangelicals, these Jews didn’t see Israel’s security trumping everything else. They can’t bring themselves to make common cause with conservative Zionist Christians because they hate the conservative agenda more than they love Israel.

Chafets has a warning for Dicker, Dershowitz, and the rest: The hand of friendship is being offered in good faith, and for a limited time. “Jews and evangelicals are major stakeholders is opposing parties,” he writes. “But the Judeo-Christian bargain doesn’t require Jews to become Republicans, much less Christians. It simply requires a change in attitude and tone.”

He is putting the case simplistically in order not to offend the very Jews he wants to attract, and that is where his book falters. Jews have a lot more work to do than just changing their tone.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2007

The United States, The Barbary Coast Pirates and the Muslims – Year 1790!

Redacted from a book review by Ronald Radosh of:

Power, Faith and Fantasy by Michael B. Oren

The Weekly Standard, February 2007

Michael Oren is known to Americans as the author of the best-selling Six Days of War, his account of the Israeli war against the Arab states in 1967. Now be has sought to take on a much wider subject, a broad history of our nation’s involvement in the Middle East since 1776.

Oren starts with the threat posed to the new nation by the Mussulman—as Muslims were then called—as pirates threatened the great profits enjoyed by merchants who traded timber, tobacco, sugar, and rum for Turkish opium, raisins, figs, and other staples of America’s export market. Indeed, Oren shows that the very decision of young America’s leaders to build a powerful navy came from an inability to respond to the threat without a strong, military force.

The new nation’s leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington, were forced to confront the threat immediately. Washington felt “the highest disgrace,” Oren tells us, at seeing America “become tributary to such bandits who might for half the sum that is paid them, be exterminated from the Earth.” Our first president was talking about the Barbary pirates, the name Americans gave to Muslim marauders from Morocco and the Ottoman regencies of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers.

Their incursions led John Adams to try negotiation with a representative of the pasha of Tripoli, to whom Adams offered $200,000 in tribute, hoping that the sum would be less than the risk of losing a million pounds in trade annually. Adams and others were shocked to be told by the pasha’s man that the Koran demanded that all nations acknowledge Muslim authority, or be faced with the “right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

By 1790 Thomas Jefferson asked for war to defend America’s interests. Rejecting his plea, the Senate allocated $l40, 000 - a gigantic sum for the day - to be used for further ransom and tribute. The United States ended up paying some 20 percent of its annual revenue to the Barbary States. But it was not until the late date of 1801 that new American frigates were sent to blockade the port of Tripoli, the first step in the use of American military power in the Middle East. Bypassing Congress (which he assumed would not vote in favor of war), Jefferson ordered a policing action that was all but war in fact.

This was, Oren points out, “a precedent for future American presidents.” The United States did not win at first, but it had taken to heart the advice of our consul in Tunis, William Eaton, who claimed the only language the enemy understood “is terror.” Paving tribute only backfired, earning more disdain for America. “Experience,” Oren writes, “had taught that in the Middle East power alone was respected and, that in order to gain peace,
the United States had no alternative but to wield it.”

Eventually, the use of power proved to be worth it: It cost over $3 million between 1802 and 1805 to fight the pirates, but it gained world respect for the United States, and reinforced a sense of national pride at home. In 1815 an American fleet sank a large Algerian fighting ship, a step that led to the demise of the Barbary incursions. By 1826, America’s 50th birthday, the nation’s Mediterranean naval squad was on permanent duty in the Middle East.

Nor was American interest in the Middle East confined to the use of military power. After the soldiers and merchants came men of religion, who sought to gain their own entrée into lands they loved from reading the Bible.
Many of these religious pioneers practiced what might be called Christian Zionism, announcing their intent to secure the area of Palestine for the Jews of the Middle East. Their reasons had a particular religious rationale. As Oren explains, American Protestants and evangelists held the Jews as their cousins in faith and as the agents of future redemption. By expediting the fulfillment of God’s promises to repatriate the Jews to their homeland, Christians could re-create the conditions of Jewish sovereignty that existed in Jesus’ time and so set the stage for his reappearance.

It is with amazement that one learns about the attempts of early missionaries to build settlements in the Holy Land, to prepare them for the return of the Jews who had been dispossessed since biblical times. In the 1850s, for example, Walter Dickson sought to establish a colony eventually to be settled by Jews; but Dickson and his family met with failure after a group of Arabs entered their farm and slaughtered the members of his community.

Nevertheless, the efforts of these and other Christian settlers led, in the long run, to the creation of lasting institutions, including what would become the American University in Beirut, along with medical facilities that would evolve into great hospitals.

Thus, it was American Protestants, not Jews, who began to call for an independent, Jewish Palestine. Meeting with Abraham Lincoln in 1863, a Canadian churchman, Henry W. Monk, told the president: “There can be no permanent peace in the world until the civilized nations atone for their two thousand years of persecution (of the Jews) by restoring them to their national home in Palestine.” Lincoln responded: “Restoring the Jews to their national home . . . is a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.”

President Woodrow Wilson, a descendant of Presbyterian clergymen, followed in the tradition of his Christian Zionist ancestors. “If ever I have the occasion to help in the restoration of the Jewish people to Palestine, I shall surely do so,” he said during his 1912 presidential campaign. With Wilson’s backing, Britain assumed its League of Nations mandate over Palestine, issuing the Balfour Declaration that served as a commitment on behalf of Jewish statehood in Palestine.

Oren makes it clear that it took great courage for Wilson, and later Harry S. Truman, to oppose the nay-sayers within their own government, and to stand firm against both the Department of State and what would become, in Truman’s era, the oil lobby. Disagreeing with those who saw “Arabism as a long-term American interest,” Wilson and Truman worked to turn their sympathy with the plight of dispossessed Jews into fervent backing for the cause of a Jewish homeland.

Oren shows how events at our nation’s very beginning seem to have repeated themselves in a different time and place. Indeed, as Oren concludes,

“Americans read about the fighting in Iraq and hear the echoes of the Barbary wars and Operation Torch [when Americans went into action in North Africa during World War II} or follow presidential efforts to mediate between Palestinians and Israelis and see the shadows of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.”

