Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Road to Assimilation

Every American Jewish establishment leader is aware that the rate of intermarriage among American Jews is at 50%. Every second Jews that gets married opts to marry out of the tribe. They accept that assimilation is widespread and that the Jewish people is disappearing as a distinctive entity in the United States. Even as they frantically try to keep Jews Jewish, apathy and indifference remain and more Jews are lost. Despite billions of dollars spent on bringing Jewish teenagers to Israel for free on Birthright, most Jews are disconnected from Israel. Jewish organizations invest tons of money into new Holocaust Museums even as young Jews suffer from Holocaust fatigue and overload. Why is it that the brightest leaders and thinkers of the Jewish establishment cannot find a way to sustain the newest generation of Jews?

The simple reason is because these people who are completely alienated from Torah and Jewish values have nothing to offer young Jews. Their ideology is completely bankrupt, with not a shred of spirituality or meaning. Bagels and lox provide no answers for a Jew seeking truth. The "Judaism" that these Jewish establishment leaders are peddling is a mixture of Holocaust victim syndrome, lame Jewish jokes and cultural quirks, knishes and kugel, with some watered down Zionism, cemented by getting Jewish teens drunk on the beaches of Tel-Aviv.

The modern zeitgeist is one of bringing people closer, of breaking down walls and barriers. The new world is one without tribal identity or religious affiliation. In such a world, one need only be a good person. What reason does this "Judaism" give to young Jews for setting up false obstacles and differences between themselves and the rest of society? These youth are given no positive reason to be Jewish, and a myriad of reasons why they should simply be human beings. The "Judaism" that they are taught is emptiness and vanity, devoid of G-d and His commandments, empty of commitment and devotion, without any holiness or reverence. The establishment leaders emphasize the "Jewish" qualities which we share with the larger society: democracy, tolerance, pluralism, etc. Little do they realize that what these assimilation-bent Jews need is to know what makes us different than, not the same as, everyone else. If being Jewish is only about being a good person, why not marry a nice Catholic or Chinese or Greek girl?

The essence of Judaism is that G-d publicly revealed Himself before the entire nation of Israel at Mount Sinai and made an eternal covenant with us. He became our G-d and we became His nation. At Sinai, G-d gave us His plan for life, the Torah, which contains His commandments. These commandments have been the mainstay and foundation of Jewish life for thousands of years. When the situation seemed hopeless, when the desperate Jew in Spain or in Russia was ready to break, it was G-d's promise to Israel that gave him strength. Living in terrible conditions, in the ghettos of Europe or the mellahs of Morocco, the Jew clung fiercely to his G-d and to his faith, with complete trust in G-d's revelation at Sinai and believing fully in the coming of the Redemption.

When Jews keep the Torah, they can overcome Crusades and Inquisitions, pogroms and Auschwitz. When they stray from G-d's Torah, they are left without a basis and are lost. It is time for the Jewish leaders to admit that "cultural Judaism" is a dead end. We have tried to raise a generation on nostalgia, Holocaust guilt and Seinfeld and have found that this is a path to assimilation and spiritual destruction. Without a solid foundation in Judaism, forget about getting Jews excited about Israel. The Jewish pride and identity that these leaders so hope to instill in young Jews must have a basis in Jewish belief, values, ritual and practice.

A whole generation of Jews have been robbed of their heritage. Tragically, they are completely ignorant of the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of the countless millions of Jews who have preceded them. It is time to return the core of Judaism to what it always was- the Torah and mitzvot. Otherwise, we march down the road to assimilation singing and dancing to the tunes of Fiddler on the Roof.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shoah or Sinai?


The mass murder of one third of world Jewry was one of the most traumatic events in Jewish history, an event which almost completely wiped out Jewish life in Eastern Europe. It is an event which has no parallels in history, and stands alone in infamy by its sheer scope, the depth of hatred and the level of horror and barbarity perpetuated by man with the help of modern technology. In the aftermath of the carnage of the Holocaust, survivors arrived on the shores of America and the Holy Land determined to rebuild the life that was callously snuffed out. In defiance, the Jewish state arose, its rallying cry, "Never Again!". The vow was that never again would Jewish blood be cheap, that Jews suffer in silence, that they should be powerless to defend themselves.

As the years progressed, many Jews lost their connection to Judaism, yet the raw emotions aroused by the Holocaust stirred their hearts and feelings. For Israelis, surrounded by a sea of hostile nations determined on destroying the Jewish state, the specter of the Holocaust hovers in their minds. The State of Israel, according to many, is the insurance policy of the Jewish people in case of another Holocaust. For American Jews, the suffering and pain of their Europeans forebearers colours their identity. They are even on the look-out for signs of impending disaster, of anti-semitism, resolving never again to be caught off guard.

For many Jews, Judaism is synonymous with Holocaust. The Holocaust occupies a significant amount of curriculum in the Jewish schools. For those with little or no formal Jewish education, their first Jewish emotion is often a visit to the Holocaust museum. At every Jewish event that they attend, whether it be the occasional "temple" service, bar mitzvah or celebration, the Holocaust is mentioned and commemorated. A new (and frightening) practice has arisen where bar mitzvah boys are paired up with a child murdered in the Holocaust who did not have a chance to celebrate his bar mitzvah.

The transformation of Judaism into a cult of the Holocaust should repulse and shock every observant Jew. It is a recipe for disillusionment and assimilation, as Judaism becomes something negative, a burden of anti-semitism and tragedy. The Holocaust provides no reason for an unconnected Jew to remain Jewish, to marry a Jew and lead a Jewish life, besides possibly guilt. The Holocaust tells us nothing about Judaism, about the beauty and depth of it's spiritual teachings, or the profoundness of its moral legacy.

Similar to their American brethren, many Israelis believe that the State of Israel exists only because of the Holocaust. Every single foreign delegate is taken to Yad VaShem to bear witness to the destruction of the Jews of Europe, the subtle message being that this is Israel's alternative to fighting. It is in this climate that the dictator of Iran, as well as many educated and sophisticated Arabs, deny the Holocaust with impunity, believing that without the Holocaust, the whole edifice upon which Zionism stands will collapse.

The memory of the six million holy Jews murdered in the Holocaust must be perpetuated and remembered. However, it must be stressed over and over again that Yad VaShem is not Israel and Auschwitz is not Judaism. There was a Judaism long before 1939, and that persecution and oppression need not be an integral part of our identity. The Jewish state exists not because of the Holocaust, but in spite of it.

The heart of Judaism is, and must always be, the public revelation of the divine at Sinai, and the eternal covenant between the Jewish people and G-d. Judaism lives and dies on the fact that G-d revealed Himself before millions of people at Mount Sinai and gave the people of Israel His Torah. It is G-d's instructions manual for life, a guide to live a life of goodness, blessing and meaning. Every single Jew is bound by its commandments and dictates, and must follow its precepts and teachings. By living by the Torah's laws, a Jew reaches holiness and G-dliness. It is this belief that kept Jews strong despite centuries of terrible conditions. When their situation could be alleviated by baptism, conversion or assimilation, they clung tightly to their Torah and to their G-d. This is what prevented the Jew from disappearing among the nations, because His G-d spoke to him from the fire and bound him to Him in an everlasting contract.

Our right to the Land of Israel comes from Sinai and not from Wansee. The same G-d who proclaimed to the Children of Israel, "I am the L-rd, your G-d", promised them Land of Israel. By His word, the Jewish people entered the land and conquered it, by His word they were exiled after rebelling against His commandments, and by His word they are returning to reclaim their stolen heritage. By basing Israel's right to exist on the Holocaust, we provide an opportunity for Ahmadinejad to ask rhetorically why the Germans shouldn't compensate the Jews by giving them land for which to build a state. If Israel is simply meant to be a haven for persecuted Jews, there is no reason why the Arabs should suffer for the crimes of Europeans. Israel draws its legitimacy from Sinai and the modern state is simply a continuation of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and the Hasmonean dynasty, resumed after a 2000 year hiatus.

The focus of the State of Israel cannot simply be defiance to Hitler and the Final Solution. We must always remember the Holocaust and fight to prevent it from ever occurring again, yet it cannot be the focal point of the Jewish state. To silence our haters and critics, we must embrace our deep roots in the Land, and re-affirm our commitment to the values of Sinai. Yad VaShem should not be the first and only stop for visiting diplomats, but one of many that showcase the complexity of Jewish history, the highs and lows of our people. Diplomats should be taken to Jerusalem, the rebuild capital of the Jewish nation, about which our ancestors wept as they were led into captivity, vowing, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its cunning!". They should be taken to Hebron, the home and burial place of our Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They should visit Masada, where the brave Judean warriors took their own lives rather than be taken as slaves by the Romans. They should see the synagogue and yeshivot of the Old City, to demonstrate how Judaism has come home to its birthplace.

