June 29, 2009

American Jewry and its organizations remain asleep at the switch

- Our tragic history having taught them nothing.

Israelis, U.S. Jews differ dramatically on Obama

By: Caroline B. Glick

The Jewish Press, June 24 2009

Have American Jews abandoned Israel in favor of President Obama? This is a central question in the minds of Israelis today. In a poll of Israeli Jews conducted in mid-June by the Jerusalem Post, a mere 6 percent of respondents said they view Obama as pro-Israel. In stark contrast, a Gallup tracking poll in early May showed that 79 percent of American Jews support the president. These numbers seem to tell us that U.S. Jews have indeed parted company with the Jewish state.

No American president has ever been viewed as similarly ill disposed toward Israel by Israelis. With only 6 percent seeing the administration as
friendly, it is apparent that distrust of Obama is not a partisan issue in Israel. It spans the spectrum from far left to right, from ultra-Orthodox to ultra-secular. But, with his 79-percent approval rating among U.S. Jews, it is clear then American Jewish community is quite sympathetically inclined toward Obama.

Appearances of course can be deceptive. It is worth taking a closer look at the numbers to understand what they tell us about American Jewish sentiments regarding Obama and Israel. First, however, we should consider what it is about Obama that makes nearly all Israeli Jews view him as an adversary.

The Jerusalem Post poll showed a massive divergence between Israeli Jews and Obama on the issue of Jewish building beyond the 1949 armistice line. The Obama administration has refused to budge in its hard-line demand that Israel end all Jewish building in north, south and east Jerusalem as well as in Judea and Samaria. For its part, the Netanyahu government has refused to bow to this demand. Seventy percent of Israeli Jews support the Netanyahu government's handling of the issue with the Obama administration and 69 percent oppose a freeze on Jewish building.

Beyond Obama's agitation on the issue of Jewish construction, Israelis are dismayed by what they perceive as the generally hostile approach he has adopted in dealing with the Jewish state. This approach was nowhere more in
evidence than in his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo on June 4. It wasn't just Obama's comparison of Palestinian terrorism to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, the American civil rights movement and antebellum slave rebellions. There was also Obama's inference that Israel owes its legitimacy to the Holocaust.

It is that claim - Obama repeated it during his visit to Buchenwald - which forms the basis of the Islamic narrative against Israel. It argues that Jews are not indigenous to the Middle East, and that the only thing keeping Israel in place is European guilt about Auschwitz. Not only do Israelis of all political stripes reject this as factually false, they recognize it is inherently anti-Semitic because it ignores and negates 3,500 years of Jewish history in the land of Israel.

With Israeli distrust of Obama so apparent, and so easily explained, two questions arise: How has Obama managed to maintain American Jewish support despite his unprecedented unpopularity in Israel? Moreover, what is the likelihood that when push comes to shove, American Jews will stand with Israel against the president they so admire?

Obama's great success in maintaining support among American Jews owes much to the fact that most American Jews do not pick up the same messages from Obama's statements, as do Israeli Jews. Whereas Israeli Jews recognize that it is morally obscene, strategically suicidal and historically inaccurate to suggest that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and that Jews have no right to live there, American Jews do not intuitively understand (or refuse to understand – jsk) this to be the case. Consequently, while Israeli Jews recognize Obama's calls for a total freeze in Jewish construction in these areas as inherently hostile, most American Jews do not.

Beyond this, for the past 15 years, Holocaust education - more so than Zionist education or Jewish religious education - has become the hallmark of American Jewish identity. As a consequence, American Jews may not see anything objectionable in Obama's inference that Israel owes its existence to the Holocaust.

If the divergence in U.S. Jewish and Israeli attitudes toward Obama is simply a consequence of a lack of American Jewish awareness of the significance of Obama's positions and policies for Israel, then the disparity in views can be easily remedied by a sustained issues awareness campaign by Israel and by American Jewish organizations. (who also, do not understand their own peril – jsk). For many of Israel's core American Jewish supporters, such a campaign would no doubt go a long way in energizing them to challenge the administration on its positions vis-à-vis Israel.

But, there are other factors at work. According to the American Jewish Committee's 2008 survey of American Jews, some 67 percent of American Jews feel close to Israel. These numbers, while high, are not significantly higher than similar support levels among the general U.S. population. (A survey of general American sentiment toward Israel conducted this month by the Israel Project shows that support for Israel has dropped by 20 percent in the past nine months - from 69 to 49 percent. Presumably, Jewish American support for Israel has also experienced a drop.)

More significantly, the AJC survey showed that in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential elections, only three percent of American Jews said a candidate's position on Israel was the most important issue for them. Indeed, according to survey after survey of American Jewish opinion over the past decade, U.S. Jewish support for Israel, while widespread, is not particularly deep. This sentiment lends to the conclusion that American Jews will not abandon or temper their support for Obama simply because he is perceived as being hostile to Israel.

The picture, then, is a mixed bag. Support for Israel against Obama will likely rise as a consequence of a sustained educational campaign among American Jews about the issues in dispute and their importance for Israel's security and national well-being. Nevertheless, even in that event, it is unclear how dramatic the shift would be. Given the shallowness of U.S. Jewish support for Israel, no doubt many American Jews will not care enough to reassess their positions on either Israel or Obama.

The one bit of encouraging news in all this is the persistence of support for Israel relative to Palestinians among rank and file Americans. Palestinians are supported by a mere five percent of Americans. No doubt it is this disparity that is motivating leading Democratic politicians – most recently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez from New Jersey - to publicly distance themselves from the administration's Mid East policies.

If U.S. Jewish leaders and pro-Israel activists can educate just a fraction of the American Jewish community, and motivate them to stand with Israel in a significant way against administration pressure, this will likely motivate still more lawmakers and politicians from both parties to maintain support for Israel against the administration. Certainly, it will help convince Israelis we haven't been abandoned by American Jewry. And that in it would be no mean achievement.

Caroline Glick is senior contributing editor at The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month. Her book "The Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad," is available at Amazon.com.
Caroline Glick

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2009

A tale from a Catholic buddy extolling the great virtue of Jewish scholarship

The Rebbetzin

In a small town in the old country, the Rabbi died. His widow, the Rebbetzin, was so disconsolate that the people of the town decided that she ought to get married again. But, the town was so small that the only eligible bachelor was the town butcher.

