August 31, 2008

As to what’s going on with the Israeli Government

By Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post On Line
August 31, 2008


Much of the nihilism surrounding our government these past years is related to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's insistence that "a prime minister does not require an agenda." Few of us harbor the illusion that Olmert's departure will, overnight, usher in a new era of stability and good leadership. Nevertheless, the time has come to demand that politicians engaged in the current leadership campaign stop abusing and bad-mouthing one another and focus instead on policies, providing the nation with a genuine opportunity of debating the security and societal issues.

Politics remains at the lowest level it has ever been. True, at least in the short term, the trials and pending indictments of so many key politicians are likely to deter new leaders from indulging in questionable practices. But, even Tzipi Livni, one of the front runners to be the next prime minister, whose principal electoral asset is that she has never been accused of indulging in corrupt practices, seems relaxed about associating politically with Tzahi Hanegbi. He is the former minister who, to this day, cannot appreciate the inappropriateness of his having won a high place in the Likud primaries by being best at providing "jobs for the boys."

Today, more than ever, there is greater awareness of the need to overhaul the electoral system. However, there is scant likelihood that structural reform which would enable the public to reward and punish politicians according to their performance will be realized any time soon. The sectored, one-dimensional parties most threatened by such reform - in particular the haredim (ultra-orthodox) - are being courted by all the prime ministerial candidates and are, regrettably, likely to occupy a pivotal role in the formation of a future government.

THE MANNER in which the primaries in Kadima are playing out exemplifies everything that is rotten in our politics. Kadima is a "virtual" party based primarily on the disastrous policies of unilateral disengagement, which its leaders would prefer to forget. Nobody is able to define what the party represents because most of the Kadima MKs defected from other parties - not out of ideological motivation but simply to enhance their personal ambitions.

Genuine political discussions are rarely expressed. Instead, we are continuously subjected to ongoing personality conflicts and attempts by candidates to demolish the characters of their opponents. On the rare occasions when policies do intrude, they are often manifested in an extremely primitive and even harmful manner - as when Shaul Mofaz got on the soapbox and, to promote his credentials as a hard-liner, irresponsibly called for all-out war with Iran.

Livni, the frontrunner for the Kadima leadership, assures us that she would make the ideal prime minister. However, beyond pontificating about Kadima being a moderate centrist party purporting to reflect the views of the bulk of Israelis, she still declines to provide the nation with a report on the negotiations she has been conducting behind closed doors with the Palestinians. Nor is she even willing to enlighten her own party members about what she proposes to concede to the Palestinians in the "shelf agreement." Livni has also failed to provide any indication of to how she intends to deal with the Hamas or Hizbullah threats. In fact, all the signals suggest that she lacks any kind of long-term strategic plan and would simply continue responding to situations as they arise.

Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, whose political standing has plummeted over the past weeks, has released a wide range of contradictory security policies alternating between dovish and hawkish and guaranteeing that nobody knows what he really thinks. This gives him the opportunity to zigzag according to his perception of the opinion polls. His only consistent theme has been the personal demonization of all his political opponents.

THE OPPOSITION has until now also failed to have a major impact on policy debates. Binyamin Netanyahu is aware that he faces an overwhelmingly hostile and heavily biased media undoubtedly poised to launch yet another hysterical "anyone but Bibi" campaign. His advisers appear to have convinced him to maintain a relatively low profile and avoid providing the press with any pretext to demonize him. But, the time has now surely arrived for him to emerge, outline his policy platform and establish the framework for a genuine national policy debate.

Unlike all the other aspirants to the premiership, Netanyahu does have a genuinely coherent strategic outlook relating to the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and the Iranian threat. By outlining his policies and simultaneously resisting efforts by his opponents to drag him into mudslinging matches, he could ensure that, for the first time in 20 years, we will have an election in which the core issues facing the nation are debated.

Nor should Netanyahu limit himself to security issues, which are understandably the main preoccupation of the nation. He must also aggressively promote his platform on other areas such as the fragile economy, education, water and the various long-term infrastructure issues that have been neglected by politicians concerned only about immediate problems. If Netanyahu succeeds in reviving the first serious national political debate about our future since the Oslo Accords, he will have made an important contribution to the well-being of the nation, and probably also advanced himself to the premiership.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2008

Senator Barack Obama at the Roman Coliseum

By Jerome S. Kaufman

There is no question Senator Obama is an impressive speaker. No question the visuals and fireworks at his acceptance speech were stupendous and no question he has a very handsome wife and two beautiful little daughters. But, so what? What has all that got to do with whether or not I want to vote for him to be President of the United States? What about his voting record, his employment record, his friends and acquaintances, the books he has written, his wife’s previous statements?

In his web log, September 26, 2007, Phillip Greenspun, states, Relative to Obama’s book, Dreams from my Father: “Obama’s main concerns through the period covered in the book seem to be black/white relations and preserving Rust Belt jobs and neighborhoods. As far as Obama is concerned, if you were to take an overdose of tanning pills and your skin turned dark, your whole world would be so dramatically changed as to become unrecognizable. No employer would want to hire you, regardless of your skills, experience and education. These are rather surprising pre-occupations for a guy who hardly ever saw a black person in his household and who grew up in Hawaii, as far away from America’s Rust Belt as an American could possibly get. So… if you think that the main problems afflicting America are how white people feel about black skin and how to keep high-paying blue collar jobs in the greater Chicago area, Obama is definitely your candidate.”

Relative to the warm fuzzy speech of his wife made two nights before Obama was nominated: Not that long ago, she declared that, when her husband became a candidate, was the first day in her 40 plus years that she was proud to be an American! There are also David P. Steinmann’s comments on her Princeton College thesis: “Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis is restricted until November 5, 2008. (The day after the election) Why? The answer is simple. Michelle's jaundiced view of the US may have at least in part originated in her Princeton experience. She has admitted that her grades did not earn her the right to attend the top colleges that she did. Affirmative action did, but it did not make her grateful, merely resentful. “My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'Blackness' than ever before," she wrote in the introduction to her sociology thesis, "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community." "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really didn't belong." The rest must be worse. That’s why we can’t see it until after the election. Barack may be on his way to becoming our first affirmative action president. Imagine how they are going to feel in the White House!

As to Obama’s limited political career: His foreign policy experience amounts to two years as the most junior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he has no executive experience of any kind. As a Senator, Obama has earned a 100 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal interest group that scores the votes of members of the U.S. Congress based on their allegiance to key left-wing causes and interests. Even Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts could manage only a 95 during the same period.

Then, they are Obama’s friends, acquaintances and counselors over the years:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright - Obama's anti-White, anti-American, anti-Semitic pastor for over 20 years that he finally disowned under immense political pressure.

Tony Rezko – Chicago major contributor and long time friend indicted for bribery and corruption, intimately involved in the sweetheart purchase of Obama’s million dollar home and its adjacent lot.

William Ayers – Fellow Board member and former member of the radical Weather Underground Organization that claimed responsibility for a dozen terrorist bombings between 1970 and 1974.

Former Congressman David Bonior – political mentor and advisor "known as the biggest supporter of the anti-Israel Arab lobby in Congress."

Daniel Kurtzer - advisor concerning the Middle East: formerly one of James Baker’s select pool at the State Dept. using Israel as the fall guy for State’s own inept, misdirected policies of subservience to Arab oil.

George Clooney – renown far left, off the wall actor, about to play the role of lawyer defending Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur – perfect casting!

Retiring Senator Chuck Hagel – who was one of only two political advisors Obama took along on his recent European tour, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization. December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg as to why the grand celebration at the Denver Roman Coliseum had so little effect upon my decision as to whom I should vote to become the President of the United States and the leader of the Free World.

Jerome S. Kaufman


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2008

Do you want George Clooney to be Secretary of State?

(It is getting harder and harder to go to the movies, especially if one is attempting to boycott the idiot actors - quickly come to mind Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Angelina Jolie, Mel Gibson and of course, George Clooney - who assume inane, irresponsible and dangerous political positions.) jsk

Clooney and Obama
The Washington Times August 18, 2008

The London Daily Mail reports that Hollywood actor George Clooney communicates with Barack Obama almost every day by phone or e-mail, and is advising the Democratic presidential candidate on Mid-East policy and on honing his image. The newspaper cited unnamed “Democratic Party insiders” and anonymous friends of Mr. Clooney.