As for our current commander in chief, Oren contrasts him favorably with his father, a “straitlaced Episcopalian,” while the son gravitated toward evangelical churches, whose members had long been sympathetic towards the legacy of the early Christian Zionists. Calling him a true “spiritual heir” of his namesake and ancestor George Bush in 1844, Oren clearly views George W. Bush as a man who has continued in the tradition of those who posted early warnings of the dangers of militant Islam. Oren considers Bush to be solidly in the tradition begun by Woodrow Wilson: of an American policy of standing with Zionism. Yet in contrast to Wilson, who sought to avoid war in the region, Bush was spurred “to decide in favor of war.”

Oren notes the irony of how, having gone to war to depose Saddam Hussein, the United States found itself isolated from its major European allies, much as those same nations had refused, 200 years ago, to forge an alliance against the Barbary pirates.

Oren concludes that this American presence and the exercise of power have “brought far more beneficence than avarice to the Middle East and caused significantly less harm than good.” Those who read this magisterial study will find themselves hard-pressed to disagree.

Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, and is working with Allis Radosh on a book about Harry S. Truman~ the creation of Israel and American foreign policy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

The Russian/Hamas Alliance!

By Mathew Levitt
The Weekly Standard, March 19, 2007

In recent Congressional testimony, the new director of national intelligence, Admiral Mike McConnell, warned that Russia, flush with petrodollars feels “emboldened . . . to pursue foreign policy goals that are not always consistent with those of Western institutions.” How true. From the murder in London of KGB/FSB critic Alexander Litvinenko to the blocking of international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, recent events make clear that Russia’s foreign policy is increasingly assertive and, from the American point of view, unhelpful.

The most recent confirmation of this coincided with McConnell’s congressional testimony. Even as the director of national intelligence sat before the Senate Armed Services committee, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was hosting Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Moscow for the second time within a year. The red carpet visit occurred despite Hamas’s refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence, or accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements as required by the Quartet comprising the United States, European Union, United Nations, and yes, Russia.

Moscow’s angling for a greater role in the Middle East is nothing new. Its diplomatic overture to Hamas comes at the same time Russia is considering the sale of advanced anti-tank weapons systems to Syria (previous Russian arms shipments to Damascus were provided to Hezbollah militants and employed against Israel in last summer’s war). But Russia’s outreach to Hamas is particularly strange because Moscow has its own reasons to be wary of the radical Islamist Palestinian group.

In July, Russia’s Federal Security Service, successor agency to the KGB, released a list of 17 organizations the Russian Supreme Court had identified as “terrorist.” The FSB’s counter-terrorism chief described all 17 groups as a threat to the Russian state and noted that almost all were linked in some way to the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the 17, Hamas, however, was not listed, though it openly describes itself as the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and frequently features deceased Brotherhood dignitaries like Hassan al-Banna and Abdullah Azzam alongside Hamas leaders on its posters and pamphlets.

The reason for not listing Hamas, the counter-terrorism chief explained, was that Hamas was not engaged in violent activity in Russia, nor was it linked to illegal armed groups operating in the North Caucasus. But Hamas supporters do maintain a presence in Russia, and the group does express solidarity with Chechen fighters, including suicide bombers.

Hamas operates some 20 websites in a variety of languages—including Russian—to reach key constituencies. The fact that Hamas finds supporters among Russian speakers should not surprise, given the extent to which Hamas identifies with and glorifies Chechen terrorism, especially on its Internet sites and in recruitment and radicalization materials distributed in the West Bank and Gaza.

For example, the Hamas website, Palestine-info, featured a fatwa (religious edict) written by Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Seif, described as the mufti of the mujahedeen (holy warriors) in Chechnya. The fatwa finds that Chechen and Palestinian suicide attacks are both legitimate because they are part of the wars against Russia and Israel, respectively. The fatwa also rules in favor of deploying female suicide bombers, citing the example of the suicide attack executed by Hawaa Barayev in Chechnya in June 2000. Another website, Islamway, which focused on supporting what it called the Chechen jihad, also issued calls to support the jihad in Palestine. The site called on readers to donate money to provide jihadists “with weapons and physical strength to carry on with the war against those who kill them.”

Hamas radicalization materials distributed in the West Bank and Gaza cite the Chechen jihad as the standard to which Palestinian militants should aspire. In raids of Hamas institutions in 2003 and 2004, Israeli forces found extensive materials—posters, videos, CDs— praising Chechen rebels and leaders like Shamil Basayev and Khattab, expressing solidarity with Chechen terrorism, and indoctrinating Palestinian youth to engage in similar attacks.

One CD, entitled “The Russian’s Hell,” displays scenes from the fighting in Chechnya interspersed with religious messages justifying jihad and claiming that those killed in the course of jihad go to heaven as martyrs. A poster included on a CD found at two different Hamas institutions features Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Chechen leaders Basayev and Khattab, and Osama bin Laden.

According to Israeli authorities, materials such as these were distributed by Hamas at the American University in Jenin in November 2003, at Hebron University in February 2004, and at the Hebron Orphan Asylum in August 2004.

Such materials prove successful indoctrination tools, as evidenced by the comments of a leader of the Abu Rish Brigades, a Gaza-based collection of disaffected Fatah operatives with close ties to Hamas. In the words of the group’s spokesman, “Our banner is jihad everywhere, even Chechnya. Our aim is to liberate every piece of land in Palestine, including what is now called Israel.”

Several Russian newspapers blasted the Hamas visit, and Mashaal was reportedly refused a meeting with Putin. But Lavrov attempted to paint the visit as a success, claiming to have “received confirmation” that Hamas would cease firing Qassam rockets at Israeli population centers from Gaza. Recent trends leave reason to question Lavrov’s optimism. Over the past year Hamas established its own standing militia—the “executive force”—to rival mainstream Palestinian security forces.

Reports now suggest Hamas plans to increase its size from 6,000 to as many as 12,000 members. Moreover, Israeli defense officials recently revealed that Hamas is sending hundreds of members to training camps in Syria and Iran. The operatives enter Egypt through the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza and from their travel on to Damascus and Tehran.

Israeli officials are also concerned about reports that Hamas is using the intra-Palestinian cease-fire recently negotiated in Mecca to import and stockpile weapons. All this comes against the backdrop of the Israel Security Agency’s newly released 2006 terrorism report, which documents an 80 percent increase in the number of suicide bombers arrested before they could carry out their attacks. The report notes that approximately 53 percent of attacks in 2006 were executed by operatives from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Clearly, a year in power has not, moderated Hamas, which continues to conduct attacks of its own and does nothing in its role as the duly elected government to stop attacks by other militant groups.

