September 29, 2009

Me? I’m voting for Huckabee!

September 2009—Issue #224

Principles Over Politics
By Herbert Zweibon

On his recent trip to Israel former Arkansas governor (and Republican Presidential Contender against McCain) Mike Huckabee put to shame not only the Congressional delegations that preceded him but Israel’s own Prime Minister. Huckabee is no fair weather friend of Israel. While he, like Clinton, was born in Hope, Arkansas, he is unlike the Clintons who tack with the wind. Huckabee, over many years has consistently and staunchly supported Israel despite the fact that the state he governed had an insignificant Jewish population.

On this trip Huckabee dared to up-end international political dogma and say simply that there is no room for a Palestinian state “in the middle of the Jewish homeland.” If the international community wanted to give the Palestinians a homeland, it would have to be somewhere else.

Instead of the conventional pleading for Moslem acceptance of Jews near their holy places, Huckabee neatly turned tables and praised Israel for giving Moslems access to the Dome of the Rock, the site of the ancient Jewish temple, even though, he noted, the presence of a mosque there “could be considered an affront.

On the vilified “settlements” Obama is intent on “freezing” said Huckabee: it concerns me when there are some in the United States who would want to tell Israel that it cannot allow people to live in their own country, wherever they want.” No restrictions of the sort Netanyahu pleads for about limiting Jewish communities to “natural growth” or fulfilling pre-existing building contracts. Huckabee is straightforward - Jews have the right to build as they choose n their own country

Huckabee also spoke with his feet. He traveled through Samaria, to Beit El, Har Gerizim, Har Beracha and Givat Olam and to Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that Obama wants to destroy. Metaphorically, he put his finger squarely in Obama’s eye by going to a dinner, attended by a hundred people, including several members of the Knesset, on the grounds of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem. Obama has specifically demanded that Israel stop the hotels Jewish owner from renovating the property, treating it as a symbolic key to re-dividing the city. The Shepherd Hotel is indeed heavy with symbolism. It was built by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Jerusalem mufti who mobilized Moslem forces for Hitler in World War II. When Israel reunited Jerusalem in the Six Day War, it took control of the empty structure and eventually sold it to its current owner, Zionist philanthropist Dr. Irving Moskovitz.

Contrast Huckabee’s forthright support for Israel’s rights with the 25 member Republican delegation led by Eric Cantor and the 29 member Democratic delegation that followed on its heels led by Steny Hoyer. Yes, they criticized Obama’s obsessive focus on a settlement freeze, but nary a one said that “the two state solution,” cutting off Judea and Samaria from Israel was illegitimate and a recipe for Israel’s destruction.

Contrast Huckabee’s stance with that of Netanyahu who campaigned on the promise “no Palestinian state,” and collapsed on this central issue after one browbeating by Obama and who insisted publicly there would be no settlement freeze only duplicitously, to institute one.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Huckabee’s visit is in giving heart to those Israeli leaders like Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon (who met with Huckabee on his visit) who say it is not necessary to capitulate to every dangerous and insulting American demand. The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick writes: “Huckabee’s trip showed that the administration is not operating in a policy vacuum. There is plenty of strong American support for an Israeli government that would stand up to the administration on the Palestinian issue and Iran alike.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2009

“Have you no shame? Have you no decency?”

Address by PM Netanyahu to the UN General Assembly

24 September 2009

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland. I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people. The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments. Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie?

And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie? One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries. But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?

A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times.

Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.

The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day. Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the Internet. What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances - by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations, the world over, offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise. But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind. That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction.

The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom? Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism? Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted. For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks. We heard nothing - absolutely nothing - from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.

In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis. We didn't get peace. Instead, we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare. You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.

Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II. During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians - Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave. Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way.

Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, whom did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot. By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth. What a perversion of justice.

Delegates of the United Nations,

Will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat. If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity. And in condemning Israel, this body would deal a mortal blow to peace. Here's why.

When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense. What legitimacy? What self-defense? The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country - of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty! Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein. And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace. In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples - a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it.

We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city, in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem.

We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland. As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity. But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don't want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv. We want peace. I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order. The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them. Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.” I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the "unteachibility of mankind" is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we can prevent danger in time.

In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2009

Who were really the intended victims of McCarthyism? I’ll give you one guess.

Zeroing In On Blacklisted Jewish Actors

Review in the Jewish Press by Menachem Wecker
September 18, 2009

The Play, Zero Hour

Through September 27, Written and performed by Jim Brochu
Directed by Piper Laurie
Theater J, Washington D.C. JCC

Though the members of the House Committee on Un-American Activities had a copy of Lucille Ball’s signed 1936 communist registration card, they accepted her excuse that she joined the party just to please her grandfather, because her name wasn’t Jaffe, Chodorov, Berman or Phillip Loeb. So says Jim Brochu in his one-man show about Samuel Joel “Zero” Mostel, which argues that McCarthyism overlapped, to a large extent, with anti-Semitism. “She could have called her show I Love Lenin and they would have forgiven her. And they did forgive her,” he adds.

The McCarthy era, “the subtlest and most insidious of all exterminations,” featured committee efforts to ‘eradicate communists, but communist equated liberaI and liberal equaled Jew.” Jewish writers, directors and actors were targeted for their influence, according to Brochu. “They didn’t call in the little tailors or the kosher butchers.” “That committee of lily-white Protestants marched us in front of their firing squad of fear and pulled the trigger on our lives and our work,” he continues. “It was an intellectual final solution to eliminate thought; they couldn’t kill our bodies — they had done a fine job of that already — so they decided to obliterate our minds. And they targeted Jewish minds.”

Mostel (1915 — 1977), famous for playing Pseudolus (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof), and Max Bialystock (The Producers), was also blacklisted by the committee, and he saw his friend Loeb, who played Jake Goldberg in The Goldbergs, commit suicide after being accused of being a Communist.

In Zero Hour, currently at Theater J in Washington, Brochu’s Mostel mixes humor with pain. He answers his phone “Palestinian Anti-Defamation League. This is Yassir speaking.” He tells a reporter he casts as a model, “Now turn more to your left. Oh, but you’re from the New York Times. How much further left can you turn?” He jokes that a press agent gave him the name Zero due to his school grade point average: He calls FDR one of history’s greatest Jewish minds.

Mostel participates in the interview reluctantly at first, but then pours out his life story down to the most intimate details. He is also particularly keen on ensuring the reporter knows about the evils of the McCarthy era so that it will never be repeated. “That was no committee; that was an inquisition,” he says. “That was no investigation, Mr. New York Times, that was a massacre!”

As if his political difficulties and run-ins with the FBI were not enough, Mostel’s leg was crushed under a bus in 1960, leaving him dangerously close to needing an amputation that would have ended his career. Mostel recovered — though his leg looked like chopped liver, in Brochu’s words — but he needed to use a cane. “And the great miracle of that whole horrible, life changing accident - it got me out of “The Good Soup,” the play he had been rehearsing at the time, “How lucky I was to have been hit by that bus.” Though he was able to revive his career, Mostel soon found himself having to work with Jerry Robbins, whom he blamed for naming names.

There is something very special about Brochu’s Mostel. Not only is the script brilliantly written and hilarious—and it is both — but, it is also personal. Ac a high school sophomore, Brochu met Mostel on the set of “A Funny Thing.” “I had no idea who Zero Mostel was when I first saw the show,” Brochu writes in an author’s note in the script, “but was knocked out by the comedic force of nature that ruled over the stage of the Alvin Theatre.”

A comedic force of nature that knocks people out is a description that could apply to Brochu’s acting as well. But, when he says he was knocked out by Mostel, he means it literally. Brochu, the sophomore, had been invited to the play by his mentor David Burns, and searching for Burns backstage, he ran into Mostel. Noting Brochu’s uniform (he was in military school), Mostel told him, “You must be General Nuisance. What do you want?” When Brochu said he was looking for Burns, Mostel complained that Brochu never came to visit him and stormed off.

Brochu took the hint and visited Mostel backstage on several more occasions. Over time, the two became friends. When he first asked Mostel for an autograph, Brochu was told he was unworthy. Mostel’s “behavior was as outrageous offstage as it was on,” he says. But after Mostel saw Brochu’s off-Broadway performance in “Unfair to Goliath,” he left an envelope with a signed photograph in Brochu’s dressing room. Zero Hour is Brochu’s attempt to return the favor, “a tribute to the life of a man who overcame both physical and social obstacles to become one of most enduring giants in the history of the American Theatre.”

The show is set in Mostel’s studio where Brochu as a reporter, who is off-stage, interviews him. Mostel blames the McCarthy Committee for the suicide death of Loeb. Though the other actors politely receive Jerry Robbins (the informer) Mostel attacks him. “Did you say hello to Jack Gilford over there, whose wife’s career you destroyed,” he asks. “No, don’t apologize, Mr. Robbins ... You saved America with your testimony. They’ll give you a state funeral when you die. But you won’t be able to be buried in hallowed ground ... because the Torah says that informers can’t be buried in sacred ground.”

One of the most powerful lines of the play comes when Mostel explains why he thought it was so important to make Fiddler about the entire community and not just Tevye the milkman. He argued with the creators, who wanted the actors to go beardless and to tuck in their tsitsis (small tallit tassels that proudly hang exposed from the waist of observant Jews). “They said, keep them under your costumes and I said, No - the audience has to see them,” Mostel explains. “They have to know who we are. They have to love who we are so they can hate what is being done to us. Maybe I didn’t think the show was great but I thought the theme was important.”

Evidently, the theme was universal. When Fiddler toured in Japan, a critic wondered how Americans could appreciate a play that was so clearly about Japan.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2009


By Joseph Farah, Publisher

Whistleblower magazine, September 2009

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that only 5 percent of Americans could give an accurate definition of what “cap-and-trade” means. We hear the phrase a lot. It has what I call a high MEGO factor. MEGO is a news industry acronym for “my eyes glaze over.” Nevertheless, the plan by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress to institute a ‘cap-and-trade” system on the production of carbon dioxide and other so-called “greenhouse gases” (the principal one being water vapor, by the way) is nothing more than a plot to destroy the American economy once and for all.

You think I’m kidding? Here are the facts to consider:

•The plan is based on largely pseudo-science suggesting that these natural gases (not pollutants) are causing massive, catastrophic climate change.

•The plan is based on the idea that increases in these gases are caused by man’s activity on the planet, even though man-made carbon dioxide and water vapor represent an infinitesimally small amount of the carbon dioxide and water vapor in our atmosphere.

•Historic tracking of the relationship of carbon dioxide volume in the atmosphere and temperature increases does indeed correlate a trend — but not the way Al Gore explains it. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere follow warming trends. They don’t precede them.

•There is no evidence that small fluctuations in global temperatures actually lead to devastating results. In fact, they are often beneficial — and they are cyclical.

•The planet has been much colder in man’s history And, it has been much warmer in history. These trends occurred before man was involved in major industry.

But, let’s put all that aside for a moment. Let’s pretend the assumptions of Al Gore and a handful of government-paid scientists are correct — the planet really is warming because of man’s activity. The “cap-and-trade” system about to be imposed on Americans will do nothing to stop or reverse the amount of “greenhouse gases” spewing into the world’s atmosphere — not even close. It will, however, destroy the economy.

Both India and China are increasingly putting out more carbon dioxide than we could ever stop putting out. China has been adding a new 500 megawatt coal or gas-burning plant about every week or two, with hundreds more planned. So, even if the U.S. places on its own businesses strict limits on the production of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” India and China will more than make up the difference by adding new carbon dioxide-emitting generating plants. That means the worldwide emissions of C02 are going to continue to rise even if we decide to kill the American economy and go back to the horse-and-buggy days. We can’t possibly do anything to reduce world levels of C02 unless India and China stop developing cold in their tracks. They would indeed need to start shutting down some of those electrical generating plants and remain part of the “Third World.” That is not going to happen.

And that is all you really need to know about “cap-and-trade” — unless, of course, you want to destroy the U.S. economy, which, I am afraid, is exactly what Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress seek to do. “Cap-and-trade” is not a solution to climate change. It is a prescription for taking America down as a world power, as a free nation and as the most prosperous country on the planet.

Until next time,
Joseph Farah

This article is the introduction to an outstanding series of articles on Cap and Trade that are featured in this month’s Whistleblower magazine, a monthly publication of and highly recommended.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2009

Guide for Jews reluctantly in the Synagogue during the High Holy Days

Worried about looking like a shlemiel (dope) in shul (synagogue)? Finding the shul service impossible to follow? Many people suffer from what is known in religious circles as "Mainstream Judaism." No need to worry, however. Our team of spiritual healers has devised a cure and we are making it available to you exclusively today. Please pass it on to anyone you know who may be suffering in silence.

"Shul Rules” is your ten step guide to synagogue confidence.

1.) If you arrive after the start, don't sit down right away, but instead open the book (First, try to figure out which side is up) near the beginning and spend 2 or 3 minutes turning slowly through the pages while mumbling under your breath. If you recognize any of the Hebrew words, say one or two of them a little louder so those around you can hear.

2.) Find a seat just behind someone who looks like they know what's going on. Make sure this person is using the same prayer book as you. Keep a note of what page they are on by glancing casually over their shoulder every now and again. A small hand telescope may help here.

3.) When putting on the tallit, (prayer shawl) wrap it around your head for a few seconds while mumbling under your breath.

4.) Liberally sprinkle your time in shul with more barely audible mumbles as you look intently at the pages of your siddur (prayer book). Again, the odd word, phrase, or line spoken accurately and a little louder than the rest goes down very well.

5.) Don’t jump up whenever the person in front does. He may be stretching his legs. Instead, wait a moment until a significant proportion of the congregation is standing. In this way, even if they are all stretching their legs, you won't look conspicuous.

6.) See those guys near the front that are wandering around with an air of assurance? These are the members of the service committee. AVOID EYE CONTACT WITH THESE PEOPLE or you may find yourself being asked to do something strange, like opening the doors of the Aron Kodesh (Holy Arc containing the Torahs) or, heaven forbid, saying something in Hebrew out loud to everyone.

7.) The easiest way to look the part is to shockel. (Rhythmic swaying). I have met people who have won international shockelling competitions without having a clue about where in the service they were or what they were mumbling. Advanced shockellers will even shockel when everyone else is sitting. Of course, sometimes this may be a disguised leg-stretch.

Schockelling is an entire lesson in itself but there are two basic forms. The "lateral swing" is usually seen in ultra-orthodox congregations. Here the practitioner is perfectly still from the waist down (feet together, naturally), while the top half of the body repeatedly twists at a steady speed. The "hammerhead" is more prevalent in mainstream orthodox shuls and, as the name suggests, the congregants look as if they are trying to bang a nail into the floor with their heads (I say "his" because women prefer to use this time for kibitzing or kvelling (taking inordinate pride) over the way their grandsons shockel).

Shockelling mainly takes place during the silent Amidah. This is about 10 pages during which you have no idea where everyone else is reading. All you do know is that if the others were really reading all the prayers involved, they would be contenders for the world speed-reading record. You know when it starts because everyone takes puts their feet together, dip at the knees, and bow. This is your cue to start shockelling while turning the pages of your prayer book approximately every 15 seconds. The end of the silent Amidah is signaled by everyone taking three short steps back, bowing to the left, the right and the center and then looking round to see if they won.

8.) Is the Rabbi speaking in English and yet you can't understand what he's going on about? If so, this is the sermon and it's your job to look alive. Paying attention to the sermon is a skill that may take many years to master rather in the way that one learns how to complete diagramless crosswords.

The formula for this particular puzzle is fairly simple. The narrative of Torah portion you have just heard plus something from local or national news equals "you should go to shul more regularly" or "your home isn't kosher enough."

9.) Feel free to talk to people near you at any time. Business and football are particularly appropriate topics of conversation. Seeking kavanah (spiritual involvement) and listening to the sermon will be regarded with suspicion in most communities.

10.) If you can keep your cool until the end of the service, you will be rewarded. At last, something that is familiar, and a chance to clear your throat and give it some as you bash out the Jewish fight songs, Ein Kelohaynu and Adon Olam, just like you did at cheder (Hebrew school) all those years ago.

One final word of warning. If it goes well and you feel confident enough to go back for a second week running, you will be classified as a regular. This means there is a very good chance you will be asked to be the next synagogue president.

L’Shana tova tikatavu v’taihatem.
(May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year)

Distributed by Neil H. Craft.
Author anonymous.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2009

Interviews with PM Netanyahu on Israeli Television, September 17, 2009

Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser

TV Interviewer – What have been the results of recent talks with the American Administration?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I will tell you that they are learning about us, what they are learning about me – that we simply will not give in on the most basic elements related to the security of the country."

TV interviewer, Udi Segal: "…. A few days ago, the UN's Goldstone Commission issued a report that accuses Israel of war crimes. Is there anything that Israel could have done differently to avoid this denigration?"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I do not think so. I know that there are other opinions but I do not think so for one simple reason – this game was fixed. This was a field trial, the result of which was known in advance. Look at the mandate which this commission operated under, a mandate which – by the way – most Western countries opposed and had reservations about. From this mandate, they say in advance that Israel carried out war crimes and now they are filling in the blanks. The occupation of Gaza! We left Gaza down to the last centimeter. We dismantled the settlements. We burned the greenhouses. We uprooted our brothers. There were those who said, "Good, this will bring peace." Others said, "Maybe this will not bring peace but the international community will give us full legitimacy as soon as there is the first missile."

Then there was the first missile, and the second and the thousandth. There were thousands of missiles and finally Israel responded, as is its right, against the terrorists who hide inside civilian populations and fire at civilian populations. Now the same international public that applauded when we left there points an accusing finger and accuses us and not Hamas, of being war criminals. Therefore, I tell the international community, I will speak with prominent world leaders in the coming days. I will tell them: You say that you support our right of self-defense, that we took risks for peace and that you would support our right of self-defense, don't tell me that this will be after the next agreement. Tell me now. Now, line up to condemn this report and act to block its consequences now, not afterwards."

Interviewer, Yonit Levy: "Do you think that there is a chance that soldiers and officers who participated in this operation will be accused in courts around the world?""

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "First of all, this is their intention; it's crystal clear. First, I will tell the world leaders that they are also suffering from terrorism. It is not just our problem because if IDF officers, commanders, soldiers and pilots, and even [Israeli] leaders, will be accused, you also will be accused. What, NATO will not fight in various places? Russia will not fight in various places?"

Udi Segal: "If there are such good claims and the IDF is the most moral army in the world, then why not sit with the Commission and explain it to them?"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Because often this UN was, and to my regret, has gone back to being, how should I put it, a fixed game. This report encourages terrorists and hurts the natural right of countries to defend themselves."

Israel TV Channel 10
Interviewer Micky Heimovitz
: "Are you genuinely worried over what Israel can expect following the UN report? Do you know how we can stop this avalanche? How do we prevent this from reaching The Hague or a UN discussion on the issue?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "First of all by saying clearly that this report is tendentious and biased, that its end result was determined before it started. This field trial decided to convict Israel in any case.

Micky Heimovitz: "In retrospect, was it correct not to cooperate?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Indeed yes. Because I saw its mandate. I was very much convinced that the mandate of this UN commission was specially set up against us and many countries opposed this mandate. The main western countries opposed the mandate because it was clear that it already accused us of war crimes even before it began. They are accusing us.

Now see the distortion here. First, this is a prize for terrorism and encourages terrorism. There is something much deeper here. See what happened with the disengagement. They told us that if we left, some said there would be peace. Some said that if there wasn't peace, at least we will have international legitimacy that if they fire one missile, we would be able to strike at them with full force. They fired one missile, two missiles, three missiles, 1,000 missiles, 2,000 missiles and in the end, the State of Israel, when it could take no more, acted and it acted in the most measured way we knew. We could be compared to other countries that acted when it was attacked by many missiles.

The second thing is that they certainly need to understand that there is a threat to democracy here. If the terrorists, these war criminals, both fire at civilians and hide behind civilians, this is a double war crime. If they receive a prize and the attacked becomes the aggressor, then it will also happen to you. NATO is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq while Russia is also fighting in various places. The countries that are fighting terrorism must understand that this report hurts not only us but them as well. It hurts peace. It hurts security. Therefore, this report is harmful and biased and we reject it outright. There must be a very strong response by the responsible countries in the world."

Yaakov Elon: "Six months in office Mr. Netanyahu, there is this report. Friction with the US is very prominent. Your Foreign Minister is ready to open fronts with countries in the world. Again the world is against us?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "No, part of the world is explicitly with us. Many governments are with us. I could tell you that I was pleased that after a certain decline that we had in the US after Operation Cast Lead, according to surveys that Stanley Greenberg showed me, and he monitors this, our situation in the US has very much improved in recent months. This is good. There is also support beyond the US. Let us not be mistaken. However, there is hostility to us and to our country. I think that Foreign Minister Liberman was 100% correct, in contrast to what is believed or usually said. He attacks anti-Semitism. That IDF soldiers traffic in organs, this is a blood libel."

Yaakov Elon: "A remark has been attributed to you to the effect that Obama's Jewish advisers, Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod are self-hating Jews. Is there truth in this?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "This is a lie. I did not say this; I did not say this. Neither do I think it. I think that, first of all, their Jewishness is not relevant in this case. It is their private matter. They are, first of all, US citizens. They are the President's advisers and I am certainly not going to classify them."

Micky Heimovitz: "You spoke of the support that you see in the US but we are under the impression that Israel-US relations have never been at a lower point. How did we get to the point where Obama dictates to us?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I think that first of all, nobody dictates. I must tell you. But, we are trying to work together. We are learning to get to know each other and are learning to adapt ourselves to a changing reality that, by the way, is in both directions. There are new administrations here and there."

Yaakov Elon: "He's learning a little?"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "We are working together and we will work together better, of this I have no doubt. I will tell you that they are learning about us, what they are learning about me – that we simply will not give in on the most basic elements related to the security of the country."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2009

What’s in it for the United States as a result of its ties to Israel?

By Yoram Ettinger

The attached 4 minute video presents facts relevant to this question.
(The introductory ad for Jdate is not meant for the reader – just part of the video. Sorry.)

Since its rebirth in 1948 world military events have transformed Israel into the largest US aircraft carrier, an aircraft carrier that:

· Does not require a single US personnel and can’t be sunk.
· Is the most battle-tested and cost effective.
· Is located in a most critical area for vital US national security interests.
· Is sparing the US mega-billion dollars annually and avoids the stationing of additional real aircraft carriers in the Middle East.
· Not to mention the saving of tens thousands of American lives

Why would the US Administration punish the Jewish State for fulfilling its security requirements, thus cutting off its (US) nose to spite its (US) face?

(If this link does not open off Israel Commentary, just copy and paste it to your own search engine and you may be able to find it? If not, this software just does not work for links of this kind, Sorry)

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Ambassador (ret.) Ettinger is an insider on US-Israel relations, Mideast politics and overseas investments in Israel's high tech. He is a member of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), which has documented dramatic flaws behind demographic fatalism on one hand and a Jewish demographic momentum on the other hand.
He is a consultant to members of Israel’s Cabinet and Knesset, and regularly briefs US legislators and their staff on Israel’s contribution to vital US interests, on the root causes of Islamic terrorism and on other issues of bilateral concern.
Ambassador Ettinger’s newsletters and OpEds may be read at

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

September 16, 2009

As to Arab claims that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel

Irrefutable evidence was again presented of the Jewish claim to what is now Israel. An archeological dig uncovered an ancient synagogue dating to the Roman Conquest of Israel circa 70 CE with the dispersion of the Jews world-wide that followed. One can of course go back much farther with the claim to circa 1200 BCE when the Jews left Egypt lead by Moses to return to their G-d given land of Canaan – 1800 years before Mohammed was even born! Not to mention the First Jewish Temple built by King Solomon destroyed circa 586 BCE and King David establishing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel 1000 BCE. (Jsk)

Unique ancient synagogue exposed at Sea of Galilee

Communicated by the Ministry of Tourism

A synagogue from the Second Temple period (50 BCE-100 CE) was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is conducting at a site slated for the construction of a hotel on Migdal beach. In the middle of the synagogue is a stone that is engraved with a seven-branched menorah (candelabrum), the likes of which have never before been seen.

The main hall of synagogue is a120 square meters in area and its stone benches, which served as seats were built up against the walls of the hall. Its floor was made of mosaic and its walls were treated with colored plaster (frescos). A square stone, the top and four sides of which are adorned with reliefs, was discovered in the hall. The stone is engraved with a seven-branched menorah set atop a pedestal with a triangular base, which is flanked on either side by an amphora (jars).

According to the excavation director, Dina Avshalom-Gorni of the IAA, “We are dealing with an exciting and unique find. This is the first time that a menorah decoration has been discovered from the days when the Second Temple was still standing. This is the first menorah to be discovered in a Jewish context and that dates to the Second Temple period/beginning of the Early Roman period. We can assume that the engraving that appears on the stone, which the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered, was done by an artist who saw the seven-branched menorah with his own eyes in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The synagogue that was uncovered joins just six other synagogues in the world that are known to date to the Second Temple period.The company developing the site intends to establish a center of dialogue and respect between the different religions and cultures and expects to attract tourists and visitors from Israel and from around the world to visit the center and view the finding.

The synagogue is located in Migdal (‘Magdala’ in Aramaic), which is mentioned in Jewish sources. Migdal played an important role during the Great Revolt and was actually the main base of Yosef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), commander of the rebellion in the Galilee. Migdal also continued to resist the Romans after both the Galilee and Tiberias had surrendered.

‘Magdala’ is mentioned in Christian sources as the place whence Mary Magdalene came, one of the women who accompanied Jesus and the apostles and who Christian tradition has sanctified. After it was conquered by the Romans, the city was destroyed and many of its residents were killed. At the end of the Second Temple period Migdal was an administrative center of the western basin of the Sea of Galilee. Until the founding of Tiberias in the year 19 CE, Migdal was the only important settlement along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2009

What is Barack Obama’s Cap and Trade?

From: Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

Special report from Washington, Volumn 3, Issue 4

Al Gore stated in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, that one of the goals of “rescuing the environment” was to “centrally organize society.” But, are his efforts to combat so-called global warming in fact “rescuing” the environment? The answer is most assuredly “No.” Certainly not under the “cap and trade” approach contained in the Waxman-Markey bill that Speaker Pelosi pushed through the House in June.

Most analysts realize a cap and trade policy will devastate the U.S. economy — a problem only worsened by the fact that nations like China and India are not going to sign up for such economic self-mutilation. But, CFACT has taken a hard look at the science behind the policies contained in Waxman-Markey and found that, with respect to their impact on global temperatures, this emperor truly has no clothes.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admits unilateral U.S. action ‘will not impact global CO2 levels.” Fact is, natural forces account for about 80% of climate change according to the latest peer-reviewed studies. Climatologist Paul Knappenberger has demonstrated that full implementation of the 83% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 will result in a mere 0.1 to 0.2 degree Celsius drop in global temperatures by the year 2100.

The best the climate alarmists could do to counter Knappenberger was produce their own study by Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who concluded that if every nation around the globe would implement cap and trade policies, global temperatures could fall as much as 1.69 to 1.75 degrees Celsius by 2100. With China and India remaining on the sidelines, this scenario is clearly a pipe dream. Bottom line: Speaker Pelosi and her allies in Congress want the U.S. to put its head on the guillotine and then ask, after its head has been removed, for the rest of the world to follow suit. Anyone betting a headless chicken can win the world over?

Furthermore, Over 60 German scientists urge for an impartial climate evaluation panel

“History tells us time and again that political leaders often have made poor decisions because they followed the advice of advisors who were incompetent or ideologues.” That’s part of the warning more than 60 prominent German scientists — including several United Nations IPCC scientists — sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel in a July 26 letter outlining scientific evidence that humans have had no measurable effect on global warming through carbon dioxide emissions. The scientists urged Chancellor Merkel to “strongly reconsider” her position on climate policy and to convene “an impartial panel” for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research that is “free of ideology” to review the latest climate science developments.

The sharply worded letter states that Chancellor Merkel, as a physicist, had erred by assigning a high priority to climate change without convening a panel to discuss its scientific validity. The letter is the product of the recent meeting in Berlin of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), whose president, Dr. Holger Thuss, is also the executive director of CFACT Europe. At that meeting, Dr. Thuss noted, “If the science is weak and the economics don’t work, sooner or later policy makers will be forced to develop an exit strategy from their doom-and-gloom scenarios.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2009

The Regal Pomegranate and Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year)

By Janet Lubman Rathner

From the B’Nai B’rith Magazine
Fall 2009, Published since 1886

The newly ubiquitous pomegranate has been proclaimed the New Millennium’s wonder fruit. Consumption of its juice and seeds is heralded as a way to lower cholesterol, prevent cancers, beautify bodies and even as a natural aphrodisiac. In Judaism, the qualities of this produce-aisle darling are hardly revelations, and its significance is brought to fruition during the High Holiday season.

“There are entire cookbooks devoted to pomegranates. This new pomegranate phase or craze really isn’t new; just here in America, because we Americans tend not to go out of our comfort zone,” says Louise Jacobsen Fisher, a certified chef and food historian in Potomac, Md. Fisher says pomegranates are the stuff of legends - particularly in Jewish culture. “It was the royal fruit for the early Jewish people. Pomegranate likenesses were on the hems of the cohanim’s [Jewish high priests’] robes, as Torah toppers and on ancient tile work,” she says. “They also believed that all those seeds meant fertility.”

Maybe they even knew something back then about antioxidants.” The fruit’s pulpy seeds also are swathed in symbolism. According to lore, pomegranates contain exactly 613 seeds, mirroring the mitzvot (G-d’s commandments) that Jews strive to follow. As one of the shivat haminin - the seven foods the Bible specifically associates with the land of Israel - pomegranates are among the feast items consumed on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

There are some who believe that the pomegranate might have a more sinister place in ancient lore. When Eve passed the forbidden fruit unto Adam, was it indeed an apple—or a fruit with a more dubious history? Punica granatum, pomegranate’s scientific name, is Latin for “apple of Carthage.” Over the centuries, as the Bible went through multiple translations—Aramaic to Hebrew, Hebrew to Greek, Greek to Latin, and, in the 14th century Latin to English—”apple of Carthage” became associated with the Tree of Knowledge. Somewhere along the way, the phrase was abbreviated to “apple,” and the true definition faded.

The fruit has been immortalized in masterpieces such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate,” William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” These same poets and artists of the 14 century painted and wrote of Eve, at the prodding of the serpent, passing on an “apple” to Adam. “The Renaissance artists knew of apples. That’s what littered the countryside, not pomegranates,” Fisher says in speculating on how the pomegranate/apple switch might have come about. Geographically speaking, she says, it makes more sense that the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit. “In the Tigris and Euphrates valley, there are pomegranate trees, not apple trees” Fisher says.

She’s not the only one debunking the apple myth. “My educated guess is it probably wasn’t an apple,” agrees Rabbi Simcha Backman, director of the Jewish resource website However, Backman also says that, while the pomegranate has “a prominent and symbolic role” in Judaism, this neither confirms nor dismisses it in the Adam and Eve saga. He says resolution is not essential “The fruit is secondary. The lessons of the story are what are important. This was the first time humanity erred, and God made it an opportunity to turn it into something good.”

Rabbi Burton Visotzky Appleman, Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, says many rabbis share the opinion that the etrog (yellow citrus fruit similar to a lemon and used at the Jewish Holiday of Succoth) is responsible for Adam and Eve’s ouster from the Garden of Eden. “It looks sweet and smells good on the outside, and set, if you bite into it, it’s bitter. It’s a wonderful symbol, rather than historic reality, of what happen when you sin.” But, the etrog also has competition. Visoraky says there are plausible arguments that grapes, figs. nuts, wheat, even hearts of palm are deserving of the ‘forbidden” title. “It depends in which season the story of Adam and Eve is taught.”

Visotaky endorses none of the fruits. However, he does offer further explanation for pomegranate consumption on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. “That’s when we like to say a Shehchyanu, (prayer for momentous and happy occasions). It is nicer to say it on a new fruit, and pomegranates are just becoming ripe. Also its Tishrei (the Hebrew calendar month when the High Holidays occur) and with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Succoth and so many mitzvot available. The rabbi’s say, “Just as the pomegranate is full of seeds, so, too, is Tishrei full of mitzvot. ”

Therefore, this High Holiday season, know that pomegranates have been deemed panaceas for both physical and spiritual health and enjoy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2009

I Sarah Palin responds to Barack Obama’s Health Care Speech

II Detroit News Commentary on the speech


After all the rhetoric is put aside, one principle ran through President Obama’s speech tonight: that increased government in health care can solve its problems. Many Americans fundamentally disagree with this idea. We know from long experience that the creation of a massive new bureaucracy will not provide us with “more stability and security,” but just the opposite. It's hard to believe the President when he says that this time he and his team of bureaucrats have finally figured out how to do things right if only we’ll take them at their word.

Our objections to the Democrats’ health care proposals are not mere “bickering” or “games.” They are not an attempt to “score short term political points.” And it’s hard to listen to the President lecture us not to use “scare tactics” when in the next breath he says that “more will die” if his proposals do not pass. In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I’ve raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters. He called these concerns “bogus,” “irresponsible,” and “a lie” -- so much for civility. After all the name-calling, though, what he did not do is respond to the arguments we’ve made, arguments even some of his own supporters have agreed have merit.

In fact, after promising to “make sure that no government bureaucrat gets between you and the health care you need,” the President repeated his call for an Independent Medicare Advisory Council -- an unelected, largely unaccountable group of bureaucrats charged with containing Medicare costs. He did not disavow his own statement that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost ... the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives....” He did not disavow the statements of his health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and continuing to pay his salary with taxpayer dollars proves a commitment to his beliefs. The President can keep making unsupported assertions, but until he directly responds to the arguments I’ve made, I’m going to call him out too.

It was heartening to hear the President finally recognize that tort reform is an important part of any solution. But, this concession shouldn’t lead us to take our eye off the ball: the Democrats’ proposals will not reduce costs, and they will not deliver better health care. It’s this kind of “healthy skepticism of government” that truly reflects a “concern and regard for the plight of others.” We can’t wait to hear the details on that; we look forward to working with you on tort reform.

Finally, President Obama delivered an offhand applause line tonight about the cost of the War on Terror. As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th attacks and honor those who died that day and those who have died since in the War on Terror, in order to secure our freedoms, we need to remember their sacrifices and not demonize them as having had too high a price tag.
Remember, Mr. President, elected officials work for the people. Forcing a conclusion in order to claim a “victory” is not healthy for our country. We hear you say government isn’t always the answer; now hear us -- that’s what we’ve been saying all along.

Sarah Palin

II Detroit News Commentary
September 11, 2009

Why Obama's speech failed to move health reform
By Greg Scandlen

The president's speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night failed to move the health reform ball closer to the goalposts. Instead of bringing much-needed clarity to the issues, it was yet another laundry list of platitudes and generalities, just a listing of the provisions already in the bills in Congress. This is exactly what the public did not need and was not looking for.

Keep in mind that this proposal is huge. It will directly affect each and every American for generations. It will control 17 percent of the national economy. This is far bigger than Social Security or Medicare. It may be the biggest domestic initiative since 1913, when enactment of the 16th Amendment created a federal income tax. People have a right to know how this thing will work. What benefits will be covered? What premiums will be charged? How much will subsidies be worth? How will it be enforced? What is the long-term cost? How will it be paid for?

But, answering those questions would require President Barack Obama to get beyond his campaign mode and get into actually governing. He is proving incapable of doing anything but give a speech. He gave one to the AFL-CIO in Cincinnati on Monday, and another to the kids in Virginia on Tuesday, and another at the Walter Cronkite memorial in New York Wednesday afternoon, all before this health care speech Wednesday evening in Washington. This was the 29th speech devoted exclusively to health care since he became president.

If he would stop running his mouth for a few days, Obama might find out what is in the legislation he is promoting. But, every time he talks, support for the proposal goes down. People listen to him and realize he doesn't know what he is talking about. So it is this time. The rock 'em, sock 'em partisan pep rally might energize some of his most ardent followers, but that energy will fade within hours, and the ugly reality will still be with us. It is a hideous, incomprehensible bill that turns all decision-making over to a handful of elitist bureaucrats.

Greg Scandlen is director of Consumers for Health Care Choices at the Heartland Institute in Chicago.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2009

The Problem with Eulogizing Robert Novak

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Thank you to John Perazzo for challenging the hypocrisy of eulogizing Robert Novak. Personally, I have despised Novak since the day I watched his program on TV with his side-kick Evans attempting to debate Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu. Novak got nowhere with Netanyahu despite trying every trick from his bully pulpit, to discredit him. The intellectual, knowledgeable, well-spoken Israeli more than held his own until the interview was finished, but it was not finished for Novak. With Netanyahu gone, Novak proceeded to make his usual snide, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic comments summarizing the interview to his own coloration with Netanyahu no longer there to challenge his poison. It was not difficult to determine where Novak’s misguided loyalties lie.

To my mind, Novak was the personification of the self-hating Jew. He was raised by Ukrainian secular Jewish parents in Joliet, Illinois and given no knowledge, involvement or belief in his own religion. He was born in 1931 and to complete his rejection of all things Jewish, became a Roman Catholic 67 years later. He thus became officially an apostate Jew - a role that he had lived without official documentation his entire life. Unfortunately, as with many apostates, he was immersed in a deep-seeded mindless hatred of his own people.

The other episode in his life that I do not understand is how this miserable, obnoxious little man got away with outing Valerie Plamb as a CIA agent thus endangering her life in one of his “exclusive” columns. Instead of condemning Novak, the Left wing anti-President Bush media hailed him as a hero and began, with the Democratic dominated Congress, a public witch hunt of the Bush White House. The designated victim was to have been their hated Secretary of State, Richard Cheney. The witches were unsuccessful however in nailing Cheney but did manage to make White House Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby a victim. Libby was the fall guy and sent to jail on some nebulous charges. How Novak got away with his original disclosure of Plame that started the whole political charade remains inexplicable to me.

Finally, to the article by John Perazzo confirming what I had known immediately from watching Novak interview Benjamin Netanyahu years ago:

Robert Novak’s Dark Side

The Jewish Press, September 4, 2009

Dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” because of his trademark pessimism, the late Bob Novak ranked among the more influential journalists of the past half-century. He supported America’s efforts in the Cold War that he rightfully viewed as an “epochal struggle ” aimed at defending nothing less monumental than “our values” as a civilization. But, the Prince of Darkness did indeed have a very dark side whose shadow extended far beyond mere pessimism. Perhaps the most obvious flaw for which Novak can rightfully be criticized was his consistent failure to comprehend the sadistic nature of, and the mortal threat posed by, Islamic terrorists around the world including llamas and Hizbullah.

Consider, for example, a November 2001 exchange on CNN between Novak and Time magazine’s Margaret Carlson. After Carlson had criticized Palestinians for “throwing bombs into pizza parlors and cafes and discos,” and had made reference to a then-recent Israeli killing of ”a senior official of Hamas who was himself, a terrorist,” Novak replied: “Well, why do you call him a terrorist? I mean, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Novak then characterized the fallen Hamas figure as a leader whose people who were simply “trying to get their own land.” When Carlson retorted that Novak was “the only person who would call Hamas freedom fighters,” Novak shot back: “Oh, no - people all over the world do.”

In a 2007 article titled “Hamas Calling for Peace,” Novak related the details of a sit-down interview he recently had conducted in the Ramallah office of Hamas official Nasser al-Shaer. Novak wrote that the Hamas official “pushed a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution,” “deplored suicide bombers,” and genuinely wanted to cultivate “a sustained peace’ with Israel. But Hamas’s olive branch, Novak lamented, was being obstinately rejected by “Bush administration officials” who “seemingly do not want to hear Hamas calling for peace.”

He derided not only “the economic boycott that has devastated the Palestinian Authority” since Hamas had taken control of the PA, but also the policy mandating that “US government officials and contract workers in the Israeli-occupied territories must leave when anybody from Hamas enters a room, ... since the State Department lists Hamas as a terrorist organization...“ Novak quite deliberately stopped short of calling Hamas a terrorist outfit, going only so far as to dub it an “extremist organization.”

But as far as Novak was concerned, there was evidently nothing precluding such “extremists” from being viable partners with whom one could negotiate for peace. Somehow, he was able to turn a blind eye to a document of which he was surely aware — the Hamas Founding Charter, which spells out, in great detail, the organization’s agendas, declaring in no uncertain terms: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.

Novak’s assessment of longtime PLO leader Yasir Arafat was similarly fraught with delusion. He viewed Arafat, a protégé of the Communist bloc and the most prolific Jew-killer since Adolph Hitler, as someone who could be trusted to bargain in good faith, and who would be “willing to accept” a Jewish state as a legitimate, sovereign entity. The chief obstacle to peace, Novak maintained, was not Arafat at all; rather, it was Ariel Sharon: “As long as you have General Sharon as prime minister of Israel,” said Novak, “you’ll never make any progress.”

Novak presumably did not think it relevant that Arafat had coordinated countless terrorist attacks with Hamas, whose founder — a man personally responsible for the murders of at least 300 Israeli civilians — was characterized by Arafat as “our dear, dear, dear, dear friend.” Nor was Novak’s worldview influenced by the fact that during the decade that followed September 9, 1993 — the day Arafat signed the Oslo agreement wherein he pledged to thenceforth forswear terrorism — Palestinians carried out approximately 28,000 terror attacks. Nearly half of those were perpetrated by Arafat’s own Fatah organization, and the rest by such Arafat allies as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Tanzim, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hizbullah and others.

As much as Novak showed himself to be a flawed judge of character when it came to foreign Jew-haters like Hamas and Arafat, his judgment of domestic anti-Semites was no better. In 1997, for instance, he penned a series of columns urging the Republican Party to pursue some type of political alliance with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, well known for his virulent talk of Jewish “bloodsuckers” and “wicked deceivers.” But Novak nonetheless praised the self-help program Farrakhan was promoting, and said the NOI leader
“seemed to be a man attempting to transcend his past” and “knocking on the GOP’s door.”

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 gave Novak yet another occasion to demonstrate his inability to come to terms with Islamic terrorism. In a column titled ‘This is No Pearl Harbor,” published two days after the attacks, Novak wrote: “Security experts and airline officials agree privately that the simultaneous hijacking of four jetliners was an ‘inside job,’ probably indicating complicity beyond malfeasance.... At a minimum, the blame can be put on ill-trained, incompetent personnel performing the screening of passengers. At the worst, security experts fear collusion with terrorists, possibly even extending to the cockpit. This is a subject that the airlines are loath to discuss.”

At the heart of the motives underlying the 9/11 Islamic terror attacks, Novak saw an Israeli connection: “Unlike Nazi Germany’s and Imperial Japan’s drive for a new world order, the hatred toward the U.S. by the terrorists is an extension of their hatred of Israel rather than world dominion.”

As the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq approached, Novak again suggested that had it not been for Israel, no war would be necessary at all. In a December 2002 column titled “Sharon’s War” he wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon leaves no doubt that the greatest U.S. assistance to Israel would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime. That view is widely shared inside the Bush administration, and is a major reason U.S. forces today are assembling for war.”

Novak was unsparing in his condemnations of Israel. In a 2007 column titled “Worse than Apartheid,” he asserted that the separation barrier Israel had constructed to halt the influx of Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank was, “in most places, a big, ugly and intimidating wall, not merely a fence.” He further contended that the Palestinians who lived behind that wall suffered hardships even worse than those that had afflicted black South Africans living under oppressive white rule.

Apart from ignoring the fact that the squalor of Palestinians was entirely the result of the corrupt, terrorist government under which they lived, Novak’s assessment also ignored the context of the terrorism in response to which the barrier had been constructed. Even with regard to the physical characteristics of the barrier, Novak got it wrong. Contrary to his claim, less than three percent of the bather actually takes the form of a high concrete wall — a necessity in those places, so as to ensure Palestinian snipers hailing from the terrorist breeding grounds of Kalkilya and TulKarm could not shoot at cars along the heavily traveled Trans-Israel Highway.

For all his merits as a journalist and a devoted Cold Warrior, the “Prince of Darkness” had a major flaw: his inability — or was it his stubborn refusal — to distinguish genocidal Islamists from partners in peace? He routinely blamed Israel for the ongoing Mideast conflict while turning a deaf earth the murderous pronouncements of those whose chief objective was to destroy the Jewish state by any means necessary.

John Perazzo is managing editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of “The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. “ A longer version of this article appeared at

Martin, a reader comments:

For years I read Robert Novak's columns regarding Israel. My reason was that Novak has good contacts and received information not available to other press members. His anti Israel writing could not be better expressed than Jerome Kaufman's "The Problem with Eulogizing Robert Novak". It's sad when we must say or write negative words about someone who has died. But truth is pure. If we cannot express words of truth about those who have passed on, no matter how negative these words; than we cannot justify praising our heroes. Praising our heroes is also the truth.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2009

Why Barack Obama vs. the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)?

Washington Times, August 31, 2009

The Obama administration’s war on the CIA continued last week. The result may be prosecution of CIA interrogators who work to uncover threats to national security. This witch hunt does not make America safer. Ignoring strong objections from CIA Director Leon F. Panetta, Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr. appointed special prosecutor John H. Durham to examine the potential for criminal charges against CIA interrogators. The administration also declassified a 2004 report by the CIA’s inspector general detailing interrogation techniques that may have crossed the line. A source in the intelligence community told us those CIA operatives who have not already retained counsel are lawyering up.

Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, said Mr. Holder had pledged during the confirmation process not to pursue these cases. The attorney general defends his flip-flop, saying he has a duty to “examine the facts and follow the law.” However, there is more than a hint of political grandstanding on display, particularly because the most severe allegations in the 2004 report already had been investigated by career Justice Department prosecutors during the George W. Bush administration. Operatives found to have committed violations were reprimanded, administratively punished or forced out.

The difference between now and then is that the Bush team pursued the matter in a low-key way that ensured accountability but did not embarrass the CIA. Mr. Holder’s approach promises to publicly humiliate the agency and tarnish the Bush legacy, with no discernible benefit for national security. This is naked politics hiding behind the robe of justice. We were reminded last week that the administration is only interested in openness that benefits its case. On Aug. 24, Judicial Watch released two previously classified CIA documents showing the effectiveness of CIA interrogation techniques. The documents were obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request and after a personal appeal for their release by former Vice President, Dick Cheney.

The Obama administration refuses to discuss the product of interrogations and only focuses on the means by which information was received. This is because certain ends can justify certain means. The reports reveal a wealth of information on terrorist attack plans, techniques and strategies. We wonder why the vice president’s office didn’t produce unclassified versions for public dissemination four years ago.

The administration has banned the CIA from future interrogations and handed the process over to the FBI, which will act under the direct supervision the White House, perhaps by a new “interrogation czar?’ There is no reason to believe that this reorganization of responsibilities will make the system more effective, but there are many reasons to believe it will make it less so. Any government program subject to such a rigorous degree of high-level scrutiny will mean those involved will take fewer risks and demonstrate less initiative and imagination.

The intelligence community cannot move forward if everyone in it is watching his back. We agree with Rep. Peter ‘F. King, New York Republican, who called the attorney general’s moves a declaration of war [. - -] against common sense?’ Mr. Holder’s vendetta against the CIA undermines national security by taking seasoned professionals out of the fight in the war on terror.

Some say that the Obama administration’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA’s interrogation of captured terrorists is torturous in itself. It’s a “witch hunt,” says Rep. Tom Price. The Georgia Democrat warns that the decision could demoralize those tasked with protecting the nation from terrorists and foreign agents. “Rather than focusing on obtaining valuable information from captured terrorists who have often murdered innocents by the hundreds, our intelligence community must now treat terrorists as petty criminals with all the due process rights of American citizens?’

Mr. Price says. “Our national security must not be held hostage to a flawed world view that values the comfort of terrorists over the lives of American citizens. While we now know that these interrogations saved lives, Americans are left to ask why President Obama would put politics before security.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2009

Why Are Jews Liberals? (Truly, a Must Read)

Redacted from a fascinating Symposium in COMMENTARY September 2009

NORMAN PODHORETZ HAS BEEN WRITING for COMMENTARY for 57 years, was its editor in chief for 35 years, and was its editor at large for 14 more. In his 12th book, COMMENTARY’S venerable lion of disputation addresses the question he says he is asked more frequently than any other by his fellow conservatives, Why Are Jews Liberals? In a dispassionate effort to answer the question honestly, Podhoretz traverses the history of the Jewish people, from the Romans through the evolving views of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general, the Enlightenment, the rise of 19th-century nationalism, and the totalitarian calamities of the 20th century.

He demonstrates that throughout the past two millennia, the scattered Diaspora found its only succor and support from Universalist ideas that, because of their universalism, were placed on the port side of the ideological divide. It is for this reason, he argues, that American Jews have been the only definable well-to-do cohort over the past 44) years that has not moved to the Right. That has not occurred even though the evolution of the American Right has been in a frankly philo-Semitic direction—and among whose ranks come the most ardent non-Jewish supporters of the state of Israel in the world.

To note the publication of this month, COMMENTARY has asked six notable American Jewish thinkers to reflect on its themes. Their contributions appear on the following pages, in reverse alphabetical order. The six illustrious contributors are David Wolpe, Jonathan D. Sarna, Michael Medved, William Kristol, Jeff Jacoby and David Gelernter.

William Kristol, editor in chief of the Weekly Standard, as usual, in a short quote from his article, says it all. "G-d only knows." Of the six articles, the one I found most reasonable and inclusive and to which all Jews should easily relate is that by Jeff Jacoby. It is reproduced below. However, I strongly recommend obtaining COMMENTARY September 2009 and reading all six contributors. They are all brilliant and have many insightful things to say. jsk


HOW DO JEWS remain liberals? G-d only knows. Why has He chosen to allow Jews to stay mindlessly attached to a liberalism that is no longer beneficial or sympathetic to them? Why has He chosen to harden Jewish hearts against conservatism increasingly welcoming to Jews and supportive of the Jewish state? Perhaps there are questions that simply can’t be answered by unassisted human reason.

Norman Podhoretz has made a valiant attempt to answer these questions. But, at the end of the day, and at the end of his fascinating and illuminating book, one is left still shaking one’s head. Indeed, Norman is left shaking his head - first at the fact that liberalism has become the religion of American Jews. Then, shaking at the further fact that “they can remain loyal to it even though it conflicts in substance with the Torah of Judaism at so many points, and even though it is also at variance with the most basic of all Jewish interests - the survival of the Jewish people?’


LIKE Norman Podhoretz, I am often asked by non-Jewish conservatives why American Jews cling so tenaciously to the Left and vote so consistently for Democrats, and like him I believe the answer to that question is theological: liberalism has superseded Judaism as the religion of most American Jews. Unlike Podhoretz, however, I cannot personally remember a time when this ardent liberalism seemed a sensible response to American Jewish life. Nor did I take it in with my mother’s milk.

One of my earliest political memories is of accompanying my father to the polls early on Election Day in November 1968. It was the first time I had seen the inside of a voting booth, and my father let me pull the lever for Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic presidential candidate.

When I described this adventure to my mother after returning home, she told me that she would be going later that day to cast her own vote—for Richard Nixon. At a young age, therefore, I absorbed the lesson that Jews need not vote in lockstep and that voting for a Republican was as normal as voting for a Democrat. Most American Jews, on the other hand, seem to have learned from an early age that to be Jewish is to be a liberal Democrat, no matter what. No matter that anti-Semitism today makes its home primarily on the Left, while in most quarters of the Right, hostility toward Jews has been anathematized.

No matter that, Israel’s worst enemies congregate with leftists, while its staunchest defenders tend to be resolute conservatives. No matter that Republicans support the Jewish state by far larger margins than Democrats do. No matter that on a host of issues—homosexuality, abortion, capital punishment, racial preferences, public prayer – “the Torah” of contemporary liberalism, as Podhoretz calls it, diverges sharply from the Torah of Judaism. As Why Are Jews Liberals convincingly and depressingly demonstrates, the loyalty of American Jews to the Left has been unaffected by the failure of the Left to reciprocate that loyalty

The Jewish predilection for ill-advised political choices isn’t new. The Bible describes the yearning of the ancient Israelites for a king and God’s warning that monarchy would bring them despotism and misery. Appoint a king, God has the prophet Samuel tell the people, and he will seize your sons and daughters, your fields and vineyards. “He will take a tenth of your flocks and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day?’ His warning fell on deaf ears: “Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, ‘No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations.’”

The longing to “be like all the nations” is a recurring motif in Jewish history. Included are Baal worshipers in the time of the prophets, Judean Hellenists in the Chanukah story, 19th-century assimilationist Jewish socialists enthralled by man’s classless Utopia, modem post-Zionists in quest of a non-Jewish Israel. Down through the ages, in one way or another, innumerable Jews have fought or fled from Jewish “otherness” and embraced ways of life or beliefs that promised to make them less distinctive. Given the cruelty and violence to which Jews were so often subjected, it is not surprising that many would seek to shed or neutralize their Jewishness.

Even in America, a haven of security and prosperity without parallel in the long Jewish Diaspora, many Jews wanted nothing to do with the old Jewish identity. There are stories, perhaps apocryphal, of Jewish men throwing their tefillin into the ocean as the ship bringing them to America came within sight of New York Harbor. “Because tefillin were something for the Old World,” explains a character in Dara Horn’s acclaimed 2002 novel, In the Image, “and herein the New World, they didn’t need them anymore.”

Apocryphal or not, there is no disputing that countless European Jewish immigrants to the Goldina medina—the “golden land”—took advantage of their new circumstances to cast off the old faith or their children did, or their grandchildren. As a result, Jews today are the least religious community in the United States. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, only 16 percent of Jews attend religious services at least once a week, compared with 39 percent of Americans generally. Just 31 percent say religion is “very important” in their lives (vs. 56 percent of Americans).

Such data led Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi, to quote a comment made by the late Hasidic troubadour Shlomo Carlebach, after a lifetime of visiting American campuses: “Ask students what they are. If someone gets up and says, I’m a Catholic, I know that’s a Catholic. If someone says, I’m a Protestant; I know that’s a Protestant. If someone gets up and says, I’m just a human being, I know that’s a Jew.” (sick, sick, sick) jsk

“Just-a-human-being” liberalism, secular and universalist—there is the dead end into which the flight from Jewish separateness has led so many American Jews. To call it a dead end is not to deny its allure. Much of liberalism’s appeal lay in making Jews feel good about themselves, secure in the conviction that they were part of a broad and enlightened mainstream. Liberalism freed them from the charge of parochial self-interest that had so often been leveled against Jews. It replaced the ancient, sometimes difficult burden of chosenness—the Jewish mission to live by God’s law and bring the world to ethical monotheism—with a more palatable and popular commitment to equality, tolerance, and “social justice.”

To be sure, loyalty to the Democratic party came naturally to Jews, with their inherited memories of a Europe in which emancipation had been a project of the Left and where reactionary anti-Semites had (usually) attacked from the Right. As Norman Podhoretz writes, that loyalty understandably intensified during World War II, when the most lethal enemy in Jewish history was ultimately destroyed by an alliance led by, a liberal Democrat named Franklin Roosevelt.

But, liberal Democrats no longer lead such alliances, and they heatedly oppose those who do. The Soviet Union was defeated not by Jimmy Carter, who urged his countrymen to shed their inordinate fear of Communism,” but by Ronald Reagan, who labeled the USSR an “evil empire” and was denounced by the Left as a warmonger. Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act. But, it was George W. Bush who carried out that liberation and in the face of scathing liberal hostility. Republicans constitute the party that sees the current conflict against global Jihadists as the decisive struggle of our time, while the few Democrats who express that view as Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman can testify are scorned by their party’s liberal base.

FDR and Harry Truman are long gone, and so too is the muscular Democratic liberalism that defeated Adolph Hitler and that brought the Holocaust to an end. To deal with the would-be Hitters of our era—Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Jew-hating mullahs in Iran— today’s Democrats counsel pacifism, appeasement and endless negotiation. These days it is the Right that calls for strong and decisive action against the enemies of the free world. Today the beleaguered Jewish state’s most unshakable American allies are Republican and conservative. Yet American Jews remain what they have been for so long: unshakably Democratic and liberal.

This liberalism isn’t rational. It isn’t sensible. It certainly isn’t good for the Jews. But it is, as religions often are, deeply reassuring. It is reassuring for liberal Jews to believe that all people are fundamentally decent and reasonable, and that all disputes can be settled through compromise and conciliation. It is reassuring to believe in a world in which nothing is ever solved by war, so that military force is unnecessary and expensive weapons systems are wasteful. It is reassuring to believe that America is a secular nation, that God and religion have no place in the public square, and that no debt of gratitude is owed to the Christians who created the extraordinary society in which American Jews have thrived. It is reassuring to believe that crime is caused by guns, that academia is the seat of wisdom, and that humanity’s biggest problem is global warming.

It is reassuring to believe that compassion can be achieved by passing the right laws and that big government can create prosperity It is reassuring to believe that the biblical prescription of Tikkun Olam, healing the world—is a synonym for the liberal agenda and that the liberal agenda flows directly from the teachings of Judaism. Above all, it is reassuring to believe that Jews are no different from anyone else, that they are not called to a unique role in human events, and that the best way to be a good Jew is to be a conscientious citizen of the world. To be liberal, in short, is to be “like all the nations.” It is a seductive and comforting belief, and American Jews are far from the first to embrace it.

JEFF JACOBY is an op-ed columnist for the Boston Globe.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2009

The Fate of Jewish Refugees trapped in Germany after WWII

As to Righteous and many not so Righteous Gentiles:

Redacted from a well written, very informative article:

The Most Precious Cargo
By Robert A. Slayton
Commentary, September 2009

The untold story of how the airlift that saved Berlin also saved the city’s Jewish refugees

At the start of 1946, there were approximately, 250,000 Jews living in Germany, with the majority in the American zone. Of these, the vast majority were displaced persons (DP’s) from other countries. Only about 15,000 of the total were Jews native to Germany and half of these were in Berlin. Many of the group had survived by living underground and were referred to jokingly as U-boats. Some Jews had persevered as slave laborers in German factories, while others were the beneficiaries of mixed marriages. The first count of Berlin Jews after the war, conducted by the Gemeinde, the local Jewish community council, found 1,321 who had made it by hiding, 1,628 survivors of concentration camps, 2,126 spouses of non-Jews who had had no children, and another 1,995 with out of the faith marriages who were raising their children as Christians.

Their first reactions to liberation were at best mixed. The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC - also referred to as the Joint), the leading American organization aiding Jews in Europe, reported that Jews in Berlin were “deeply disappointed that liberation [had] not fulfilled the hopes which it had raised.” Survivors were troubled by the indifference showed by the British and American authorities and felt “that little [had] changed since the Russians entered Berlin, except that food is even shorter.” Severe shortages prevailed —many former concentration camp inmates still wore prison garb in the months after the war and endured living conditions that were difficult at best.

Above all, there was overwhelming grief. The Der Weg (“The Way”), the Jewish community weekly newspaper, began to carry inquiries for lost ones and death notices for those whose graves had never been honored or marked. (Entire families were lost with many individuals being the sole survivor) jsk

Another fear was that of renewed anti-Semitic outbreaks. A 1946 poll of Germans in the American zone found that one-third still believed that “Nazi treatment of Poles and Jews during the war was justified,” and a majority supported the notion that “the Nazi cause in the war was just, and only badly managed.” Around Germany, hate slogans appeared on crumbling ruins, including “88,” a reference to the eighth letter of the alphabet (H), and thus code for“Heil Hitler.” A Berlin newspaper told the story of a Jew who had returned from the camps with nothing more than his inmate uniform. Given a new suit and some meager funds, he went to a café for his first cup of coffee in years. At a nearby table, one German commented to another, “Look at that dandified Jew. With them, things really never go badly.”

Worse was yet to come. Since the end of the war, anti-Semitism had reared its head once again throughout Eastern Europe and especially in Poland. In the two years following the war, between 1,500 and 2,000 Polish Jews died in anti-Semitic outbreaks. (Many were killed upon returning to claim the homes and businesses stolen from them by the Nazis and now occupied by Poles unhappy to see they had survived). jsk

A December 1945 article in the New York Post explained that “Berlin is host today to a new class of displaced persons—Polish Jews who feel it is necessary to flee for their lives from Polish anti-Semites.” By the fall of 1946, 100,000 Jews had left Poland; from August 1 to 6 alone, 10,000 entered Germany looking for refuge in the Western zone. Berlin, the farthest eastern outpost of the U.S. occupation forces, received a substantial share of these refugees. While most only passed through the Berlin camps on their way to other destinations, their sheer number became a matter of concern to the military,

As Alex Grobman, the author of a book on American Jewish Army chaplains after the war, put it, “Since the American military was pre-occupied with enlarging the scope of German governmental authority and reviving the German and Austrian economies, the army viewed the continued presence of the Jews in Germany as a burden.” Officers who shared that sentiment existed at all levels and were generally not hesitant to voice their opinions. Worst of all had been General George Patton, who said that the “Jewish type of DP is, in the majority of cases, a sub-human species without any of the cultural or social refinements of our time.” (That sonofabitch!) Jsk. By 1946, Patton was dead from an accident; however, Colonel Frank Howley, head of the US occupation forces in Berlin, wanted to throw a wall around the city to keep the DPs out.

One American general accused the Joint representative in Berlin of organizing a mass movement of Polish Jews into the American zone and reminded him, “Don’t forget you are in the U.S. Army. And under Army directives and you can’t do anything to embarrass the U.S. Army” The most common complaints from these officers grew out of their (mistaken) belief that Zionism was a branch of Communism and that groups advocating for the newcomers were actually disguised agents of the Russians.

Other Americans in the military, however, lived up to the highest ideals of their country. General Dwight Eisenhower had given orders that Jewish DPs be given top priority for food and housing. When Patton refused to favor displaced persons, asking, “Why should 1?” Eisenhower replied, “If for no other reason, because I order you to.”

The most important American officer to display compassion and respect for Jews in Occupied Germany was General Clay. Though born and raised in segregated Georgia, Clay was broad-minded earlier, he had recognized the worth of African-American soldiers and moved them out of service and supply jobs, forming three infantry battalions from their ranks. Responding to charges that Jews were responsible for most of the black-market activity and crime in Germany, Clay pointed out that no evidence existed to single out Jews for these kinds of crimes, as opposed to other DP’s or even resident Germans. Although official orders were to block the passage of DPs into the American zone at one point, Clay quietly passed word to the troops to “watch the birds fly over” as the trucks rolled through.

The most important step Clay took was to support a property restitution law that was fair to DPs. Existing law dictated that if one died without heirs or a will, the state inherited the assets. However, in postwar Germany, this meant that the successor nation to the Third Reich would gain the assets of many Jews who had perished in the camps. Instead, under Clay, the U.S. zone accepted Military Law #59 in November 1947, which called for the “restoration of identifiable property that had been seized on racial, political or religious grounds,” and also established the precedent that a “successor organization” could claim the assets of someone who had perished and use them to aid survivors.

In time, aid began arriving from a variety of sources. At a November 1943 conference in Washington, 44 participating nations created the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRI1A) to assist refugees and provide for their resettlement acting under military auspices, UNREA managed to repatriate millions of Dl’s once the war had ended. The other major contributor was the Joint. By November 1945, the Joint had bought a house in Berlin and started providing services to the local Jewish community, including starting a mall and package program, as well as a system for tracing former residents. It also obtained the Gestapo deportation list for Berlin, containing the names of 126,000 Jews, which provided some hope for families of determining the fate of their relatives.

ROBERT A. SLAYTON is Professor of History at Chapman University and author of the forthcoming Master of the Air: William Tunner and the Success of Military Airlift Publisher: University of Alabama Press.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2009

A self-destructive American State Department and now, Administrative Obsession

A required reading history lesson for American Politicians

Why Found an Anti-American State of Terror?

By: Yoram Ettinger
August 26, 200

The idea that a Palestinian state can lead to enduring peace in the Middle East has become a diplomatic obsession for American policy makers. Bringing such a state into being has become the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail. In fact, however, a Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would make it an even more dangerous place than it already is. And ironically, given its adamant backing for a government that would have been led by Yasser Arafat and now would be headed by Abu Mazen, U.S. support for the creation of “Palestine,” which would immediately ally itself with and become a client of rivals and enemies of America such as Iran, would harm American, Israeli, and even Arab interests.

The history of the PLO's Abu Mazen – who is hailed by the US administration as a peaceful leader – tells us something important about the likely character of a Palestinian state. As a graduate of Moscow University (Ph.D. thesis: Holocaust Denial) and a beneficiary of KGB training, he managed the logistics of the Munich Massacre of eleven Israeli athletes in 1972. He was the architect of PLO ties with ruthless communist regimes until 1989 and, since 1993, a series of PLO accords with Hamas. In 1950, 1966 and 1970, he was forced to flee Egypt, Syria and Jordan, respectively, for subversive activities. During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in PLO attempts to topple the Christian regime in Beirut, which resulted in the 1976 Syrian invasion of Lebanon and a series of civil wars, causing close to 200,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees. As Yasser Arafat’s confidante and first deputy for over fifty years until Arafat's death, Abu Mazen is one of the engineers of contemporary Palestinian hate education, which has become a production line for terrorists. In 1990, he collaborated with Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, despite the Gulf country’s unique hospitality to 400,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians.

This history is not that of a peace maker, and the PLO's track record of inter-Arab treachery, non-compliance, corruption, repression and terrorism does not give evidence of peaceful Palestinian state of the future. Since its makeover from a terrorist organization to a semi-independent entity in 1993, the Palestinian Authority, which has been led by PLO graduates of terrorist bases in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia, has become an incubator for terrorist tactics, which have been exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, England, Spain and other countries.

The 1968-70 and 1970-1982 PLO autonomy in Jordan and in Lebanon respectively provided training and inspiration for scores of international terror organizations; introduced the first wave of commercial aircraft hijackings; and facilitated the murder of 300 US Marines in the 1983 attack on the US Embassy and Marine Headquarters in Beirut. The year 1993, when the PLO catapulted to prominence, marked a wave of anti-US Islamic terrorism, starting with the first bombing of the World Trace Center in 1993 and ending with the September 11 attacks.

The proposed Palestinian State would inflict destruction upon America’s Arab allies and would enhance the fortunes of its rivals and enemies. Other states in the region know this. During the October 1994 signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, top commanders of the Jordanian military urged their Israeli counterparts to stop short of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, “lest it destroy the [pro-US] Hashemite regime east of the River.” Home to the largest Palestinian community in the world, Jordan is considered by the PLO to be Palestinian land. Why would the US support the Hashemite regime on one hand, but doom it to oblivion, by promoting a Palestinian State, on the other?

Even more worrisome are the ties between the PLO and Iran. The PLO was one of the earliest allies of the Ayatollah Khomeini when he toppled the Shah of Iran in 1979. After his 2005 election to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen’s first visits were to Teheran and Damascus. A Palestinian state would extend Iran's long terrorist arm, facilitating subversive operations against pro-Western Arab regimes. It would also enable Iran to enhance its intelligence and military operations in the region, including port facilities in Gaza.

A Palestinian State would be a tailwind to insurgent terrorists in Iraq. With its long record of connections to Soviet intelligence, it would provide Russia and possibly China and North Korea with a foothold in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean at the expense of vital US interests. The increasingly Islamist and anti-US direction of Abu Mazen's educational and media efforts indicates that a Palestinian state would export terrorism to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

The long and determined effort by American administrations to soften the Palestinian Authority’s harsh features cannot change the fact that a Palestinian State would add fuel to the fire of terrorism in the region. In tying its fortunes to the creation of such a state, the United States may be signing a suicide note for its Middle East policy.

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington and Director of Israel’s Government Press Office, in addition to other posts. He speaks frequently on U.S. college campuses about the conflict in the Middle East.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)