The legacy of Sinai must prompt us to be a Light unto the Nations, to fight for freedom and human rights and dignity. The Holocaust and its horrors can only be understood through the traditional framework of Judaism. Alone, it provides us nothing of value about Judaism, and gives us no sense of direction or meaning. Only by embracing Sinai can we hope to build a society based on morals, ethics and the values of holiness. It is Sinai that will re-energize the apathetic masses, that will re-invigorate the disconnected Jewish youth. The Torah, and not the Nuremberg Laws, will stop the tide of assimilation and spiritual oblivion. It is what will give us the courage to fight for our land, and the strength not to bend and apologize in the face of the haters. It is Sinai which is the core of authentic Judaism.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hasbara Goldstoned


At the very inception of the Zionist movement, Herzl understood that Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel would take place with international support. One of the tenets of Zionism has always been that by creating a Jewish state, anti-semitism would disappear and that the Jews would take their rightful place among the family of nations. As such, public opinion has always played a very significant role in the Zionist project. From Ben-Gurion's policy of havlagah, restraint, in response to Arab attacks and provocations, to today's hasbarah efforts, Israel has always wanted to win the favour of the international community.

With the release of the biased and factually incorrect Goldstone report, which labels Israel an aggressor for responding to over 10 000 rockets fired from Gaza, and finds it guilt of "war crimes", Israelis have set upon presenting their case clearly to the world. We want people to understand the pain and suffering of the people living in Sderot, a city where practically the entire population suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to know what its like to have 15 seconds to flee for your life to a shelter before a Grad missile lands on your house or workplace. Responding to international criticism over the IDF's actions in Gaza, Israelis appeared before the news cameras and asked the world what options they had, what other country would tolerate so many repeated attacks on its sovereignty and citizens and waiting so patiently. "What choice do we have? Would the United States allow Mexico to fire 10 000 rockets into California before it responded", they asked, pained by worldwide callousness. For the world, the issue was settled: the Jews were the initiators and firing missiles at civilian targets was a legitimate reaction to an Israel occupation of Gaza which has ended 3 years earlier. The international jury has decided that Israel had no right to defend itself and stood with the brave freedom fighters of Gaza who hid weapons in mosques and hospitals and used their own wives and children as human shields. We tried so hard to convey our story to the world, only to be slapped in the face with the UNHRC's farce of a report. And again, like a broken record, we try to explain ourselves to the world and to justify to them why our children deserve not to be blown up in their schools and playground.

I have had enough of apologies, explanations and justifications. It is time for Jews to stop being ashamed and to lift our heads up high. As if to absolve Israel for its crime of existing, Jewish apologists repeat like a catechism that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East and that Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights and freedoms than in any Arab country. To counter the malicious lies and slander spread against our brave soldiers, we say ad nauseum that Israel has the most moral army in the world, and then explain, as if it is a badge of virtue instead of a sign of utter insanity, how Israel endangers its own soldiers rather than harm enemy civilians.

Lovers of Israel would do well to listen to Jabotinsky's words, written in 1911 but still so true today. In his classic essay Instead of Excessive Apology, he explains that the Jewish world does not owe its enemies any moral diatribes or lectures about our own righteousness. "We constantly and very loudly apologize... Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault... Isn't it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly, coldly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: 'Go to Hell!'?... Do our neighbors blush for the Christians in Kishinyov who hammered nails into Jewish babies' eyes?" Not in the least,-- they walk with head raised high and look everybody in the face; they are absolutely right, and this is how it must be, as the persona of a people is royal, and not responsible and is not obliged to apologize... We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody's examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change and we do not want to." How many times have the Arabs apologized for murdering and maiming Jews sitting in cafes and restaurants? Do they blush for the terrorists who shot 10 month old Shalhevet Pas, sitting outside her home in Hebron, or for shooting in cold blood 8 teenagers studying Torah in a Jerusalem yeshiva? I have yet to see one international condemnation of the daily incitement against Jews in the Arab media, or the hatred and anti-semitism taught in Palestinian schools.

Operation Cast Lead was the very definition of a just war. Since the Gaza Withdrawal, life in southern Israel had become virtually impossible. The Red Alert siren and having 15 seconds to run for cover had became a routine part of life in Sderot. Those who were silent while Kassams fell on homes, schools, synagogues and workplaces in Sderot have no right to express any opinion about Israel's response. The hypocrisy of demonstrators worldwide, outraged at Israeli "atrocities", knows no bounds. Israel has an obligation to protect its people - end of story. The responsibility for any innocent civilians killed lies solely with the people who used their houses of worship as weapons storage and admit without any shame to using women and children as human shields. As was said time and time again, if you go to sleep with rockets in your house, don't expect to wake up in the morning.

I refuse to explain and to justify Israel's right to exist any more. Israel exists by right, like any other country in the world. Only Israel is constantly questioned and delegitimized. Instead of appearing before the world to present our story and to convince them of our justness, we must answer the only way that the world will understand. "Dear world, Go to Hell!"

An Interview with Richard Goldstone

War Crimes!!!!

The world is upside down. B'Tselem defending Israel? Goldstone omitting testimony of a Grad rocket victim?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Evil Settler Speaks

Watch this amazing video of a 94 year old evil Israeli occupying settler, born in Gaza, expelled by the Turks 90 years ago, visiting the Gush Katif museum.

Next Year in Gaza!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Setting the Record Straight on International Law


Master of propaganda, the "Palestinians", an artificial entity with no historical veracity, have convinced most of the world that the State of Israel is illegally occupying their country, known as "Palestine". They have used the language of international justice to point their desire to annihilate the Jewish state as a human rights crusade. It has come to the point where even the President of the United States refers to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as "illegal". It is necessary for every support of Israel, and decent human being, to set the record straight about Jewish resettlement in the Land of Israel.

Jewish resettlement in the Land of Israel, including Gaza, Judea and Samaria, exist as of right and are completely in accordance with international law. In fact, it is the repeated attempts to prevent Jewish resettlement that is in violation of international law. The Mandate for Palestine, set out by the League of Nations and later enshrined in the United Nations, set out the right for Jews to settle in the entire Land of Israel. The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries,4 and became operational on September 29, 1923. The Mandate clearly distinguishes between political rights for Jews and civil and religious rights for non-Jews. Article 2 of the “Mandate for Palestine” explicitly states that the Mandatory should: “... be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.” At no time in the Mandate document are the Arabs referred as a people, or given the right for a country within the boundaries of Palestine set aside for a Jewish National Home.

The claim that Israel is some sort of Holocaust consolation prize to assuage the guilt of Europeans completely disappears when one considers that this document was internationally ratified 30 years before World War Two and explicitly states that Jewish settlement exists by right and not sufferance. The preamble to the text states: "Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." In other words, the soon to be established Jewish state derives its legitimacy from the fact that the two previous Jewish commonwealths existed in the Land of Israel, and that it is the birthplace of the Jewish people. Surrendering any inch of this land to a foreign power is a betrayal of the ancient Jewish ties to the land, and to terms set forth by the Mandator document.

The document, valid until this very day according to international law, sets out that "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." The document does not take into account the existence of any "Palestinian Arab" people and does not distinguish in any way between central Israel, the Galilee, Negev, Judea, Samaria or Gaza. The policy of denying Jews the right to settle in Judea and Samaria simply by virtue of their being Jewish is a blatantly anti-semitic policy, one completely illegal. As Yehuda Z. Blum, Israeli ambassador to the UN, explained: “A corollary of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to its Land is the right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael, including Judea and Samaria which are an integral part of Eretz Yisrael. Jews are not foreigners anywhere in the Land of Israel. Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria just because he is a Jew, is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the ‘Judenrein’ policies of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay."