The poor Rebbetzin was somewhat dismayed because she had been wed to a
scholar, and the butcher had no great formal education. However, she was lonely, so she agreed, and they were married.

After the marriage, Friday came. She went to the mikvah (ritual cleansing bath). Then, she went home to prepare to light the candles. The butcher leaned over to her and said, "My mother, Chana, told me that after the mikvah and before lighting the candles, it's good to have sex.” So, they did.

She lit the candles. He leaned over again and said, "My father, Shmuel, told
me that after lighting the candles it's good to have sex." So, they did.

They went to bed after saying their prayers. When they awoke, he said to
her, "My grandmother, Rivka, said that before you go to the synagogue it's good to have sex." So, they did.

After praying all morning, they came home to rest. Again, he whispers in her ear, "My grandfather, Moishe, says after praying it's good to have sex.” So, they did.

On Sunday she went out to shop for food and met a friend who asked, "So how is the new husband?"

She replied, "Well, a scholar he isn't, but he comes from a wonderful family...

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2009

To: Col. Davy Crocket, B. Obama and Supreme Ct Justice Applicants

Lecture re: Taxation to Col. Davy Crockett, US Congress, 1827-1831, 1833-35

Not Yours To Give

Redacted from an article originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett,"

By Edward Sylvester Ellis.

... Constituent Horatio Bunce replying to Congressman’s Davy Crockett’s request that he vote for him in the next election:

... "Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again. It is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it.

In either case, you are not the man to represent me. But, I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.

…But, an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.'

Crocket: 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

“ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

Crocket: ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.'

" ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud, corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.'

"The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

" 'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution; there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'

Copyright © 2002 The Junto Society - All rights reserved. Permission to reprint granted provided a link to this site, http://juntosociety.com, is plainly accompanying the article.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2009

“Honest Broker” – John Podhoretz' clarification of terminology

Commentary magazine
July/August 2009

The Turn Against Israel
By John Podhoretz, Editor

BARACK OBAMA began the first week of June 1 with a series of interviews on the eve of his journey to Cairo to deliver his address to the “Muslim world." In all of them, he spoke of the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the central importance of resolving it as part of his aim of beginning anew with the Arab and Muslim nations that have grown so disenchanted with the Unites States. To National Public Radio, the President made a point of invoking the ties that bind America to Israel and the “special relationship” between the two nations before asserting that part of being a good friend is being honest and I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests. And that’s part of a new dialogue that I’d like to see encouraged in the region.”

The President is, of course, entirely right about how “profoundly negative” the “current direction, the current trajectory, in the region” is for American and Israeli interests. A theocratic regime committed in word and spirit to Israel’s destruction is relentlessly marching ahead with the development of nuclear weaponry. The conclusion of its march poses not only a threat to Israel’s existence but portends a Persian Gulf arms race with implications that ought to terrify everyone. This is precisely the kind of “new dialogue” Israel and the United States should be pursuing in the Middle East — honesty about the trajectory of Iran.

But, of course, honest discourse about Iran was not the fearless truth Barack Obama wished to bestow upon Israel or the Muslim world. Rather, his honesty solely concerned the trajectory “settlements”— which is to say, those acres between Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea on which people now live that have not been declared part of the state of Israel by the international community. The President’s honesty compelled him to inform his friend these acres of earth have been improperly and illegally built upon, and that their existence imperils the creation of the Palestinian state he believes is a political and moral necessity.

Obama’s notion that presidents before him have not been “as honest as we should be” about the settlements is a peculiar one. Every occupant of the Oval Office since Richard Nixon has spoken unfavorably about them. Indeed, when it comes to policy specifics, it is hard to see exactly how Obama has ushered in a new era of “honesty” in the U.S.-Israel relationship.

And yet there is no question that we have entered a new era, one that I expect will be characterized by tensions and unpleasantness of a kind unseen since the days when George II. W. Bush was president, James A. Baker III was secretary of state and the hostility toward Israel oozed from both men like sweat from an intrepid colonial traveler’s brow as he journeyed across the Rub-al-Khali.

One tiny detail gives the game away: Obama’s very use of the word “honest” It was carefully chosen, and is pregnant with meaning. In the matter of relations between nations, the adjective, “honest” is often deployed to denote animosity. When, for example, a State Department official describes a discussion between diplomats as “open and honest;’ that description is presumed to mean that the proceedings were heated and confrontational.

And in the relations between the United States and Israel, “honest” has a provenance that cannot be ignored, It is most often used as part of a two-word phrase whose euphemistic purpose has long been to criticize American closeness to Israel and assert that any such intimacy needs to be abandoned in favor of a more distant, distinctly cooler posture.

The phrase is “honest broker;’ as in, “the United States should serve as an honest broker in the Middle East.” It goes back at least 30 years, and seems first to have entered the realm of American cliché in tribute to President Jimmy Carter’s role in the Camp David peace process between Israel and Egypt. The success of that negotiation led to calls for the United States to continue to serve as an “honest broker” when it came to the relations between Israel and the 21 other Arab countries that, unlike Egypt, continued to refuse to recognize its existence.

Therein lay the flaw in the “honest broker” idea whereby it was exposed for the disingenuous notion it was. For Israel’s only offense to those nations was its very existence. There can be no honest deal-brokering if one party refuses to accept the reality of another. The term suggested each party had equal weight and equal standing, but that was precisely not the case with Israel and the Arab states. The Arab nations had the geopolitical weight; Israel had the moral standing.

What the honest-brokers actually meant when they said that the United States should play an uncommitted role was that we ought to keep our distance from Israel in order to maintain good relations with Arab states. Many of these nations, after all, not only sat atop mammoth oil reserves but whose potentates were also genial and lovely hosts, in contrast to the informal and stiff-necked sabras who simply didn’t know how to act in a courtly fashion toward the starched foreign-service officers who served as the nation’s emissaries.

It was only in the l990s, when Yasir Arafat was parachuted into the West Bank from his exile in Tunis and reinvented as a negotiating partner for Israel, that the phrase began once again to find purchase. For now, at last, there was a deal to be brokered; the Palestinians were now at the table, eager to claim the land Israel had taken in war. Those who advocated for the Palestinian cause argued that the only way such a thing was going to happen would be if the United States were to serve as an “honest broker - that is to say, implicitly, as the representative of the Palestinians in the negotiation. Indeed, effectively, that is what the Clinton administration did do, so well that it all but designed a Palestinian state, induced then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to accept it, and then went into slack-jawed shock when Yasir Arafat rejected it and started a terror war instead,

Nonetheless, those in the “honest broker” camp believed the Clinton administration compromised by its acceptance of the phrase “special relationship” and Clinton’s own expressions of closeness to the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Such is the nature of those who hunger for the “honest broker” role - nothing less than a breach with Israel will do.

