December 31, 2009

Wrestling with Prayer

Introduction to the Evening Service

By Rabbi Charles Simon

Prayer is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Jewish life. How many of us have ever attended a festival or life cycle occasion and felt that, even if we knew the words to the prayers being recited, the passion of the moment escaped us? How many of us have expressed our frustration with Jewish prayer precisely because it was communal, fixed and obligatory? How many of us have claimed that prayer should come from the heart and be recited only when one needs to recite it? How many of us could not understand why the language of prayer had to be fixed and words were not and could never be our own? On the other hand, how many of us would not have taken part in a prayer service had it not been fixed and mandated?

The tension we experience between fixed and spontaneous prayer has existed since Talmudic times. In one place, the Talmud tells us, “Change not the form in which the sages cast the prayers,” while in another place we are told, “Whoever makes his prayers fixed, his prayers are no longer genuine supplication.”

Personal prayer has always served as the immediate, direct expression of each person’s needs. Jewish community prayer was never intended to replace personal spontaneous worship, but rather to serve as a connecting link between the individual and the community. Spirituality in Jewish life has always attempted to balance these two seemingly opposite yet intricately connected forces.

Community prayer doesn’t depend on the mood of the worshiper and is more than just a means of expressing gratitude, awe and frustration or petitioning for a solution to one’s needs. Community prayer unites individuals with a common language at common times through a structure which sensitizes the community to the needs of the individual, and the individual to the needs of the community. Praying at regular times provides a structure and a rhythm to living. The structure offers a vehicle which can open a door to our inner selves.

It hasn’t changed greatly in the past 2000 years.

Some people pray to fulfill an obligation. Others do so because it provides them with a satisfying social experience or an escape from their daily routines. Some find prayer an opportunity for personal reflection. Others pray because it connects them to the community and in doing so allows them to both receive and share feelings of warmth and comfort.

Prayer provides a structure which links the individual to our historic roots while at the same time broadening one’s perceptions and elevating one’s spirits.

And, a Happy New Year too all – Right, Left, Independent, Undecided and Disinterested..

Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor and Publisher
Israel Commentary

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2009


By Joseph Farah, Publisher Whisteblower
December 2009

Copyright 2009 Inc

Remember when Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security was advising police officers all over the country to watch out for “right-wing extremists” sporting Ron Paul bumper stickers, waving the flag, declaring the Constitution, of all things, as the law of the land and especially those returning war veterans?

The report also showed that the bureaucracy created to protect Americans after the Sept. 11 attacks by Muslim terrorists had shifted its focus to those who opposed illegal immigration, supported the literal meaning of the Second Amendment, opposed the killing of unborn babies and promoted U.S. sovereignty and independence.

That’s where the real terror threat came from, according to Barack Obama’s administration. The report was distributed to law-enforcement offices around the country. It even resulted in American drivers being pulled over for bearing “Don’t Tread on Me” stickers on their bumper.

Clearly, the intent of this report was to target those that the Obama administration considers the real enemy in America. On the other hand, Napolitano named to a position on her Homeland Security Advisory Council one, Kareem Shora, national executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, whose officials have labeled deadly anti-U.S. jihadists as “heroes” and opposed referring to Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Nothing demonstrates the national security myopia of the Obama administration better than its eagerness to see threats where none exist while being unwilling and unable to see those that are staring us in the face. The Obama clan could never see domestic terrorism carried out by Islamic jihadists — no matter how many times the country actually experienced it. However, it imagined domestic terrorists were all around us in the form of flag-waving, patriotic Americans.
Go figure.

Even after the latest attack at Fort Hood, the Obama administration doesn’t see the pattern. It’s not diligently trying to determine what went wrong— how the U.S. government and U.S. military made such a profound and negligent error, literally incubating a potential mass murderer who all but put out smoke signals ahead of his massacre. Instead, it is warning against something that has never happened despite repeated, vicious, cowardly attacks by Muslim terrorists on Americans — the dreaded anti-Muslim backlash. Napolitano’s boss has made similarly insulting statements — assuming, of course, the very worst about the American people.

Why is it the same people who anticipate terror from quarters that are virtually terror-free have no compunction about profiling their most feared enemies — the flag-wavers and the National Rifle Association members and the anti-abortion activists? They not only don’t mind profiling those folks, they advocate it. They insist upon it. They make it a national policy. But, the very idea that a self-described Palestinian Muslim Army officer who defends suicide bombing, denounces American foreign policy, fights deployment, attends radical mosques and praises the favorite cleric of the 9/11 hijackers and then shoots dozens of unarmed soldiers at an Army post could be — gasp — a terrorist is unthinkable.

Now, if we had a watchdog media in this country, they would have a field day with this kind of twisted national security policy. Instead, the press just makes matters worse by attempting to paint the same ridiculous picture for the American people.

Guess what?
America ain’t buying it.
None of it.
We can all see through this smokescreen.

We know the U.S. government’s mission is not protecting Americans. It is protecting itself from what it perceives as its worst nightmare and threat — a vigilant, self-governing populace sworn to defend the Constitution and the rule of law.

Until next time,

Joseph Farah

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2009

From the New York Times - of all places!

There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran


Redacted from an Opinion piece, New York Times, December 23, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA should not lament but sigh in relief that Iran has rejected his nuclear deal, which was ill conceived from the start. Under the deal, which was formally offered through the United Nations, Iran was to surrender some 2,600 pounds of lightly enriched uranium (some three-quarters of its known stockpile) to Russia, and the next year get back a supply of uranium fuel sufficient to run its Tehran research reactor for three decades. The proposal did not require Iran to halt its enrichment program, despite several United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding such a moratorium.

Iran was thus to be rewarded with much-coveted reactor fuel despite violating international law. Within a year, or sooner in light of its expanding enrichment program, Iran would almost certainly have replenished and augmented its stockpile of enriched uranium, nullifying any ostensible nonproliferation benefit of the deal.

Moreover, by providing reactor fuel, the plan would have fostered proliferation in two ways. First, Iran could have continued operating its research reactor, which has helped train Iranian scientists in weapons techniques like plutonium separation. (Yes, as Iran likes to point out, the reactor also produces medical isotopes. But those can be purchased commercially from abroad, as most countries do, including the United States.) Absent the deal, Iran’s reactor will likely run out of fuel within two years, and only a half-dozen countries are able to supply fresh fuel for it. This creates significant international leverage over Iran, which should be used to compel it to halt its enrichment program.

In addition, the vast surplus of higher-enriched fuel Iran was to get under the deal would have permitted some to be diverted to its bomb program. Indeed, many experts believe that the uranium in foreign-provided fuel would be easier to enrich to weapons grade because Iran’s uranium contains impurities.

Obama administration officials had claimed that delivering uranium in the form of fabricated fuel would prevent further enrichment for weapons, but this is false. Separating uranium from fuel elements so that it can be enriched further is a straightforward engineering task requiring at most a few weeks. Thus, had the deal gone through, Iran could have benefited from a head start toward making weapons-grade 90 percent-enriched uranium (meaning that 90 percent of its makeup is the fissile isotope U-235) by starting with purified 20 percent-enriched uranium rather than its own weaker, contaminated stuff.