Zionism has become a very dirty word recently. Jews must stand up and say that Zionism, supporting the right to Jewish self-determination in the entire Land of Israel, and its practical applications such as resettlement and rebuilding, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-semite because he denies Jews the right of self-determination which is accorded to all other peoples. Whenever somebody ignorantly repeats the slander about "illegal settlements" or "outposts", he must be reminded that international law demands that the trustee of the Mandate for Palestine, in the modern world, the State of Israel, encourage "close settlement by Jews on the land" and makes no mention of any other group with political rights in Israel. There is an illegal occupation in Palestine- but it is certainly not a Jewish one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Israel On Trial

By now, the conclusions of the Goldstone report should come as no surprise to anyone. Goldstone found that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Operation Cast Lead. The report is quite damning in its portrayal of the Israeli army as a murderous, genocidal force in Gaza. Here is yet another example of anti-Israel bigotry masquerading in the guise of human rights. Supporters of Israel must realize that this report is no simply a denunciation of specific Israeli actions but rather a denial of Israel's right to self-defense.

The conclusions of the report were a foregone conclusion. According to Israelis who testified before the commission, the situation was hopeless. Their testimonies were largely ignored. Noam Bedin, a resident of Sderot and the manager of the rocket-ridden city's communications office, recounts, "when I stood up and started to testify before the judges, Justice Goldstone fell asleep in front of me. It was an embarrassing moment but I continued talking, realizing that I should not have high hopes," he added. Bedin said the testimony had felt pointless. "One of the judges on the committee had already expressed the very clear opinion that Israel was committing war crimes against the Palestinians," he said. Dr. Mirela Siderer, a resident of Ashkelon, was injured by a Grad missile fired at her by Hamas. She claims that her testimony was completely left out by the commission. In it, she had explained that she was a doctor who often treated Palestinian patients.

Much of the "facts" in report are based on unsubstantiated claims by anti-Israel NGOs. The 575-page Goldstone report is primarily based on NGO statements, publications, and submissions (70 references each for B’Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and more than 30 for Al-Haq and Human Rights Watch). In its analysis of NGO submissions and testimony, NGO Monitor found numerous false and unsubstantiated allegations. Nevertheless, the Goldstone committee simply copied the NGO biases, flawed methodology, and false claims, rendering the entire report invalid.

Israel's actions in Gaza were certainly legal, and in fact were its moral obligation. The hypocritical marches and protests that follow only demonstrate how the world rejects Israel's right to fight back. In early November, Israel discovered that Hamas had dug a tunnel into Israel and was preparing to kidnap more soldiers. As a result, the IDF carried out an operation which eliminated seven Hamas terrorists. Hamas never respected the ceasefire from the very beginning. When the Hamas-imposed six-month deadline expired in December, Israel hoped an agreement could be reached to extend the cease-fire. Instead, Hamas began firing what would be hundreds of rockets into Israel. The sophisticated rockets smuggled in from Iran had put 1-in-every-8 Israelis in mortal danger, forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south to have 15 seconds to run to their lives to take shelter before the rocket hit. The Goldstone commission was based on a false premise of equating perpetrators of terror with its victims. During Operation Cast Lead, Israel, a sovereign democratic state, was responding to hundreds of attacks on its citizens and their homes by a terrorist organization.

The world is ready to accept any libelous claim when it comes to Israel. Recently, Sweden's leading newspaper published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers intentionally killed Arab children in order to harvest their organs, a modern reincarnation of the medieval blood libel. This was despite the fact that the writer of the article, Donald Bostrom, acknowledged that "he has no idea whether the accusations are true." Of course, when it comes to slandering Israel, truth need never get in the way. Similarly, the Goldstone report, based on the biased claims of Palestinian sources and NGOs, is short on facts but full of rhetoric.

Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defense against armed attacks. The only nation to whom that doesn't apply, it seems, is to Israel. The world cannot abide by the idea of Jews defending themselves. In 1967, Israel lost the brief amount of goodwill the world afforded to Jews after the Holocaust, precisely because this was the first time in 2000 years when Jews were no longer the victims. This hideous report is only the beginning of a new wave of anti-Israel sentiment, one which exonerates terrorism and its perpetrators and blames the victims. Israel can look to no support in the international community. Maybe this report is actually good, as it lays bare something that all supports of Israel have known all along: the world does not believe that Jews have a right to exist and to fight back to protect their existence.

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana, this teaches us a very important lesson. We have no one to rely on except our Father in Heaven. Israel believed that its withdrawal from Gaza would bring in its wake international support and sympathy. Instead, it brought rockets upon our heads and even more intense hatred against Israel. With a new anti-Israel administration in Washington, Israel's list of friends is growing increasingly shorter. As Rosh HaShana approaches, Israel must rely on itself and turn to G-d for strength to defeat its enemies and fulfill its destiny.

Shanah Tova. May 5770 be a year of blessing, goodness, prosperity, success and the Complete and Final Redemption. May all of Am Yisrael be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Does Everybody Really Want Peace?

 Image: A Palestinian man making the traditional Middle-Eastern symbol for peace.

Cal Thomas writes that the failure to understand that the Arabs are more interested in destroying the Jewish state than building a Palestinian one has "been the fundamental flaw in American foreign policy for decades". The American government simply does not understand that the goal of the so-called Palestinians is not to create a 23rd Arab state but rather the elimination of the Jewish state, and the massacre of its people. For those who would dispute this honest assessment of the conflict, a look at the history that is all too often ignored, denied and revised, is in order.

In July 1922, the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the Mandate for Palestine. Recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine," Great Britain was charged with supporting the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in the Land of Israel. Shortly thereafter, the British severed four-fifths of Mandatory Palestine from the Jewish people in order to create a new Arab entity, Transjordan. The Arabs now had one state in eastern Palestine, and the remaining fifth on the west bank of the Jordan would be divided among Arabs and Jews. If the goal of the Arabs had been to have a state, four-fifths of Palestine would have sufficed.

Following WWII, seeking a solution for the refugees of Hitler's Final Solution, the UN established a Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP). The Commission recommended the division of Palestine, with the Jewish majority areas becoming part of a Jewish state, while Arab majority areas would be part of an Arab state. On November 29, 1947, the UN adopted this partition plan, giving Jews a tiny, disconnected piece of land, severed from the holy city of Jerusalem. Despite being unsatisfied with the dimensions of this new state, Jews worldwide rejoiced in the knowledge that for the first time in 2000 years, there would be an independent Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The Arabs, on the other hand, rejected any notion of compromise. The chairman of the Arab Higher Committee said the Arabs would "fight for every inch of their country." Two days later, the holy men of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to proclaim a jihad (holy war) against the Jews. Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee's spokesman, had told the UN prior to the partition vote the Arabs would drench "the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood . . . ." Following the UN vote, the Arabs called a general strike and rioting followed. Immediately after the declaration of the State of Israel, one million Arab soldiers from 5 Arab armies invaded, their intentions quite clear. Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, made clear that this was not a conflict about the territory or land: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." If the Arabs had wanted a "Palestinian" state in 1948, they would have accepted Partition. Instead, they went to war and were defeated.

From 1948 to 1967, Judea, Samaria and Gaza were under illegal Jordanian and Egyptian control. This would have been a perfect time for the "Palestinians" to fight for their independence, yet not such thing happened, especially since there wasn't even a concept of a "Palestinian" people before the 1960s! Right before the Six Days War, the Arab rhetoric against Israel reached a fever pitch, and again, the aim of the Arab armies was not the creation of a "Palestinian" state. As Nasser told the United Arab Republic National Assembly March 26, 1964: "Israel and the imperialism around us, which confront us, are two separate things. There have been attempts to separate them, in order to break up the problems and present them in an imaginary light as if the problem of Israel is the problem of the refugees, by the solution of which the problem of Palestine will also be solved and no residue of the problem will remain. The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel as it is in the present and in what she represents."

In 2000, at the Camp David Accords, Ehud Barak made the most generous offer any Israeli prime minister ever made to Yasser Arafat. He offered to withdraw from 90 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of the Gaza Strip. In addition, he agreed to dismantle 63 isolated settlements. In exchange for the 5 percent annexation of the West Bank, Israel would increase the size of the Gaza territory by roughly a third. Israel would also agree to the division of Jerusalem, with east Jerusalem becoming the capital of Palestine, and allow the Palestinians sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Muslim holy sites. At the time, Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia, who was present when this offer was made said: “If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won’t be a tragedy, it will be a crime.” Arafat rejected this most generous offer, presented no counter proposal and instead went home to stir up the Oslo War, popularly known as the Second Intifada. As always, the Arabs presented their goal quite explicitly. "We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. . . . We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem,” Arafat explained. What about peace? “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”

In 2005, Israel decided to completely evacuate its soldiers and citizens from the Gaza Strip. This would give the Palestinians a chance to build a viable society there, on the road to a Palestinian state. Israel presented the Palestinians with the state-of-the-art greenhouses that had made Gush Katif such a successful agricultural enterprise. The Palestinians, instead, destroyed them, as well as desecrated synagogues left behind by the Jewish residents. Rather than work for peace, Hamas, a terrorist organization which aims to destroy Israel, was elected. They used the former Jewish towns as rocket launch sites, using them as bases to attack southern Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon. If the Palestinians had truly wanted a state, they had a golden opportunity to demonstrate this after 2005, when "Israeli occupation" could no longer serve as an excuse in Gaza.