Russia’s newfound assertiveness, the director of national intelligence testified, will “inject elements of rivalry and antagonism into U.S. dealings with Moscow.” It already has.

Matthew Levitt directs the Stein program on terrorism, intelligence and policy at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy and is the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale Press 2006,).

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2007

Arab Refugees –Yes; Jewish Refugees – Who?

(A redaction of an article by FLAME)

The Forgotten Refugees

Why does nobody care about the Jewish refugees from Arab Lands? The world is greatly concerned about the Arabs who fled the nascent state of Israel in 1948. But no mention is ever made of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Their history is as compelling and arguably more so than that of the Arab refugees from Israel.

What are the facts?

Jews have lived in what are now Arab countries since biblical times - well over 2000 years before Arab countries even existed? According to biblical chronology, the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt took place in the 890th year before the destruction of the Hebrew Temple by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. That would then be 1477 BCE. Hebrew King David established his kingdom in Jerusalem about 1000 BCE. As to Islam, Mohammed created the Islamic religion before his death in 632 CE – over 1600 years after the Jews already had a nation in Israel. And, incidentally, there has never been a Palestinian Arab nation anywhere!

After the Roman conquest, 70 AD, Jews were dispersed, mostly to what became the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East, some 700-1000 years later. Many Jews migrated to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) at that time but were then expelled from those countries after 1492. The next stop for most Jews was then to adjacent, now Arab-dominated lands, where frequently there had been Jews, since the 70 AD expulsion by the Romans and long before there was such a thing as an Arab nation anywhere!

There is a myth that Jews (and Christians) had an easy life in Muslim/Arab countries. The opposite is the case. Jews under Islam were treated as second-class citizens (“dhimmi”) and worse. The relationship was governed by a system of discrimination, intended to reduce the Jews (and Christians), in those Arab countries, to conditions of humiliation, segregation and violence. They were excluded from society, from government, from most professions and subjected to head taxes not levied upon the Arab population.

They were barely tolerated and often, under the slightest pretext or no pretext at all, were victimized by vicious violence. When Israel declared its statehood in 1948, pogroms broke out across the entire Arab/Muslim world. Thousands died in this violence. Their homes and businesses were destroyed, their women violated. The vast majority of those Jews fled from where they had lived for centuries. They had to leave everything behind. Most of those who were able to escape found their way to the just-created state of Israel.

Over 850,000 Jews were driven from Arab countries, most of them in 1948, at the birth of Israel. The remainder were chased out during or immediately following the Six-Day War in 1967, when, in fury about the disastrous defeat, the “Arab street” erupted and subjected its Jewish population to bloody pogroms. Israel received those Jewish refugees from Arab countries with brotherly open arms; it housed, fed, and quickly integrated them into Israeli society. They and their descendants now make up more than one-half of the country’s population.

The actual figures of the Jewish population before their expulsion are shown below:

1948 _____________Now
Algeria 140000 ______ 0
Egypt 75,000 ___ 100
Iraq 135,000 ___ 100
Lebanon 5,000 _____ 100
Libya 38,000 ___ 0
Morocco 265,000 ___ 5,700
Syria 30,000 ____ 100
Tunisia 105,000 ____ 1,500
Yemen 55,000 ____ 200

It is instructive to compare the history of those Jewish refugees with that of the Arabs who fled from Israel during its War of Independence in 1948. There were between 450,000 to 650,000, depending upon whose estimates are used. Most left following the strident orders of their leaders, who urged them to leave, so as to make room for the invading Arab armies. After victory was to be achieved, they were to return to reclaim their property and that of the Jews, all of whom would have been killed or would have fled.

In contrast to the Jewish refugees, who were quickly integrated into Israel, the Arab countries resolutely refused to accept the Arab refugees into their societies. They confined them into so-called refugee camps. Those camps are essentially extended slum cities, where their descendants — now the fourth generation — have been living ever since. The reason for the Arabs’ refusal to accept them was and still is the desire to keep them as a festering sore and to make solution of the Arab/Israel conflict impossible.

The “refugees,” whose number has by now miraculously increased from their original 650,000 to 5 million, have been indoctrinated to seethe with hatred toward Israel and provide the cadres of terrorists and suicide bombers. The Palestinian refugees occupy a unique place in the world. Since 1947, there have been over 100 UN resolutions concerning the Palestinian refugees. But there has not been one single resolution addressing the horrible injustices done to the nearly one million Jewish refugees from the Arab states.

There have been many millions of refugees in the wake of the Second World War. With only one exception, none of those refuge groups occupy the interest of the world and of the United Nations in a major way. That one exception is the Palestinian refugees. In fact, a special branch of the United Nations (UNRA) exists only for the maintenance of those “refugees.” In the almost sixty years of the existence of this agency it has cost billions of dollar - most of it contributed by the United States.

Jewish refugees from the Arab countries are the forgotten refugees. The world, and especially of course the Arabs, claim compensation from Israel for the Arab refugees and insist on their return to what has been Israel for almost 60 years. The Jewish refugees from Arab countries, most of whom are Israelis now, have no desire to return to their ancient lands, where they had been treated so shabbily and brutally. But if there is to be any compensation, those forgotten Jewish refugees are certainly entitled to compensation equal to that of the Arab refugees. Anything else would be a great injustice.

FLAME is a tax-exempt, non-profit educational 501 (c)(3) organization.
Gerardo Joffe, President
P.O. Box 590359 San Francisco, CA 94159

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

March 17, 2007

Former State Dept. official, Martin Indyk: "Mahmoud Abbas is a 'Moderate'.”

(Redacted from a Zionist Org. of America Press Release)

(Indyk’s testimony before a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, February 14, 2007)

New York -- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly disagrees with the recent comments made by former Middle East advisor and U.S. ambassador to Israel in the Clinton Administration, Martin Indyk, who wrongly depicted Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate and peacemaker who has met his obligations for peace with Israel.

In fact, Holocaust-denier Abbas has not met any of his obligations to the Oslo, Hebron, Wye and Roadmap agreements. There is still not even a single official Palestinian map that shows Israel's existence as a sovereign state.