This raises a question: if the deal would have aided Iran’s bomb program, why did the United States propose it, and Iran reject it? The main explanation on both sides is domestic politics. President Obama wanted to blunt Republican criticism that his multilateral approach was failing to stem Iran’s nuclear program. The deal would have permitted him to claim, for a year or so, that he had defused the crisis by depriving Iran of sufficient enriched uranium to start a crash program to build one bomb.

But, in reality, no one ever expected Iran to do that, because such a headlong sprint is the one step most likely to provoke an international military response that could cripple the bomb program before it reaches fruition. Iran is far more likely to engage in “salami slicing” — a series of violations each too small to provoke retaliation, but that together will give it a nuclear arsenal. For example, while Iran permits international inspections at its declared enrichment plant at Natanz, it ignores United Nations demands that it close the plant, where it gains the expertise needed to produce weapons-grade uranium at other secret facilities like the nascent one recently uncovered near Qom.

In sum, the proposal would not have averted proliferation in the short run, because that risk always was low, but instead would have fostered it in the long run — a classic example of domestic politics undermining national security.Tehran’s rejection of the deal was likewise propelled by domestic politics — including last June’s fraudulent Iranian elections and longstanding fears of Western manipulation. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad initially embraced the deal because he realized it aided Iran’s bomb program. But, his domestic political opponents, whom he has tried to label as foreign agents, turned the tables by accusing him of surrendering Iran’s patrimony to the West.

Under such domestic pressure, Mr. Ahmadinejad reneged. But, Iran still wants reactor fuel, so he threatened to enrich uranium domestically to the 20 percent level. This is a bluff, because even if Iran could further enrich its impure uranium, it lacks the capacity to fabricate that uranium into fuel elements. His real aim is to compel the international community into providing the fuel without requiring Iran to surrender most of the enriched uranium it has on hand.

Indeed, Iran’s foreign minister has now proposed just that: offering to exchange a mere quarter of Iran’s enriched uranium for an immediate 10-year supply of fuel for the research reactor. This would let Iran run the reactor, retain the bulk of its enriched uranium and continue to enrich more — a bargain unacceptable even to the Obama administration.

Tehran’s rejection of the original proposal is revealing. It shows that Iran, for domestic political reasons, cannot make even temporary concessions on its bomb program, regardless of incentives or sanctions. Since peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be foolhardy, the United States faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

The risks of acquiescence are obvious. Iran supplies Islamist terrorist groups in violation of international embargoes. Even President Ahmadinejad’s domestic opponents support this weapons traffic. If Iran acquired a nuclear arsenal, the risks would simply be too great that it could become a neighborhood bully or provide terrorists with the ultimate weapon, an atomic bomb.

As for knocking out its nuclear plants, admittedly, aerial bombing might not work. Some Iranian facilities are buried too deeply to destroy from the air. There may also be sites that American intelligence is unaware of. Moreover, military action could backfire in various ways, including by undermining Iran’s political opposition, accelerating the bomb program or provoking retaliation against American forces and allies in the region.

But, history suggests that military strikes could work. Israel’s 1981 attack on the nearly finished Osirak reactor prevented Iraq’s rapid acquisition of a plutonium-based nuclear weapon and compelled it to pursue a more gradual, uranium-based bomb program. A decade later, the Persian Gulf war uncovered and enabled the destruction of that uranium initiative, which finally deterred Saddam Hussein from further pursuit of nuclear weapons (a fact that eluded American intelligence until after the 2003 invasion). Analogously, Iran’s atomic sites might need to be bombed more than once to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Yes, Iran could retaliate by aiding America’s opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does that anyway. Iran’s leaders are discouraged from taking more aggressive action against United States forces — and should continue to be — by the fear of provoking a stronger American counter-escalation. If nothing else, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the United States military can oust regimes in weeks if it wants to.

Incentives and sanctions will not work, but air strikes could degrade and deter Iran’s bomb program at relatively little cost or risk, and therefore are worth a try. They should be precision attacks, aimed only at nuclear facilities, to remind Iran of the many other valuable sites that could be bombed if it were foolish enough to retaliate.

The final question is, who should launch the air strikes? Israel has shown an eagerness to do so if Iran does not stop enriching uranium, and some hawks in Washington favor letting Israel do the dirty work to avoid fueling anti-Americanism in the Islamic world. But, there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings. First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign. (Yes, Israel could implicitly threaten nuclear counter-retaliation, but Iran might not perceive that as credible.) Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators.

Negotiation to prevent nuclear proliferation is always preferable to military action. But, in the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement.

We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.

Alan J. Kuperman is the director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

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

December 23, 2009

Netanyahu, Barak, Peres and the Knesset destroying their own country. Sound familiar?

It is up to us to save Israel for the Jewish people

By Yehudit Tayar

The Apartheid, anti-Zionistic meticulous plans of the Netanyahu/Barak government against Israeli citizens in the heartland of Israel are an ominous omen for the future of the Jewish State. Think of the amount of money that would be poured into the "operation" that this deceitful company of politicians plans to use in order to destroy Jewish homes, freeze any building, cut off communications to prevent any possible enlistment of people coming out to help to protect their fellow citizens. Think of the number of police, the military forces, the amount of money for aerial photography, etc.

Then let us compare this to the current lack of efforts and lack of governmental financial backing for our military operations to protect the citizens in Israel from the continuing violence directed against us. Every day citizens and military all over Israel, not only in Yesha (Judea and Samaria), are being attacked by terrorists with missiles and advanced weaponry.

The media has learned nothing from their collaboration in the previous "operation treason” during which the Sharon government promised both quiet to the citizens of Israel and a "solution for every resident" of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron. The media collaborated with the government and orchestrated the promotion of this deceitful, traitorous plan. When implemented this plan proved disastrous with the uprooting of our families, living and our dead, and the destruction of our towns, villages and synagogues.

The entire country has paid the price for the Hamas terror-based Gaza that was the immediate result of the operation. The rocket attacks and subsequently the military operation inside of Gaza were the direct result of the destruction of Gush Katif, the small but vibrant area cultivated by Israelis, that so benefited the Arab economy.

Now what will happen to the country following the plans this government has for the center of Israel, the very heartland of Israel - Judea, and Samaria? How will this deter our enemies from within and from outside our borders from planning even more terror against us? One would surmise that the bitter lessons of the mistakes made by previous governments would have been learned. Sadly, the opposite is the case.

That leaves the ordinary people, the residents of Israel who understand the implications of this undemocratic, unlawful plan against us, to protest the land in any way we can. To stop this from happening we must continue to build, we must prevent the forces sent to implement these unlawful anti-Jewish decrees from entering our communities.

Sometimes it is in the hands of the simple people to change history. We must learn from the bravery of the freedom fighters from the time of the Maccabees and from the heroes of the Mossad L'Aliyah Beth. These brave citizens, who against the wishes of the so-called leadership in Eretz Yisrael, continued to bring in Jews from Nazi Europe during the War of Independence to save their own lives and the existence of the entire country.