After ending his term as prime minister, Ehud Olmert offered details of his secret "final deal" proposal to Abbas. Olmert claimed to have offered "to make concessions more painful than those offered by Ehud Barak at Camp David.” Olmert offered the eviction of thousands of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, as well as the redivision of Jerusalem. "There was one point when I put things on the table and offered Abbas something that had never been offered and dealt with the crux of the problem, with the most sensitive issues that touch the most exposed nerves and historical obstacles," Olmert said during conference in Herzliya. "I told him – 'let's sign.' It was half a year ago and I'm still waiting," he said. Of course, no deal was reached.

Much has been written about the supposed Saudi peace proposal of 2002. This plan is "quid, but no quo", to quote Thomas. Israel must surrender Judea and Samaria, expel half a million Jewish residents, and return to its indefensible pre-67 "Auschwitz borders". Israel must redivide Jerusalem, removing hundreds of thousands of Jewish residents from their homes. Israel must also surrender the Golan Heights, liberated from illegal Syrian occupation in a defensive war. Israel must also allow itself to be flooded with millions of Arab refugees who fled during the War of Independence and the Six Day War, making Jews a minority in their own country and effectively marking the end of Israel as a Jewish state. All of these painful compromises all for the Arabs recognizing the simple fact that the State of Israel has existed for 61 years. Of course, there is no reason for most of these Arab states not to be at peace with Israel now, since Israel does not hold the territory of any of them, nor does it pose any threat to them.

The goal of the Arabs has never been "a Palestinian" state. As Arafat explained, it is a Trojan-horse plan to make Israel withdraw to indefensible borders and weaken it, as a first stage to its elimination. This is the main difference between the "extremist" Hamas and the "moderate" Fatah: Fatah still believes in a two-state solution as a means to destroy Israel. Article 12 of the Fatah Charter makes it abundantly clear that they have no interest in compromise with Israel: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." The Hamas Charter also negates compromise: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it... The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! "

Again and again, the Arabs have announced their intentions. A Palestinian state would not change the generations of Arabs raised on a steady diet of hate, the demonization of Jews and anti-semitism displayed in the Islamic media. It would not change the insatiable Arab desire to destroy the State of Israel, but only encourage it, interpreting compromise as weakness. Israel has made the mistake of believing the Arab lies before- let us hope that we learn from history.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kol Dodi Dofek

Kol Dodi Dofek-
The Voice of My Beloved knocks
He knocks and He says:
Return to Me, wayward children!
Return to Me, please.
Do not abandon Me,
Look to My Torah
And remember my goodness.

He pleads and He begs, saying:
If you but open for Me a little
I will open for you a lot.
Will I not pour out my storehouses of blessing for you
If you but return?

I remember the kindness of your youth, He says,
How you followed Me into the wilderness, into a land unsown.
It is a time for comfort, a time for salvation.
Please, My silly, foolish people
Please come back.

My Beloved knocks, and He calls, and He screams,
He tries to awaken me with trials and tribulations,
He tries to arouse me with signs and wonders.
The Glorious Redemption is near!
It is in your hands!
You need only open for Me.

I have not abandoned You,
Though you may have abandoned Me.
I have not replaced My covenant,
Nor broken My promise.
The grass may wither and the flowers may fade
But My word stands forever.

My children, open your eyes and see
All I have done, have I not done for your sake?
I was with you in fire and water,
Through dark and despair.
I held your hand as the tormentors led you.

Do not fear My stubborn sons!
For there is still a hope after you,
And sons shall return to their borders,
If you but open for Me,
If you but let Me in.

Wake up, He desperately cries out,
Take up a signpost and return to your towns.
Put on your vestment of righteousness,
And your crown of glory.
My people, I hide Myself from you in a moment of anger,
And in eternal mercy I will take you back.

My Beloved knocks,
And yells
And howls bitterly,
Yet I close my eyes,
Stop my eyes,
I refuse to hear.

May 5770 be the year when we finally hear the Voice of our Beloved knocking.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to Answer the Haters

One of the most important claims for Israel's defenders, both American Jews and Israelis, is Israel's willingness to compromise for peace. "Israel's greatest desire is peace, and is willing to sacrifice for it", they proudly proclaim, in contrast to the 6 decades of Arab rejectionism. Another essential point cited by supporters of Israel is that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle-East", after which they go on to list the number of ways in which Israel is similar to the United States.

Israel is certainly the only country in the Middle-East with free elections, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Despite any problems with Israeli democracy, it is infinitely better than Saudi or Iranian theocracy, Egyptian or Syrian dictatorship or the host of other thuggish regimes that rule the Middle-East. However, if this is the cardinal argument in favor of Israel, then Israel advocates are faced with a terrible dilemma: Israel's Jewish and Zionist character are inherently opposed to true, liberal Western-style democracy. Israel is, by definition, a Jewish state, which means that Jews must be the majority of the population. Israel's people, culture, religion, language, holidays and character are thoroughly Jewish. Even if an Arab has equality before the law and the right to vote, he is automatically culturally alienated from a state which belongs to another people. No Arab can sing Hatikvah with pride, beaming as he recites the words "the soul of a Jew yearns". Neither can he identify with a flag which is designed to resemble the Jewish prayer shawl and that features the Star of David, symbol of the Jewish people. He cannot celebrate Yom HaAztmaut, Israel's Independence Day, as this is the day of his defeat at the hands of the Jews. All lovers of Israel must realize that Israel, as long as it is a Jewish state, can never be a perfect democracy in the sense of Canada or the United States. This is not meant to criticize or deligitimize Israel- it is simply the stating of a fact.

Similarly, Israel can never have a complete separation of Synagogue and State, as is in the United States. Whatever role religion should play in the public sphere, most Israelis agree that it is important for Judaism to play a role in the Jewish State. For the concept of a Jewish state to have any significance, Israel must have some sort of Jewish character.

Here we see the fundamental flaws of liberal Israel advocacy. Israel will never be a perfect democracy, nor will it ever be thoroughly American or Western, if it is to be Jewish. In the same vein, Israelis and American Jews present peace as the most important of Israeli goals, as if Israel without peace is useless. Israel's obsessive compulsion to pursue a reckless policy of appeasement and surrender in the name of "peace" is tauted as proof of Israel's supreme righteousness. From Jewish children in Hebrew schools and summer camps, brainwashed by "peace", to liberal American Jews and Leftist Israelis still enamored by Rabin and Oslo, we are constantly reminded that "Israel is all about peace".

Since the earliest beginnings of Jewish re-settlement in Israel, there has been constant conflict with the Arabs. In the 90 years since the Arab pogroms in the 1920s, the bloodshed has been without respite. Despite the initiatives of various US presidencies, the two sides seem too distant and irreconcilable for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The Jews and Arabs have far too many differences in terms of culture, collective past and their respective views for the future for any peace agreement in the near future. This being said, is Israel then to be considered a complete failure?

Peace is an important goal for Israel, but it is not the most important goal. The quest for peace does not give Israel its right to exist, nor does its democratic government or Western leanings make it the morally superior party. After all, one could easily establish a democratic, Western regime on the stolen lands of another nation, as was the case in Canada, the United or India, for example. After appropriating native land, it is only natural for this country to seek peace with the conquered.

What gives Israel the moral upper-hand in the conflict is the fact that the Land of Israel belongs indisputably to the Jewish people. It was in the Land of Israel that the Jewish people arose, built two Commonwealths, and fought courageously before being carried away by first the Babylonians and then the Romans. It was the Land of Israel in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sojourned, in which David fought and Solomon built, in which Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied and called the wayward Jews to repent. It was the Land that, upon remembering its glory, the exiled Jews sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept. It is the Land upon whose agricultural cycle the Jewish calendar and holidays revolve. It is the Land which our Sages taught that the entire Torah rests. Jewish settlement and presence in Israel predates that of the British in Britain, the French in France, or the Romans in Rome. When the Greeks were only beginning to ponder the great philosophical questions, the Jews had already left Egypt, conquered the Land, established Jerusalem as their capital, built the Temple there, split into two kingdoms, been exiled by the Babylonians for 50 years, and returned to rebuild under Ezra and Nehemia.