Indyk, during testimony he gave before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to a proposal by another witness, Middle East scholar and director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) Dr. Daniel Pipes, that "Palestinian Arabs must rid themselves of their hatred of Israel and desire to commit violence against it."

Indyk: “If we accepted Daniel Pipe’s requirements, then I think a fair case could be made that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas' nom de guerre], the Palestinian president—who's the elected Palestinian president—has met all of those requirements - ending the incitement of Israel in the Palestinian media and beginning the process of dealing with the demonization of Israel in Palestinian curricula. He has led the effort to bring the Palestinians around to acceptance of Israel; he has a clear history of having done that over a period of the last 25 years; he has not played a double game like Yasser Arafat did. And so that's why I think that, as I said, the Israelis are prepared to deal with Abu Mazen, prepared to accept that he does accept Israel's right to exist, not just its existence. The problem is he doesn't have the capabilities to enforce his will. He is, as we all agree, I think, weak, and the challenge, therefore, is to see whether it's possible to ensure that he does get the capability so that his way can prevail.”

Bespeaking the exact opposite of Indyk’s claims are Mahmoud Abbas own statements and actions concerning Jews, Israel, terrorism and peace making:

· On fighting Israel: "We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation … Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation" (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007)

· On Hamas: "We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas" (Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2007).

· On Jews: "The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth" (World Net Daily, January 11, 2007).

· On recognizing Israel: "It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel" (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, 2006, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).

· On suicide bombers: "Allah loves the martyr" (Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2005).

· On wanted Palestinian terrorists: "heroes fighting for freedom" ( Age [Melbourne], January 3, 2005); " Israel calls them murderers, we call them strugglers" (Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2004).

· On Yasser Arafat: "It is our duty to implement the principles of Yasser Arafat" ( Haaretz, January 3, 2005); "We will continue in the path of the late president until we fulfill all his dreams" (Agence France-Presse, November 11, 2005); "The Palestinian leadership won't stray from Arafat's path" (Yediot Ahronot, November 11, 2006)

· On disarming Palestinian terrorists: a "red line" that must not be crossed (Washington Times, January 3, 2005)

· On jailed Palestinian terrorists: "our heroes." (Israel National News, May 26, 2006).

· On the so-called 'right of return' of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants which, if implemented would end Israel as a Jewish state: "The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable" (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007); "We won't give up on this issue" (Yediot Ahronot, November 12, 2006).

· On the Hizballah terrorist group: During the 2006 war unleashed by Hizballah's attacks upon Israel, he praised it is a source of pride that sets an example for what he termed the "Arab resistance" (Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2006).

· On Holocaust denial: He wrote a PhD thesis and published a book denying the Holocaust, entitled The Other Side: The Secret Relations Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement.

· Terrorist group Fatah: He co-founded with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the terrorist group Fatah, whose Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism against Israelis as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19).

· Funding terrorism: as senior PLO official, he funded the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972.

· Terror & incitement to violence: He has refused to implement the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it.

· Does not accept Israel as a Jewish state: Abbas rebuffed President Bush's call at the 2003 Aqaba summit to publicly accept Israel as a Jewish state.

· Money for suicide bombers' families: In December 2005, he approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of killed Palestinian terrorists.

· Supports terrorists' plan for more violence: In May 2005, he endorsed the so-called 'Prisoners' Plan', a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, does not accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, and insists on the 'right of return.'

· Appoints terrorists to his hierarchy: Named a wanted terrorist, Mahmoud Damra, to command Force 17, a PA military force with a long record of terror. Damra is wanted by Israel for leading shooting and roadside bomb attacks against Israelis, including the killing of IDF soldiers near Neve Tzuf in 2000 and of an Israeli citizen near Tapuach, in Samaria, in 2001. (Israel National News, May 30, 2006).

· Praise for terrorists: Examples: The PA Radio station, 'Voice of Palestine,' referred to a suicide bomber who murdered several people as having been being "heroically martyred" (Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2005). Abbas did not condemn the murder by a Palestinian Arab terrorist of an Israeli couple, criticizing it only tactically as not serving the "Palestinians' interests", while the PA-controlled media hailed the two attackers as "martyrs" and "resistance fighters" (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2005).

· Releasing terrorists: Palestinian police released a member of a Hamas rocket squad on Tuesday, a day after he was detained, despite a pledge by Abbas to get tough with those violating a truce with Israel. (USA Today, May 3, 2005); Two terrorists arrested under foreign pressure after a February 2005 suicide bombing in Israel "escaped" from PA custody (Palestinian Media Watch, April 28, 2005).

· Does not arrest terrorists: In June 2005, a female would-be suicide bomber from Abbas' own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, was apprehended by Israeli forces before she succeeded in detonating a bomb in an Israeli hospital at which she had been receiving on-going treatment. Israel gave Abbas detailed information of the plan, but the PA did nothing. (Haaretz, June 21, 2005). In November 2005, Israeli forces killed Hasan al-Madhoun, a senior figure in Abbas'Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, after providing Abbas with information on his whereabouts and after his failure to tale him into custody ( New York Times, November 2, 2005).

Etc. Etc., Etc..

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2007

Justice And Jewish Slavery: Daimler-Chrysler's Final And Inevitable Collapse

By Professor Louis Rene Beres
Professor of International Law, Dept. of Political Science, Purdue University

The Jewish Press, March 9, 2007

On its face, it would surely be foolish to blame Daimler-Chrysler’s extraordinary woes on the very dark history of Daimler-Benz. On its face, the combined company’s deep decline is manifestly a function of bad economic judgments. After all, from the very start, the 1998 decision by Germany’s Daimler-Benz to merge with Chrysler simply made no financial sense. And yet, yet, there are sometimes factors that play an important or even decisive role in explaining all aspects of human life — including the collective lives of nations and corporations - that are neither tangible nor measurable. The sad history of this iconic American automobile company may well have been determined, at least in part, by factors that we can’t really identify or clarify in the Management 101 textbooks.

The humiliating fate of the Chrysler Corporation cannot be detached entirely from the sordid history of Daimler-Benz. It might have been different perhaps, if there had ever been some acknowledgement of the German parent company’s enthusiastic wartime use of Jewish slave labor, but no such acknowledgment was ever made. Although not distinctly testable in science, silence can sometimes have genuinely frightful consequences. Justice must always have a decipherable voice, and there can never be any such voice without memory.