The honest brokers presume that the United States has tilted in Israel’s direction for all sorts of reasons, all of them corrupt, corrupted, and corrupting. The government is always being manipulated, according to the “honest-brokers” by the all-powerful Israel lobby, the all-powerful neo-conservatives or the all-powerful born-again Christians. Also claimed is that Presidents hunger for the Jewish vote in Florida and Pennsylvania, and therefore betray America’s true interests. For the honest-brokers, then, American support for Israel is always viewed as dishonest.

PEOPLE will argue about the text of Obama’s Cairo address as long as he is president, because he is to plain-spoken clarity what blue-hued cotton candy is to nutrient. But, the message he was delivering to his own State Department, to his own diplomats who will be carrying out his policies, was plain: The goal of American foreign policy in the Middle East is now the creation of a Palestinian state. Very little will be expected of the Palestinians in the creation of that state; Hamas should renounce terror and recognize Israel, but a failure to do so will not kill the deal. Violence should be foresworn, but even that is of secondary importance to the state itself.

A great deal is, however, expected of Israel. Settlements are to be frozen, including their “natural growth?’ Israel must bolster the Palestinian economy, provide Palestinians with jobs and make things better in Gaza. Israel is to give; the Palestinians are to receive. Israel’s giving is to be accompanied by a promise of reduced violence. Palestinian receiving will be accompanied by Israel’s surrender of more territory beyond the entirety of Gaza and the near-entirety of the West Bank already in Palestinian hands. Israel, the president asserts, will be better off if all this happens. Trust him. He’s Israel’s friend. A better friend than anyone else, remember, because he’s willing to be honest about Israel’s need to sacrifice itself on the altar of nothing more than a promise, and maybe not even that.

And so the turn against Israel that so many predicted (except for the 80% of American Jews who voted for Obama with such zeal and devotion – jsk) during the 2008 campaign is coming to pass—with a smile, and a nod, and an invocation of a word that actually means something very different from friendship. It might even mean its opposite.

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June 21, 2009

Will Israel allow B. Obama, R. Emanuel, G. Mitchell and the American State Dept. et al bully it into self-destruction?

Redacted from an article by RABBI SHMUEL M. BUTMAN

Will Israel let itself be bullied?

The Jewish Press, June 12, 2009

Do friends always have to agree? Even spouses who love each other dearly may not always agree. They may truly admire each other and be united in general aims and aspirations, but on some issues, they simply agree to disagree. The same applies to friendships between sovereign lands.

During Israel’s 61 years, the U.S. has undeniably been its best friend. President Truman first recognized Israel’s independence, prompting many other lands to follow. Far more than any other land, the U.S. has generously supported Israel with economic and defense aid, political support and genuine friendship in the face of its frequent international isolation. The U.S. has acted as a protective big brother to Israel, for which the Jewish state should forever be grateful.

Moreover, Israel has responded in kind. Even without any formal alliance, Israel has acted as a loyal ally to the U.S. It has shared valuable intelligence of all kinds, reports on its tests of American weapons in real world conditions of actual warfare, given preference to American products, and given in to U.S. requests and demands.

However, gratitude does not mean totally submerging its independence. After 61 years, Israel has matured and is no longer America’s kid brother. In the face of its considerable isolation, Israel still values America’s political support in the world arena. However, the U.S. must accept that what its newest generation of leaders may see American interests do not necessarily coincide with those of Israel.

(Especially when the current administration is sorely confused as to what and who are in America’s best interests) jsk

Right now, the American president believes he can achieve a rapprochement with the Muslim world by bullying Israel into acting against its own interests. Some may argue that his policies actually harm American interests, weakening U.S. defense capabilities, political power and economic strength in order to gain points abroad. If that’s true, America can likely afford such an experiment, at least temporarily, because of its innate strength. A single presidency might weaken American power to some degree, but its tremendous wealth of resources, vast territorial integrity and powerful defense and economic capabilities ensure that it will be able to rebound under a new administration.

Israel, on the other hand, simply can’t afford such an experiment. Despite any advanced weaponry and economic strength, Israel is intrinsically weak. Its size is tiny, it lacks vital resources such as oil and other fuels, its borders include a large fifth column of disloyal Arabs, and clustered around its borders are millions of the world’s worst terrorists, supported militarily and economically by rogue nations who openly threaten Israel with annihilation (G-d forbid). In fact, the entire neighborhood is full of hostile foes who would welcome Israel’s disappearance.

Can Israel go it alone without the United States? Certainly, it would cost dearly in all areas. But if the new administration insists on trying to bully Israel into agreeing to steps that weaken it, Israel has no choice. It’s anyway unlikely to be a complete break, for America still gets as much or more out of its unofficial alliance than Israel does.

There’s no way Israel can agree to a “two state solution” because it can’t let another terrorist state arise on its bothers. Its voluntary retreats within the past decade — from South Lebanon and Gaza — have already created two such virtual states on its northern and southern borders. A third, much larger state, within Israel’s very heartland, would threaten all Israel’s cities and infrastructure and could sound Israel’s death knell (G-d forbid).

Israel also can’t agree to stop expanding Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. These organic communities naturally attract new residents because of their beautiful quality of life. None of these towns was built on land taken from Arabs, and all have contributed greatly to the security and prosperity of the entire region for all residents, both Jewish and Arab. The recent Israeli elections were unequivocal in their move to the right. Israel’s voters signaled their recognition that the political experiments of their leaders since 1993 have only weakened the country immensely. The voters now demand strong leadership that can stand up to foreign pressure, even of a favorite big brother in Washington. It’s time to say no, as politely but as firmly as possible. Eventually, when the U.S. sees that they genuinely mean it it’s likely to provoke far more respect.