Even after the vast majorities of Jews were carried into captivity by the Romans, the Land was never bereft of a Jewish presence. The center of Jewish life spread to the Galilee and then to the Golan, and during the ages, pious Jews settled in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias. For the great masses who could not ascend and return home, Israel remained the focal point of their intense longing and desire. Every single year, at the end of every Passover Seder and Yom Kippur fast, every Jew would declare: Next Year in Jerusalem! At every Jewish wedding, a cup is broken and a vow is made: If I forget thee, O Jerusalem... Three times a day, every day, observant Jews turn towards the East and beseech G-d, "may our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy". A Jew cannot even eat a cookie without thanking G-d "for the good and spacious land which You gave our ancestors as an inheritance".

To all those who charge Israel with the most vile of crimes, with "occupation, "ethnic cleansing", "theft of land", our answer most not be of saying that Israel wants peace, or that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East. The fact that Israel is the United State's greatest ally is irrelevant to this accusation. Our answer must be that of Simon the Maccabee, which he wrote to the Seleucid king Antiochus: "We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our fathers, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our fathers." There is no "Palestinian people", nor was there ever, nor will there ever be. Any student of history is aware of this fact. The relationship of the Jews and their Land is one of love, longing, tearful separation and joyous return. With this we shall answer the haters of Zion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally Home, and Never Leaving Again

1012, Jews expelled from Mainz. 1290, Jews expelled from England. 1306, Jews expelled from France. 1483, Jews expelled from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania and Portugal. 1492, all Jews expelled from Spain. 1510, Jews expelled from Brandenburg, Germany. 1569, Pope orders all Jews out of the Papal States. 1593, Jews expelled from Italy and Bavaria. 1941, Jewish refugees expelled from the German Reich to Poland. 1956, Jews expelled from Egypt.

Both Church doctrine and Islamic teachings adopted the theology of the Wandering Jew, that the continuous expulsions of Jews was proof of their debased status and rejection by G-d. Jews were regularly forced out of their homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East at the whims of kings, clergymen and rulers. The partial list of expulsions above shows the regularity with which Jews were uprooted and were forced to seek new host countries. This 2000 year period of exile forever came to a close on one historic night in May 1948 when David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the promise of immediate citizenship to any Jew who desired.

Never again were Jews to be left without a refuge or a place of safety. As Hitler's dark forces grew, the world began to close its doors to Jewish immigration, leaving the Jews of Europe doomed to the Nazi inferno. "None was too many" was the infamous response of a Canadian official when asked how many Jewish refugees his country would let in. Then suddenly, this homelessness came to an end with the earth-shattering words: "we... hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel". Finally, the exile had ended. When the Jews of the Arab world were forced out of their homes, they found a country waiting for them with open arms. The Jews of Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, etc. were not condemned to wander or to languish in camps but became full citizens in their own country, the Jewish state.

Incredibly, the very same countries that threw Jews out of their homes, prompting many to make their way to Israel and fight for their right to their own state there, are now leading the way in preparing for the expulsion of Jews from there. Leaving the lands of Europe behind, Jews came to Israel and now the European countries are demanding that Jews leave their rightful homes in Judea and Samaria. 70 years after the cry was 'Jews to Palestine!', the grandchildren of those who screamed this now yell 'Jews out of Palestine!'.

To be able to accomplish this, a clever propaganda campaign was unleashed against the Jews of Judea and Samaria. They were not residents returning home after a long absence, but rather colonists usurping a foreign land. They were not residents but "settlers". In a perversion of history, the lands of the Bible, the historical Jewish homeland, were re-branded as Arab land and to be permanently judenrein. Jew living in Monsey, Toronto or London lived in communities but Jews in Bet El, Ariel or Maale Adumin were in "settlements". Jews building homes on the site of the tents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on the battlegrounds of King David, or the towns visiting by Isaiah and Jeremiah were "illegal", "outposts". Land that was inhabited by Jews as recently as 1948 and from which they were driven by advancing Arab armies was deemed to be part of the fictional country that never existed, "Palestine".

History has shown that there is no place for Jews anywhere besides the land of their forefathers. The anti-semitic nations of the world, descendants of their wicked ancestors who chased Jews from England, Spain and Eastern Europe, now conspire to uproot Jews from Gush Etzion, Modiin Illit and Hebron. The Islamic world, which stretches from Indonesia to Morocco, must find room for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and certainly not the tiny State of Israel. It is high time for the world to understand that the Jews of Israel are not leaving, not now, nor ever.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Proclaiming Zionism

Perusing my local bookstore, I found the shelves replete with anti-Israel books. Besides trashing Israel and its supporters, the basic idea of these books was that the concept of a Jewish state is illegitimate and that Zionism has no place in the modern world. Some even had the chutzpah to suggest that a Jewish state is against Jewish values!

Sadly, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among pseudo-intellectuals and supposedly liberal thinkers to question to right of the State of Israel to exist. Consider the recent conference at Toronto's York University, "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace", which, packed with anti-Israel speakers, based itself on the premise that Israel must be dismantled as a Jewish state and reconstituted as a bi-national one. In university campuses across the United States, Israel's Jewish character is constantly debated, condemned and defamed, returning us to the infamous 'Zionism = Racism' UN resolution.

Israel is the only country that 61 years after its founding, has its rights right to exist questioned. Similarly, Jews are the only people whose right to statehood and sovereignty is a matter for debate. The incredible irony is that of all the countries in the Western world, Israel is the only one that has the same people living in the same territory, speaking the same language, practicing the same faith, as it did 3000 years ago. No other country can boast anything similar. Long before Spain was Spanish and while Rome was still a collection of villages along the Tiber, Israel was Jewish and Jerusalem its capital and spiritual center. Jewish statehood and self-rule in the Land of Israel is completely natural, something that cannot be said about the other countries in the region. The modern map of the Middle-East was carved up by British and French imperialists after WWI, creating artificial countries such as Jordan (originally 'Transjordan'), Saudi Arabia, or Iraq. No Jordanian people appears in the annals of human history, having been invented when the British first carved up the Land of Israel in 1921. Iraq is simply the result of the British combining three distinct Ottoman provinces and forcing three separate ethnic and religious groups into an unwanted union.

Rather than combatting this dangerous historical revisionism, the Israeli government pursues policies that encourage, validate and exacerbate these beliefs. By dismantling outposts and evicting Jewish families from their hilltop homes in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government sends the message that Jews are merely interlopers, with no real reason to be in Israel. As a result of Arab and Iranian propaganda, reinforced by President Obama's naivete, millions of Arabs and Muslims believe Israel to simply be the result of European guilt over the Holocaust and that it was simply luck that had the Jews set up a state in Israel rather than Uganda of Upstate New York. The Israeli government is unfortunately too blind to see that the key to peace is more, not less, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and a recommitment to a Jewish presence there. This would force the Arab rejection of Jewish historical rights and peoplehood, which is the heart of the conflict, to end.

Our right to Maoz Esther and Alon Shvut is the exact same as our right to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. It is time for Israel's leaders to realize that in the eyes of even the "moderate" Arabs, both are illegitimate and that the only proper place for Israel in the Middle-East is in the sea. To combat the anti-Zionist zeitgeist sweeping the United States and Europe, Israel must unequivocally assert that the Land of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, by right of history, politics, conquest and divine bequeathal. Israel has no need to be ashamed of its Jewish characters. In a world of 22 Arab states, 57 Islamic states and several that define themselves as "Islamic republics", it is the height of hypocrisy to claim that a Jewish state is somehow racist. The charges of racism and apartheid have no grounding in fact but are a tool of Leftist and Islamic propaganda to defame and demonize Israel.

Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. There is no reason for its existence except as the homeland of the Jewish people. Zionism is the natural expression of two thousand years of Jewish longing to return home, to rebuild their country from which they were forcibly removed by Roman centurions and legionnaires. Israel has no need to apologize for this but must stand firm and proud at its incredible accomplishments. The point of Zionism was never really to end anti-Semitism but to be able to tell anti-Semites to bugger off. Israel must tune out the voices of hate and condemnation that echo from the farce that is the UN, from the despots and tyrants of the Islamic and Third-Worlds, from the Loony Left and Extreme Right. The Jewish people have come home, and nothing will change that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Renewing the Dream

Once upon a time, an edifice stood in Jerusalem connecting heaven and Earth. The Temple was the symbol of G-d's presence on Earth, a place where the divine was tangible.