The compliance by so-called leaders of Israel with the wishes of foreign nations, not in the best interest of the security of Israel, is a tragedy repeated time and time again. It happened first with the British occupying forces in our Land, and now with the pressures from Barak Hussein Obama, Europe and the rest of the world. Those misguided pathetically weak "dreamers of peace at any price" acted like a fifth column. They did not live in reality but rather with some pipe dream that if we only do what the world wants maybe we will be loved or at least left alone.

We have finally come home to our Land as a people and we cannot afford to allow weak, misguided politicians to endanger the future of the Jewish State by dangerous, anti-Jewish plans. It is up to us to fight to prevent this not only for ourselves, the Jewish pioneers in Yesha, but for all Israeli citizens who will pay the price if, G-d forbid, a Muslim Palestinian state is allowed inside our borders.

Yehudit Tayar is a veteran spokesperson for the Jewish pioneers living in Yesha and lives for the past 30 years with her family in Bet Horon, in the Benjamin Region of the Shomron.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2009

Truly hard to stomach

Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar”

The Washington Times, December 14, 2009

The media is trying to keep this story in the closet, but it’s important not to wink at all the serious problems surrounding President Obama’s controversial “safe schools czar,” Kevin Jennings. Mr. Jennings is the moral malefactor who gave a speech about how he merely advised a 15-year-old high-school sophomore who was having sex with an older man that, “I hope you knew to use a condom.”

He knew the boy had met the adult in a bus-station restroom. Mr. Jennings also expressed admiration for Harry Hay, a notorious and extremely prominent supporter of the North American Man Boy Love Association. “One of the people that’s always inspired me is Harry Hay,” he said. Despite numerous requests to the Obama administration and Mr. Jennings, we have not received any answers to inquiries about these troubling issues. Now revelations have surfaced that Mr. Jennings not only thought there was nothing with boys having sex with older men (or girls having sex with older women), but he also played a role in promoting such relationships.

In 1990, Mr. Jennings founded the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network, which later became the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). He was the group’s first full-time staffer and executive director, a position he held until August 2008.

One of GLSEN’s tasks was to put together lists of suggested readings for K through 12 students and their teachers. The reading lists categorize books by the ages for which they purportedly are appropriate. The organization Web site reassures us, “All Book Link items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content.”

Some of these shocking readings clearly promote homosexuality and promiscuity. Consider what GLSEN put forward as appropriate for children 13 years or older. Eleven of the recommended books were examined by Scott Baker from and re-examined by The Washington Times. Numerous passages discuss kids having sex with adults. Many of the sexual discussions and scenes are too explicit for us to publish, so what follows are greatly sanitized versions.

In “Queer 13,” the book describes a 13-year-old boy who has sexual encounters with older men. His experience caused him to desperately want sex. “While my classmates wondered what sex was like, content to masturbate over pinups, I was out there having my [explicit descriptions of having oral sex and being sodomized]. These were grown men I was tricking with. Some were nice, grateful for a young boy to have their way with. Some were harsh and mean. {. . That feeling, of doing it to them and them doing the same for me was just too damn good.”)

In “Passages of Pride,” a 15-year-old boy has sex with a much older man. The boy says, “It wasn’t a bad thing. I didn’t necessarily know it would turn into sex. But I knew what I was doing.” The boy claims that he was “not intimidated by the discrepancy in their ages.

“Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian” details a 15-year-old boy s relationship with “a much older man. And in “In Your Face,” one 16-year-old boy has sex with a 25-year-old man, and another 16-year-old boy has sex with multiple men. Four of the other seven books on the reading list contain passages of children having sex.

The readings try to make sex between children and adults seem normal and acceptable. Being exploited by homosexual pedophiles is portrayed as something that can make children happy and fulfilled. Perhaps Mr. Jennings will claim he was too busy to check what his organization was recommending children read. Either way, ‘this is not a man who should have been appointed by the White House to make schools safe.

Really! So, now what does our great Congress under Pelosi and Reid do about it? jsk

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

December 19, 2009

“Pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history ..."

The New Socialism

By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON — In the 1970s and early ‘80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC, The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history.

(Brief History of OPEC from the Internet:
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by nine other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962) – suspended its membership from January 2009; Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973) – suspended its membership from December 1992-October 2007; Angola (2007) and Gabon (1975–1994). OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence. This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965.

OPEC's objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.)

(This is the web site public relations garbage. In fact, OPEC, made up to the greatest extent by Arab countries, is the most devastating monopoly in the world today. The world, including the US is totally intimidated and has done nothing while their wealth and economies are brutally dissipated. As Charles Krauthammer states, “They pull off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in world history.”
I do now take exception to this last sentence. It has become transfer of rich to rich) jsk.

Krauthammer continued:

Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they: began calling for a “New International Economic Order.” The essential demand was simple: To transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World. On what grounds - In the name of equality - wealth redistribution via global socialism - with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.

The idea of essentially taxing hard-working citizens of the democracies in order to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early ‘80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.

However, such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to its current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it’s an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man’s guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But, the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale, too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by-declaring them an “endangerment” to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of C02 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means over a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.)

This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism. Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: the metamorphosis from red to green.

Not everyone is pleased with the coming New Carbon-Free International Order. When the Obama administration signaled a U.S. commitment to major cuts in carbon emissions, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb wrote the president - protesting that he lacks the authority to do so unilaterally. That requires congressional concurrence by legislation or treaty. Forget for a moment the economic effects of severe carbon chastity. There’s the matter of constitutional decency. If you want to revolutionize society — as will drastic carbon regulation and taxation in an energy economy that is 85 percent carbon-based — you do it through Congress reflecting popular will.

Congress should not just resist this executive overreaching, but trump it: Amend existing clean air laws and restore their original intent by excluding CO2 from EPA control and reserving that power for Congress and future legislation. Do it now. Do it soon because Big Brother isn’t lurking in a CIA cloak. He’s knocking on your door, smiling under an EPA cap.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2009

A Marvelous Christian, Israel-Defender, Website Press Release

Oh my gosh! Someone on our side! Please visit it regularly


Christians For Fair Witness Questions New Posting on Israeli Settlement Freeze

Christians for Fair Witness questions the Churches for Middle East Peace website posting on Israel’s settlement freeze. Fair Witness previously issued a press release (Dec. 8) questioning CMEP’s failure to discuss Israel’s 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement construction. Shortly afterwards CMEP posted a Bulletin on the front page of its website which included a feature on the freeze entitled Temporary Settlement Moratorium and the Response.

CMEP, however, omits the critical fact that the freeze was a deliberate attempt by Israel to re-start peace talks with the Palestinians, not a unilateral measure taken with no intention of moving onto a negotiated settlement. We are glad to see CMEP at least acknowledging that Israel has taken this step said Fr. James Loughran, S.A., Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.

However, we are surprised that CMEP did not acknowledge that PM
Netanyahu expressly presented the freeze as a way of re-starting peace negotiations. That was the whole point of the freeze. We are also surprised that, while they posted some helpful links, Kemp’s discussion was cast wholly in negative terms. CMEP emphasizes that the freeze is one-time and temporary and that Jerusalem remains a very serious problem. They complain about the potential for settler violence. Why is a Christian peace organization not seizing this opportunity for peace making?

I admit to being thoroughly confused by this, says Rev. Thomas Prinz, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Leesburg, Virginia. The stated goal of CMEP is to encourage negotiated, just and peaceful resolutions to conflicts in [Israel/Palestine]. This is a chance to do just that. PM Netanyahu said he hoped that this decision would help launch meaningful negotiations to reach a historic peace agreement that would finally end the conflict . . .So why does CMEP take a negative attitude? It makes no sense.

Parties rarely, if ever, make serious concessions prior to starting negotiations, notes Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College in Annandale, New York. Why would a church organization dedicated to Middle East peace attempt to downplay this Israeli action? Even if CMEP sees the gesture as imperfect, it is a golden opportunity to encourage the parties to get back to the negotiating table.

Additional Commentary from ChristianFairWitness:

· Fair Witness Challenges America Magazine's Omission of Facts in the East Jerusalem Evictions: to see America magazine continue its pattern of omitting critical facts while reporting about recent evictions in East Jerusalem.

· Fair Witness Expresses Serious Concern About the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation:
· Fair Witness is seriously concerned about the content and tone of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation's ("HCEF") 11th International Conference, held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., October 24, 2009. "I thought this conference was going to be about helping Palestinian Christians," said Rev. Thomas Prinz, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church ...

· America Magazine’s Omissions and Misrepresentations in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict:
· A careful review of the coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in America Magazine over the past fourteen months ( September 2008- October 2009) reveals repeated omissions and misrepresentations which invariably result in Israel’s actions being portrayed in a particularly negative light while the relative culpability of Palestinian militants and their political leadership is seriously downplayed.

· This is a discussion of the witness of the American Churches with regard to the Arab/Israeli conflict. Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East is concerned that a bias against the state of Israel has emerged within many of the mainstream Christian denominations. This prejudice is reflected in a troubling willingness to lay the blame for the conflict in the Middle East on Israel’s shoulders while saying very little about any culpability the Palestinians or Arab nations might have

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2009

The Jewish National Fund - complicit in its own and Israel’s self-destruction

From: The Week in Review
The Jewish Press, December 11, 2009
Edited By Jason Maoz

The Zionist Organization of America rips Jewish National Fund

The Zionist Organization of America criticized the Jewish National Fund last week following reports the organization has donated 3,000 trees to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas for a new city near Ramallah.

“We are deeply critical of and indeed shocked by the decision of the JNF to donate thousands of trees, grown with money donated by Jews from around the world, to the PA,” said Morton Klein, the ZOA’s national vice president. “The PA is a terror-promoting entity controlled by Abbas’s Fatah, which demonstrated only in August at its Bethlehem conference that it does not accept Israel as a Jewish state, does not support a peace agreement that closes the conflict and engages in, indoctrinates for and glorifies terrorism against Jews.

At this conference, Fatah honored terrorists, including Khaled Abu-Isbah and Dalal Mughrabi, responsible for the 1978 coastal road bus hijacking, in which 37 Israelis, including 12 children, were slaughtered.

“Has it really come to this, that a venerable Zionist organization with only one purpose — the up-building of a sovereign Jewish national existence — takes money from Jews and then uses these funds to make a gift of trees to Israel’s unreconstructed enemies?”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2009

Israel’s impressive lady ambassador to the UN tells them What For

Impact of Women on Jewish History

By Prof. Livia Bitton Jackson
The Jewish Press December 11, 2009

On November 4, 2009, the United Nations General Assembly debated a resolution endorsing the Goldstone Report - a stacked investigation that accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity in the Gaza conflict. A slight, unassuming woman approached the podium, and in soft, serious tones took the General Assembly of the United Nations to task in a manner I have never heard before. She said, among other things:

“ . . . Today, Mr. President rather than confronting terrorism, the General Assembly chose again to detach itself from reality. Today’s debate is anything but genuine and candid. Rather than discuss how to better stop terrorist groups who deliberately target civilians, this body launches yet another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of Israel.

“The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin! From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicized body with predetermined conclusions. It is the product of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a body whose obsession with Israel has led -it to pass more resolutions against Israel than on all other U.N. Member States put together.

This same Human Rights Council rejected any investigation regarding the constant firing of 2,000 rockets and mortars by Hamas, over eight years, on towns and villages in Israel. The basic human rights of nearly one million Israeli citizens did not matter then. Are we now to believe that the Council’s latest incarnation is honest, objective and fair?”

The slim, solemn woman was Professor Gabriela Shalev, the first woman to serve as Israel’s ambassador to the UN. Professor Shalev’s personal principles were revealed on the day she presented her diplomatic credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, when she declared: “as a woman, a professor and above all as a proud Israeli. I am happy for the opportunity given me to contribute to the state in the complex international arena of the United Nations:’

Gabriela Shalev was born in Tel Aviv in British Mandated Palestine in 1941. At eighteen, she enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces where in 1961 she rose to the rank of Lieutenant, among the very first young women to reach this level. During the next decade, Gabriela obtained an LL.B. degree, an LL.M. degree and Doctor Juris - all Summa cum laude and all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After completing her studies, Dr. Gabriela, the young Israeli attorney, served as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.

She has fulfilled many public positions in Israel. Among others, she was Chief Legal Editor of the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Israel from 1968 to 1980, and again in 1998, and Chief Legal Advisor for the reform in national health services in 1991. Her experience as legal advisor, arbitrator and expert on litigations concerning national and international transactions fully qualified her for her present position at the United Nations.

Although a widow since the Yom Kippur War, and raising two children alone, Prof. Gabriela Shalev, during a rich legal career, authored nine books and over one hundred articles in Hebrew and in English, mostly on contract law. Her recently published work, entitled Contract Law - General Part, Towards Codification of the Civil Law - an updated version of Shalev’s works on Israeli contract law — is the standard textbook used in law schools and law offices throughout Israel.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2009

Global Warming, Same Sex Marriage, and ...OBAMA’S FREAK SHOW

By Joseph Farah, Publisher
WhistleBlower November 2009

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”
From: Obi Won Kenobi, “Star Wars”

Obi Won wasn’t talking about the watering hole of the White House czars. He was describing the fictional Mos Eisley spaceport. He advised caution. And, so do I — when it comes to the White House czars.

As Henny Youngman might say: “Take John Holdren, the climate czar, please.” Today he tells us the planet is heating up to the boiling point because of catastrophic levels of man-made carbon dioxide. But, 40 years ago, he was proclaiming the dawn of a new ice age — with many of the same government prescriptions in mind.

In the 1970s, Holdren said government would have to stop population growth to keep the planet habitable for those lucky enough to live through his plans. Fortunately, people were smarter in the 1970s. They didn’t buy it. They kept having babies. They eventually elected Ronald Reagan when they got tired of Cassandra-like warnings about an imminent apocalypse caused by American capitalism and Christianity.

Holdren’s rhetoric 40 years ago about an impending ice age was just as dire as his more recent prognostications about global warming. In “Global Ecology” which he co-edited with Paul Ehrlich, he predicted the “destruction of all life on this planet” as one of the possible consequences of the cooling he foresaw. Nevertheless, Holdren and Ehrlich did hedge their bets, prophesying that global cooling could “give way to global warming.” “If man survives the comparatively short-term threat of making the planet too cold, there is every indication he is quite capable of making it too warm not long thereafter,” they wrote.

Darn, if it’s not one thing it’s another. In 2009, based on a documented track record of 100 percent error, Holdren rose to become the nation’s science czar. He did so only because this time he fooled enough people to believe his fraudulent predictions. And, with the advent of cap-and-trade legislation, he might indeed get his wish for transforming society — moving America closer to a command-and-control socialist state in which people no longer have a choice as to whether they believe charlatans in government and academia.

Yet, it turns out, Holdren might have been closer to the truth in the 1970s than he is now peddling the global warming hoax. Global temperatures in 2009 are continuing a decade-long decline, with June temperatures reaching levels not seen since the 1980s. The evidence of a significant cooling at least since 2001 is so compelling, you no longer hear much about global warming. “Experts” like Hoidren now only talk about “climate change.” That way, if temperatures get warmer or colder, they’re still in business. I fully expect these guys to start claiming credit for the retroactive cooling trend by telling us their methods are working — even though they haven’t started implementing their draconian plans yet.

So that’s the story of just one of the denizens of the real “wretched hive of scum and villainy” — not Mos Eisley spaceport — but the roundtable of Barack Obama czardom. Then we’ve got a homosexual activist by the name of Kevin Jennings as czar of “safe schools.” Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop! This guy is a disciple of Harry Hay, founder of Radical Faeries and a longtime advocate for the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Do you feel like your child is safe with him in charge of school safety?

Then there’s Cass Sunstein, the regulatory czar, who explains that embryos are “just a handful of cells” and that an adult dog is more rational than a human baby. What about the revelations surrounding his nominee to be commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — Chai Feldblum? She signed a manifesto praising polygamy and arguing traditional marriage should not be privileged above other forms of union.

Another outspoken homosexual rights activist — it seems almost a prerequisite in the Obama administration — she is a signatory to an online petition entitled “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships.” Among the stated “partnerships” the petition seeks to protect is “households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”

She also proclaimed gay sex as “morally good” — not just neutral, mind you, but something God apparently smiles upon. I wonder what kind of database Obama uses to locate people like this? Is it That would be appropriate. Or, is it Maybe No, it’s got to be

I’m telling you - the entire federal government is going to have to be fumigated some day, when these deviants and degenerates are finally sent packing. If I had selected these guys and gals myself, I could not have done a better job of exposing the agenda of the impostor-in-chief who actually did choose them.

Are you paying attention America? It’s amazing what a little bit of Jedi mind control (from the dark side) can do.

Until next time,

Joseph Farah
Copyright 2009 Inc

P.S. Whistleblower magazine has all kinds of information not found elsewhere and is highly recommended. The November issue gives a mind-boggling description of 23 of Obama’s Czars that surely justifies the Star Wars quote:

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2009

White House Party Crashers tied to Professor Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) supporter

By Aaron Klein, Jerusalem Bureau Chief

The Jewish Press, December 4, 2009

The Virginia husband and wife who crashed a White House state dinner are tied to Rashid Khalidi, a pro-Palestinian professor who excuses terrorism and has been a close associate to President Obama.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi met Obama in a receiving line at last week’s event, with a “deeply concerned and embarrassed” secret service stating it never checked whether the two were on the White House guest list.

Tareq Salahi served on the board of the American Task Force for Palestine, where Columbia University Professor Khalidi served as vice president. The American Power blog noticed both Salahi’s and Khalidi’s names have been scrubbed from the Task Force website, although Salahi’s bio still comes up on a Google cache search of the site. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel. He has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and labeled by the State Department as a terror group.

Khalidi in 2000 held what was described as a successful fundraiser for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Obama also sat on the board of the Woods Fund, which in 2001 provided a $40,000 grant to Mona Khalidi’s Arab American Action Network. The fund provided a second grant to the network for $35,000 in 2002. Obama sat on the board with Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers.

In 2003, Obama delivered an in-person testimonial for Khalidi, who at the time was departing the University of Chicago for a new teaching position at Columbia University in New York. At the 2003 event, poetry reportedly was read comparing Israelis to Osama bin baden and accusing the Jewish state of terrorism.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2009

Talmudic-like Formula for Life-Long Contentment

Appreciating ‘Grishek’

By Cheryl Kupfer
The Jewish Press Magazine, November 27, 2009

Rosh Chodesh Kislev (the beginning of the Hebrew month of Kislev) marks the 10th yahrzei (anniversary of death) of my father, Chaim ben Aaron-Yosef Hakohen. (Hakohen – a member of the G-d appointed priestly class of biblical Judaism that had the prestigious commandment of managing the Holy Temple in Jerusalem). Lately, whenever I think of him, the image that pops into my mind is of him sitting at the kitchen table, eating a bowl of “grishek.” I think we would call it porridge - although that term seems to be outdated these days.

To me, there is very little that could be more boring and unappetizing for breakfast - after all, how exciting can grayish, gluey gruel be? I imagine my Mother thought it was healthier for him than cereal. My father, a Holocaust survivor who was quiet to the point of almost being invisible, never uttered a word conveying his opinion about this dish that my mother so frequently prepared for him. Yet I know he savored it. I saw it in his face. No, he didn’t smile as he brought the spoon to his lips every few seconds. He didn’t have to. I knew that just the fact that it was there, that it was his for the taking, was enough to make him relish it.

My father had a deep, unwavering hakarat hatov (acknowledgement and gratefulness) for the warm albeit bland food in front of him. He who had known excruciating, unrelenting hunger, and had seen fellow Jews slowly starve to death in the labor camp where he was forced to do slave labor for the Nazi war machine — appreciated the gruel he was eating decades later in Canada. He understood that this grishek would nourish him, would give him strength to live another day. Moreover, he embraced it.

Although he has been gone for a decade now, the life-enhancing lesson of appreciation that he taught by his silent example has outlived him, for I carry it with me everyday. At least I try to. I try to accept — if not enjoy—the “grishek” in my life when I would rather have something more appealing. For example, I would love to fly first-class when I travel instead of flying economy - or going on an overnight bus as I often have done to minimize the expense.

But, from my father, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I can travel in the first place. That I am healthy enough to do so, and that I have a destination to go to my children and grandchildren, Of course I wish we all lived within walking distance - life would be so much easier — but I appreciate this “grishek” on my plate.

Still, I am only human, and it is a struggle to do so all the time, for I look around and my perception is that others have it better, others have more, and that what I may have found so challenging to attain came so easily to so many. I know that this” I want something better” attitude is universal among mankind. We all would like a daily “breakfast” of fresh fruit, and pastries, omelet’s and cheeses, fresh rolls, bagels and lox, herring, juices and flavored coffee - and we whine and complain so bitterly when we end up with “grishek”.

We gripe, we get angry, we feel deprived and depressed when life gives us “gruel” instead of the “feast” we feel we deserve and are entitled to. That is why the requirement to say brachot (blessings) almost constantly is such a huge gift from Hashem (G-d).

I used to wonder why we had to make a bracha for every little thing from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, especially since brachot are not actually blessings in the traditional sense of the word but rather are expressions of gratitude. I would ask myself why our Creator, the Master of the Universe — seemed to need our constant thanks, our verbal “pats on the back.” After all G-d doesn’t have an ego - why the requirement from us lesser, mortal beings that we sing His praises literally 24/7? Why this seemingly very human need for validation?

I came to realize that, it wasn’t Hashem who needs expressions of hakarat hatov. We do. For when we utter a blessing, we become aware — if only for a fleeting moment - of how the mundane, “don’t give it a second thought” aspects of our lives, such as waking up, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, etc. are truly precious. Each time we make a bracha on what we mindlessly take for granted; each time we express hakarat hatov for what we consider routine, dull and boring— we are reminded - if only for a moment- to embrace and enjoy the “grishek” in our lives.

When we do so, we become that much closer to dispelling the unhappiness, resentfulness and regret that drain us, and step closer to living our lives b’simcha (With happiness).

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

December 05, 2009

Obama’s Missile Defense Betrayal of America's Allies

The President’s abrogation of his predecessor’s agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic inaugurates a new era in which America’s word will not be its bond.

Redacted from an article by Kejda Gjermani

COMMENTARY December 2009

IT WAS NOT uncommon for a pharaoh to deface the monuments of his predecessors, insert his name in their inscriptions, or impose his likeness on the heads of their statues. The enterprising ruler—whoever he might have been—responsible for introducing this practice debased the respect tradition accorded to a Pharaoh’s postmortem, opening the door of precedent for successors to usurp his monuments and achievements in turn. Fiddling with the performance of the past in exchange for artificial boosts to a leader’s legacy tends to be self-defeating.

Today the Obama administration is behaving as if its mandate—conferred by a majority of voters frustrated with the Bush administration, carries sufficient authority not only to break with the past but also to undo it. The new man in the White House is bringing retroactive changes to foreign policy and showing scruples about reneging on the long-term commitments of his country when they interfere with his own plans. On September 17, President Barack Obama officially announced that he would abandon the Eastern European missile-shield program thus scrapping the treaties Gorge W Bush had signed with Poland and the Czech Republic

The decision has drawn expressions of dismay from the governments of both countries “Catastrophic for Poland” is how a spokes woman at the Polish Ministry of Defense described the suspension of the program. Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech prime minister who had gone out on a limb with his own electorate by signing the missile-defense treaty two years ago, interpreted the decision as another sign that “the Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before.” He added ruefully “this is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence.

Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland and founder of Solidarity, observed with bitterness: “I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing toward this part of Europe. The way we are being approached needs to change.”

Such rancor should not be surprising It was the US that had asked Poland and the Czech Republic to host components of a defense system designed to protect against long-range ballistic missiles from Iran and other rogue States, When, in 2006, George W Bush broached the subject in concrete terms, he found a hospitable political climate in both countries. Each was led by fiercely pro-American and Euro-skeptic nationalist-conservative coalitions.

... IT CANNOT be said that the treatment of Poland and the Czech Republic by this administration is an isolated instance of undoing Bush policy. Israel, too, has reason to regret trusting the U.S. for more than one president at a time. In carrying on the Middle East peace process—if process it may be called—the Obama administration has also thrown out understandings between his predecessor and the Jewish state. In the wake of the second intifada, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw from Gaza, preferring that Israel retrench to manageable borders of its choice. Bush supported this strategy by isolating the incorrigible Yasir Arafat and backing Israeli measures against terrorism.

He also endorsed the idea of creating a Palestinian state—but only once the Palestinians embraced democratic institutions and abandoned violence. President Bush assured the Israeli government that in the event of a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, the U.S. would not expect Israel to retreat to the 1949 armistice lines and would support Israel’s retention of major settlement blocs.

Five years later, the Obama administration has reneged on these commitments. Current U.S. officials, including two spokesmen and one assistant secretary of state, have refused—on 14 separate occasions—to answer whether this administration considers itself bound by the letter outlining the change in attitude toward settlements that Congress endorsed and Bush handed to Ariel Sharon in 2004. Obama compounded this reversal by insisting that a “freeze on settlement expansion” previously agreed to by Israel be interpreted in the strictest sense, not allowing even for natural growth in the population of existing settlements.

This decision created an unnecessary breach with Jerusalem that served to isolate an already beleaguered Israel even further. But, it did nothing to advance peace, because it encouraged the Palestinians to demand even greater concessions from Israel as a precondition for resuming peace talks that have little prospect of success.

Diplomacy by “reset” damages our alliances in the long run and may do even worse to our relationships with hostile countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to how the new administration will approach unfriendly Latin American leaders like Hugo Chavez has been “Let’s put ideology aside; that is so yesterday?’ Clinton should not be surprised if pragmatism, or whatever she has abandoned ideology in favor of, becomes “so yesterday” as soon as tomorrow, given the evanescence she ascribes to the guiding principles of foreign policy. The main problem in treating the world as if it began with Obama is that it doesn’t end with Obama, and our foes know it.

As U.S. administrations come and go, the same strongmen, oligarchs, despots, theocrats and absolute monarchs continue to rule most countries hostile to America. Given their long planning horizons, why should they make any irreversible concessions in return for only temporary commitments from America? The next US president might offer a better bargain, back out on a joint project or forgive all past sins, elementary principles of game theory dictate that foreign despots stay their course. When trust—the paramount currency of diplomacy—starts to erode, only force retains full purchasing power.

It is ironic that Obama an eager champion of “smart power,” is pioneering methods of diplomacy that, adopted by future presidents, will render military intervention more necessary, and more likely, by undermining their only alternative—namely, trust and long term agreements,

Granted, elections carry consequences, and every new president brings his own tactics and strategies to the White House. But inherent in two-party politics is a temptation—to which both parties have succumbed on occasion—for the opposition to undermine whatever the administration attempts. This contrarian impulse spares nothing, not even foreign policy. The penchant for cannibalizing rival administrations has built to a crescendo since the end of the Cold War and is now reaching a climax in the retroactive undoing of Bush initiatives.

In justifying the abrogation of the missile-defense treaties so casually, Obama cannot but do his own legacy a disservice. No American president gets to have the last word. For the blank slate he has cleared for himself at his predecessor’s expense, Obama will pay by seeing future presidents undo his work on a whim. In addition, because of his revisionist stunt, neither this country’s friends nor its enemies can know what to expect from the United States.

KEJDA GJERMANI is assistant online editor of COMMENTARY

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2009

What Johnny Needs to Learn about Islam

Texas, Florida and California revise their textbook standards.

Redacted from an in-depth article

The Weekly Standard, December 7, 2009

Eight years after the atrocities of 9/11, Americans need to know what public school textbooks are teaching about Islam, radical Islam, and terrorism. The big three textbook states— those that set standards for content because publishers aim to capture their large sales, California, Texas, and Florida—are currently preparing for new textbooks, to be introduced in 2010-13. These books are likely to shape the content of public instruction for several years to come. At this point in a complex process of drafting and adopting “standards,” then “frameworks,” and finally texts, with time for public comment and revision at each stage, the outlook in both Texas and Florida seems quite encouraging while California’s effort appears regrettably stuck in a pre-9/1 1 mindset.

In the past, American textbooks were prone to two great pitfalls: Either they dealt with Islam superficially or they presented it in the manner preferred and promoted by well-funded defenders of Islamic extremism. A hallmark of that latter view is an emphasis on the unity of Islam, which is portrayed as simple, monolithic and benign. The wide range of belief and practice between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Islam, to name only the best-known variations, is downplayed, and the problems of Islam, especially violent jihad, are simply left out. Some of the current efforts at revising textbooks avoid these mistakes.

The Texas Education Agency issued its proposed new standards for world history at the end of July. The revised standards mostly reflect a post-9/l 1 outlook. Previously Islam went virtually unmentioned. The new proposed standards, if adopted, will have pupils in Texas learn to

Identify major causes and describe the major effects of the following important turning points in world history from 600-1450: The spread of Christianity, the decline of Rome and the formation of Medieval Europe; the development of Islamic Caliphates and their impact on Asia, Africa and Europe. The new specifications not only broaden the study of Western culture, but also turn attention to the Islamic caliphates and the effects on them of the Mongol invasions. Study of the Ottomans is even more useful for dispelling the erroneous idea that Islam is simply “the Arab religion.”

Describing Islam as “unifying” typically reflects the ideal of a single, indivisible Islamic global community or ummah, a concept consistently promoted by Muslim radicals. History, even as written by classical Muslim historians, shows that Islam cannot be described simply as “unifying,” unless unification refers purely to territorial conquest. Islamic societies have remained deeply divided, within and without, over theological differences, language, customs, political rivalries, relations with non-Muslims, and other issues. It is crucial that American students learn that, like the other “universal” religions, Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, Islam has no single, homogenous, unitary; or exclusively legitimate expression. The term “unifying” would be better deleted from the standards.

... In addition, the new standards demand that students understand the impact of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism and the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the second half of the twentieth century. Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism are properly considered in the context of modern totalitarianism.

... Some Westerners have come to believe the Israeli-Palestinian wars are motivated by religious hostility and that actions by the West and Israel have brought about the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. It is appropriate for American students to be exposed to the alternative view: That Islamic fundamentalism has been introduced into the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation by powerful radical interests, especially those financed by Saudi Arabia and Iran, aggravating the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

... These improvements in the Texas textbook standards may at first seem trivial, but their value is illuminated by comparison with the standards recently issued in Florida and California. Florida’s standards prescribe study of “the relationship between government and religion in Islam.” In addition, they require students to “determine the causes, effects, and extent of Islamic military expansion through Central Asia, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula” ... Under these standards, students would be introduced to aspects of Islamic history that have generated critical literature. The concept of dhimmitude, for instance, as a description of the inferior social status of non-Muslims in an Islamic social system, is subject to considerable scholarly debate.

... California’s Department of Education, by contrast, seems to have made no progress. One senses an effort in the wake of the terrorist attacks to present Islam as utterly harmless. The proposed California framework includes clearly objectionable elements. Students would be instructed, for example, that “Islamic law ... rejected the older Arabian view of women as ‘family property,’ declaring that all women and men are entitled to respect and moral self-governance.” This statement ignores the oppressed condition of women in many Muslim societies, exemplified by Saudi Arabia.

...At a later point, the new California framework states, “In Baghdad and other Muslim-ruled cities, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scholars collaborated to study ancient Greek, Persian, and Indian writings, forging and widely disseminating a more advanced synthesis of philosophical, scientific, mathematical, geographic, artistic, medical, and literary knowledge.” This rosy panorama of high culture in Baghdad neglects significant conflicts between Muslim factions, which led at times to violence, and extends a wide but unreliable umbrella of intellectual achievement over all Muslim cities. Other points in the California textbook framework clearly promote a bunkered view of Islam. These conceptions are anything but neutral.

... Islam is treated as an entirely benign phenomenon in California guidelines, and may well remain so in textbooks reflecting the new framework. This was, to a degree, predictable. California has been the state most susceptible to Islamist interference in education. ... Education expert Diane Ravitch in her 2003 volume The Language Police accused various Islamic sympathizing organizations of improperly influencing the textbook publishers Glencoe, Houghton Mifflin, and Prentice Hall

... Americans, especially young Americans, need accurate information about Islam, as well as other aspects of global affairs. The more critical attitudes introduced in Texas and Florida will doubtless elicit dissatisfaction from Islamists. But, Texas and Florida are wise to teach students about crucial past and present interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims, including conflicts between them and even among Muslims.

California treats Islam as just one more hue in the multicultural rainbow. The country’s educators would do better to follow the new, sensible, and critical path blazed by the Lone Star State, which is intelligently tackling the issues of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, than to continue the habits still prevalent in an intellectually as well as fiscally weakened California.

Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor to the Weekly Standard and is the author of The Two Faces of Islam and The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2009

Defining the Power of Israeli Chutzpa

Intel and the Israelis

Redacted from an article:

By Dan Senor and Saul Singer

COMMENTARY, November 2009

Four guys are standing on a street corner... an American, a Russian, a Chinese man and an Israeli... A reporter comes up to the group and says to them:

“Excuse me.... What’s your opinion on the meat shortage?”
The American says: What’s a shortage?
The Russian says: What’s meat?
The Chinese man says: What’s an opinion?
The Israeli says: What’s “Excuse me”?

—Mike Leigh, Two Thousand Years

WE DID IT the Israeli way; we argued our case to death” That’s how Shmuel “Mooly” Eden sums up a months-long showdown between senior executives of the high-tech firm that gave Silicon Valley its name and an upstart group of the firm’s employees working in an outpost in Haifa
As it turns out, the survival and future prosperity of Intel, the computer-chip manufacturer, would turn on the outcome. But, the fierce internecine dispute was about more than just Intel; it would determine whether the ubiquitous laptop computer—so much taken for granted today—would ever exist.

Eden was then a leader of Intel’s Israeli operation who had helped build it into the largest private-sector employer in the country, responsible for $1.53 billion in annual exports. The story he tells about Intel in Israel, and Intel’s battles with Israel, helps explain the nature of Israel’s emergence in the past decade as perhaps the economy with the most potent combination of innovation and entrepreneurship on earth.

Throughout most of the history of modern computing, the speed of data processing—the amount of time it takes your computer to do anything—was determined by the speed of a chip’s transistors. The faster the transistors could be made to flip on and off (the transistors’ “clock speed”), the more powerful the software they could run, transforming computers from glorified calculators to multimedia entertainment and enterprise machines.

But until the 1970s, computers were used predominantly by rocket scientists and big universities. All that began to change in 1980, when Intel’s Haifa team designed the 8088 chip, whose transistors could flip almost 5 million tunes per second and were small enough to allow for the creation of computers that would fit in homes and offices. IBM chose Israel’s 8088 chip as the brains for its first “personal computer,” or PC, launching a new era of computing. It was also a major breakthrough for Intel.

According to journalist Michael Malone, “With the IBM contract, Intel won the microprocessor wars.” From then on, computing technology continued to get smaller and faster. By 1986, Intel’s only foreign chip factory was producing the 386 chip. Built in Jerusalem, its processing speed was 33 megahertz. Though only a small fraction of today’s chip speeds, Intel called it “blazing”—it was almost seven times faster than the 8088.

This was preceding well until about 2000, when another factor came into the mix - power. Chips were getting smaller and faster, just as Moore had predicted. But, as they did, they also used more power and generated more heat. Chips overheating would soon become a critical problem.

Intel’s Israeli team was the first group within the company to see this coming. The Israeli team was more focused than any other on what the industry called “mobility”—designing chips for laptop computers and, eventually, for all sorts of mobile devices. “The development group in Israel, even before it was tasked as the mobility group, pushed ideas for mobility that went against the common wisdom at Intel,” explained another former chief of Intel Israel, David “Dadi” Perimutter.

One of these unconventional ideas was away to go around the power wall, and it came from Rony Friedman, one of Intel Israel’s top engineers at the time. The transistors in Intel Israel’s low power chips did not need to flip on and off as fast, yet in a process analogous to shifting a car into high gear, they were able to run software faster.

The head of Intel’s chip division, Paul Otellini, tried to mothball the project. The clock-speed doctrine was enshrined among Intel’s brass, and its members weren’t about to hold a seminar to decide whether to change it. But a seminar, it turned out, was exactly what Intel needed. Intel’s Otellini didn’t know it, but his Israeli team was giving him a similar message. They saw that Intel was headed for the “power wall.” Instead of waiting to ram into it, the Israelis wanted Oteillini to avert it by taking a step back, discarding conventional thinking, and considering a fundamental change in the company’s technological approach.

The executives in Santa Clara were ready to strangle the Israeli team, according to some of those on the receiving end of Intel Israel’s “pestering.” The Israelis were making the 20-hour trip between Tel Aviv and California so frequently that they seemed onmipresent, always ready to corner an executive in the hallway or even a restroom—anything to argue their case. In time, the Israelis outlasted—and out-argued— their U.S. supervisors. Each time the Israelis showed up, an Intel executive recalled, they brought better research and better data with them. Soon they had a seemingly bulletproof case as to where the industry was heading. Intel could either lead in that direction, the Israelis told management, or become obsolete.

Finally, Otellini, this time as CEO, changed his mind. It had become impossible to counter the Israelis’ overwhelming research—not to mention their persistence. In March 2003 the new chip for laptops which had been code named Banias, after a natural sprmg m Israel’s north, was released as the Centrino. Its clock speed was only a bit more than half that of the reigning 2.8 gigahertz Pentium chips for desktops, and it sold for more than twice the price. But it gave laptop users the portability and speed they needed.

That kind of heated debate is anathema in other business cultures, but for Israelis it’s often seen as the best way to sort through a problem. “If you can get past the initial bruise to the ego,” one American investor in Israeli start-ups told us, “it’s immensely liberating. You rarely see people talk behind anybody’s back in Israeli companies. You always know where you stand with everyone.

The cultural differences between Israel and the United States are actually so great that Intel started running “cross-cultural seminars” to bridge them, “After living in the U.S. for five years, I can say that the interesting thing about Israelis is the culture,” Mooly Eden, who ran these seminars, told us. “Israelis do not have a very disciplined culture. From the age of zero we are educated to challenge the obvious, ask questions, debate everything, innovate?’ As a result, Eden said, “it’s more complicated to manage five Israelis than 50 Americans because {the Israelis] will challenge you all the time—starting with ‘Why are you my manager? Why am I not your manager?”

DAN SENOR, a professional investor, is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. SAUL SINGER is a columnist with the Jerusalem Post, where he served as editorial-page editor for six years, and the author of Confronting Jihad. This essay is adapted from their new book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, just published by Twelve.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2009

Netanyahu, under Obama whip, takes lead in Israel’s, G-d forbid, race to self-destruction

Redacted from article by Caroline Glick

Bibi's Bad Week


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu weakened Israel this week. Moreover, he did so for no good reason. Thursday's headlines told the tale. The day after Netanyahu bowed to US pressure and announced a total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for ten months, Yediot Aharonot reported that the Obama administration now wants Israel to release a thousand Fatah terrorists from prison. The Americans also want Israel to allow US-trained, terror-supporting Fatah paramilitary forces to deploy in areas that are currently under Israeli military control. Moreover, the Americans are demanding that Israel surrender land in the strategically crucial Jordan Valley to Fatah.

Moreover, these are just American pre-conditions for starting negotiations with the Palestinians. According to Yediot, if those talks ever begin, the White House will demand that Israel accept a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza and agree to ethnically cleanse all the areas of Jews.

So, far from winning American support or at least causing the White House to ease its bullying, US President Barack Obama sees Netanyahu's decision to implement a militarily irrational, bigoted policy of prohibiting Jews from building in Israel's heartland as a drop in the bucket. THE TRUTH is that Israel should not be in the business of negotiating the right of Israeli cities and villages to exist and prosper. The notion that it is acceptable to demand that Jews not be permitted to live in Judea and Samaria, or anywhere else in the world is not a notion that Israel should countenance.

MANY COMMENTATORS claim that Netanyahu's announcement Wednesday night was his way of balancing his desire to release 450 Hamas murderers from prison in exchange for hostage Gilad Schalit with an equal concession to Fatah. Netanyahu's willingness to release murderers from prison also signs the death warrants of countless Israelis. Unfortunately, our foolish media elites and their lackeys in the government are incapable of recognizing that the deal with Hamas doesn't pit the Schalit family against the families of the Israelis that these prisoners already murdered. It places Noam and Aviva Schalit against the families of the still unidentified Israelis who will be murdered by these imprisoned terrorists in the future if they are allowed to see the light of day.

In addition, on Thursday it was reported that Israel is ready to transfer control over the northern half of Ghajar - the border town that is officially half in Israel and half in Lebanon to UNIFIL forces. These would be the same UN forces that have done nothing to prevent Hizbullah from taking over the Lebanese government These would be the same Italian-commanded UN forces that former Italian president Francesco Cossiga claims cut a deal with Hizbullah according to which UNIFIL turns a blind eye to Hizbullah's activities and in exchange, Hizbullah doesn't kill UNIFIL forces. Barak and Netanyahu apparently are of the opinion that despite - or worse, perhaps due to - the growing dangers emanating from Hizbullah-controlled Lebanon, it is better for Israel to seek to curry favor with the UN and the US than to take the steps necessary to defend the country from Hizbullah.

This is the depressing message that Netanyahu and his merry band of ministers have communicated to the world this week. In the hopes of appeasing the unappeasable Obama administration, the government has adopted Obama's anti-Semitic policies against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. To win points with the imbecilic, unaccountable and irresponsible local media, Netanyahu has jeopardized the lives of untold numbers of Israelis by expressing his willingness to free hundreds of terrorist murderers from prison. And to placate the pro-Hizbullah UN, Israel has decided it is willing to further strengthen Hizbullah.

The mind reels at the thought of what next week may bring.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:11 AM | Comments (0)