(And when the current US administration or one that hopefully follows, understands Israel’s key role as an irdispensable ally – jsk)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2009

More information from the secrets closet: Chicago Politics and Michelle

“She was uniquely qualified”

Letter to the Editor
The Washington Times, June 8, 2009

It would seem there are some employees that cannot be replaced by anyone. Let’s look at Michelle Obama, for example. She was hired by the University of Chicago Medical Center to manage their “Programs for Community Relations, Neighborhood Outreach, Volunteer Recruitment, Staff Diversity and Minority Contracting”

I was a CEO for 37 years and never once came across such a highfalutin’ title. In fact, I can’t recall a single company that had anyone employed in such a capacity except, perhaps, GM, Chrysler Citibank and MG, and we all know where they’re at.

Mrs. Obama was hired in 2005 with a salary of $120,000, which was increased to $317,000 the week her husband became a US. Senator. This, it appears, was directly after the good senator made an earmark (that’s pork for the rest of us) for $1 million for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Interestingly, now that the senator is president, Univ. of Chicago Medical has decided that this position is no longer necessary. Doesn’t Senator Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, have a wife that could handle this job?

Adrian Krieg
Bradenton, Florida

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2009

Obama’s Cap and Trade Emissions Tax Policy

From an article BY JEFF BERGNER

The “Dependence on Foreign Oil” Canard

The Weekly Standard, June 22, 2009

As the public’s enthusiasm for a major new energy tax wanes, advocates of the administration’s “cap and trade” emissions proposal have found a new justification - National Security. We should adopt a cap and trade energy tax, they say, because this will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and thus strengthen America’s national security. It is unsurprising that national security would be the last refuge of a policy that cannot be sold on its merits. But, “energy independence” is a mantra that has been around for decades, with adherents across the political spectrum. Does it wash as a rationale for cap and trade?

... The central point to be made is this: If lessening the nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy is the goal, there are cheaper, quicker and more reliable ways to achieve it. Moving aggressively to develop proven American energy reserves is one. To be sure, it would take years to develop the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserves or significantly expand our offshore drilling capacity but a national commitment to do so would be a beginning. So would removing the legal and regulatory barriers to the development of nuclear energy. As would expanding natural gas production and clean coal technology Even a large, straightforward tax on oil or gasoline—though devastating to our economy—would offer a quicker way to diminish U.S. reliance on foreign oil than cap and trade.

But, this, of course, is not the goal of cap and trade; the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by moving the American economy away from carbon-based fuels. Cap and trade is an environmentally motivated tax, pure and simple, which is being advanced for reasons which have nothing whatever to do with U.S. national security.

... Imposing a massive new tax on energy through a cap and trade program is bad economic policy. Imposing such a tax now, while the economy is struggling through a persistent recession, would be singularly ill-considered. Such a tax would harm U.S. economic security far more than dependence on foreign energy suppliers could possibly hurt us.

It is clear that American government officials would be pleased to have a brand new source of tax revenue from cap and trade; but the drag on the economy from higher energy prices would be every bit as severe whether the revenues were sent abroad, paid to the federal government, or incinerated. Fear of potential price increases is simply not a good reason to impose actual price increases on American businesses and the American people.

The economic arguments for cap and trade are non-existent. The environmental arguments for cap and trade, to be polite, are dubious. None of these arguments is strengthened by a dressed up nativism or far-fetched scenarios masquerading as national security concerns. This is all the more so since, if energy independence were truly our goal, a cap and trade system would be the least sensible way to achieve it.’

Jeff Bergner is a visiting professor at Christopher Newport University. He previously served as Staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and assistant secretary of state.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2009

Evaluating Netanyahu’s response to Obama Cairo Speech

By Caroline Glick

Monday, June 15, 2009

Q&A: Carolyn Glick on Netanyahu with Kathryn Jean Lopez, interviewer

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a much-discussed speech on Sunday, endorsing a demilitarized Palestinian state and responding to Pres. Barack Obama's recent Cairo address, among other things. Caroline Glick took a few questions about it and the Iranian elections this morning.

Caroline is senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post and the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy. She's also author of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad. Here's the conversation:

LOPEZ: Is it shocking Netanyahu would come out for a Palestinian state?
GLICK: It is not shocking that Netanyahu would set out the conditions under which he would agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Obama administration's obsession with creating one in Israel's heartland as quickly as possible regardless of the character of Palestinian society; Palestinian support for the destruction of Israel; and the close ties the U.S.-sponsored Palestinian Authority shares with global terror groups and state sponsors of terror like Hezbollah and Iran made it necessary for Israel's premier to make it very clear what must happen before Israel will agree to proceed on this path.

LOPEZ: Is this anything remotely like a breakthrough?
GLICK: There are only two ways that Netanyahu's speech can constitute a breakthrough. First, in the unlikely circumstance that the Obama administration actually cares about Israel's concerns, Netanyahu's speech should give the president and his advisors pause before they renew their massive pressure on Israel to make dangerous concessions to the Palestinians.

Second, Netanyahu's speech could empower Israel's supporters in Congress to begin questioning the administration's harsh treatment of the U.S.'s closest ally in the Middle East. And, perhaps act as a break on the administration's moves to steamroll Israel. Aside from that, what his speech served to do was expose just how radical the Palestinian and Arab position on Israel is. The Palestinians reacted to Netanyahu's speech with calls to war in retaliation for his demand that they recognize Israel's right to exist. This is not the sort of behavior one might expect from, supposedly "moderate," Palestinian political leaders.

LOPEZ: Will the U.S. and Israel agree on settlements? Have we entered a chill in our relationship?
GLICK: Obama and his advisors have made clear that their view on the settlements is not based on facts. It is based on their acceptance of the false Arab narrative of the Middle East conflict. They accept Arab historical revisionism that places the cart before the horse by claiming that Israel's presence in the disputed territories is the cause of the conflict when in fact Israel's presence in the disputed territories is a consequence of their continuous attempts to invade and destroy Israel. Since the Obama administration's view is based on a false assertion, it is impermeable to fact and rational argument and therefore it is unlikely to change.

LOPEZ: Is it significant that Netanyahu responded to Obama's Cairo speech?
GLICK: It is very significant for Israel and world Jewry and perhaps for Israel's supporters that Netanyahu responded to Obama's Cairo speech. That speech was full of distortions of Jewish history and deeply dismissive of the Jewish claims to our homeland. It was absolutely necessary for Netanyahu to respond to Obama's false and hideous assertion that Israel owes its creation to the Holocaust.
And in explaining that the Holocaust could only happen because Israel didn't exist at the time and by setting out the true 3,500-year old Jewish connection to the land Netanyahu provided a necessary corrective to Obama's move to write the Jewish people out of the history of the Middle East. Here too, Obama's position is based on an Arab myth - most enthusiastically propounded today by the likes of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - that the Jews are interlopers in the region.