Our Sages relate that 10 miracles happened daily in the Temple, an obvious manifestation of G-d's dwelling among His people. 3 times a year, the entire nation would make pilgrimage to the Temple, to clearly see and feel the G-d of Israel, to learn His Torah and to better live by His laws.

Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, the beginning of an intense 9 days of mourning, marking the end of the 3 weeks since the 17th of Tammuz, culminating in Tisha B'Av, when we grieve the loss of our Temple. On the 9th of Av, G-d moved out of His house, and in a certain sense, left His people. While we are told that G-d's Shechina accompanied Israel into exile, we are now subject to hester panim, divine concealment, the result being millenia of persecution and oppression, pogroms and Holocausts. The pain and torture in exile all stem from this hester panim. All of the subsequent travails that have befallen Israel all have their root in the destruction of the Temple. Today's sufferings, the rioting and discord in Jerusalem, the international coalition to uproot and expel Jews from their homes, are all because G-d is hiding His face.

The dream of a rebuilt Temple gave Israel the strength to survive and persevere despite the most horrendous of circumstances, the most difficult of exile. It was this vision that allowed the Jew to withstand the crushing humiliation of the ghettos, juderias and mellah, the awful poverty and deprivation, the lowliness of exile, the various decrees and restrictions imposed on him, his home, his family, his livelihood and the numerous physical attacks. It was this dream that allowed the Jew to return to his land, to rebuild his desolate cities and to make the desert bloom. The dream of a rebuilt Temple gave him the strength the reestablish his homeland, to fight enemies far more numerous and powerful than him. It is the dream that still propels him to settle and build, to fight and survive. The majestic dream of G-d's House on Earth, of His dwelling-place among the multitudes of Israel, fights for the Jew in battle, goes along with him to every hill and valley that he rebuilds, to every school, hospital, synagogue and home that he establishes.

Today, the world bands against the nation plucked from the fires of Europe and conspires to evict him from his rightful home. In the midst of this, there are many among the nation of Israel who have forgotten the dream. There are those for whom the Temple is just that, only a dream that belongs to the past. Their hearts have grown cold to the searing pain of being separated from our Father in Heaven, have become numbed to the yearning and longing to see the Temple standing once again in Jerusalem, the heart of Israel and the world. It is time to wake up from our slumber and realize that no matter how many communities we build, how big and grand Jerusalem is, how powerful our state is, everything is incomplete without the Temple. Every single problem facing Israel today has its origin in the fact that G-d is not clearly among us, that man cannot see the diving plan or presence.

May we awaken in our hearts a true longing for G-d's Throne to be reestablished on Earth. We must demand of HaShem "enough! Enough concealment, enough pain, enough exile and hardship! Show yourself!. May Tisha B'Av be transformed from a day of sadness and mourning to one of joy, comfort and salvation. May it be HaShem's will that the Beit HaMikdash be rebuilt speedily in our days, and may we have a portion in His Torah, and may the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to HaShem as in days of old, as in former years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On a brief hiatus... will post irregularly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One Land for One People

At Bar-Ilan, Binyamin Netanyahu laid the foundations for a Palestinian state. Along with that, he unwittingly nullified the Jewish State. Netanyahu outlined his vision for the Middle East: "In my vision of peace, there are two free peoples living side by side in this small land, with good neighborly relations and mutual respect, each with its flag, anthem and government, with neither one threatening its neighbor's security and existence."

Netanyahu's speech detailed the deep Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and attempted to correct many of the fallacies and inaccuracies contained in Obama's Cairo address. To thunderous applause, Netanyahu proclaimed that "the connection of the Jewish People to the Land has been in existence for more than 3,500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked, our forefathers David, Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, this is not a foreign land, this is the Land of our Forefathers... The right to establish our sovereign state here, in the Land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: Eretz Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish People." Yet for all the powerful and refreshing Zionist rhetoric, Netanyahu undermined all of this with his call for a Palestinian state east of the Jordan.

The very existence of a "Palestinian" people negates the basis of Zionism. The age-old Jewish dream of being a free people in its own land stands in stark contradiction to the claims of the "Palestinians". Either Israel belongs to the Jewish people or Palestine belongs to the Arabs. If the land is the historical birthplace of the Jewish people, promised to us by G-d and redeemed and rebuilt in recent generations through Jewish blood, sweat and tears, then no other people has a claim of ownership. On the other hand, if "Palestine" exists, then the Jews are invaders and usurpers, colonizing a foreign land which they have no right to. There can be no two sides in this conflict: either there is an Israel, or there is a "Palestine:".

From its very inception, Zionist leaders understood this. Only 30 years ago, Golda Meir argued that "there is no such thing as a Palestinian!" One of the early Zionist slogans was that Israel was "a land without people for a people without a land". Of course during the long two-thousand year exile when the majority of the Jewish people were prevented from returning home did foreigners come and settled in the land- but only as individuals, and never as a people. At no point before 1967 did the Arabs living in Israel consider themselves part of any people other than the greater Arab nation, and certainly not as a distinct "Palestinian" entity. Never was there an independent "Palestinian" state, nor was there ever a struggle or a demand for one, until Israel liberated Judea and Samaria. When Egypt and Jordan occupied Gaza, Judea and Samaria illegally for 19 years, there was no movement by the Arabs in these areas for a "Palestinian" state. In short, the concept of a "Palestinian" people is crock, a fallacy and a fraud, product of historical revisionism designed to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. By accepting, at least partially, the validity of "Palestinians", Netanyahu has unknowingly rocked the foundations of Israel.

Despite the majority of the Jews being carried off by the Romans, never did we relinquish our right or title to the Land of Israel. Jews maintained a constant presence in Israel since biblical times and in each subsequent generation, they sought to re-establish themselves there. No other people ever took roots or built a state in the land, and no other nation ever called out longingly and with intense yearning for two millenia, for her, saying "Next year in Jerusalem!".

The borders outlined for a "two-state solution" are purely artificial borders, created arbitrarily. Judea and Samaria have no special significance to the Arabs, yet it is the land where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob roamed, where David fought and conquered, and where Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied. An Israel cut off from its biblical roots has absolutely no justification to exist. Without these lands, Israel will be a body, but devoid of a heart or a soul. The Arabs have been blessed with 22 states and vast wealth- let them create a 23 state for the "Palestinians" there. Jordan was originally part of the "Mandate for Palestine", and has a majority of "Palestinians". Therefore, it is fitting for "Palestine" to be created in Jordan, yet there is no justification for the Jewish people to surrender their homeland to create a country for a foreign nation of squatters.

"No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the right to yield any part of Israel.

It is the right of the Jewish people over generations, a right that under no conditions, can be cancelled. Even if Jews during a specific period proclaim they are relinquishing that right, they have neither the power nor the authority to deny it to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish People. Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal right and we shall not yield this historic right until its full and complete Redemption is realized."

It was Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, who said this, because he understood that every single concession and territorial withdrawal meant that another nation had a claim on the Land of Israel. A "Palestinian" people negates and contradicts the Zionist dream, because it implies that some other nation established itself in the land of Israel. Only by virtue of our historical ties and divine promise can Israel exist, and if this is the case, there is no room for a foreign national movement in the Land of Israel. Either the Land is the eternal inheritance of the Nation of Israel, or it belongs to the Arabs, and specifically to the "Palestinians". Event as late as 2002, Netanyahu, speaking before the Likud Central Committee, recognized this. "Ultimately, the historical accounts are clear: Yes to a Palestinian state means no to a Jewish one. And yes to a Jewish state means no to a Palestinian one." Indeed, Mr. Netanyahu, indeed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Claim to Our Land

In a few short lines, Barack Hussein Obama did more to delegitimize Israel than all previous US previous in 62 years. In his speech, he effectively accepted the Arab Islamic narrative of Middle-Eastern history and painted Israel's existence as a Holocaust consolation prize.

He said: "America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and antisemitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust... Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful." With these few sentences, Obama said that Israel's right to exist is based on anti-semitism and the Holocaust.

According to the anti-Zionist narrative, Israel is a colonialist state that has no place in the Middle-East. Following WWII, European powers, ridden with guilt over the Holocaust, allowed the Jewish people to set up a state in Israel, a land that the Europeans never had the right to give away. Based on this belief, we can see why Holocaust denial is an essential feature of Islamic anti-Israel discourse. If the Holocaust never happened in the first place, then surely Israel has absolutely no right to exist. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expresses this point well: "The West claims that more than six million Jews were killed in World War II and to compensate for that they established and support Israel. If it is true that the Jews were killed in Europe, why should Israel be established in the East, in Palestine?" "Moderate" Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, wrote his Ph.D. thesis denying the Holocaust.

Only an ignoramus could claim that Jews are interlopers and settlers in Israel. Archaeology proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel, maintaining a presence in the land from biblical times until today. The first Jewish commonwealth existed from 1200 BCE until the 6th century BCE, this period of Jewish independence lasting longer than the United States, Canada or any modern country has been in existence. After a brief hiatus of 70 years in Babylonian exile, Jews returned in large numbers to the land and following the Maccabee revolt in the 4th century, the Jews in Israel enjoyed another 100 year period of unbroken sovereignty. During all of these centuries, Jerusalem lay at the heart of the Jewish nation and served as its political, religious, spiritual and cultural center. Long before France was French or Britain was British, when Rome was still a collection of villages on the Tiber and the Greek barely began philosophizing, Israel was already firmly Jewish and Jerusalem its capital.

Although forcible exiled in 70 CE by the Romans, the Jews never forfeited their claims to the land. Although the Romans renamed the land "Palestinae" by the name of another invading tribe, the Philistines, in an attempt to sever the Jewish connection to the land, the Jew never stopped longing and praying for Zion. In his heart, he knew that the land was Israel, and that "Palestinae" was a fraud, never existed. Three times a day for 2000 years, from the four corners of the Earth, Jews turned towards Jerusalem and prayed, "May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy" and "Return to Jerusalem Your city, as You have promised, and build it speedily in our days." After every single meal, Jews in Morocco and Poland, Persia and Russia, Spain and India concluded by thanking G-d " that You have bestowed on our forefathers the inheritance of the precious, good, and spacious land" and asking Him to "rebuild Jerusalem, the Holy City, speedily in our days." At every Jewish wedding, the groom would break a glass in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple and vow "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning." At the conclusion of every single seder all over the world, Jews declare with firm hope and faith "Next year in Jerusalem!" The Jew never forgot the dream of Zion, the beacon calling him home to his land.

In each successive generation, Jews strove to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. Writing in the 11th century, rabbi Yehuda Halevi wrote: "My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West; How can I taste what I eat and how could it be pleasing to me? How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia? It would be easy for me to leave all the bounty of Spain --As it is precious for me to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary." The famed commentator, the Ramban, Nachmanides, re-established the Jerusalem Jewish community and the great sages, the Vilna Gaon and the Baal Shem Tov, sent their disciples to settle the land. In the 18th century, thousands of Eastern European Jews began to settle the land and the active return to Zion began.

To suggest that Israel is some sort of Holocaust consolation is not only obscene but anachronistic because the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations in the 1920s recognized the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel and declared that Jewish settlements "are there as of right, and not sufferance". The State of Israel draws its legitimacy not from the ashes of dead Jews but rather from the Torah, from the deep and ancient Jewish connection to Israel. The modern State of Israel is but a continuation of the previous Jewish commonwealths, with a mere two thousand year gap in between. No other nation or people has any claim on the land of Israel, nor was there ever any other sovereign state, beside the Jewish ones, in the land. Israel exists by historic connection, by divine right, by the blood and sweat of Jews who built and toiled, defended and fought for this land.

A new president arose over the United States who did not know Joseph. The President said, "Who is G-d that I should listen to His voice and leave Israel alone? I do not know of G-d, nor will I leave Israel alone!" However, G-d has a different plan in mind. "Behold days are coming, says the Lord, that the plowman shall meet the reaper and the treader of the grapes the one who carries the seed, and the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will return the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall rebuild desolate cities and inhabit [them], and they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their produce. And I will plant them on their land, and they shall no longer be uprooted from upon their land, that I have given them, said the Lord your God." (Amos 9:13-15)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Cairo Obamination

Before the eyes of billions of people worldwide, the leader of the free world munched happily on Mohammedan tuches. In what is without a doubt the largest example of appeasement before terror and fascism since Chamberlain, Obama brought his message of love, peace and reconciliation to the Islamic world, in Cairo. Crying "peace, peace in our time", he repeated ad nauseum myths and revisionist history about "civilization's debt to Islam", his hope for peace between "all the children of Abraham", and apologized for America upsetting the Islamic world. This speech is extremely significant in light of the declaration of jihad against the United States and the Western world, since the victim of aggression cannot even recognize that he is at war. Here are parts of Hussein Obama's speech, with my comments interspersed.

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement.

Such higher learning is manifested in Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh's approval of suicide bombings on Islamic grounds.

Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the west includes centuries of co-existence and co-operation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a cold war in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the west as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Of course, the United States is to blame for the conflict. No mention of Islamic supremacist doctrine, of the teachings of violent jihad. There is no mention of the Qur'an injunction to "fight them until idolatry is no more, and religion is for Allah" (Q 2:193), or of Muhammad's deathbed last words that he "was commanded to fight until all men testify that there is no god but Allah". According to Obama, the West is guilty of antagonizing Islam, despite the fact that since its founding in the 7th century, Islam has never stopped aggressively expanding and conquering non-Muslim land. He ignores the traditional Islamic division of the world between Dar al-Islam, the House of Islam, and Dar al-Harb, the House of War.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

Again, Obama repeats the myth that the vast majority of Muslims reject terror, even though there is no basis for this claim. A 2007 CBC poll found that 12% of Canadian Muslims approved of suicide bombings and a foiled plot to behead the Canadian PM. 13% of American Muslims support suicide bombings and 40% do not believe that 9/11 was carried out by Muslims. 5% if U.S. Muslims support Al Qaeda specifically, although fully 25% refused to answer the question. 10% of British Muslims pro-actively support terror, while 20% sympathize while stopping short of actually blowing themselves up. 57% of Jordianians and 40% of Moroccans ("moderate" countries) condone or support suicide bombings. In addition to this, no mainstream major American, Canadian or European Muslim organization has unequivocally condemned or rejected the Islamic doctrine of jihad and repudiated the objective of replacing the secular constitution of Western states with Islamic sharia law.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the co-operation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

Does this include a rejection of the laws of dhimmitude, under which non-Muslims are second-class citizens, discriminated against and forced to conform to humiliating laws? Or that women are subservient and inferior to men (Q 4:34)? That "non-believers are the vilest of all creatures" (Q 8:51)? More likely, the "new beginning" that Obama would like to inaugurate will be one of American appeasement and apology, concession and retreat.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us: "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do - to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan [the Muslim call to prayer] at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

The idea that Islamic culture was once a beacon of learning and enlightenment is a commonly held myth. In fact, much of this has been exaggerated, often for quite transparent apologetic motives. The astrolabe was developed, if not perfected, long before Muhammad was born. The zero, which is often attributed to Muslims, and what we know today as “Arabic numerals” did not originate in Arabia, but in pre-Islamic India. Aristotle’s work was preserved in Arabic not initially by Muslims at all, but by Christians such as the fifth century priest Probus of Antioch, who introduced Aristotle to the Arabic-speaking world. Another Christian, Huneyn ibn-Ishaq (809-873), translated many works by Aristotle, Galen, Plato and Hippocrates into Syriac. His son then translated them into Arabic. The Syrian Christian Yahya ibn ‘Adi (893-974) also translated works of philosophy into Arabic, and wrote one of his own, The Reformation of Morals. His student, another Christian named Abu ‘Ali ‘Isa ibn Zur’a (943-1008), also translated Aristotle and others from Syriac into Arabic. The first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683. The first hospital was founded in Baghdad during the Abbasid caliphate -- not by a Muslim, but a Nestorian Christian. A pioneering medical school was founded at Gundeshapur in Persia — by Assyrian Christians.

In sum, there was a time when it was indeed true that Islamic culture was more advanced than that of Europeans, but that superiority corresponds exactly to the period when Muslims were able to draw on and advance the achievements of Byzantine and other civilizations. But when the Muslim overlords had taken what they could from their subject peoples, and the Jewish and Christian communities had been stripped of their material and intellectual wealth and thoroughly subdued, Islam went into a period of intellectual decline from which it has not yet recovered. (From Jihad Watch)

Islam's history of racism is shocking. Today, the Arab trade of black slaves continues in Niger, Sudan and Mauritania. But, perhaps the most conspicuous example of overt racism in Islam is the genocide in present-day Sudan by the Arab-Islamic government and the refusal of Muslim organizations around the world to condemn it. Over two million black Africans have died from Arab aggression in the Christian south. And 200,000 more were killed by Arab militias over the last four years in Darfur. The Arabs are known for rampaging through villages and hacking black Africans to death in the name of Jihad while screaming things like, "Kill the slaves!"

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote: "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our founding fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

Which wars have Muslims fought in (on the side of the United States)? "Won Nobel prizes" --- he should say "won A Nobel prize" (Ahmed Zewail is the only U.S.-based Muslim to have won a Nobel prize). Islam's largest contribution to American history is the smoking crater at Ground Zero in New York City.

Why is it the POTUS's responsibility to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam? What about negative stereotypes of Jews, or Christians, or Buddhists, or Hindus, or Shintos, or Californians, or vegetarians, or blue-eyed people, or redheads, etc.?


So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Unfortunately, Americans tend to project their values on others. In the words of Mr Inyadullah, one of Pakistan's largest Islamic fundamentalist groups, "Americans love Pepsi, we love death". Or to quote Osama bin Laden: “We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two.” Islamic culture simply does not place the same value on life as Western culture does. One need simply think of Palestinian mothers sending their children out to suicide missions and then dancing, rejoicing and giving out candy when they hear that they have successfully blown up and murdered Jews in a Tel-Aviv cafe. This is a culture that wallows in death and hatred.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

Yet no peep is heard about the genocide of hundreds of thousands in Darfur. If one fraction of the indignation and condemnation that was heaped on Israel when it had the gaul of defending itself from rocket attacks had been directed towards Khartoum, so many hundreds of thousands would not be dead.


The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

Like Episcopalian extremism? Those nutty Quakers? Fundamentalist Seventh Day Adventists? Maybe he's talking about those Voodoist fascists? Radical Hindus? Or maybe Islam, the only religion that has carried out over 13 000 violent attacks since 9/11?

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people.

Islam condemns the killing of innocent civilians. Yet out definition and the Islamic definition of innocent may be quite different.


The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Wrong! The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in the hundreds of years of Jewish sovereignty in Israel and in the thousands of years of an unbroken Jewish presence there. Israel does not derive its legitimacy from the ashes of murdered Jews, but rather from the Bible, from the historical fact that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, a fact which was recognized by the League of Nations in the 1920s, and then again by the United Nations, and is enshrined under international law.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and antisemitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

Obama apparently loves dead Jews much more than live ones. He has no qualms with forcing Israel back to the indefensible pre-67 "Auschwitz borders" and bringing every single major Israeli city within "Palestinian" rocket range.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

The incredible chutzpah of implicitly drawing a comparison between Jewish suffering during the Holocaust and "Palestinian" self-inflicted suffering. The "Palestinians" are architects of their own demise. ("Palestinians" have not suffered for 60 years- since there haven't even been a "Palestinian people" for 60 years! The term "Palestinian" only began being used to refer to the Arabs of Israel after Israel liberated Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967.) If millions of Arabs would not have fled Israel at the behest of invading Arab armies in 1948, there would be no refugees. Before the founding of the State of Israel, close to a million Jews lived in Arab lands. They were expelled, losing billions of dollars of property, leaving behind homes in which they had lived for centuries or millenia. Israel did not allow them to languish in camps but took them in and integrated them. Somehow, the Islamic world, which stretches from Indonesia to Morocco and is rolling in petro-dollars, could not find place to settle a couple hundred thousand Arab refugees. Rather, they kept them in camps to be used as pawns against Israel, to flood the Jewish state and to destroy it demographically. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A 60 YEAR OLD REFUGEE!!

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

Arab rejectionism goes too deep. Both the "moderate" Fatah and Hamas have the elimination of Israel as its goals, as enshrined in their respective charters. The Arab goal has never been a "Palestinian" state but rather the destruction of the Jewish one. If that was the case, why didn't the "Palestinians" declare independence when Judea, Samaria and Gaza were under Jordanian and Egyptian control before 1967? Why did the Arabs reject the UN partition plan in 1947? Why did Yasser Arafat walk away from Ehud Barak's offer of a PA state in close to 99% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with a capital in East Jerusalem? Why didn't Abbas accept control of half of Jerusalem, when Ehud Olmert claimed to have offered him "even more than Barak ever did"?

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.

It is hardly in Israel's interests to set up a terror state a few miles away from Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, to expel hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes and to uproot Jewish communities. It is not in US interests to allow Iranian proxies a puppet-state which will be a base of terror and will destabilize the region. It is not in US interests to destroy the region's only democracy to set up a backwards Arab thug state. It is not in US interests to reward terror with independence and to give a state on a silver platter to the same people who danced when they heard the news that the US had been attacked on 9/11. As for "Palestine's" bests interests- they are as fictional as the best interests of Atlantis, El Dorado or Valhala.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

The comparison between the "Palestinians" and American blacks is absurd and ridiculous. Israel is forced to implement these measures to protect its own civilians from being blown up in cafes, restaurants and buses. Clearly, an Arab's right not to be inconvenienced outweighs and Jew's right not to be blown to smithereens on a Jerusalem bus. As always, the poor Arabs are the victims, never responsible for their own choices, their rejection of Israel, their support of violence and hatred, their choice to go to war against Israel 7 times and to have lost each time.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people.

People have been calling upon them to do that for years. They have never heeded the call. Mortimer Zuckerman and others spent $14 million to give them Israeli greenhouses during the Gaza turnover, so they would have a way to make a living. They turned those greenhouses into weapons smuggling tunnels.

Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Don't hold your breathe for Khaled Meshal to sing and dance kumbaya with Jews on the White House lawn.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Insane moral equivalence. Israel liberated Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in a war which the Arabs initiated and lost. In the word of Yehuda Z. Blum, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, speaking in 1979: "Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria JUST BECAUSE HE IS A JEW, is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the 'JUDENREIN' POLICIES of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay." There is no difference between saying that Jews cannot live in Hebron or Maaleh Adumim in Judea and Samaria, or saying that a Jew cannot walk on a certain sidewalk or sit on a specific bench in Germany or Poland.

It takes a certain amount of gaul for someone living on stolen Iroquois land to turn around and tell Jews that they cannot live in their biblical homeland.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Which humanitarian crisis?


Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

Only under Israel has freedom of religion in Jerusalem been guaranteed. During the 19 year illegal Jordanian occupation, from 1948 to 1967, every single Jew of the Old City was expelled, synagogues were desecrated and turned into warehouses, Jewish cemeteries paved over and used as latrines and Jewish prayer banned from the Western Wall. Jerusalem is Israel's undivided capital. When London was still forest and Rome still a collection of villages on the Tiber, Jerusalem had already been King David's capital for hundreds of years, seat of the Jewish kingdom, and site of the Holy Temple. It will never again be divided. I highly doubt that Obama would divide up Washington and offer it to al-Qaeda, no matter how strong his desire for "reconciliation".


Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.

More historical myth. Even Maria Rosa Menocal, in her extended whitewash of Muslim Spain called The Ornament of the World, admits that the laws of dhimmitude were very much in force in the great Al-Andalus. She says: "The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax — no Muslims paid taxes — and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals."

So much for that "proud tradition of tolerance." Also, historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dimmîs as second-class citizens.”

If Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together peaceably and productively only with Christians and Jews relegated by law to second-class citizen status, then al-Andalus has absolutely no reason to be lionized in our age. Obama should know that the laws of dhimmitude give his claim of a "proud tradition of tolerance" the same hollow ring as the stories of prominent American blacks from the slavery and Jim Crow eras: yes, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington were great men, but their accomplishments not only do not erase or contradict the records of the oppression of their people, but render them all the more poignant and haunting. Whatever the Christians and Jews of al-Andalus accomplished, they were still dhimmis. They enjoyed whatever rights and privileges they had not out of any sense of the dignity of all people before God, or the equality of all before the law, but at the sufferance of their Muslim overlords. (From Jihad Watch)


It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

Suppress gag reflex...

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells u: "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Qur'an says a lot of things. Like "slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them" (Q 9:5). Or that non-Muslims must be humiliated and made second-class: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Q 9:29)

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

Obama could very well be a Reform rabbi, choosing which parts suit him and lopping off the rest. Remember the part where G-d promised the Land of Israel to the Jews?

The Holy Bible tells us: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Jesus the Palestinian said that?

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.