At the time of the 1998 merger, no public mention was ever made of Daimler’s Nazi involvement. It was conveniently assumed by Chrysler’s top executives, that a murderous Daimler-Benz history could be shoved under the rug. And the insistently seductive calls for corporate wealth in America would drown out the increasingly weak cries for justice. These assumptions were not merely sinister; they were also wrong. What we witness today, in Daimler-Chrysler’s now evident corporate collapse, is the ineradicable stain of unpunished and unapologetic Dairnler-Benz wartime crimes against humanity.

Justice always requires a voice. Even today, someone must still speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Someone must speak for those endless railway cars of Jewish slave laborers whose seemingly inexhaustible supply in Nazi Germany and occupied lands had actually made them less than slaves. Even today, someone must speak for those starved and brutalized victims dehumanized by a venerated German corporation during World War II.

In 1998, the business world was all aglow, about a “marriage made in heaven” — the mega-merger of Chrysler with Daimler-Benz. Lost in this grand celebration of new fortunes to be made was the buried history of one corporate partner. During the war, hundreds of thousands of Jews were coerced into forced labor by many major German industrial firms under conditions, which the judges at Nuremberg said “made labor and death almost synonymous.” The victims were barely bits of sandpaper, rubbed a few times by their masters, judged useless and then burned, literally, with the garbage. Daimler-Benz was one of these firms.

Where did Daimler-Benz operate in the vast complex of slave enterprises? As documented authoritatively in The International Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (pp. 1037— 1039) Natzweiler-Struthof, a concentration camp established by Albert Speer because of nearby granite deposits, was expanded. In 1944, Daimler Benz moved some of its work from the Berlin area to the new satellite camp at Neckarelz. Here, the company used several thousand slaves in a joint project with Reich Security Main Office and the Ministry of Armaments. The Natzweiler main camp, although small, had its own gas chamber.

Together with other privileged German corporations, Daimler-Benz traded and transshipped Jewish forced laborers with nary a hint that they were dealing in human beings. They were purchased from the SS, with the understanding that they should not be kept alive for too long (So as not to slow down the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”). The bewildered and tortured slaves were often housed in tiny animal kennels or underground chamber before “selection” for the gas chamber.

After the war, when some very small number of Jewish claimants called upon Daimler-Benz and other criminally responsible German firms to make some sort of restitution, the victims and their survivors were cruelly rebuffed. On November 5, 1997 a German court upheld its government’s policy rejecting compensation claims by Nazi-era slave laborers. The judges based their decision in part on the fact that the pertinent German companies had already paid the Nazi SS for the forced laborers they had “employed” and that therefore no ‘further compensation” to Jewish victims was owed by the companies.

Most of these companies of course, including Daimler-Benz remained in business. Not one of these companies, including Daimler-Benz ever made more than a token payment to their former Jewish slaves or to associated claimants.

In his book, The Germans (St. Martin’s Press, 1989) Financial Times correspondent David Marsh indicates that it was not until June 1988 that Daimler made a DM20 million payment to the U.S. Jewish Claims Conference “to ease consequences still ensuing from those times.”
Marsh notes that by June 1988, the actual victims of Daimler-Benz enslavement were no longer alive. In 1998, according to Marsh, Daimler-Benz admitted to using 29,500 slaves at the end of 1944. (This was around half of its entire work force.) They now sought, via its merger with Chrysler Corporation — to become a new and important giant in American industry.

Although certainly never to be acknowledged by Wall Street analysts, the now-imminent failure of this giant is due in some immeasurable way to the infamously unclean side of Daimler-Benz. During the War, Daimler-Benz did pay salaries for their slaves, but the payments were made directly to the SS, which naturally kept the money. The ties between the German industrialists at Benz and other concerns to the SS were more intimate than is generally realized.

The industrialists were all heavy contributors to SS leader Himmler’s personal fund. For a Christmas celebration in 1943, Himmler invited these magnates to his own headquarters. An SS film on eradicating Jewish “vermin” was screened, and the “distinguished group” was entertained by an SS all male chorus.

How did the victorious allies mete out justice to the German industrialist murderers? No corporate director or manager was compelled to stand before the International Military Tribunal. Not one!

In subsequent trials against certain leading directors, several defendants were found guilty of crimes against humanity for exploiting Jewish slave labor. Although many were sentenced to long prison terms, by January 1951, not a single corporate criminal was still in jail. An act of “clemency” by John J. McCloy, United States High Commissioner, gave all of these Germans their complete freedom. A mere half-dozen years after the war, all of the criminal German business leaders were free to regain huge personal fortunes.

The Jewish slaves, who had endured the unendurable, were left only with abject poverty, crippling illness, limitless pain, and incessant nightmares. So the Nazi-era crimes of Daimler-Benz had been forgotten or forgiven on Wall Street. After all, there was presumably a lot of money to be made in the merger with Chrysler, and no reasonable investor wanted to be limited by what was done and cannot be undone. Yet memory, not forgetfulness, is indispensable to justice. And justice — even on Wall Street — is what America is ultimately all about.

For Daimler-Chrysler, the past is irremediably present, still silent perhaps, but unforgiving, dark and thoroughly inescapable.

LOUIS RENE BERES, Professor of Political Science at Purdue University, was born in Zurich, Switzerland on August 31, 1945. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he is the author of nine major books on international relations and international law. Professor Beres’ Austrian-Jewish grandparents were murdered at the SS-killing grounds in Riga, Latvia.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2007

The On-going Tragic Disrespect by Israelis of their own Heritage and Religion

By Aaron Klein

The Jewish Press, February 2007

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given Jordan permission to build a large minaret adjacent to a mosque on the Temple Mount to call Muslims to prayer at the holy site. The minaret will stand at a site on the Mount where Jewish groups here had petitioned to build a synagogue. A minaret is a tower usually attached to a mosque from which Muslims are called to the five Islamic daily prayers.

There are four minarets on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The new minaret will be the largest one yet. It will be the first built on the Temple Mount in over 600 years and is slated to tower 130 feet above the walls of Jerusalem’s old city. It will reside next to the Al-Marwani Mosque, located at the site of Solomon’s Stables.

Aryeh Eldad, a Knesset member from Israel’s National Union party last year drew up plans with Jewish groups to build a synagogue near the Marwani Mosque. The synagogue was to be built in accordance with rulings from several prominent rabbis, who said Jews could ascend the Mount at certain areas.