LOPEZ: How bad might that be if a new intifada begins or a war begins between Israel and a neighbor?
GLICK: If the Palestinians follow through with their threat to renew their terror war against Israel it will be quite bad. This is so not because Israel will be unable to defend itself. Israel has the means to defend itself. It will be quite bad in light of the hostile treatment Israel is suffering at the hands of the Obama administration and given the central role the U.S. under Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton is playing in arming and training the Palestinian army, that will likely be attacking Israeli targets in Judea and Samaria, the U.S. may well side with the Arabs against Israel. The administration is already placing limitations on arms sales to Israel. In this event, Israel will have to move quickly to find other suppliers.
It is unlikely today that Arab states will go to war with Israel, although that could change quickly if Iran acquires nuclear weapons. In that event, the Iranians will be in a position to blackmail Arab states like Egypt and Jordan into abrogating their peace treaties with Israel and opening hostilities against it. Iran would accomplish this task by threatening to overthrow the Mubarak regime and the Hashemite Kingdom. It is this specter - along with the specter of nuclear attack and chronic terror violence conducted under Iran's nuclear umbrella - that makes it essential for Israel to move quickly to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

LOPEZ: How nervous is Israel about Ahmadinejad's "reelection"?
GLICK: In a round about sort of way, Ahmadinejad's "reelection" empowers Israel to take the necessary action. By stealing the election, Ahmadinejad now stands in open opposition to the Iranian people. This decreases the likelihood that the public will rally around the regime in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations.

Ahmadinejad's open hatred of the U.S. and his humiliation of the Obama administration will similarly make it more difficult politically for the administration to prevent Israel from striking Iran. If before the Iranian elections it was easy to see the administration signing on to U.N. Security Council sanctions against Israel in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran, or even shooting down Israeli aircraft en route to Iran, in their aftermath, such prospects seem more unlikely.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2009

So, what if white boys can’t jump?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Excuse me but, how come the National Basketball Association (NBA) got such an excellent grade in “Diversity” while colleges and universities and employers at every level, who don’t fully embrace the same dynamic, are penalized severely? Please note, in the news release below, an organization that employs in its main work force over 90% black athletes is given high approval ratings.

How come? Where is the “Diversity”? What happened to the white boys and Latinos that constitute 80% of the US population? Why aren’t there 8 out of 10 whites and Latinos playing professional basketball? The answer is quite simple, as we all know – “White boys can’t jump!” Of course, all of the above discussion is tongue in cheek. Understandably, the NBA hires people that can do the best job, can perform their work load most efficiently and, as a result, create winning teams.

How is it that colleges, universities, employment places at all levels, can’t do the same thing and admit and hire people most qualified to do the job without consideration of minority status, gender or anything else other than past performance history and anticipated success? Was not that the American ideal? Was not that the critical reason most of our ancestors came to this country?

Do we not want the best candidates admitted and hired? Do we not want the US to benefit nationwide and internationally from the same sort of “Diversity” system as that embraced by the National Basketball Association and, every other sports organization, for that matter? Or, are our athletic teams more important to this country’s ultimate success and status in this very competitive world? What happened to the merit system that has made us the dominant, most envied nation in recent history?

USA Today, June 11, 2009

A report from the Orlando-based Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gives the NBA an “A” on its 2009 Racial and Gender Report card, but showed a few areas to improve.
The report lauded the NBA for remaining the industry leader on issues related to race and gender hiring practices,” while highlighting room for improvement in the positions of general manager, club vice presidents and senior administrative staff.

By Chris Colston, Jon Saraceflo and Mart Poms

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

Absolutely too funny - Obama in Cairo

By the incomparable William Kristol

Editor, The Weekly Standard
June 15, 2009

As readers might have guessed, THE SCRAPBOOK was mightily impressed by President Obama’s major address to the Muslim world last week in Cairo. Not by the speech itself—which was suitably platitudinous and full of dubious assertions—but by the idea of the speech. In addressing “the Muslim world” the president was talking to over a billion people, not all of whom identify themselves primarily by their religion, most of whom don’t live in the Arab world, and many whom disdain and dislike other Muslims for a bewildering variety of religious reasons.

It’s a little as if President Hu Jintao of China were to travel, to say Rome or Canterbury, to deliver a major address to Christendom. But you have to give Barack Obama credit for presumption: Not only is he the first president to speak directly and deliberately to what he calls “the Muslim world,” but he seems genuinely to believe that he is the first president in American history to visit a predominantly Muslim nation, to address a Muslim audience, or to preach religious tolerance. THE SCRAPBOOK concludes that Obama is either the most remarkable figure in history, as Newsweek and other respected news organizations claim, or a curious combination of arrogance and naïveté.

Let’s suppose, however, that “the Muslim world” didn’t react to the Cairo speech with politeness or mild mystification, as appears to be the case, but took Obama seriously and put aside all differences to answer his call for universal peace and brotherhood. In that case, THE SCRAPBOOK would not only applaud his address “to the Muslim world,” but also support a series of similarly expansive, ambitious orations to other gigantic, all-encompassing audiences.

A major presidential address from Barack Obama to “the animal kingdom,” for example, could begin to heal wounds and settle differences nearly as old as life itself. “I know something about animals,” the president could explain, “as the son of a man whose forebears roamed the savannas of East Africa with lions and giraffes, and as the proud custodian of a Portuguese water dog.”Having established his credentials, who better than President Obama to proclaim a new era in relations between beast and man?

I am ashamed to say that I too, have stamped out the life of the occasional ant, swatted a fly or chased an errant cockroach down the corridors of Harvard Law School. Moreover, as a child of democracy, I too, have succumbed to the all-too-easy temptation to denounce honorable opponents as “snakes” or “weasels” or “rats”— never stopping to consider how those words must affect, and inevitably wound, proud members of the reptilian and mammalian communities, who ask only to live in peace and harmony with humankind.

This could be the start of something big, in The SCRAPBOOK’S view. From the observatory steps at Mount Palomar, President Obama could deliver a major address to the inhabitants of the unknown worlds of interstellar space. (“Who have suffered the indignity of public hysteria, and unwarranted suspicion, and a thousand jokes and movies and uninformed speculation about ‘flying saucers’, little green men, and UFO abductions which, as we now know, were peaceful in intent”).

Or, with microscope in hand, he could talk to the unseen trillions of microbes who share our world, and assure them that our present concerns about swine flu are not directed at all germs and viruses but only at those bacteria “intent on doing harm.”

(Thus, there is literally no limit of unknown” worlds” with inadvertently insulted populations that Mr. Obama could address and, of course, do the honor of blaming the United States of America for any of their shortcomings)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2009

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman’s assessment of Obama’s Economic Policies

Bernanke: U.S. deficit poses risk to fiscal stability

By Paul Davidson

USA TODAY, June 9, 2009

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress on Wednesday that it must act promptly to narrow the yawning federal budget deficit or risk losing the confidence of financial markets. “In order to make lenders willing to continue to finance us at reasonable rates, we do have to persuade them that we are serious about returning to a more balanced fiscal situation.” Bernanke told the House Budget Committee. “Unless, we demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal sustainability in the longer term, we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth.”

Separately the Fed chief reiterated his forecast for a tepid start to economic recovery later this year - a view backed by mixed reports Wednesday on the service industry and business employment. The deficit has swelled, largely as a result, of the $787 billion stimulus package, the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan and lower tax revenues during the recession. A rising federal debt spooks lenders and drives up interest rates. Bernanke partly blamed the red ink for recent increases in yields on long-term Treasury notes and fixed-rate mortgages.

Noting that tax increases can dampen a recovery by eroding consumer buying power, Bernanke suggested Congress must look closely at paring entitlement programs - a politically explosive idea. (Especially, for Barack Obama! jsk). Social Security and Medicare, he said, will rise to 12.5% of the economy by 2030, up from 8.5% today. “The fundamental question that Congress, the administration and the American people face is how large a share of the nation’s economic resources to devote to federal government programs, including entitlement programs,” he said.

(I love that phrase, “entitlement programs” but can’t say my Dad or the rest of my family ever heard of being “entitled” to anything while we grew up. We were “entitled” to try and get an education, to try to get a job and to try to make a living. That’s the only “entitlements" I do remember.) Jsk

Benanke noted that consumer spending has been flat this year after plunging the second half of 2008 while existing home sales have stabilized. He expects the economy to “bottom out, and then turn up later this year. “ However, he predicted a lackluster recovery, adding that unemployment, now 8.9%, “is likely to rise for a time, even after economic growth resumes.”

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that the service industry continued to shrink in May but at a slightly slower pace than in April. However, business activity orders and exports fell more sharply after improving in April. In addition, payroll processor ADP estimated non-farm employment fell by 532,000 in May in line with analysts’ estimates. Nevertheless, the firm revised its April job loss estimate downward by 54,000 to 545,000.

Bernanke’s testimony underscored that the sluggish economy could pose challenges as Congress considers a bill to combat global warming. (Another Obama/Al Gore farcical, dubious and economically disastrous concept - jsk). The measure would force utilities and others to pay fees for their carbon emissions, costs that would saddle consumers with up to $140 in extra fees per year, according to a recent estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency. Bernanke said, “It would make sense” to rebate any added costs to consumers, so purchasing power is not diminished. ”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2009

General Franco, Spain and Albania - Heroes to WWII Jews

Redacted from the article Spanish Revision

By Stephen Schwartz, reviewing Franco and Hitler by Stanley G. Payne

The Weekly Standard, June 1, 2009

...The ideological link between the ‘German and Spanish dictators was too attenuated and Franco’s adoration of Hitler was too superficial. Such historical and geographical facts trumped “fascist” solidarity. Moreover, Franco’s “relative immunity” to Nazi racism toward Jews (to borrow Payne’s vocabulary) underscores the shallow character of the similarity between the two regimes.

Payne has dedicated two chapters here to the role of the Franco government in rescuing Sephardic Jews from the Nazis. This topic, although well known among Holocaust historians, has been orphaned by Franco’s fascist reputation. Saving Jewish lives, it seems, is of lesser importance because a rightist, rather than a liberal, government accomplished it.

Payne describes how, beginning in the 19th century, Sephardic Jews living outside Spain were offered Spanish citizenship, and a few thousand were granted such status. Franco, while a serving officer in Spanish Morocco, became friendly with prominent personalities among the thousands of Sephardim living there and descended from Jews expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century. During World War II, tens of thousands of European Jewish refugees with transit visas were allowed to enter Spain.

In addition, Spanish diplomats also acted to protect Sephardim with Spanish citizenship from the Nazis. Sebastian de Romero Radigales, the Spanish consul in Athens, prevented the deportation to Nazi death camps of hundreds of Sephardim from the Greek city of Salonika. In Budapest the Spanish representative Angel Sanz Briz intervened to keep up to 3,500 variegated Jews out of Nazi hands, and an Italian purchasing agent in the Hungarian capital, Giorgio Perlasca, assisted Sanz Briz, as well as Raoul Wallenberg.

Payne argues that Spanish rescue efforts were exaggerated by the Franco state to improve its standing with the Allies once the war had clearly turned against Germany. However, his book was finished before the recent issuance of (S.R. Radigales and the Sephardim of Greece, 1943-1946) by Matilde Morcillo Rosillo. This is a documentary collection reproducing materials in Spanish, English and Greek, and an important addition to Holocaust studies, illustrating in eloquent detail the exhaustive activity of Radigales to keep the Greek Sephardim alive.

A similarly small but meaningful effort on behalf of Jews was, proportionately, much more successful in Greece’s neighbor Albania, where local authorities sabotaged Nazi anti-Jewish measures so completely that not a single Jew was handed over to them. Albania was alone among Axis-occupied countries in ending World War II with more Jews than it had at the beginning.

The actions of Albanians as “Righteous Among Gentiles” were commemorated at the Yad Vashem memorial two years ago with an exhibit assembled by the photographer Norman Gershman, and titled Besa—an Albanian term referring to protection as dictated by personal honor. Gershman shows portraits of Albanians who concealed, disguised and otherwise sheltered Jews.

While Gershman’s volume stresses the Muslim faith of many Albanians who saved Jews, another new book in Albanian and English, (The Historic Presence and Rescue of Jews During the Second World War), reveals that Albanian Catholics, as well as Muslims, were similarly righteous. Edited by the leading Albanian historian Shaban Sinani, the volume includes much fascinating material from Albanian archives, literary studies, and anecdotal material.

It presents evidence that long-accepted claims that hundreds of Jews were successfully deported from Kosovo by the Nazis are incorrect. Moreover, more remarkably, we learn for the first time that the Roman Catholic clerics Vinçenc Prennushi, archbishop of Dunes, and Shtjefdn Kurti, a parish priest in Tirana, baptized Jews to assure their survival.

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

June 05, 2009

Analysis of Obama’s Speech in Cairo

By Melanie Phillips
Renown journalist and author of Londonistan
4th June 2009

First, the good bits in Obama’s speech in Cairo:

He told the Palestinians unequivocally that violence was wrong.
He said that there was an unbreakable bond between America and Israel.
He told the Arab states firmly:
The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
He condemned the persecution of non-Muslims in the Islamic world and urged equal rights for Muslim women.
He referred to Iran’s role since 1979 in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians.

Now the bad bits – and they were really bad:

He revealed gross ignorance of the Jews’ unique claim to the land of Israel. He said that America’s unbreakable bond with Israel was based upon:
The recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust...

Melanie: The Jews’ aspiration for their homeland does not derive from the Holocaust, nor their overall tragic history. It derives from Judaism itself, which is composed of the inseparable elements of the religion, the people and the land. Their unique claim upon the land rests upon the fact that the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their nation, which it was for hundreds of years – centuries before the Arabs and Muslims came on the scene. As for anti-Semitism, he made no mention of the alliance between the Palestinians and the Nazis during the 1930s, and the fact that Nazi-style Jew-hatred continues to pour out of the Arab and Muslim world to this day.

Worse, Obama appeared to draw a subliminal equivalence between the Holocaust extermination camps and the Palestinian 'refugee' camps:

Obama: Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years, they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

Melanie: Moreover, with this awful and revealing linkage, he duly segued seamlessly into the distorted Arab and Muslim narrative of Israel's history. It is not undeniable that the Palestinians 'have suffered in pursuit of a homeland' because it is untrue. The Palestinians have been offered a homeland repeatedly – in 1936, 1947, 2000 and last year. They have repeatedly turned it down. The Arabs could have created it between 1948 and 1967 - when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. They chose not to do so. They could have created it after 1967, when Israel offered the land to them in return for peace with Israel. They refused the offer. The Palestinians have suffered because they have tried for six decades to destroy the Jews’ homeland.

Obama: For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation.

Melanie: The ‘pain of dislocation’ was caused by the fact that six decades ago they went to war against the newly recreated Israel to destroy it, and were subsequently deliberately kept in ‘refugee’ camps by the Arab world. What other aggressors in the world are described as suffering ‘the pain of dislocation’ caused by their own aggression -- which has continued for sixty years without remission and shows no sign of ending?

Obama: Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

Melanie:There is one reason for that and one reason alone – the Palestinians have ensured that Israel has never lived in peace or security, because they have continued to attack it and murder its citizens. And Gaza? Doesn’t Obama realise the Israelis no longer occupy Gaza? It is run by Hamas, which shows its commitment to the peace and security of its inhabitants by throwing them off the tops of tall buildings.

Obama: So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.

Melanie: And what about the intolerable situation of Israel, forced to live in a state of siege for sixty years because of the unending aggression of the Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim world? The Palestinians could have lived in peace and prosperity alongside Israel at any time since 1948. If they were to end their attempt to destroy Israel and accept instead the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state -- that crucial qualification Obama omitted to mention -- they could do so tomorrow. The only reason their position is intolerable is because they themselves have made it so. What other aggressors in the world have their situation described as ‘intolerable’?

Obama: Palestinians must abandon violence.

Melanie: Good. But then:

Obama: Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.

Melanie: ‘Resistance’? 'Resistance' is a term of moral approval. ‘Resistance’ describes a fight against injustice. But the Palestinians have been engaged in an attempt to wipe out Israel. Obama sees this as 'resistance' – even though he says violence is wrong. And then this:

Obama: For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.

Melanie: So Obama has equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the true resistance against apartheid in South Africa. Thus the moral bankruptcy of the moral relativist.

Next, he repeated that the settlements (all of them? just new ones?) undermined peace and so had to stop. But they don’t undermine peace. It is Arab rejectionism that prevents peace in the Middle East, and the settlements are a palpable excuse. Yet Obama delivered no ultimatum of any kind to Iran, the real threat to peace in the region and the world; indeed, he repeated that Iran should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an alarming indication that he might view as acceptable a formulation which might enable Iran to continue to make nuclear weapons under some kind of verbal and political camouflage.

For his egregious sanitising of Islam and its history, and his absurd claims about its contribution to western civilisation, read Robert Spencer here. But in this regard, one of Obama’s references in particular made me catch my breath. It was this:

Obama: The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

Melanie: This is boilerplate misrepresentation by Islamists and their apologists. The fact is that it is Judaism which teaches this as a cardinal precept. The Talmud states: Whoever destroys a single soul, he is guilty as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whoever preserves a single soul, it is as though he had preserved a whole world.

The Koran appropriated this precept – but altered it to mean something very different. Thus (verses 5:32-5:35):

Obama: That was why we laid it down for the Israelites that whoever killed a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all mankind; and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind. Our apostles brought them veritable proofs: yet many among them, even after that, did prodigious evil in the land. Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. (My emphasis)

Melanie: In other words, this turns a Talmudic precept affirming the value of preserving human life into a prescription for violence and murder against Jews and ‘unbelievers’. Yet, Obama passed it off as evidence of the pacific nature of Islam.

So in conclusion, yes, there was some positive stuff in this speech – but it was outweighed by the United States President's shocking historical misrepresentations, gross ignorance, disgusting moral equivalence between aggressors and their victims, and disturbing sanitizing of Islamist supremacism.
In short, deeply troubling.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2009

Kudos to Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Org. of America

At least one American Jewish leader has some cajones.

WorldNetDaily Exclusive
Thursday, June 04, 2009

Israeli Arab lawmaker clashes with U.S. visitor

Knesset member rants, demands American Jewish leader be banned

May 31, 2009

By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM An American Jewish leader was restricted by security guards from entering Israel's parliament after he questioned an Arab lawmaker over seemingly anti-Israel statements and practices, WND has learned. The episode unfolded last week when Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, was in the Knesset waiting room with a group of other U.S. Jewish leaders who had come to parliament for pre-scheduled meetings with the country's top leadership, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The group was about to enter when Klein noticed Israeli Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi was walking into the building.

According to Klein and several witnesses who spoke to WND, the ZOA president approached Tibi and questioned him about a conference the lawmaker attended in Doha last year in which he reportedly registered as a representative for the state of "Palestine" and not Israel. Tibi, who once was an official adviser to late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat, has multiple times represented himself as acting for "Palestine." Klein also questioned Tibi about scores of purported anti-Israel statements the lawmaker made, such as recent public charges of Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians.

“I asked Tibi if he thinks it appropriate for a Knesset member to be blackening Israel's image by calling it an apartheid state and going around as a paid Knesset member and yet representing himself as from the so-called state of Palestine, which doesn't exist," Klein said. Both Klein and multiple witnesses related how after the questions were asked, Tibi started screaming at the top of his lungs for security to expel Klein, accusing the Jewish leader of physically and then verbally assaulting him. More than one witness told WND Tibi was "acting like a maniac." When the guards entered, Tibi immediately retracted his claim of physical assault, but maintained that Klein had verbally assaulted him - a charge denied by the many witnesses in the room at the time.

In line with instructions from the Knesset speaker, Likud member Reuven Rivlin, security guards were instructed not to allow entry to Klein until he formally apologized to Tibi, an action Klein refused to take. "Why should I apologize for asking Tibi a legitimate question?" Klein asked. "And why should Rivlin side with Tibi? Rivlin has been a friend of mine for years and agrees with my views, plus I didn't do anything wrong." Klein called up Knesset Members Aryeh Eldad of the National Union Party and Danny Danon of Likud, both of whom invited Klein into the building as their personal guests, but the Jewish leader was still denied entry.

After waiting in the lobby for over two hours, Klein was finally allowed in when Tibi accepted an in-person statement from the ZOA president that he did not mean to offend Tibi with his questions. That statement was brokered by a lawmaker from the opposition Kadima party. At the time, according to witnesses, Tibi refused to shake Klein's hand. The drama did not end there, however.

About 30 minutes after the truce, Klein and other Jewish leaders ran into Tibi again in a large open section of the Knesset. They told WND that they overheard Tibi speaking on his cell phone in English about how Klein was only allowed into the building after he officially apologized to Tibi. At that point, Klein's deputy, Steve Goldberg, approached Tibi to point out to the lawmaker that he was inaccurately describing the fiasco. "That's a total lie. Stop telling people that lie. Klein never apologized," Goldberg said, according to witnesses. Tibi then started screaming at Goldberg, prompting about 12 security guards to rush into the room. Tibi claimed to the guards that Klein and Goldberg had both verbally assaulted him. He demanded the pair be barred from the Knesset immediately. Klein and others in the room, however, pointed out that Goldberg acted alone and that Tibi was not verbally assaulted. Tibi then relented and instructed the guards to only boot Goldberg, who was promptly escorted from the building and was not allowed back in that day.

In an interview with WND yesterday, Tibi claimed that when Klein first approached him in the Knesset lobby, the Jewish leader had told Tibi he should not be allowed in the Knesset building because of his alleged anti-Israel views. That claim was strongly denied by Klein and other witnesses who were interviewed. Tibi also told WND that Klein was a "rightist" who is "anti Arab. He has a problem with me because my first name is Ahmed," Tibi said. Klein retorted, "No, I have a problem with him because he is anti-Israel and also a Knesset member."

Knesset Member Danon said he filed a formal complaint with the Knesset
speaker about the episode. "Tibi is not running the Knesset," Danon told WND. "There is no reason a Jewish leader who spends his life defending Israel abroad should have to go through this travesty in the Knesset building. I am proud Klein did not apologize, and I commend him for the questions he asked Tibi."

And you thought that Bar Ilan University was immune from the disease of Jewish self-hatred and auto-annihilation? Think again:

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2009

Israelis wake up to the consequences of a Palestinian Arab state

'Palestinian entity cannot be formed'

From an article by Gil Hoffman


Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon, who is very close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, ruled out the creation of any "Palestinian entity" at a conference at the Knesset entitled "Alternatives to the Two-State Outlook." The conference, organized by Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely, was purposely timed to coincide with the aftermath of Netanyahu's meeting in Washington with US President Barack Obama, amid speculation ahead of Obama's key speeches to the Muslim world and the quartet next month. The event was intended to send a message that opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state was common among mainstream Israelis and politicians not considered extremist.

In his address, Ya'alon outlined why every diplomatic process with the Palestinians had failed so far and why efforts to find a solution to the conflict must stop. He said the best that could be done now was to manage the conflict, rather than solve it, by encouraging reforms and economic development in the Palestinian Authority.

"I do not see any chance of establishing a viable Palestinian entity in Judea and Samaria and/or the Gaza Strip that could sustain itself economically," Ya'alon said. "The gap between Israel as a First-World country and a Palestinian Third-World country is a recipe for instability. I also don't see a chance to form a viable Palestinian entity in Judea and Samaria and/or the Gaza Strip that could bring stability on the security front while chances the entity would be adversarial are very high."

Ya'alon instead suggested educational, economic, political, police and military reforms for the PA, while cooperating with Arab countries on issues like the humanitarian plight of Palestinians who consider themselves refugees. But he said even this could not take place without a responsible and able Palestinian leadership that would recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Netanyahu's former bureau chief, Uri Elitzur, surprised people at the event when he said that the best possible option was the annexation of the entire West Bank, despite the danger of Israel eventually becoming a bi-national state. He said that solution was preferable to withdrawing from Judea and Samaria or continuing the current situation. Asked what Netanyahu thought about his plan, Elitzur said that although he was still friends with the prime minister, "Bibi doesn't agree with me, and really no one else does either."

Other plans presented at the conference called for a confederation between the West Bank and Jordan, and the extension of the Gaza Strip into the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert. Proponents of the ideas included former national security council head Giora Eiland, former Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria director-general Adi Mintz and an aide to former National Union chairman Benny Elon. (I don’t imagine many people agree with him, either – jsk).

Also, President Shimon Peres sent a warm letter to Jordanian King Abdullah, congratulating him on his country's 63rd year of independence and expressing hope for regional peace. "Israel places a great deal of importance on its relations with Jordan, and we trust, your majesty, that under your leadership, these relations will continue to strengthen and flourish in the future," Peres wrote.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)