The newspaper quoted one party insider as saying,

“George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language (I must admit it has improved Barack remarkably – the obnoxious tell-tale movements of disdain and conceit are almost gone) – jsk and he also e-mails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East. George is pushing him to be more ‘balanced’ on issues such as U.S. relations with Israel. George is pro-Palestinian. And he is also urging Barack to withdraw unconditionally from Iraq if he wins.”

The source said they “text and email each other almost every day and speak on the phone at least a couple of times a week, often more.” Mr. Clooney, two weeks ago announced that he is making a movie about the lawyer who defended Osama bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, on terrorism charges. (Certainly a worthy cause?) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2008

Newt says it all - Obama, his VP selection and the Dem. Convention

Explaining the Obama Decline
By Newt Gingrich
08/25/2008

The choice of Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) for his vice presidential running mate is one more step in the decline of Barack Obama. Obama's decline has taken him from an Oprah Winfrey-endorsed, "change we can count on" trendy leader to a normal politician.

From Waffling on Drilling to Carter-esque Uncertainty in the Russia Crisis
Senator Obama's first step on his long, downward slide may have been repudiating Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his pastor of twenty years. Then, Senator Obama waffled on drilling offshore to ease the energy crisis, first supporting a blanket prohibition even to the extent of actively seeking to withhold from the public the results of government surveys of America's offshore oil and gas reserves. This was followed by his expression of "openness" to some undefined "limited" drilling. Why - Because the voters were increasingly unhappy with Obama's leadership on anti-energy extremism. His lead had collapsed.

Next, Senator Obama handled the Russian assault on Georgia with an uncertainty eerily reminiscent of President Carter. He sent three different messages to the American people (and the world) in the same number of days (while getting tougher and clearer as he went along, he reminded everyone that while he was the campaigner in chief, he was not really ready to be commander in chief, and the damage was done).

Last week former federal prosecutor and National Review Online Contributing Editor Andy McCarthy documented the degree to which Senator Obama has been dishonest about his record of opposing legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would have protected babies who survived a failed abortion. This is a position, by the way, which puts him in opposition to over 90 per cent of all Americans, including liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as well as 99 other members of the U.S. Senate, who voted in favor of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002. Americans almost universally believe that live-born infants must be afforded full legal rights under law, regardless of their stage of development or whether their live births occurred during a failed abortion.

Now Senator Obama has nominated as his running mate a man who received 9,000 votes for president and withdrew. Obama could have picked Hillary Clinton, who received 18,000,000 votes. (He would have done so, by the way, without sacrificing his desire to have a Vice President with strong national security and foreign policy credentials on the ticket.) That works out to 2,000 votes for Clinton for every one vote Senator Biden got.

On Foreign Policy, Biden is Closer to McCain Than Obama
Obama could have picked a moderate who would have tempered his big tax increase, big bureaucracy policy positions - someone like Governor Tim Kaine or former Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, Governor Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas or Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. Senator Biden brings some foreign policy knowledge to the Democratic ticket, although on that front, he has often been closer to Senator John McCain than to Senator Barack Obama. On domestic policy, Biden is a reliable liberal whose big tax, big spending positions will be totally comfortable for Obama.

Biden - Not the Change Voters had in Mind
But, Biden is not a figure of change. If anything, he is a lifetime member of the Washington establishment. He is the re-assurance for the establishment that whatever changes Senator Obama might bring will not threaten Washington's entrenched interests -- the very thing the voters want changed.
This was a choice to try to compensate for weakness (on foreign and national security policy) and to reassure voters, who were unnerved by Senator Obama's confused reaction to events in Georgia.

A Choice That Will Remind Voters of the Sad Decline of the Once Self-Confident Candidate
The selection of Senator Biden actually reinforces the notion that the change Senator Obama talked about in general terms was not the change voters had in mind. Senator Obama's choice for Vice President reminds people of the sad decline of a charismatic, self-confident, almost hubristic performer (remember that Obama confidently told 200,000 Germans that he was a fellow "citizen of the world" just before his lead and his self-confidence began to collapse). The Biden choice was the choice of a different Barack Obama, one who is more cautious and less self-confident than the Barack Obama who won the Democratic nomination.

It will be interesting to see which Obama shows up for the acceptance speech Thursday night in Denver-the agent of change or the hesitant politician-and whether he can regain the jaunty self-confidence which enabled him to beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination.

The Democrat's Party Platform: Where's the Drilling?
The party platform that the delegates to the Democratic National Convention will vote on this week has planks entitled "New American Energy" and "Establish Energy Security," but nowhere-not once in the 94-page, 45 thousand word document-do the Democrats mention drilling for more American oil and natural gas in order to lower prices. It's just not there.

If Democrats had taken the time to consult another platform - the Platform of the American People - they would know that their platform does NOT reflect the opinion of their rank and file. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, including majorities of Democrats-favor using more of America's energy resources, including oil and coal.

From the Platform of the American People:
· We want our elected leaders in Washington to focus on increasing the energy supplies of the United States and lowering the costs of gasoline and electricity. (71 to 18)
· With appropriate safeguards to protect the environment, we should drill for oil off America's coasts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (73 to 23)
Delegates to the Democratic convention, as well as any other American who is interested, can read the entire Platform of the American People.

Report: Increase in U.S. Natural Gas Production Upends Anti-Energy Left's Conventional Wisdom
Democratic delegates who are still convinced that the notion that increased American oil and gas production will push down energy prices is a "hoax" (to quote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) should read a new report in the International Herald Tribune. This is the headline: "A U.S. drilling boom revives hopes for natural gas." And, here's the lead:

American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline. The new drilling boom uses advanced technology to release gas trapped in huge shale beds found throughout North America-gas long believed to be out of reach. Increased supply utilizing new technology is pushing down prices? Now, where have we heard that before? And if it works for natural gas, increased supply will work for oil, coal and nuclear.

Is it a Hoax to Believe in the Laws of Supply and Demand? This is the Question that the Democrats will have to answer in Denver
A reporter recently asked Speaker Pelosi if she supported offshore drilling. She responded: "I will not allow Republicans to have a hoax on the American people that if you drill offshore the price at the pump will come down."
Pelosi's comment represents the strange predicament that many anti-energy Democrats have gotten themselves into; they have boxed themselves into denying some very basic economic laws of supply and demand. Led by Pelosi, anti-energy Democrats are saying that increases in supply afforded by opening up new areas to drilling won't affect the price of energy, even as gas prices are dropping in response to very clear indications that the American people are increasingly determined to support more drilling offshore.

It is well established in economics that long-term increases in supply of a commodity will affect current prices of the commodity. Changing U.S. law to permit expanded drilling offshore and in Alaska would immediately increase long-term oil supplies that the market would have to take into account in its pricing and thus have an impact in lowering oil prices today. One of the great open questions for the Democratic Party in Denver this week is whether it will follow Speaker Pelosi's lead in ignoring the economic laws of supply and demand to suit the political agenda of an anti-energy elite.

Oprah's Favorite Doc Talks about Center's Healthcare Success
Speaking of Oprah, "America's Doctor" Mehmet Oz, renown for his appearances on Oprah, conducted an interview with me about the success of the Center for Health Transformation. During the interview, I outline the four strategic questions CHT is working to answer in our effort to create a 21st Century Healthcare System that will save lives and save money for future generations: 1) How do we empower individuals to take personal responsibility for their health? 2) How do we change the society and culture? 3) How do we make hospitals and doctors more efficient? 4) How do we pay for it.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2008

Why I am not a “liberal”

(Oh, my G-d, This article is so great! Whether you consider yourself Liberal or Conservative, Democrat, Republican or Independent, please pin this article on the wall of every room in your house and read it to your children each night before they go to bed) jsk

By Dennis Prager
The Washington Times August 18, 2008

The following a list of beliefs that I hold. Nearly every one of them was a liberal position until the late 1960s. Not one of them is now.
Such a list is vitally important in order to clarify exactly what positions divide left from right, blue from red, liberal from conservative.

· I believe in American exceptionalism, meaning that:
(a) America has done more than any international organization or institution, and more than any other country, to improve this world; and
(b) That American values (specifically, the unique American blending of Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian values) form the finest value system any society has ever devised and lived by.

· I believe that the bigger government gets and the more powerful the state becomes, the greater the threat to individual liberty and the greater the likelihood that evil will ensue in the 20th century, the powerful state, not religion, was the greater purveyor of evil in the world.

· I believe that the levels of taxation advocated by liberals render those taxes a veiled form of theft “Give me more than half of your “honestly earned money or you will be arrested” is legalized thievery.

· I believe that government funding of those who can help themselves (e.g., the able-bodied who collect welfare) or who can be helped by non-governmental institutions (such as private charities, family, and friends) hurts them and hurts society.

· I believe that the United States of America, from its inception, has been based on the Judeo-Christian value system, not secular Enlightenment values alone, and therefore the secularization of American society will lead to the collapse of America as a great country.

· I believe that some murderers should be put death; that allowing all murderers to live does not elevate the value of human life, but mocks it, and that keeping all murderers alive trivializes the evil of murder.

· I believe that the American military has done more to preserve and foster goodness and liberty on Earth than all the artists and professors in America put together.

· I believe that lowering standards to admit minorities mocks the real achievements of members of those minorities.

· I believe that when schools give teenagers condoms, most teenagers understand it as tacit approval of their engaging in sexual intercourse.

· I believe that the assertions that man-made carbon emissions will lead to global warming that will in turn bring on worldwide disaster are a function of hysteria, just as was the widespread liberal belief that heterosexual AIDS will ravage America.

· I believe that marriage must remain what has been in every recorded civilization — between the two sexes.

· I believe that, whatever the reasons for entering Iraq, the American-led removal of Saddam Hussein from power will decrease the sum total of cruelty on Earth.

· I believe that the trial lawyers associations and teachers unions, the greatest donors to the Democratic Party, have done great harm to American life — far more than, let us say, oil companies and pharmaceutical companies, the targets of liberal opprobrium.

· I believe that nuclear power, clean coat, and drilling in a tiny and remote frozen part of Alaska and offshore — along with exploration of other energy alternatives such as wind and solar power — are immediately necessary.

· I believe that school vouchers are more effective than increased spending on public schools in enabling many poorer Americans to give their children better educations.

· I believe that while there are racists in America, America is no longer a racist society and that blaming disproportionate rates of black violence and out-of-wedlock births on white racism is a lie and the greatest single impediment to African American progress.

· I believe that America, which accepts and assimilates foreigners better than any other country in the world, is the least racist, least xenophobic country in the world.

· I believe the leftist takeover of the liberal arts departments in nearly every American university has been an intellectual and moral calamity.

· I believe that a good man and a good marriage are more important to most women’s happiness and personal fulfillment than a good career

· I believe that males and females are inherently different. For example, girls naturally prefer dolls and tea sets to trucks and toy guns. If you give a girl trucks, she is likely to give them names and take care of them, and if you give a boy trucks, he is likely to crash them into one another.

· I believe that when it comes to combating the greatest evils on Earth, such as the genocide in Rwanda, the United Nations has either been useless or an obstacle.

· I believe that, generally speaking, Western Europe provides social and moral models to be avoided, not emulated.

· I believe that America’s children were positively affected by hearing a non-denominational prayer each morning in school, and adversely affected by the removal of all prayer from school.

· I believe that liberal educators’ removal of school uniforms and/or dress codes has had a terrible impact on students and their education.

· I believe that bilingual education does not work, that for the sake of immigrant children and for the sake of the larger society immersion in the language of the country meaning English in America, is mandatory.

· I believe that English should be declared the national language, and that ballots should not be printed in any language other than English. If one cannot understand English, one is probably not sufficiently knowledgeable to vote intelligently in an English-speaking country.

· Finally, I believe that there are millions of Americans who share most of these beliefs who still call themselves “liberal” or “progressive” and who therefore vote Democrat. They do so because they still identify liberalism with pre-1970 liberalism or because they are emotionally attached to the word “liberal?’ I share that emotion. But, one should vote based on values, not emotions.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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August 22, 2008

Joe Lieberman's Justifiable Desertion from the Democratic Party

Redacted from INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY, August 20, 2008

Patriotism: Joseph Lieberman will be called a Judas for speaking to the Republican Convention. However, he was betrayed by his own party for refusing to support the losing of a war for political gain. It's only a matter of time before the long knives are unsheathed for Connecticut's "independent Democrat." Al Gore's 2000 running mate still caucuses with the Democrats, which lets the four-term senator maintain his seniority in committee assignments.

The "independent Democrat" will speak at GOP convention. Lieberman serves in the plum post of chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, where earlier this year he published a powerful and fascinating report on how terrorist groups such as al-Qaida use traditional media and the Internet to propagandize and recruit on a global scale. He is also a high-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and is currently visiting Georgia, Ukraine and Poland with fellow panel member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to show U.S. solidarity with those young democracies in the wake of the Russian invasion of Georgia.

However, because he dared to place country before ideology and supported nothing less than victory in Iraq, Lieberman was targeted for destruction by his party and was defeated in the 2006 primary by a blue-blooded leftist willing to spend his family fortune against him. Bill Clinton is said to have warned Lieberman that there would be payback if he ran as an independent after losing that primary.

Lieberman did run — and win — in the general election that year as an independent, proudly opposing the Democrats' official position of cut and run as a Vietnam repeat that would have sentenced Iraqis to a certain bloodbath as al-Qaida and the Islamofascist regime in Iran proceeded to divvy up the country between themselves.

Democratic leaders continue to be furious with Lieberman. Their goal was to destroy George W. Bush's presidency by forcing America to lose a war on his watch. To Lieberman's eternal credit, he was the only prominent Democrat willing to fight hard against the party line of surrender. Lieberman traveled to Iraq the month after being re-elected in 2006 in spite of his own party's commitment to his destruction, When he returned, he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed of how "it was the American colonels, even more than the generals, who were asking for more troops." One told the senator, "We believe in why we are fighting here, and we want to finish this fight. We know we can win it."

Unfortunately, most of Washington's establishment — on both sides of the aisle — did not at that time believe our forces could complete their fight for Iraqi freedom and against Islamist terror. The likes of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., tried to shove down the president's throat the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group — which amounted to surrender covered with layers of diplomatic window dressing. The president stood firm, ordered the surge strategy of more troops and new leadership, and the rest is history.

Joe Lieberman will get a well-deserved standing ovation when he appears on the stage of the GOP convention in Minneapolis next month. Next year, however, the liberal senator will be getting a different kind of thanks from the party to which he is so loyal philosophically on virtually every issue apart from national security.

YouTube features a video of Barack Obama apparently dressing down Lieberman on the Senate floor this year. Back-stabbing Democratic senators, led by their leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev., will almost certainly strip him of his committee chairmanship (if they maintain a majority) and throw him out of their caucus.

It won't be the first time a mob of cowards has ganged up on a hero, but at least they don't have the power to throw him out of the Senate, where he serves at the pleasure of the people of Connecticut. His home state and the country can continue to be proud of a rare politician who has proved his patriotism while under fire.

© Copyright 2008 Investor's Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2008

Obama’s Palestinian Arab Campaign Contributors

By Aaron Klein

THE JEWISH PRESS • Friday, August 8, 2008

Two Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip are listed in government election filings as having donated $29,521.54 to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. Donations of this nature would violate election laws, including prohibitions on receiving contributions from foreigners and guidelines against accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election. Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, advised this column in response to a query.

The contributions also raise numerous questions about the Obama campaign’s lax online donation form, which apparently allows for the possibility of foreign contributions. Last week, the Atlas Shrugs blog outlined a series of donations in 2007 made to Obama’s campaign from two individuals, Monir Edwan and Hosam Edwan, totaling $29,521.54. The blog raised red flags since the Edwans listed their address as Rafah, GA” — but Georgia doesn’t have a city named Rafah, an investigation by this column tracked down.

The Edwans are brothers living in the Tal Esaltan neighborhood of Rafah, a large refugee camp in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The two brothers praised Obama and admitted giving the money online to his campaign. They said they are not U.S. citizens or green card holders but are citizens of “Palestine.”

Groups have petitioned the FEC to open an investigation against Obama based on the findings.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week n leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2008

Baruch Obama’s support among Jews

By Michael Freund

Is American Jewry finally waking up from its love affair with the Democratic Party? That, at least, is the question that comes to mind when one considers some very interesting polling data that emerged recently. As odd as it may sound, Republican presidential candidate John McCain may just be poised to capture a significant percentage of the Jewish vote.

Early last month, you'll recall, headlines blared in the US and Israeli press trumpeting the results of a Gallup survey conducted back in April which found that American Jews preferred Democratic hopeful Barack Obama by a margin of 61 to 32 over his GOP rival.

For many observers, it seemed to confirm the time-honored tradition that American Jews continue to remain solidly in the Democratic camp. After all, a two-to-one margin represents a compelling advantage. However, here's something the mainstream media has not, and likely will not, tell you: Obama's support among US Jewry is on the decline.

This became apparent in another, more recent Gallup poll published on June 5, which showed that the race for support among American Jews has begun to tighten, with Obama now leading McCain by a margin of 57 to 35. That represents a narrowing of the gap from 29 to 22 points in just one month. Moreover, it comes despite the free ride, and the fawning coverage, that Obama has been getting from much of the American press.

Moreover, this latest poll was conducted after it had become clear that Obama was set to be the Democratic nominee, whereas the previous survey took place when Hillary Clinton was still very much in the race as well. In other words, now that American Jews are confronted with the stark choice between Obama and McCain, a noticeable shift has begun to take place towards the Republican contender.

The reasons for this shift are not too hard to identify. Clearly, the controversy surrounding Obama's contentious pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, hurt him among US Jews who might otherwise have supported him. Many are also wary of his connections with people on the far-left anti-Israel scene, and suspect that his inexperience will hinder his ability to perform as president. Moreover, Obama's stated willingness to court dictators such as Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raises serious question marks about whether he is up to the task of defending Israel and the West in an increasingly dangerous world.

His grand flip-flop on Jerusalem earlier this month will only serve to add to those concerns. Just one day after his rousing speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington, where he said he supports Israeli control over a united Jerusalem, Obama unceremoniously back-tracked in order to appease Arab anger. That will only exacerbate the growing unease that many Jews feel over where he really stands on core issues of importance to them.

Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many US Jews, after taking a closer look at the senator from Illinois, are now scratching their heads as to their original reflex Democrat selection. Sure, you might be thinking, but he is still getting 57 percent of the Jewish vote in the latest poll, and that is still a healthy majority. That may be true, but consider the following: both Bill Clinton and Al Gore each won approximately 80 percent of the Jewish vote when they sought the presidency. Even the dour and uninspiring Democratic candidate John Kerry was able to take home 75 percent in the 2004 contest.

So if Obama is slated to capture just 57 percent of American Jewish ballots, or possibly even less, that would nonetheless constitute a dramatic failure on his part. How much does this really matter? Quite a lot, actually. According to a 2001 study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, some 30% to 35% of American Jewish voters "can be lured by any party depending on its position."

Sprinkled among key battleground states in the campaign, that large group in the middle "adds up to a swing vote representing up to 2% of the electorate in states like Florida and Pennsylvania," the report noted. In addition, in the 2000 cliffhanger election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, which hinged on the outcome in Florida, that Jewish "swing vote" might have made all the difference. "A shift of that amount," the study found, "would have changed the result in that state and, in all probability, single-handedly crowned the American president. Put another way, the Jewish swing vote, mobilized behind a particular candidate, would have given him the 2000 election."

This simple fact of electoral life hasn't changed all that much in the intervening eight years, meaning that a historic opportunity may be at hand for Republican John McCain. If he continues to court the Jewish vote, and underline his opponent's obvious weak points when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, McCain could very well make further headway among American Jews and draw more of them into the Republican column.

By stressing bread-and-butter issues, like the security of the Jewish state, its right to self-defense, and the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the Arizona senator might conceivably match, or even surpass, the 40 percent of the Jewish vote that Ronald Reagan won back in the 1980s. While that won't necessarily guarantee him victory in the race for the White House, it might just tip the scales in his favor in a close contest. Just as important, it could seal growing Jewish support for the GOP in the years and decades to come.

Michael Freund is Chairman of Shavei Israel
A Non-Profit Organization Management industry

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2008

A Litany of Israeli Military and Political Errors

When will it stop?

By Moshe Feiglin, Chairman of Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership)

The Three Weeks of mourning for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem that stretch from the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av now hold additional tragic memorial days. This year we will commemorate the third anniversary of the expulsion from Gush Katif (the Jewish settlements in Gaza) and Northern Shomron, the “sensitive but determined” pogrom that the Jews perpetrated against their brothers — referred to in Israeli newspeak as the “disengagement.”

During this time, we also commemorate the second anniversary of the “War for the Success of the Convergence Plan.” In Israeli newspeak, it is called the “Second Lebanon War,” the war that was supposed to have afforded a ‘tail wind’ (Prime Minister Olmert’s words) to the expulsion of the Jews from the rest of Judea and Samaria. In all the ceremonies held to commemorate the second anniversary of the war, nobody dared tell the truth.

In addition, the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron is still called “disengagement,” even though it has created the strongest engagement ever between Israel and Gaza.
Just ask the residents of Ashkelon when the disengagement ended and the engagement began. For those people who wish to retain their liberty to think, I humbly proffer the following update. It contains a short, simple and uncensored synopsis of the” disengagement” and the “war”:

IDF Flees South Lebanon - Broadcaster Shelly Yechimovitz and the Four Mothers antiwar movement goad then Prime Minister Ehud Barak into a retreat from South Lebanon. Israel’s best interests turn out to be no match for cheap political populism. Barak orders the IDF to flee South Lebanon, abandoning Israel’s allied South Lebanon Army in the process. As a result of the humiliating retreat, the northern third of the State of Israel enters Hizbullah missile range.

The Temple Mount War - Barak’s attempt to give Jerusalem to the Arabs unleashes another round of violence that Israel calls “Intifada 2000.” The Arabs are more to the point, labeling the violence “The Temple Mount War.” Barak loses the premiership. The Israeli public, disgusted with the Oslo process, elects Ariel Sharon — a strong rightist leader — to restore Israel to a path of sanity and national pride. Just like the right-wing leaders who preceded him, Sharon sheds his rightist rhetoric as soon as he comes to power. Instead, he sings a New Leftist tune: “Restraint is Might.”

The slippery slope of nationalism, devoid of commitment to Jewish faith, consistently leaves nationalist leaders captive to the Oslo disintegration mentality. Sharon’s corrupt dealings accelerate the process. Menachem Begin wanted the legitimacy of the Left and retreated from Sinai. Sharon needs more than legitimacy from the Left. He needs his freedom. Sharon surprises the public with his total expulsion from Gaza plan — typical of his bulldozer personality and his need to protect himself from investigations and prison. Unlike Begin, Sharon does not proceed in a democratic manner. He does not put his plan up for public approval, and cynically ignores the decision of his own party opposing the plan.

The power elites in Israel enthusiastically adopt the plan to destroy the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron. Unlike the peace treaty with Egypt and its offspring, Oslo, the “disengagement plan” could not be sold to the Israeli public as a new dream. Instead, the government simply explains that it is necessary to carry out the non-violent pogrom because that is what has been decided, and that obedience to the state is above any moral consideration. Disengagement Israel totters dangerously on the brink of fascism.

If the Orange public (the settler movement of Gaza and Judea and Samaria) had had rabbinic and political leadership with a Jewish liberty mentality and Jewish values system, the disengagement would have been relatively easy to stop. But, at each of the three crucial junctions of the anti-expulsion struggle — conscientious objection, the struggle on Israel’s highways, and the physical presence of thousands in Gush Katif (Kfar Maimon) — there is a collapse. This collapse is first rabbinic, then political. The motivated multitude of people who came to save Gush Katif finds itself perfidiously led to nowhere. The fate of Gush Katif and Northern Shomron is sealed.

From the IDF reports on the disengagement, we learn that the soldiers who refused to take part in the crime were generally those who “were not under the influence of the rabbis.” It is hard to think of a greater desecration of God’s Name than enlisting the Torah to neutralize an effective struggle against the destruction of Jewish communities in the Land of Israel. But, that is exactly what happened in Av, 5765.

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

August 15, 2008

Russia puts the writing on the wall - Another WWII Czechoslavakia?

Volleyball, Democracy, & War
By Michael Travis

August 10, 2008

Overshadowed by the dazzling spectacle of the Olympic games in Beijing, the all out war between Russia and Georgia had received scant coverage and analysis in the North American media. America’s enemies however, have forsaken the broadcasts of table-tennis and competitive line-dancing, giving their undivided attention to what they view as far better sport; the defeat of “Team America” at the hand of the undisputed champion of international discord, Russia.

According to the Red Cross, Georgian and Ossetian civilians are seeking safe haven in Turkey, a move that has caused the Turkish government to reassess its stalled bid for NATO membership. In a week that has seen General David Petraeus pledging more military equipment and specialized training for the Hizballah-dominated Lebanese government, U.S. State Dept. negotiations with the Iranian leadership in Geneva, and Presidential kow-towing to the Communist regime in China, you can bet the bank that Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and Eastern Europe’s new NATO members, are becoming very nervous indeed.

Under advisement from the U.S. State Department, and U.S. military advisors on the ground in Tbilisi, the Georgian government has undertaken a unilateral ceasefire in the South Ossetian region. Russia’s response has been to demand a complete withdrawal (unconditional surrender) of all Georgian forces from the region. Reports on Al Jazeera and Russian television of [black] U.S. mercenaries found amongst the dead in the South Ossetian battleground have sent a very clear message to Russia’s clients in Iran and Syria.

While the United States has shown itself to be a paper tiger, averse to defending its friends and allies, the Russian bear remains a power without equal, able to impose its will upon any and all foes. The Political Correctness, and subservience to the agenda of a Globalist “International Community” that is the cornerstone of U.S. Foreign policy, has provided fresh stimulus for Russia’s quest to reclaim its position as a world power to be accommodated and feared.

Lasha Zhvania, head of the Georgian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has likened the Russian war against Georgia to “Tisha B’Av,” the historic destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, and “the saddest day in Jewish history.” Tisha B’Av set the stage for almost 2,000 years of expulsions, persecution and genocide against the Jewish people. In an era that sees an ambitious Russian government once again aligned with some of history’s most bloodthirsty regimes and Islamic movements, Zhvania’s observation should be taken very seriously.

As Jews fast on this 9th day of Av, and the American President joins the “Global Village” in watching a volleyball game, the brutal forces of tyranny and violence are consolidating their hold on humanity.

In the Philippines, Islamic fighters with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are fighting pitched battles within Christian villages in North Cotabato province. American tourists are murdered in the streets of Beijing, as the “International Community” bows deeply to the brutal Communist regime in China.

The de facto Hizballah government in Lebanon anticipates the delivery of more U.S. Military equipment to add to its already burgeoning arsenal of Iranian and Russian weaponry. With surface to surface, surface to air, and anti-ship missile emplacements in operation, Iran’s proxy army is prepared to launch devastating attacks against Israeli population centers. The new American weapons can be considered frosting on the terrorist’s cake.

Iran of course, is in the final stages of preparation for a nuclear attack against Israel, and quite likely, the United States as well. Georgia? It’s in flames. And the world stands at the precipice of global conflagration. But, hey! The U.S. Team won in volleyball!)

Without a clearly stated foreign policy, backed by a determined military command, standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies, American credibility is doomed. With the demise of our perceived credibility and traditional sphere of influence, attacks against U.S. interests abroad, and terror operations on American soil are inevitable. Negotiating with terrorists, and enabling despotic regimes under the dubious banner of “Democratization” has put American lives in peril and set the stage for more regional conflicts. Remember, Russia, Iran and Lebanon are all “vibrant democracies,” and represent America’s deadliest enemies.

Michael Travis is an Intelligence analyst who has written for defense journals in the U.K., Europe and Israel. He is currently a senior analyst for a U.S. based corporation.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2008

My humble apologies to our readers and Thomas Sowell:

An astute reader just pointed out that the column supposedly written by Thomas Sowell that just appeared on Israel Commentary is a fraud and he linked me to the site listed below, describing the fraud.

The column has been immediately removed from Israel Commentary. Sorry for the mishap. There is a good lesson learned in any case – make damn sure of the sources of material before forwarding, especially in these days of more and more Internet trickery.

Again, my humble apologies,

Jerome S. Kaufman



Jerry,


This is appears to be a fraud: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/t/thomas-sowell.htm

Best,

Daniel
On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 9:29 PM, Israel Commentary wrote:

Israel Commentary
August 13, 2008
Senator McCain could never convince me to vote for him, but...


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2008

Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy

“Let’s Not Be Provocative!”

By Matthew Continetti for the Editors, The Weekly Standard

July 21, 2008

Asked how the United States ought to respond to last week’s Iranian missile tests, Barack Obama told CNN that it was important ‘We avoid provocation.” Just as last year, Obama criticized a Senate bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization because it was too “provocative.” This has us wondering: Is the problem with Iran that the United States seems provocative?

Iran revealed to the world in late 2002 that it had been conducting a secret uranium enrichment program for 15 years. This was a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treats, to which Iran is a signatory. Uranium enrichment is the first step on the road to building an atomic bomb. Most everyone seems to agree that Iranian nukes would destabilize the Middle East. What to do?

Obama might not admit it, but for about five years now the Bush administration has followed a course of action rather similar to his preferred policy. Bush has pursued multilateral diplomacy through international institutions (the U.N., the IAEA) and through an ad hoc coalition called the P5=1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the United States) in order to induce Iran to suspend its enrichment activities.

Obama’s policy would be a tad more unilateral, because he would prefer to have direct negotiations with the Iranians and thus remove our allies from the equation altogether.

However, does any serious person believe that an offer of direct negotiations without preconditions would change the basic situation? Most reasonable advocates of such talks advocate them just so the United States can say it has “gone the extra mile” in trying to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Iran has been immune to peaceful persuasion. Since 2006, the Security Council has adopted five resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its enrichment activities and comply fully with the IAEA. Moreover, because those resolutions were summarily ignored, the Security Council has enacted four rounds of punitive sanctions directed at the Iranian regime. No change.

Meanwhile, the P5+1 has made two direct offers to the Iranians, one in June 2006 and the other in June 2008, to lift sanctions and implement security guarantees if Iran “suspends”—not ends—uranium enrichment. As the P5+1 foreign ministers put it in their latest appeal to their Iranian counterpart, “We are ready to work with Iran in order to find a way to address Iran’s needs and the international community’s concerns and reiterate that once the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of your nuclear program is restored, it will be treated in the same manner as that of any Non-Nuclear Weapon State party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” This isn’t exactly what you would call provocative language.

You might call it, instead, a good-faith attempt to resolve an international crisis. Nevertheless, the attempt is failing miserably. Iran has gone right along with its enrichment activities. With each passing day, it draws closer to developing the technology and material necessary to construct a nuclear weapon. The latest IAEA report on Iran, released on May 26, stated the obvious: The regime is in continued defiance of the U.N. Security Council, it continues to develop nuclear technology, and it denies international monitors its full cooperation.

The Iranian regime is increasingly confident and bellicose. The president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, openly pines for a world without America and Israel. In 2007, the regime arrested American citizens, holding them in captivity for months, and held 15 British sailors and marines hostage for almost two weeks. Iran is funding, training, and in some cases providing direct assistance to radical Shiite “special groups” killing American soldiers in Iraq. In January of this year, five Iranian ships ran at U.S. naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, breaking off moments before the Americans used deadly force. Then last week’s missile tests and fiery rhetoric. And the frontrunner for the presidency of the United States fears his own country may be too “provocative!”

Iran has suffered no major consequences from the Bush administration or anyone else—for its reckless and belligerent actions. Quite the contrary: The more irresponsible Iran’s behavior has been, the more entreaties for diplomatic rapprochement it has received. This is dangerous. History shows that conflict is more likely when aggressors feel emboldened, when provocations go unanswered. Only when America re-establishes a credible threat of the use of force might Iran alter its behavior. When it comes to Iran, then, maybe it really is time for a change we can believe in. Maybe it’s time the Bush administration, in response to the failure of its current policy—changed from scared-to-provoke doves to scary-to-the-enemy hawks.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2008

Critique of Daniel Gordis' Mistakes worth making

Critique of Daniel Gordis’s, Mistake worth making

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Recently I read an article written by Daniel Gordis called, "Mistakes worth making," the tenor with which I strongly disagree. The article was printed in the newsletter of a well known respected Jewish organization. Immediately I wrote a letter to Gordis expressing my misgivings to his article and copied the letter to the organization asking them to print my critique so that their readership has the benefit of two different points of view.

The organization refused to print my response citing a number of dubious excuses that, to my mind, simply continues the self-destructive denial of the Left, both in the Diaspora and more important in Israel, that have led to the current awful political situation.

Below is the note to the rabbi and the article that prompted it. Hopefully, reading this material will open some people’s eyes to the subtle defeatism, resignation and rationalization pervading the Israeli and Diaspora Left and their enabling supposed “defense organizations.”

Jerome S. Kaufman’s response:

Shalom Dr. Gordis,

Relative to "Your Mistakes Worth Making":

I can remember years ago you putting out the same maudlin, anecdotal rationalizations while attempting to justify Israel’s incomprehensible political behavior. The necessary apologies all began with the idiocy of the Oslo Accords in 1993 when we heard the Left’s same pathetic lament about, "We have to try" and now your even more lamentable "some mistakes are worth making,"

15 years later, you finally wrote, in this current piece, something about it being obvious now that the Arabs only desire Israel's destruction. No kidding! How about an unequivocal apology for all the irrational, defeatist advice you have written and said in the past before gullible, misinformed Jewish audiences.

How about saying you were dead wrong and the true greats of the Jewish world, who saw the writing on the wall for the last 100 years, were right - people like Theodore Hertzl, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Rabbi Kahane and now the current object of the Left's hatred and fear, Moshe Feiglin.

Furthermore, where, in your new piece of maudlin rationalizations, does it address the tens, if not hundreds of Israelis that will be killed by the "blood on their hand terrorists" that are now being released? And what about the inevitable, more to come Israeli soldiers to be kidnapped because of this latest pathetic, "mistake worth making, " which will only encourage our mortal enemies to more kidnappings and lethal attacks?

How about the similar destructive advice and demands that came out of the Four Mothers that convinced Ehud Barak to sneak away in the middle of the night withdrawing from the Lebanon Security Zone leaving our Lebanese Christian allies high and dry to be killed or left to a luke-warm temporary reception in Israel? Can you not relate all the tragedy that has occurred in Northern Israel and now Sderot, Ashkelon and surely soon Tel Aviv, to that exact moment of abject surrender?

What will you say when more of Judea and Samaria and the Golan are given away? Are these also to be, "Mistakes worth making," If not, how about coming out right now and warn your misinformed, heads in the sand followers, of such additional folly instead of pathetically excusing another disastrous, “Mistakes worth making?”

Jerome S. Kaufman
www.israel-commentary.org

Mistakes worth making (unedited by jsk)
By Daniel Gordis

For some strange reason, I remember the scene with clarity. I was in the kitchen, early on a Friday afternoon about a month ago, cooking Shabbat dinner. Micha, our youngest, now 15, was hanging out in the living room. The radio was on in the background, and on the hour, the news came on. It was over in minutes, and then the music returned. I hadn’t really paid attention to the news, but Micha apparently had. “Do you think we’re ever going to get Gilad Shalit back?” he asked. Without even looking at him, I said, without even thinking, “Of course we are. Definitely.”

“You don’t know that,” a different voice piped in. Now, I looked up. Avi, his older brother, was unexpectedly home. “We may get him back, and we may not. How can you possibly say that we definitely will?” But the conversation was over. Micha, overjoyed to see Avi, had quickly followed his brother upstairs, and I was left alone in the kitchen. So I never got to answer Avi.

But had he pressed, and had Micha not been around, I would have said to him, “Why did I say that? Because when he hears the news each and every day, the only thing that your brother thinks about is the fact that you’re about to get drafted. And he’s beyond worried he’s panicked. Because he worships the ground you walk on. And he needs to believe, to know. He needs to believe that you’re going to be OK. And he wants to know that though he lives in a country that asks its kids to do everything, to commit everything, that country also knows that it owes them everything in return. And getting them home – no matter what has happened to them – is part of that.”

I never said any of that to Avi, but I recalled that conversation several times during this agonizing week of prisoner exchanges, of returned coffins, of funerals expected but still tear-stained, of Hezbollah celebrations and of all the columnists who insist that the trade was a terrible idea, that you don’t trade Samir Kuntar for two dead bodies, that they were “deeply ashamed to be an Israeli [and] not very proud of being a Jew either,” that we’ve weakened our bargaining position in the future, and, according to Rabbi Menachem Froman, that we’ve even made peace more difficult to attain, that Israel is committing suicide, and that we have now officially given the Hezbollah the crown of victory in the Second Lebanon War.

So, in the face of all the good arguments about how no self-respecting country trades a almost two hundred dead bodies and several living terrorists including Samir Kuntar (who, we should recall, shot a man at point blank range in front of his four-year-old daughter, and then killed the girl by smashing her skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle – and all this at the ripe old age of 17) for two soldiers who were almost certainly dead, how does one justify this decision? Wasn’t it certainly a mistake?

Yes, in strategic terms, it was probably a mistake. But sometimes mistakes are worth making. Take the Disengagement. It is now clear that the Disengagement from Gaza was a horrifying, costly and still painful mistake. But – and I realize that this is not a popular position – it was a mistake that Israel needed to make. It was the mistake that proved, once and for all, that the enemies we face have no interest in a state of their own. They just want to destroy ours. That is what Israelis learned, now without a doubt, as a result of the Disengagement. There’s almost no one left around here myopic enough to imagine even for an instant that further retreats will get us peace. OK, there are still a few arm-chair peace-niks in the States, insisting that there is simply no conflict that cannot be resolved. But here? Precisely the opposite. Now we know that the right was correct – further retreats will only embolden our enemies. They’ll demand more. And more. Until we’re gone.

The benefits of that lesson are understandably of no consolation to the families who paid so dearly in the summer of 2005, who are still living in temporary housing, whose marriages didn’t survive, whose livelihoods have never been restored, whose children hate the country that did that to their parents – but despite all that, the Disengagement was probably a horrifying mistake that Israel needed to make. For now we know, even those of us (and I include myself) who were naïve enough to imagine something else. Peace is not around the corner. Peace is not a year or two away. Peace is not possible. Not now. Not a year from now. Not a decade from now. Because their issue isn’t a Palestinian State it’s the end of the Jewish one. We learned that through the mistake we made in 2005, a mistake that we probably needed to make.

And that’s why we had to make the trade this week. Yes, according to a variety of strategic criteria, the trade was problematic. It may raise the price for Gilad Shalit (not that those negotiations have been going anywhere, of course). It may affect future prisoners of war.

But if it was a mistake, it was a calculated mistake, a mistake well worth making. It was a mistake worth making when we think about what is the real challenge facing Israel. The challenge facing Israel isn’t to win the war against the Palestinians. The war can’t be won. We can’t eradicate them, and they won’t accept our being here. The challenge that Israel faces is not to move towards peace. Peace can’t be had. No – the challenge facing Israel is to learn how to live in perpetual, never-ending war, and in the face of that, to flourish, and to be a country that our kids still want to defend. And that is what we did this week.

I didn’t watch much of the Hezbollah celebration on television. I just couldn’t stomach it. I watched enough, though, to see the crowd cheering a man whose main accomplishment in life has been smashing a girl’s skull with his rifle – after he made her watch while he killed her father. I watched enough to hear about how Mahmoud Abbas – our alleged peace partner – congratulated the same Kuntar on his release. I watched enough to chuckle at the sight of Kuntar in a decorated Hezbollah uniform – even though Hezbollah didn’t even exist when he perpetrated his murders and was captured. I watched enough to be reminded of what (the word “who” somehow doesn’t feel appropriate) it is that we’re still fighting.

But I’ll confess to having watched more than my share of the Israeli side. On the morning of the trade, I woke up and like many Israelis, I thought to myself, “Who knows, maybe all the intelligence reports are wrong. Perhaps one of them will walk across the border, or maybe still be on a stretcher.” Maybe. This is a county that doesn’t easily give up on hope. Our anthem, after all, says od lo aveda tikvateinu – “Our hope is not yet lost.” So I watched the live feed that morning, waiting along with the rest of this breathless nation, until we saw the two black coffins.

And I watched the soldiers standing at attention – and weeping – as the bodies were transported into Israeli trucks and driven into Israel. I watched the thousands of people who, the next day, lined the roads on the way to the cemeteries. I watched Karnit Goldwasser’s extraordinary eulogy for her husband (click on the picture of her to watch the video – it’s worth watching the full seven minutes even if you don’t understand Hebrew). I watched a country that is about life, and yes, even love, not about the celebration of death and hatred.

We did the right thing. We gave Karnit Goldwasser her life back. We gave Udi and Eldad the burial they deserved. We gave their parents some certainty, and with it, the hope that maybe, just maybe, they, too, can start to live again, even with the searing pain that will never subside. And perhaps most importantly, we showed the next generation of kids who will go off to defend this place that this is not a country about calculus, but about soul. We showed them what it is to love. We showed them that we’ll get them back. No matter what. And I was proud, not ashamed. I wasn’t ashamed to be Israeli. I wasn’t ashamed to be a Jew. We proved to our kids once again that we’re the kind of country that’s worth defending.

There are those who claim that by making this trade, we’ve now formally admitted that Hezbollah won the Second Lebanon War. But, really, was there anyone who did not already know that? Have we forgotten the Winograd Commission and its two devastating reports about the government’s conduct of the war? Have we forgotten the report that showed that, weeks before Udi and Eldad were killed, the army knew that the reservists they were sending there were sitting ducks, but that no changes in deployment were made? Have we forgotten the IDF Chief of Staff who left the War Room in the first hours of the war to go sell part of his stock portfolio? Have we forgotten the most cynical of political arrangements that got us as a Defense Minister a labor organizer who didn’t even pretend to know the first thing about military matters, but who still insisted on playing a role in the conduct of the war? Have we forgotten the mayors of some towns in the North who fled their own cities when the rockets started to fall? Have we forgotten the horrific non-use and then mis-use of ground troops, the arrogance of a former Air Force commander who imagined that he’d win the war from the air? Have we really forgotten already how badly we lost? Does anyone really imagine that this trade gives them the victory? Please.

We lost. We knew that already. What we did this week is that we did right by the families who paid the price. We showed that at the end of the day, it’s not only strategic calculus that matters in this country. There will be other ways to get our deterrent edge back. We’ll get around to that there’s sadly no way that Hamas in the West, Hezbollah in the North, Syria to the east of them and Iran off in the distance will not force us to. We’ll attend to that in due course. But in the meantime, we showed ourselves once again that this country is about soul. They won, and we lost. They celebrated, and we buried. They cheered, and we wept. And I’d rather be one of us, any day.

Wednesday night, we drove Micha to the airport to drop him off for his flight to the States. The radio was on during the entire drive, and we listened to the interviews with people who’d known Udi and Eldad, the constant updates on the plans for the two funerals to be held the following day. “I feel bad being excited about going on vacation,” he said to us on the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. “It’s a sad day here.”

“Yes,” we told him, “it’s a sad day, but it’s OK for you to be excited. Going to America is a big deal.” He didn’t say anything. We got off at the exit for the airport, pulled up to the security checkpoint, still surrounded by all those guys with the submachine guns at the ready, because the war’s not over and it’s not going to be. I turned off the radio so I could talk to the young woman manning the checkpoint. After a few quick words, we were ushered through. It was quiet in the car. We followed the access road to the departure terminal, each lost in our own thoughts. I don’t know what Micha was thinking. But I’m pretty sure that it was about the two soldiers. About the funerals the next day. About his brother. And about America.

We pulled to the curb, still not saying anything. I stopped the car, and said to him, “OK, buddy, let’s go.” Micha looked at me. “I’m really going to miss this country,” he said. I was stunned. Not, “I’m going to miss you,” but “I’m going to miss this country.” And then, if I’d had any doubt before, I knew. We did the right thing. If we made a mistake, we made the mistake that we just needed to make. We taught our kids that we may not know how to end this war, but we do know how to take care of them.

And he taught us, too. He reminded us that even the kids here understand what an extraordinary country it is that they call home. That this is sometimes a scary place. But that it’s also a country that a teenager knows he can love, that he’s going to miss and that one day, he’ll defend. In the end, that’s what matter most. Even on the saddest of days. Especially on the saddest of days.

This article can be found at:
http://www.danielgordis.org/Site/Site_ViewDispatches.asp?id=18

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

August 08, 2008

On the eve of Tisha b’Av – Fallen Israeli Soldiers and Government Perfidy

By Yehudit Tayar

Arutz Sheva – Israel National News, August 2008

This is a time of reflection, of remembrance of tears and sadness for our loved ones who fell, and of appreciation of what is truly important here in our Land. This time of the year in our Hebrew calendar we have been in mourning for our collective National Historical tragedies: the destruction of our Temples in our eternal capital, Jerusalem.

(First Temple destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE; Second Temple destruction by the Romans 70 CE with world-wide forced dispersion of the Jews from their national homeland. This occurred 570 years before Muhammad was even born and over 2000 years after G-d had ordered Abraham to enter Canaan (biblical Israel) as a homeland for his chosen people) jsk

This time of the year, for the past three years, we have been mourning for the brutal uprooting of our families in Gush Katif (The former Israeli area of the Gaza Strip) and the Northern Shomron, (Samaria) we mourn for the wanton destruction of our Synagogues, homes, communities and the uprooting of our loved ones from their graves.

This time of the year for the past two years we have been mourning our loved ones who fell in what is called the "Second War in Lebanon." We literally go from one memorial to the next in a surrealistic nightmare of sorrow and pain.

I, however, do wish to reflect upon those brave warriors who fought for our country and ran forward into fire with no second thoughts about themselves in order to save their brothers-in-arms. I do wish to share the wise words of a young officer in the Golani Brigade who spoke to us over the grave of Ohad Klausner of blessed memory, who fell as he continued to run in to try and rescue his brothers in the battle of Bingt Bel, where eight of the unit fell in an heroic battle.

This young hero stood in front of us at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery and then again in the memorials ceremony at Bet Horon, Ohad's home. He spoke of the meaning of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. He mentioned the successes of our young State in medicine, high tech and other fields. But, then he said,

"The importance of the establishment of the Jewish State cannot be measured in the economic or scientific successes. The success and importance of the State of Israel can be measured in the bravery, humility and self- sacrifice of these soldiers who gave their lives for their country, who did not stop to think of the dangers to themselves – who only thought of their brothers in battle who needed them. I was there and was wounded, and saw the care, the love and enormous self- sacrifice of my soldiers, my men who time after time went in to get their friends.

This is what it means to be here in our Land. This is the important lesson of the wonderful miracle of our existence here in Israel, and this is the true celebration of our Statehood and our Nation. Ohad and his friends are the most exceptional gift we have here, our youth who out of love for their Nation, out of love for their country, and out of responsibility gave their lives. It is an honor to have young people like these – for these are the best of us. "

In these days when we see:
· The collapse of national responsibility by those supposed to ensure it.
· The capitulation of the government endangering Israeli citizens by allowing murderous terrorists to go free.
· Our soldiers endangered by allowing anarchists to freely encourage violence against military and civilians handing enemies of Israel cameras to document their staged situations of persecution,
· Our sons and daughters who, out of love for their Land and people, give us hope for the future and teach us the ultimate lesson to unselfishly, with all their hearts, be willing "to give of one's self."

Yehudit Tayar is a veteran pioneer spokesperson who lives for the past 28 years in Bet Horon with her husband Ami, and their family, all who have served or are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2008

Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate?

(Disclaimer – I don’t know how much of this is factual but there are references in the piece if someone wants to try and draw their own conclusions. In any case, I thought it important enough to present to the readers. And, whoever the election authorities in the US, should certainly make the effort to come out with an authoritative conclusion.) jsk

Expert: Obama's fake birth certificate forged from original of a woman!

By Israel Insider staff August 4, 2008
http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/13038.htm


As Barack Obama turns 47 today, a document expert claims that his "birth certificate" was forged from an original belonging to a woman born in the 1970s. Informed sources say that while she was not born in Hawaii, she had a Hawaiian certificate of live birth (COLB). The expert, who goes under the pseudonym Techdude after being threatened, says he has decrypted the identity of the owner of the original image from artifacts in the image claimed as authentic by the Obama campaign and says he will publish the name unless the guilty parties "fess up."

Techdude, posting in the Texas Darling blog, continued his devastating deconstruction of the Obama COLB image originally posted by the left-wing KOS blog and then adopted as genuine by the official Obama "Fight the Smears" website. He answered critics of his previous analysis that revealed the Hawaiian COLB image as a "horrible forgery" -- which, among other anomalies displayed a "security border" blatantly different than any other used by the State of Hawaii and showing a "ghost" of the previous security border used as a template in preparing the forgery.

In his latest post, Techdude claims to provide "proof, beyond any doubt, that the KOS COLB is a digitally modified forgery ... based on another individual's post-2006 COLB." The evidence consists of some one hundred graphical artifacts of the source document along with instructions for reconstructing the text of the original "like in a jigsaw puzzle."

He writes: "many of the remnants of the letters that were deleted, are still visible and can be "resurrected" by simply matching new text like a jigsaw puzzle to fit into the artifacts left after t hey were previously erased. In the areas that have not been completely covered over by the new KOS text it takes only a few minutes to accurately reconstruct them."

Among the pieces he says is discernible in the gender field of the source image is "FEMALE" not "MALE." Lest one believe that the presumptive presidential candidate had a sex-change operation, Techdude clarifies that it is not Barack Obama.

But Techdude claims to have more. Tantalizingly, he claims that he has discerned the actual identity of the owner of the original document and to have filled in the original names and dates. That said, and in the interest of fairness, if the people responsible for forging the COLB come forward and admit their liability the name of the original COLB owner will not be released publicly. It is only fair to give the guilty parties a chance to take responsibility for their actions before it embarrasses a lot of people and ruins some people's reputations.

As a heads up to the guilty parties -- the names and dates have already been restored -- as has the fact, the owner is a female born in the 70's. That is all that will be revealed publicly for now. Besides, if I turn up in a ditch someplace the information is already in a few 3rd party hands and they will just release it in my place.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs blog is apparently one of the people who has been made privy to the alleged name of the COLB owner: she calls it's a "jawdropper". In the right-wing blogosphere, there is rampant speculation about the possible identity of the owner of the original COLB used in the forgery. Front-runner in the guesstimations is Obama's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, who has been reported as either being born in Indonesia in 1970 or Hawaii in 1971. Larry Johnson, owner of the No Quarter blog and privy to the woman's identity, hinted that the mystery female was not born in Hawaii but had a Hawaiian birth document, unusual circumstances that would fit Obama's sister.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton made an intriguing turn of phrase when he said, during a trip to Africa: "I never was mad at Sen. Obama," the former president said. "I think everybody's got a right to run for president who qualifies under the Constitution. And I'd be the last person to begrudge anybody their ambition." Even Snopes has accepted that Obama cannot qualify for the presidency based on his mother's citizenship. He must be born in the United States to be a "natural born citizen." If this latest analysis is borne out as true, and the certificate of live birth was derived from a lady, whether it's his sister or not, Sen. Obama will have a lot of explaining to do.

© 2001-2004 Koret Communications Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

August 03, 2008

New York Times Biblical Image Challenged

New Survey Scores New York Times Bias

By Jason Maoz, Senior Editor
The Jewish Press, July 25, 2008

Honestreporting.com is out with a study of how The New York Times covered Israel in 205 news stories between July 2007 and June 2008. The verdict: particularly in the way it employs headlines and photos, “it is clear that there is an inherent bias in New York Times reporting about the conflict that favors the Palestinians,”

The survey found that some 82 percent of headlines atop articles about Israeli military actions “were written in a direct style in which the words ‘Israel’ or ‘Israeli Forces (or a similar phrase) were the subject. In the majority of these cases, no details were given as to whether the casualties were combatants or civilians.” The headlines of those stories favored strong verbs such as ‘kills” or “shoots” and “the object of the sentence was usually the number of casualties listed, often without any other details.”

The study cited a number of examples, among them:
“sraeli Forces Kill 6 in Gaza”; “Israeli Air strike Kills Top Militant”; and “Israeli Forces Kill 9 in Gaza.” In glaring contrast, the survey revealed that just 20 Percent of articles describing Palestinian attacks named the group responsible. Most of these headlines were written in a passive, less direct style that removes responsibility of the attack from those who caused it. An example of this type of headline ran on May 13, 2008: ‘Rocket Fired from Gaza Kills Woman in Southern Israel.’” Other examples of this passive style include “Rocket Endangers Palestinian-Israel Respite”; “Strikes Kill Israeli Worker and 4 Year Old Child”; “Rocket Hits Israel, Breaking Hamas “Peace.”

This tactic of the Times was cited by the Monitor in a 2005 column titled “Passive Voice Genocide”: The day after a recent Netanya suicide bombing, this is how The New York Times headlined its story: “Suicide Bomber and 2 Women Die in Attack at Mall in Israeli Town.” Talk about imprecise language and fuzzy imagery. Were the suicide bomber and the two women killed by a swarm of killer bees? Shot by Israeli police? Felled by simultaneous heart attacks? Were the women perchance accomplices of the bomber?

Would not a more literate — certainly a more accurate — headline have read, “Suicide Bomber Kills Two Women in Attack at Mall in Israeli Town”? It seems that if the Times can’t paint a particular news story in the pale pastels of moral equivalence the next best thing is to come up with a headline written in what grammarians call the passive voice - in this case lumping a terrorist together with his victim - all three of whom are described as having simply died.

Lest anyone accuse the Monitor of quibbling, consider what language expert Marylaine Block has to say about the use and abuse of the passive voice in writing, “It permits us to sanitize horrendous actions and make them more acceptable.”

The Honest Reporting survey was also critical of the Time’s use of photography. “No matter how accurately a news story is written,” the study noted, “an accompanying photograph may destroy all objectivity as the reader is emotionally steered away from the facts by a moving image. When images that evoke sympathy for one side in a conflict are shown in far greater numbers than those which capture the anguish and suffering of the other side, it is a clear case of bias.

“In our review, we counted 73 images that could be described as supporting either the Israeli or Palestinian side. Three quarters of these images evoke sympathy for the Palestinians and portray a scene lacking in context. Even though these pictures are not taken by New York Times photographers, it is a Times editorial judgment as to which wire service images should run with a story.”

While the study acknowledges that none of the headlines under consideration could be classified, on an individual basis, as untruthful, it was the sum of the parts that told the story — clearly a pattern that places more weight on Israeli actions than those of the Palestinians. Balanced reporting requires that a consistent style be used no matter who is the initiator of the event. Ascribing the attack to an inanimate object such as a rocket over and over again indicates bias.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)