A top leader of the Wakf — the Islamic custodians of the Mount — told WorldNetDaily that Olmert’s granting of permission to build the minaret in the synagogue’s place:

“confirms 100-percent that the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount] belongs to Muslims.” ... “This proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here. It will make Muslims worldwide more secure that the Jews will never take over the Haram al-Sharif,” the Wakf official said. (The usual thanks from Arabs who smell blood-Jsk)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to allow Muslims to construct a massive minaret on the Temple Mount will embolden the enemies of the Jewish state and signal that violence and terrorism are working, according to a group of prominent rabbinic leaders in Israel.

The Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a coalition more than 300 Israeli rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis, said in a statement that Olmert does not have the moral or historic right to hand over even one inch of Israeli territory to foreigners.”

“The mere fact of giving up sovereignty of the Temple Mount — the holiest site of the Jewish people — is an indication of how far the Israeli government has deteriorated and is prepared to forfeit Jewish rights and ownership of Israel granted in our holy Torah, the most authoritative book in the world,” the rabbis said.

Meanwhile, a leading Israeli archeologist has charged that the Israeli government is “doing nothing” while the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount discard Jewish artifacts and attempt to turn Judaism’s holiest site into a large mosque for Muslims only. Hebrew University’s. Eilat Mazor, discoverer of Jerusalem’s City of David, slammed the inaction of the Israeli government while Islam “takes over” the Temple Mount. “The authorities have failed to deal with this issue. The only ones paying attention are the police, and they are only interested in quiet, so they do nothing,”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2007

What exactly did VP Cheney say that Nancy Pelosi questions?

(Does she really believe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going away or will truly negotiate in good faith and give up his nuclear weapons? He has said tens of times he will do no such thing. Or, is Pelosi playing politics, as usual, trying to discredit Cheney for simply stating the obvious and presenting facts to which this country had better pay close attention?) Jsk

“Military action in Iran still possible,” Cheney says.

Palm Beach Post, February 24, 2007

SYDNEY Australia — Vice President Dick Cheney lashed out at a U.N.-defiant Iran today, warning anew that “all options” are available in dealing with the Middle East nation over its nuclear program. Cheney, speaking at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, said the United States was working with its allies to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program and that it was preference for that to happen peacefully “But all options are still on the table,” Cheney said.

The next step getting Iran to abandon its nuclear program was still being debated, he said. “It would be a serious mistake if a nation such as Iran became a nuclear power,” Cheney’s comments came two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had not only ignored UN. Security Council ultimatum to freeze the enrichment program but had expanded that program by setting up hundreds of centrifuges. Enriched uranium fuels nuclear reactors but, enriched further, is used in nuclear bombs. Iran says its atomic program is aimed solely at generating energy but the United States and some of its allies suspect is geared toward making nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have long refused to rule out any options in the face-off with Tehran but say military action would be a last resort.

Cheney said Iran has sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, and he accused Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of making inflammatory statements. Cheney did not specify to which of Ahmadinejad’s remarks he was referring. Meanwhile, on Friday, Cheney refused to back down from his earlier assertion that the Democratic approach to dealing with Iraq would “validate the Al-Qaeda strategy”

Speaking with ABC News, the vice president addressed the criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who earlier this week called the White House to complain about Cheney’s remarks. “I’m not sure with what part of it is that Nancy disagreed,” Cheney said. “She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn’t question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2007

Interviewing an unsung Catholic hero of the Jewish people

Redacted from: The Interwoven DNA of Catholics and Jews

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR., National Catholic Reporter (NCR)

It's a staple of organizational management that "no one is indispensable," that institutions are always greater than the sum of their parts. In reality, however, some parts are much less replaceable than others: Think the Chicago Bulls, for example, post-Michael Jordan. So it is in the world of relations between Judaism and the Catholic Church. While the dialogue between the two faiths certainly will survive the impending departure of Eugene Fisher from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, many veterans say things won't ever be quite the same.

Servite Fr. John Pawlikowski, director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, said of Fisher, "For the first time since Vatican II, American Catholicism will lack a person, (as Eugene Fisher) with primary responsibility for Catholic-Jewish relations.

Fisher, who will take early retirement July 31 as part of a general downsizing of the bishops' conference staff, has both symbolized and, in significant measure, engineered the revolution in Catholic-Jewish relations that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and came to a crescendo under Pope John Paul II.
He was an important part of John Paul's outreach. When the pope met with Jewish leaders in Miami in 1987, for example, pledging to join the Jewish
people in the cry "Never again!" with respect to the Holocaust, the speech he read that day had been drafted by Fisher.

Fisher, 63, grew up in Grosse Point, Mich., and became involved with the civil rights movement in Detroit while a seminarian at St. John's. Later, while pursuing a doctorate in the Hebrew Bible at New York University, Fisher breathed the air of 1970s-era Catholic radicalism. During the same stretch of time, Fisher was becoming steadily more intoxicated with scripture, a development he regarded as entirely natural.

In particular, Fisher was fascinated with both the continuities and the divergences in Jewish and Christian readings of their shared sacred texts. He was one of the first Catholics to do doctoral-level work in the Bible in a predominantly Jewish setting, and in 1977 his budding interest landed him a job with the U.S. bishops' conference as their expert on Catholic-Jewish relations, a position he has held for the ensuing 30 years.

Fisher has been a member of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, the main vehicle for dialogue between the two faiths, for longer than anyone else now living on either side. He has written pioneering works on the Christian presentation of Judaism that have transformed the way textbooks and religious education materials are prepared in the United States and around the world. He's also written on how Jews present Christianity, an area in which Fisher says there is still tremendous need for improvement.

In 1985, when the Vatican announced there were "no theological barriers" to recognition of the state of Israel, thereby discrediting ancient prejudices that
Jewish homelessness was a form of divine punishment for the death of Jesus, it was Fisher who coined the phrase.
Fisher has been at the side of Cardinal
William Henry Keeler, longtime head of the U.S. bishops' committee on dialogue with Judaism, as he navigated controversies such as Jewish reaction to
the visit of ex-Nazi Austrian President Kurt Waldheim to the Vatican in 1987, which happened to coincide with John Paul's visit to Miami. In 1999, when a panel of Jewish and Catholic scholars was assembled to study an 11-volume set of documents from the Vatican archives concerning the World War II period, Fisher assembled the Catholic team.

Fisher has been praised and honored in many ways over the years, but perhaps the best index of his impact is that he was twice nominated by a pair of Jewish professors at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Fisher sat down on Feb. 2 in his office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for an interview with NCR.

NCR: What does the downsizing of the Bishop’s conference mean for dialogue with other faiths?
Fisher: One of my fears over the years has been that when I left, Catholic-Jewish relations would just be lumped under "inter-religious," where theologically it doesn’t belong. Rome is right. This is the first schism in the history of the church. It's the primordial relationship, and we can't do without it. Augustine was right.
We need to witness together with the Jewish people, which we can't do in this sense with others because it is only with them that we share a common relation in scripture, in our DNA. My image for the relationship is a double helix. The two strands are separate, but they're interwoven and linked all the way through. For many Jews, you've come to incarnate an enlightened Catholic approach to Judaism, handling questions like proselytism with great sensitivity.

NCR: How confident can they be that such an approach will continue?
Fisher: My crystal ball fell off my desk last night and broke. But right now, what's being articulated is that approach, and the signals we get from Pope Benedict are that he will continue the policies on Jews and Judaism of his predecessor, John Paul II.

In terms of the Jews, any program specifically targeting Jews for conversion would, because of the history of the relationship, be disruptive. [Such programs would] cause panic. So, you don't do that. We've seen Benedict XVI at work with Jews on a number of occasions, from his visit to the synagogue in Cologne in 2005, to several Jewish delegations he's received.

NCR: What do you think so far?
Fisher: I've seen him following through on what he said at the beginning, which is maintaining the policy of positive outreach to Jews of his predecessor. He also has a special sensitivity to the Holocaust. If you look at the pitfalls and the controversies between Catholics and Jews over the last 30 years, the large majority of them have been around the Holocaust. ... Waldheim, the Auschwitz convent, Pius XII and so on. It's the obvious lightning rod. As a German, he's more sensitive than most to that set of issues. Unlike John Paul II, he didn't grow up with Jews, so there's not that personal rapport. But he comes from an anti-Nazi background in Germany, and as a teenager at the time he was old enough to know how terrible all this was. That's reflected in his writings over the years. That will continue. He's not going to all of a sudden become insensitive to that set of issues, which he as a German acknowledges publicly very much.

NCR: Do you feel it would be helpful to wait to canonize Pius XII until the archives from his era are entirely open?
Fisher: Yes, that would make the whole thing calm down
. To some extent, after World War II, and the fact that baptized people tried to kill all Jews, Jews still don't quite totally trust us. It's traumatic shock syndrome of an entire people. If I were Jewish, I wouldn't totally trust me either. But there is greater trust now than there was before, and the more open we are about that period and that history, the better off we sill be ... Catholic-Jewish relations don't need an unnecessary hit of controversy that would make understanding harder for a while. It just doesn't need that. That's my professional opinion.

NCR: At the time of Vatican II, in popular Catholic psychology the basic religious "other" was the Jews. Today, post-9/11, when many Catholics think of inter-religious dialogue, they think automatically of Muslims. What does that mean for Catholic-Jewish relations?
Fisher: Both Jews and Catholics are interested in dialogue with Muslims. Jews and Catholics have a pretty good record and know how to dialogue with each other, so that the skills that we have in the one can be very helpful to the other. This is not an either/or. It’s a both/and. One of the trends I would foresee, and that I would hope for, are more Abraham based forum kinds of things, with Jews, Christians and Muslims working together. That can never replace direct Catholic/Jewish dialogue, however, because there is an agenda we have with Jews that we don't have with Muslims.

NCR: In very general terms, what's the future of Catholic/Jewish dialogue?
Fisher: Like I told you before, my crystal ball isn't working. However, one thing I can say is that in our most recent meetings, there's been an increased willingness on the part of Christian participants to talk about problems in education on the Jewish side.
If you look at most Jewish textbooks, or Israeli textbooks, they say next to nothing about Christianity. Basically, it goes from Jesus to the Inquisition and pogroms, then the Holocaust, and that's it. The result is that many Jews have no idea about what the church is actually teaching today about Judaism, and that's a problem. We've been able to say in the dialogue, you've got to do better than that. We've also felt very free to say that Israel absolutely has to finally complete the Fundamental Agreement with the Vatican. What's it taken, 13 years? That must be brought to a conclusion.

NCR: Your point is that trust has developed on both sides so that Christians can push back a little more?
Fisher: I think we've reached a point in the relationship where the trust is deep enough that we can speak very freely to one another. Before, I think we were sometimes a little hesitant, because things were so delicate. I think that's evolved over time, and it's for the good.

NCR: Will you still go to the meetings?
Fisher: I would hope so, yes. I won't be doing the staffing, but I would very much hope to be present, as much as I can.

John L. Allen Jr. is NCR senior correspondent. His e-mail address is National Catholic Reporter, February 23, 2007

Reader comment:

Thanks for this piece, as some who was, along with Rabbi Avi Weiss, involved in the Auschwitz convent and Waldheim controversies - Glenn Richter

I hate to see Eugene Fisher leave. I met him many years ago when I was involved with the nuns in the Interreligious Task Force for Soviet Jews. they were unbelieveable people, so caring and committed. they could have taught some of our people how to care. - Rae Sharfman

Tell Rae I share her views of the nuns in the Soviet Jewry movement. Great, strong women, who along with the redoubtable Sisters of Sion helped change the course of Jewish-Catholic relations. - Gene Fisher

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:45 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2007

Jimmy Carter – Sex or Money?

March 2, 2007

Brian De Palma - Movie Director says:

"There are only two motives that audiences really buy: sex and money. That wise advice has stayed with me and served me well throughout my screen-writing career."

Which brings us to former President Jimmy Carter. Everyone is running around trying to figure why he's spending so much time bashing Israel.

In a world filled with so much horror -- the endless and brutal civil wars in Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the daily and quite casual slaughters in Somalia,
Zimbabwe, Congo, Chad, Haiti, and the genocide in Sudan -- let's face it -
The list of failed states and murderous African and Islamic dictators is endless so, why pick on Israel?

Well, to clear up the confusion, just cruise on over to the website of the Carter Center and take a look at the list of donors who have contributed more than a million dollars. What a shock! What a rogue’s gallery:

· Prince Alaweed bin Talal, the Sultanate of Oman
· Sultan Quobos bin Said al Said, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
· Bakir M Bin Ladin for the Saudi Bin Ladin Group the Saudi Fund for
· The Government of the United Arab Emirates

These are the very same people and states who have been financing jihad all over the globe and fomenting some of the most vicious anti-Jewish hatred the world has ever seen.

As Jimmy Carter makes the rounds of the various mainstream media news shows, I'm waiting for one honest reporter to ask the former President this simple question: "Mr. President, are you a paid agent of Arab jihadist

Yeah, that'll happen!

(... Whenever Jimmie Carter’s messiah shows up) Jsk

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

March 04, 2007

What happened to the Pink Panther?

Where are Peter Sellers, Inspector Clouseau and the Pink Panther when we really need them? Could they not make the most glorious film from this recent Associated Press news item?

Swiss Troops get Lost - Invade Liechtenstein

The Associated Press, March 3, 2007
Zurich, Switzerland

What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to the Swiss daily, Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers from the neutral country wandered more than a mile into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their error and turning back.

Daniel Reist, a spokesman for the Swiss army, confirmed the story but said there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

(PS Now, darn it, I can’t help but wonder about the accuracy of my Swiss Army watch, so cherished over the years.) Jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2007

As a former Hillary Clinton skeptic ...

... it gives me pleasure to present this marvelous unequivocal statement by the Senator and most probably, the legitimate Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin (PMW) - March 1, 2007

Hillary Clinton's full statement introducing PMW's report on Palestinian schoolbook

US Senate Building, February 8, 2007

Senator Hillary Clinton:

Good morning everyone, and thank you very much for being here.

It is my privilege once again to join Palestinian Media Watch for this press conference, and for the latest report that they have compiled about the Palestinian textbooks.

Director Itamar Marcus, who has been a steadfast leader, has helped to deliver this message which we repeat again today - We must stop the propaganda to which Palestinian children are being exposed. That must be a priority for all people who care about children, who care about the kind of peace, stability, safety and security that Israel deserves to be guaranteed. And it should be a priority for everyone who cares about the future of the Palestinian people. I’m also pleased that with us today is Associate Director Barbara Crook, with whom I have also met in the past to discuss these issues.

I have been speaking out against the incitement of hate and violence in Palestinian textbooks for years. In 2000 I joined Nobel peace prizewinner Elie Wiesel in New York to denounce the lessons of hatred and violence that are part of the curricula in Palestinian schools. I wrote, with my colleague Senator Schumer, a letter to President Bush, urging his Administration to do everything in its power to persuade the Palestinians to reverse their hateful rhetoric and embrace the opportunity to move toward a strong and lasting peace in the region.

I joined with Itamar at a Senate hearing, where I reiterated the importance of our country making it clear in every way - these children deserves an education that instills respect for life and peace instead of glorifying death and violence. The videos we viewed at that Senate hearing were a clear example of child abuse. I said that at the time and I repeat it again today. Children were encouraged to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for.

Today, we are here once again to release a report that is deeply disturbing, particularly for the denial of Israel’s existence and the historical omissions of the Holocaust, to cite just two examples.

These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them indoctrination. When we viewed this report in combination with other media that these children are exposed to, we see a larger picture that is disturbing. It is disturbing on a human level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of these children. Hate has no place in the curriculum of schools, and the glorification of violence has no place in the education of children.

This propaganda is dangerous. You know, words really do matter. Some people sort of downplay the importance of words. But words really matter. Because in idealizing for children a world without Israel, children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel, never to strive for a better future that would hold out the promise of peace and security to them, and is basically a message of pessimism and fatalism that undermines the possibility for these children living lives of fulfillment and productivity.

This has dire consequences for prospects of peace for generations to come.
Very briefly, the report finds the following in these textbooks: the founding of Israel is described as “a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history.” There is a portrayal of the region in both maps and text in which Israel does not exist. There is the denial of the Holocaust by the omission of historical facts connecting Nazi ideology and actions with the persecution and murder of Jews. For example, the report states, “The textbook teaches the military and the political events of WWII in significant detail including sections on Nazi racist ideology, yet neither the persecution of Jews or the Holocaust is even mentioned.”

Now we will hear more in a minute about this, but I believe education is one of the keys to lasting peace and security in the Middle East and the greater region. For this reason I am deeply concerned by these findings. We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation. In the years since, I and others, who have been doing it long before I did, raised this issue. There has still not been an adequate repudiation of this by the Palestinian Authority.

A few days ago several of my colleagues from the New York City Council, including my friend the Speaker Chris Quinn, were in Sderot, and the city came under attack from Palestinian rocket fire. The attacks are not diminishing, they are continuing. Every opportunity that there can be for an attack seems to be seized by those who are rejectionists of any different future. And I worry about the chance for peace when the next generation is learning that fighting Israel is a glorious, religious battle for Islam, as this report points out.

So it is now my privilege to introduce Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, who will present the deeply disturbing findings of this report and speak to the importance of action.

(See the video online)

Open Letter to Senator Hillary Clinton:

Dear Senator Clinton,

It was with great appreciation that I just read and saw your statement on the “Palestinian” education of their children as shown on the video by Palestinian Media Watch. As a matter of fact, I also featured your speech on my

In the past, I must admit, I have been very skeptical of the Clintons what with President Bill Clinton, hand in hand with a deluded Ehud Barak and a very clever lying Yasser Arafat, leading Israel down the primrose path to certain eventual annihilation. Fortunately, a greedy Yasser Arafat did not accept the preposterous give-away that Pres. Clinton and Barak had engineered. Unfortunately the stupid, political animal, arrogant Ehud Olmert is going down the same self-destructive path. May G-d block his way.

Then there was Hillary Clinton cozying up to Suhat Arafat with an embrace, a kiss, etc. But, that was a long time ago and hopefully presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has learned a lot about the Israeli Arab issue in all these years. Hopefully she has genuinely come to the unequivocal conclusion that Israel is our only dependable friend in the entire Middle East. I hope so.

May you succeed in obtaining the nomination. You are head and shoulders over the latest, totally unimpressive, uninformed and somewhat frightening boy wonder.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack