Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Worst Alternatives   Prof. Paul Eidelberg

The Worst Alternatives
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:28 am (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us
Analysis of various parliamentary
electoral rules reveals diverse methods of dividing power between political parties
on the one hand, and the voters’ freedom of choice on the other.  Israel has the worst of these two alternatives,
A simple example is the “Personalized
Proportional Representation” system used in Germany.  There, the voter is given two votes, one for
an individual candidate and one for a party list.
The candidate vote is for a single-member district contest that is won by a
plurality. The second vote is for a
party list, and is used to provide compensatory seats to those parties which
did not receive in the single-member districts the seat share proportional to
their nationwide vote share. This is an excellent system. 
Obviously related to the method of forming a government’s
Legislative Branch is the method of forming its Executive Branch. Various
commentators—the present author among them—have argued that Israel should replace
its parliamentary system, which produces a government consisting of five or more
rival parties, with a Unitary Executive or Presidential or semi-Presidential
system. Let’s define these terms beginning with the latter.
A semi-presidential system features both a prime
minister and a president who are active participants in the day to day
functioning of government. It
differs from the parliamentary system in that it has a
popularly elected president who is not a ceremonial figurehead,
and it differs from the presidential system in that it has an executive
prime minister who has some responsibility to the legislature.
How the powers between president and prime
minister are divided can vary greatly between countries.
For example, in France the president is responsible for foreign policy and the prime minister for
domestic policy. In this case, the
division of power between the prime
minister and the president is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but
has evolved as a political convention.
Consider Finland, Although Finland employs a
system copied from France, the division of executive power is explicitly stated
in the constitution: "the foreign policy is led by the president in
cooperation with the cabinet". Most executive power thus resides in
the cabinet or Council of State headed by the prime minister.
As in Israel,
the prime minister is leader of the party gaining largest number of votes in
the elections for the parliament. He
or she has the responsibility for forming the cabinet out of several political
parties and negotiating its platform.
This arrangement, in principle, is not conducive to coherent and resolute
national policies. Logic, however, is not the last word in politics.  
Still, Finland’s Constitution has redeeming
features. Unlike Israel’s
parliament, Finland’s (unicameral) Parliament is independent. It can override presidential vetoes and its acts
are not subject to judicial review. The
members of parliament are elected on the basis of Proportional Representation
through open
list multi-member districts.
With an open list, voters have some influence on
the order in which a party's candidates are elected.
In contrast, a closed list allows a small number of the party leaders to
determine the order of candidates and gives the voter no influence at all on
the position of the candidates placed on the party list.
 This approximates the situation in Israel
despite party primaries.
Now consider Ireland. Article 6
of its Constitution states that all powers of government "derive, under
God, from the people.  To this extent Catholic
Ireland is closer to the Hebraic Republic of antiquity than one can say of today’s
Jewish state of Israel! But it also means that political parties must take into
account the religious convictions of most citizens more so than is the case f
Israel. This affects the balance of power between parties and the people, and it
favors the people, which cannot be said of Israel, where the power of the religious
is disproportionate to the secularists, and, as we shall see, to the advantage of
the latter.

Ireland’s Constitution provides for a directly elected, ceremonial President and a bicameral parliament in which the lower house is
dominant.  In the elections to the lower house, the voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no
candidate receives an overall majority of first preferences the
candidates with fewest votes are eliminated one by one, and their votes
transferred according to their second and third preferences (and so on), until
one candidate achieves a majority.

Turning to the upper branch, the Senate: unless there has been an reported change,
Ireland’s Constitution prescribes that 49 members of its 60 members must
be elected from five panels of candidates having professional knowledge of, and
practical experience in, the following domains of public concern: “(1) National
Language, Culture, Literature, Art, Education and such professional interests
as may be defined by law for the purpose of this panel; (2)Agriculture and allied interests ...; (3)Labor, whether organized or unorganized; (4)Industry and Commerce,
including banking, finance, accountancy, engineering and architecture; (5) Public
Administration and social services...” Ireland’s Constitution thus prescribes a Senate consisting of well-educated personalities—professionals,
not amateurs who become instant legislators or cabinet ministers as do retired
Israeli generals.
to the rulings of Israel’s ultra-secular Supreme Court, Ireland’sConstitution
explicitly states that the publication of "blasphemous, seditious, or
indecent matter" is a criminal offence.
Moreover, under Ireland’s Constitution the State must
"protect the family" and its "imprescriptable rights, antecedent
and superior to all positive law".
 The State must also ensure that economic
circumstances do not oblige a mother to work outside of the home.

In conclusion, the Irish Constitution is more democratic, more rational,
and more conducive to professionalism and public spiritedness than the anarchic,
ego-driven system of government prevailing in the State of Israel. Indeed, the
same may be said of the 80 governments I have examined and which are classified
as democracies.. 

I will go further. Israel’s present system of governance is less subject to
public discussion than the system Jews receivedat Mount Sinai. 

And so, to the religious and other Zionists vying for seats in Israel’s
Knesset, and who perpetuate its method of distributing power between parties and the people,  Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

 Islamic Cease-Fires Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:48 am (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us

Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intoleranceby Denis MacEoinMiddle East Quarterly (extracts)Summer 2008, pp. 39-48The use by Westerners of the word hudna highlights an anomaly. Whenever journalists, diplomats, or commentators covering the Middle East use a non-English word, it will almost always be Arabic or perhaps Persian; seldom do they use any Hebrew words. Never has a U.S. or British newspaper, for example, used the Hebrew word for cease-fire (hafsakat esh). This is odd as Israel is the other side to these cease-fires. The majority of Arabic terms reproduced in Western language newspapers are concerned with either military topics (jihad, mujahideen, fida'iyin, shahid)[1] or religious affairs (fatwa, mulla, ulema, ayatollah, Shari'a, Allahu akbar).[2] There is nothing wrong with borrowing Arabic words. However, doing so without understanding the word's nuance and historical development will render deficient any understanding of that word's true meaning.Here, it might be possible to consider hudna somewhat of an exception—it can be translated accurately as truce or cease-fire. Its contemporary usage — at least in English and other European languages — is exclusive to the conflict between Israel and its adversaries, whether Islamist terror groups in Gaza, the West Bank, or southern Lebanon, or states such as Syria. In Iran, it is used alongside the Persian term aramesh.[3] Still, hudna retains a historical context that colors its meaning, if not in Western papers, then in Arabs' understanding.The concept of hudna deserves a close look: It is not a Qur'anic term, nor is it the only Arabic word for a cease-fire or truce; others include: muhadana, muwada'a, muhla, musalaha, musalama, mutaraka, andsulh. But hudna is the most prominent. It is the first word used in Muslim history to mean cease-fire, specifically in the context of the seventh century Truce or Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, often termed the Sulh al-Hudaybiyya (peace of al-Hudaybiyya).Named after a village outside Mecca, the truce came six years after Muhammad and his followers abandoned Mecca for Yathrib, today's Medina. This move, known as the hijra (emigration) is of enormous significance for the classical understanding of jihad, inasmuch as it sets a pattern of retreat followed by regrouping and rearming, which permits an attack on the territory previously left behind.[4] In March 628 C.E., Muhammad and his followers sought to return to Mecca to perform a pilgrimage. At Hudaybiyya, Muhammad "marched till he reached al-Hudaybiyya which lies at the limit of the Haram [sacred territory of Mecca] area at a distance of nine miles from Mecca."[5] Muhammad and the rulers of Mecca, most of whom had yet to convert to Islam, negotiated a truce, the essence of which was to permit the Muslims to return unarmed on pilgrimage each year for the next decade. It came to an end two years later, however, following an infraction by a tribe allied tothe Meccans. In 630, Muhammad entered Mecca with a small, armed force and took the city peacefully. Hudna, in other words, amounted to a temporary truce.Today, radical groups and conventional Muslims alike often use the term hudna when they divide areas not controlled by Islamists into a realm of Islam (dar al-Islam) and a realm of war (dar al-harb),[6] or pagan ignorance (jahiliyya). The leading exponent of this latter concept was Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb (1906-66) who, in his 1964 treatise, Ma'alim fi 'l-tariq (Milestones), wrote:Lastly, all the existing so-called "Muslim" societies are also jahili societies. We classify them among jahili societies not because they believe in other deities besides God or because they worship anyone other than God, but because their way of life is not based on submission to God alone. Although they believe in the unity of God, still they have relegated the legislative attribute of God to others and submit to this authority, and from this authority they derive their systems, their traditions and customs, their laws, their values and standards, and almost every practice of life.[7]For Qutb's fellow travelers and intellectual successors, Muslim countries that are not theocracies—any state except Iran, Saudi Arabia to a limited degree, or Sudan—are treated as though they had reverted to paganism.Fear of FitnaOver the course of history, hudna became the standard term to describe a cessation of hostilities during jihad. Muslims distinguished the hudna from other forms of disengagement, such as those applied to tribal feuds, clashes between city factions, rebellions against the monarch or his provincial governors, or fitna, sedition or civil strife. Fitna was the greatest fear of classical Muslim society, which aspired above all things for perfect order both under a caliph or sultan and under religious law as mediated by the ulema or religious scholars, and, more narrowly, the fuqaha or jurisprudents.[8]By being unaware of fitna, most journalists ignore something vital to the course of Islamic civilization and the development of Islamic thought. For all the greatness of their architecture, scholarship, and literature, traditional Islamic societies were prey to disintegration. Muslim societies lacked the stability of China. Western societies overcame such tensions by creating nation-states. This did not mean that either Chinese power or European states remained constant over time, only that they were remarkably stable when compared to Muslim dynasties—at least those that arose before gunpowder enabled leaders to retain control through sheer force….The House of IslamShould a Muslim victory seem remote, the caliph could declare a truce in the interests of the umma. Rudolph Peters, Islamic law professor at the University of Amsterdam states, "According to some schools of law, a truce must be concluded for a specified period of time, no longer than ten years."[11] Hanafi law, however, permits the Muslims to terminate a truce arbitrarily: The "imam may denounce the armistice whenever the continuation of warfare is more favorable for the Moslems than the continuation of peace," he continues.[12] Such a truce is necessary when the Muslims are weak relative to their enemies. It can also occur when there is fitna within an Islamic state.[13] These truces serve as protection against further violence to enable Muslims to regroup and gather their strength, whereupon they can issue a fresh declaration of jihad. Such a treaty is a hudna, distinct from sulh where the non-Muslim state pays tribute to a more powerful Muslim one, oran 'ahd, a covenant of security, in which protection for Muslims is reciprocated. ….What Went Wrong?What went wrong? Muslims face a horrid choice: Either God is punishing them for some collective sin, or God has abandoned them. It is unthinkable that communities like the Christians and Jews, whom Islam teaches to be inferior, or even outright idolaters such as the Japanese should enjoy the good things that had been promised to the Muslims in the Qur'an. But, there is a flip side: If enough Muslims believed that God is punishing them or had abandoned them, faith would be undermined, and Islamic society would break down….Modern HudnaWhat does this mean for the present hudna, or any that is likely to follow it? The jihad is waged against the entire world, but Israel has become its focus. Since the jihad is deemed unending, and since Israel is going to stay, there will be no end to the religiously-inspired struggle. The Hamas covenant, for example, is unequivocal: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals, and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."[26]The best that the international community can hope to achieve is a political solution, but this cannot occur unless a way is found not only to control the violent tendencies of the extremists but also to rework Muslim theology and social thought. There is no Muslim equivalent to Reform, Conservative, or Reconstructionist Judaism. Almost all the great Muslim thinkers of the last century have been deeply conservative….Can Western governments do anything to prevent a new hudna running its usual course? Diplomats may propose carrot and stick strategies, offering financial and political incentives to dismantle the culture of violence with disincentives for any return to killing. In the end, though, the onus is on the Palestinians and their allies. If they could impose a hudna on their own side and not fire Qassam and Grad rockets, smuggle weapons, or infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel, there could be a chance for Gaza to develop. But such a scenario is a pipe dream so long as Hamas remains a viable entity.Denis MacEoin holds a Ph.D. in Persian studies from the University of Cambridge. He taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University and was for many years an honorary fellow at Durham University. He is currently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University and author of The Hijacking of British Islam (Policy Exchange, 2007).

Fw: Insanity Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:46 am (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us

Two Types of InsanityProf. Paul Eidelberg The Ayatollah Khomeini’s disciple, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Nasrallah famously declared: "We are going to win [against Americans and Israelis] because they love life and we love death." In other words: “We Muslims are going to win because infidels love life, something transient, whereas disciples of Muhammad love death, something eternal.” This is why American and Israeli leaders are infatuated with short-lived cease fires.This said; let us probe two types of insanity, one manifested by Muslims, then other by assimilated Jews.  The Islamic love of death, or “Necrophelia,” should be understood as a mental disorder. We must face the awful fact that countless Muslims — at least ten percent of the 1.5 billion Muslims that support jihad —suffer from a psychosis latent in Islam, which is obviously immune to reason. This psychosis is most clearly manifested in the Taliban, whose police posted placards read, “Throw reason to the dogs—it stinks of corruption.”Of course, mental disorders exhibit gradations. But even mild manifestations of this disorder make nonsense of any cease-fire with Hamas, who use women and children as human shields. Evident here is a display is the crudest paganism, quite consisted with Nasrallah “we love death mantra” Mantra.But if Islam is the carrier of insanity, what shall we say of Jews? Judaism is reputed to be the religion of reason. What shall we then say of Israel’s cabinet which agreed to a cease fire with Hamas, that is, with unadulterated Muslims? Are the Jews in that cabinet also insane, indeed, are animated, subconsciously, by a love of death?If so, perhaps their subconscious love of death should be defined as a desire to cease being Jews, that is, to cease being the victims of Jew-hatred or antiSemitism?  But all evidence indicates that this desire not only fails to diminish Jew-hatred, but exacerbates anti-Semitism. And if this is evident, must we not deem such Jews insane—though some may prefer to call them stupid.Let us probe deeper. No animal, mouse or lion, desires to be anything other than what it is. The reason may be attributed to the fact that no creature other than man possesses a soul or “self-hood”; hence none would ever think of asking “What am I”? Another way of putting this is to recall Nietzsche’s adage that “man is the beast with red cheeks”—the only creature that blushes or has a sense of shame.  From this one might conclude that to enter into a cease-fire with a terrorist organization like Hamas is not only irrational but also indicative of shamelessness. What else is one to say of Israeli prime ministers who shook the bloodstained hands of Yasser Arafat or of Mahmoud Abbas. This suggests that the first casualty of egalitarian democracies is the sense of honor.Now let’s probe a little deeper. Can it be that Nasrallah’s love of death is indicative of a psychotic sense of honor is symptomatic of an irrational deity and theology—precisely the counterpoint of the shamelessness of those Israeli leaders who have abandoned the supremely rational God of Abraham? Recall the words of the Prophet Isaiah (44:24, 25): “I am the Lord that makes visionaries mad … that turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish.” Enter Benjamin Netanyahu. Yes, insanity is conspicuous in the Middle East — we saw it in the “Arab Spring.” It is also evident in State of Israel. Not because the people of Israel want regime change. If they really did, sanity would begin to flow into this God-forsaken region.

We Told You SoHow Israel can deal with the situation brought upon us by witless 'experts'.November 22, 2012by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

We Told You SoAs a result of the Oslo Accords, we said they would attack us from anyplace we withdrew from.We said that missiles would be fired on Ashkelon from Gaza, and allthe leftist, delusionary peace seekers, claimed that we wereterrifying the public ­ and now, ‘Gush Dan’ (greater Tel Aviv) isunder fire.We warned that retreating from Gush Katif would strengthen ourenemies, but government and security officials responded arrogantlythat, on the contrary ­ withdrawal would increase security.We warned that abandoning the ‘Philadelphia Corridor’ at theEgypt-Gaza border would lead to the flow of weapons and missiles intothe Gaza Strip, and they said there were agreements with thePalestinians and Egyptians that nothing would trickle in from Sinai toGaza. And lo and behold, for years, a constant supply of missiles andother weapons have streamed into Gaza through Sinai.We said that retreating would bring Hamas to power, and they argued ­on the contrary, it would strengthen the P.L.O.We said that if, after the withdrawal, we have to fight them, it wouldbe much more difficult; we would have to fight in urban areas, and oursituation in the eyes of the world would be much more problematic.They argued the exact opposite ­ if after retreat the Arabs open fireon us, we will be able to strike them relentlessly.We asked: “But they will shoot missiles from civilian homes?” Theyanswered, condescendingly: “First of all, they don’t have missiles.Secondly, if they do fire a missile, we’ll destroy the houses fromwhich they are fired.” And now, when they constantly fire missiles, itturns out that from the world’s perspective, there is absolutely nolegitimization to bomb inhabited houses.Israeli MediaIf the mainstream Israeli media were honest, they would broadcast thetaped recordings of all the leaders responsible for the Oslo Accordsand the retreat from Gaza, so everyone could hear their foolishpromises, and realize just how distorted their ability to correctlyanalyze the situation is.If the media were honest, they would demand that all those whosupported retreat apologize before the Israeli people for what theycaused, and disappear from the public arena. Instead, the media invitethem into the studio, allowing them to talk freely, as if nothingterrible was done on their part, and they still deserve to beconsidered “experts”.No matter how much we criticize the Israeli media establishment, itwill still fall short of the harsh criticism it truly deserves.Alienation from Their People and HeritageThe only explanation for this painful phenomenon is that the centralfigures in the media establishment are alienated from their people andheritage. True, they do not dare speak badly about IDF soldiers, orresidents of the southern and central areas who are being attacked.But in their hearts, they embrace the “just” position of the enemy,hoping that if we accept the enemies’ claims that this land belongs tothem, the Arabs will then be ready to accept Israel’s existence withinthe borders of the so-called Green Line.Consequently, they believe there is no solution other than providing a“political horizon” for the Arabs, in other words ­ continuedwithdrawals. Any opposing position, relying on our right to all of‘Eretz Yisrael’ (Land of Israel), appears groundless to them, becausethey deny its moral foundation.What drives them to Believe in Delusions of “Peace?”It is generally believed that religious people are less realistic,because they rely more on their faith than on an objective analysis ofreality, whereas people lacking faith are able to analyze a situationobjectively, and as a result, their short-term assessments are moreaccurate.Yet here we have a situation where precisely those who are faithful toTorah, the nation, and the land assess the situation accurately,whereas the unbelievers are mistaken in their delusions and falsehopes ­ which repeatedly blow-up in all our faces.The explanation for this is that they are no less religiouslycommitted ­ to a form of idol worship. Their god is called ‘Peace Now’or ‘human rights’. This is exactly the sin of idolatry taking onevalue and worshipping it, without giving consideration to balance withother values.In contrast, Jewish faith is careful to state that God is exaltedabove all definition, for He is beyond all values, and all of them areincluded within Him. God desired to grant merit to Israel, and gavethem Torah and mitzvoth with the aim of teaching them to balancevalues. The leftists, who are alienated from their Jewish heritage,are searching for a god who will give hope and meaning to their lives.Many of them previously believed in communism, and embittered thelives of many people. Today, they believe in ‘Peace Now’, and bringall these troubles upon us.A Gradual AwakeningFortunately, a process of awakening is taking place among the public.Many people are already aware of the appalling bias of the leftist“experts” and the media, and of their alienation to their people andhomeland. Many understand that their “analytical interpretations” aremerely a type of ‘entertainment’, whose connection to reality andlogic is flimsy.In order to advance this welcome process ­ although doing so hasbecome boring and annoying ­ we must reiterate, over and over again,the guilt of the leftists. We must repeat “we told you so” over andover, and continue to spread the videos of their stupid remarks on thesocial networks.Besheva and Arutz Sheva ReadersSome might ask: “What good is it writing such things in the nationalreligious Besheva newspaper? Shouldn’t we try to get them published inother media outlets?”It certainly is important to publish such articles for the widerpublic. However, it is more important to resolve and define issuesamong the right, because they are the ones who can bring about change.People aware of the appalling situation of leftist “experts” and themedia establishment, can lead the necessary change. If they forcefullydemand change in the media, justice system, and academic research,which has shamefully inclined to the left ­ in a gradual process, mostof the people that support our position, will join in the call.The Long-Term SolutionIn the long-term, the only solution to the security situation is torestore Israeli control over the Gaza Strip. We must return to thesituation we were in twenty years ago, but this time, with the clearconviction that this land belongs to the Jewish nation, we havereturned to the land after two thousand years of exile, and we willnever abandon it. Any Arab, who wants to treat us with dignity andrespect, can live an honorable life. Anyone who wants to fight? Wewill fight him with all our might.To achieve this, we need to strengthen Israeli consciousnesssignificantly. It could be that even without proper strengthening, thesecurity situation will force us to return to complete militarycontrol in the Gaza Strip, just as the army controls Judea and Samariatoday. But even then, without a profound exploration of Israel’sdestiny, there will never be quiet.Currently Proposed SolutionsThe problem is that in the present situation, the citizens of Israellack the moral courage to restore our control of the Gaza Strip, andwe are left with the question of how to deter the enemy frombombarding our cities for the time being.In an attempt to offer a solution, we must first review thesuggestions that have already been placed on the table.Let’s return to the position of the leftist “sages” and the militaryleaders who lick their boots. Before the withdrawal from southernLebanon and the Gaza Strip, they declared that if after retreatingthey continue to bombard us, we will set southern Lebanon on fire,bomb the Gaza Strip relentlessly, and the entire world will identifywith us.As we know ­ these words are meaningless. It doesn’t matter nowwhether their statements were said out of stupidity or willfully ­ inorder to throw sand in the eyes of innocent Jews. In practice, had welistened to them, we would have paid an unbearably harsh priceinternationally.Currently, the leftist “sages” advocated a halt to the operation inGaza, and granting the Arabs a “political horizon” by returning tonegotiations with Abbas. If this weren’t so sad, it would be funny.How can negotiations with Abbas, who is hated by Hamas, curb theshelling from Gaza?! On the contrary! To show us who really is incontrol, they will shell us even more! And how could they possiblyimagine that if another Palestinian state were established, inaddition to the one they already have in Gaza, it would not fall intothe hands of Hamas, who seek the destruction of the State of Israel?If we listen to them, the problems they have caused us so far will beParadise compared to the hell that awaits us.There are some defense-oriented people who suggest sending troops intothe Gaza Strip, striking the terrorists, and then retreating. Theproblem is, the price we are liable to pay for this, in the life ofsoldiers, and international criticism, is not worth the damage done tothe terrorists, which at best will result in a short-term deterrence.A Change in Aerial Bombing PolicyThe most plausible solution is to increase the bombardment from theair, in three directions: towards houses and property, towards theterrorist leaders, and towards the supply of arms.We must announce that from now on, for every mortar shell they fire atus, we will destroy at least one house. For every primitive missilethey fire, we will destroy five houses. For an advanced missile, tenhouses. And for the most advanced missiles ­ dozens of houses. So theythemselves can fulfill They can then fulfill the Arabic curse “yourhouse should be destroyed”.If they damage our economy by shutting down the south, they mustsuffer twice as much. To avoid harming their citizens, we will have togive advance notice of the time and place of the bombing, so they canflee.Houses intended for destruction should, of course, start with thehomes of terrorist leaders and their surrounding neighborhood ­ forour Sages said,“woe to the wicked, and woe to his neighbor.” To winthis battle, such bombings might suffice. Of course, we will meet withhypocritical condemnation from the U.N., but not enough to causelong-term damage.We will have to return to the policy of targeted killings. The problemwith targeted killings began after the assassination of the massmurderer, Salah Shehadeh, about ten years ago. In that operation,fourteen other people were killed, including his family members andneighbors.Afterwards,the left launched a publicity campaign in Israel andthroughout the world against the IDF They demanded that the commandersresponsible be brought to trial. They also petitioned the High Court.True, the judges did not dare harm the commanders themselves; but withshocking irresponsibility, they caused the defense establishment tochange the procedures.Since then, it is extremely difficult to strike at terrorists. Theyknow that as long as they are in the presence of their family ­ theirlives are guaranteed. If we don’t want to endanger the lives of oursoldiers through land operations, it is necessary to announce thatfrom now on, we will also assassinate terrorists in the company oftheir families. Indeed, we will attempt to strike only the terrorists,but the proximity of civilians will not prevent us from taking actionagainst them.In order for there to be no doubts about it, and for the deterrenceof this policy to be complete, it is necessary to provide backing forthis position through lawyers, to announce it publicly, and if needbe, even to pass a law in the Knesset.And most crucial, army intelligence invariably knows when weapons aresmuggled into the Gaza Strip. Every such supply convoy must beshelled.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Essays on War

Essays on War

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Carl von Clausewitz (1770-1831)

Clausewitz’s magnum opus, On War, is studied in military schools to this day. He defines war as “an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will. Violence is the means; submission of the enemy to our will the ultimate object.” For as long as the enemy remains armed, he will wait for a more favorable moment for action.

The ultimate object of war is political. To attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed. Disarming the enemy “becomes therefore the immediate object of hostilities. It takes the place of the final object and puts it aside as something we can eliminate from our calculations.”

Clausewitz warns: “Philanthropists may readily imagine there is a skillful method of disarming and overcoming an enemy without causing great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as war, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.”

Not that Clausewitz advocates indiscriminate slaughter. He warns, however, that “he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigor in its application.” Hence, “Let us not hear of Generals who conquer without bloodshed. If a bloody slaughter is a horrible sight, then that is a ground for paying more respect to War, but not for making the sword we wear blunter and blunter by degrees from feelings of humanity, until someone steps in with one that is sharp and lops off the arm from our body.”

It follows that moderation or self-restraint as a principle of war is absurd and suicidal. To defeat the enemy the means must be proportioned to his power of resistance, and his power of resistance must be utterly crushed.

The statesman must take into account not only the forces of the enemy. He must solidify the confidence and determination of his people. They must believe in the justice of their country's cause and understand the importance of victory as well as the consequences of defeat. The statesman must display wisdom, decisiveness, and moral clarity.

Above all the statesman must have, in his own mind, a clear view of his post-war goal or political object. The political object will determine the aim of military force as well as the amount of force or effort to be used.

This, by the way, is the crucial point of any Israeli attack on Gaza. Does the Government have a clear view of the goal or political object of this war? Is its military echelon geared to go beyond “Operation Iron Lead” and so devastate Hamas as to sear from the consciousness of these Muslims any further desire to attack Israel?□

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, written about 500 BCE, is the oldest military treatise in the world. Even now, after twenty-five centuries, the basic principles of that treatise remain a valuable guide for the conduct of war. Indeed, Sun Tzu may be of interest to the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, in view of the Arab Terrorist War that erupted in September2000. Since then some 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children have been murdered by Arab terrorists, and 15,000 more have been wounded, many maimed for life.

Referring to the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) limited response to this Arab terrorism, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, “self-restraint is strength”! At first glance one might suspect that Mr. Sharon had been influence by Mother Theresa. It may well be, however, that he derived that dictum from a misreading of The Art of War? Sun Tzu would have an army general exhibit, at first, “the coyness of a maiden”—to draw out the enemy—but thereafter he would have his general emulate the fierceness of a lion.

Of course, when the forces of the enemy exceed your own or occupy superior ground, then self-restraint is prudence. But when this situation is reversed, self-restraint is weakness. In fact, Sun Tzu goes so far as to say, “If fighting is reasonably sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbids it.”

In referring to various ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army and his people, Sun Tzu cautions a ruler against “attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom.” Although “In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign,” “he will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.” Sun Tzu emphasizes that there are even occasions when the “commands of the sovereign must not be obeyed.”

Of course, this would violate the principle of military subordination to civilian authority, which Israel’s political leaders would proclaim to preserve their democratic reputation, especially in the United States. This perfidious attitude would multiply Jewish casualties and Jewish soldiers on the alter of PR.

In this connection, recall the Yom Kippur War, in which 3,000 Jewish soldiers perished. Certain general officers of the IDF obeyed the commands of the Meir Government by not launching a pre-emptive attack. Later, the Agranat Commission of Inquiry blamed them for the disaster. Sun Tsu might have agreed with the Agranat conclusion, but for different reasons. He would have faulted the generals for “self-restraint,” that is, for heeding the commands of their Government.

Admittedly, Sun Tzu did not have to worry about journalists and humanists who make the rational conduct of war impossible, and who therefore prolong the killing. When U.S. Admiral Bull Halsey said, “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often,” he was merely echoing Sun Tzu’s advice. By the way, this advice can also be gleaned from the Sages of Israel.

Thus, concerning Deuteronomy 20:1, “When you go forth to battle against your enemies,” the Sages ask, “What is meant by ‘against your enemies’”? They answer: “God said, ‘Confront them as enemies. Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them any mercy.’”

Sun Tzu would therefore be appalled by the alacrity with which Israeli governments engage in cease fires or “hudnas,” which allow Arab terrorists to regroup and accumulate more and deadlier weapons. Sun Tzu calls for the uninterrupted attack. He unequivocally opposes a protracted war: “There is no instance,” he says, “of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”

Hence Israel’s Government must ignore the inanities of sheltered critics—of jaded intellectuals and politicians who preach “self-restraint” as if Hiroshima and Dresden never happened. The paramount concern of Israel’s political and military echelons is to minimize Jewish casualties. Horrible as it is, peace-loving Israel, confronted by a genocidal enemy, must kill for peace.□

A War Silent About God

   Prof. PaulEidelberg               Israel, a nation that bears God’s Name, has leaders who cannotpronounce the Name of God. It seems that not a single Prime Minister of this countrycan invoke the Name of God without choking.   Nor is a word is there heard a word inspired by the Prophets ofIsrael or by King David. This treasury of wisdom has been left to rabbis. Allhonor to them, but they seem silent.   Imagine: Suppose the rabbis invoked the name of Clausewitz orof Sun Tzu or of General George Patton. Wouldn’t that be marvelous (as well as hilarious)?     Hence it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Israeli primeministers are not only without God; they are also far removed from the greatestmasters of war—and who is a greater master of war than He Who gave Israel the wisdomof the Torah?   Having banished God from the domain of statecraft, and withoutan illumination from Israel’s rabbis, is it any wonder that Israel’s governmentlacks wisdom, courage, and Jewish national pride and purpose?   Why is Israel always on the defensive? Is it because herruling elites are godless in contrast to Israel’s enemies? Notice how Jewish primeministers have consorted with Arab despots such as Yasser Arafat or hissuccessor Mahmoud Abbas who never fail to invoke the name of Allah. Nevermind the hypocrisy and murderous heart of these Arabs. Because they sanctifiedAllah, the world sanctified them, while Israel, in the eyes of the world, is a pariah.   The asymmetry between Arab and Jewish leaders can be seen inthe psychological consequences of their respective goals.Whereas the Arab goal of conquest arouses Arab pride and arrogance, the Jewishgoal of “peaceful coexistenceâ€� or “two states for two peopleâ€� arouses Jewishself-effacement.   Israel without God is Israel without spiritedness, without thewill to conquer her enemies by fulfilling their desire to enter paradise. 

Daniel Greenfield article: Incidentism 

This is just brilliant!Daniel Greenfield article: Incidentism ________________________________Incidentism Posted: 18 Nov 2012 09:24 PM PST Once upon a time it was the objective of the military to win wars. Now the objective of the military is to avoid incidents. An incident happens when civilians are killed, prisoners mistreated or some other event that is photographed, videotaped and then flashed around the world. This results in an Incident, capital I, that triggers much artificial soul-searching by the media which spends the next two years beating the incident to death and flogging its corpse across television programs, newspaper articles, books, documentaries and finally, if it's a big enough incident, a real life movie version that is based on the book, which was based on the article, where the idealistic reporter/lawyer/activist who uncovered the truth about the incident will be played by Matt Damon or George Clooney. The main objective of the military in most civilized countries is to prevent this chain of articles, programs, books, documentaries, dramatized plays and Matt Damon movies from coming about by making sure that no Incident can ever happen. And the best way to do that is by not fighting. Andif the enemy insists on fighting, then he must be fought with razor sharp precision so that no collateral damage takes place. And if someone must die, it had better be our own soldiers, rather than anyone on the other side whose death might be used as an Incident. Incidentism isn't derived from a fear of Matt Damon movies, but from the perception that wars are not won on the battlefield, but in the minds of men. And that perception has a good deal to do with the kind of wars we choose to fight. The military, whether in the United States or Israel, does not exist to win wars. It exists to win over the people who don't want it to win a war. The guiding principle in such conflicts is to use the military to push back the insurgency long enough to win over the local population with a nation building exercise. This program has never worked out for the United States, but that doesn't mean that generations of military leaders don't insist on going throughthe motions of applying it anyway. In Israel, the last time the military was sent to win a war, was 1973. Since then the military has been used as a police force and to battle militias in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. In the Territories, the ideal Israeli soldier was supposed to be able to dodge rocks thrown by teenagers hired by Time correspondents looking to score a great photo. Today the ideal Israeli soldier is capable of visiting an American college campus to dodge the overpriced textbooks hurled at him by the local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine or the International Socialist Organization, while explaining why the IDF is the most moral army in the world except for the Salvation Army. The ideal Israeli soldier, like his American, British and Canadian, but not Russian or Chinese, counterparts, is supposed to avoid Incidents. That means operating under Rules of Engagement which make firing at an assailant almost as dangerous as notfiring at an assailant. The ideal American soldier is supposed to avoid the Taliban, or as one set of orders urged, patrol in places where the Taliban won't be found. And that's sensible advice, because if the goal is to avoid creating an Incident, then avoiding the enemy is the best way to avoid an Incident. Unfortunately the enemy has a bad habit of appearing where he isn't supposed to be and creating his own Incidents, because Taliban and Hamas commanders are not concerned about being yelled at in a fictional courtroom by Matt Damon. They actually welcome Incidents. The bigger and bloodier the Incident, the more hashish and young boys get passed around the campfire that night. American soldiers operate under the burden of winning over the hearts and minds of Afghans and New York Times readers. Israeli soldiers are tasked with winning over New York Times readers and European politicians. But some hearts and minds are just unwinnable. And most warsbecome unwinnable when the goal is to fight an insurgency that has no fear of the dreaded Incident, while your soldiers are taught to be more afraid of an Incident than of an enemy bullet. Israeli leaders live in perpetual fear of "losing the sympathy of the world", little aware that they never really had it. The "Sympathy of the World" is the strategic metric for conflicts. And so Israel does its best to minimize any collateral damage by using pinpoint strikes and developing technologies that can pluck a bee off a flower without harming a single petal. But invariably the technocratic genius of such schemes has its limits, an Incident happens, the Israeli leftist press denounces the Prime Minister for clumsily losing the sympathy of the world, and international politicians order Israel to retreat back behind whatever line it retreated to during the last appeasement gesture before the last peace negotiations. And its experts ponder how to fight the next one without losing the sympathy of the world. American and Israeli generals live in fear of losing political support and so they never put any plans on the table that would finish aconflict. Instead they choose low intensity warfare with prolonged bleeding instead of short and brutal engagements that would finish the job. They talk tough, but their enemies know that they don't mean it. Worse still, that they aren't allowed to mean it because meaning it would be too mean. Incidentism leads to armies tiptoeing around conflicts and losing them by default. Avoiding them becomes the objective and that also makes Incidents inevitable because the enemy understands that all it will take to win is a few dead children planted in the ruins of a building; in a region where parents kill their own children for petty infractions and frequently go unpunished for it. The more an army commits to Incidentism, the sooner its war is lost. Prolonged low intensity conflicts are ripe with opportunities for Incidents, far more so that hot and rapid wars. And so the hearts and minds, those of the locals and those of New York Times readers, always end upbeing lost anyway. War is no longer just politics by other means, it actually is politics with the goal of winning over hearts and minds, rather than achieving objectives. The objectives of a war, before, during and after, have become those of convincing your friends and your enemies, and various neutral parties, of your innate goodness and the justice of your cause. Propaganda then has become the whole of war and those who excel at propaganda, but aren't any good at war, now win the wars. The actual fighting is just the awkward part that the people who make the propaganda wish we could dispense with so they can focus on what's really important; distributing photos of our soldiers protecting the local children and playing with their puppies. Take all that into account and the miserable track records of great armies are no longer surprising. Armies need to prove their morality to win a war, but are never allowed to win a war because it would interfere with proving their morality. Conflicts begin on the triumphant moral high ground and end with the victors slinking back defeated after an Incident or two has been splashed all over the evening news and the book based on the article on it has already been optioned by Matt Damon's production company for a movie to be funded by the same people who fund the terrorists. The war of words, the conflict of images and videos, the clash of arguments, has become the sum of war. And that war is unwinnable because it must be fought on two fronts, against the cultural enemies within and the insurgents outside. An army cannot win a war and win over the New York Times at the same time. And so long as it fears Incidents more than operating in an aimlesscounterinsurgency twilight that eventually shades into defeat, then it is bound to lose both to both the terrorists and the New York Times. Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. You are subscribed to email updates from Sultan Knish To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now. Email delivery powered by Google Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shabbat Siren

Shabbat Siren

Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:27 pm (PST) . Posted by:

"judy" judybalint

From: Stuart Pilichowski, Mevasseret TzionFriday. It was 4:45PM. We had already begun Shabbat services in our quaint little trailer / synagogue in Mevaseret Zion. We're a small town of 30,000 people just north of Jerusalem.Then it came. The Siren. The Warning. We're a caravan in the midst of an open, not yet developed field. No bomb shelter. We left the services immediately and proceeded outside. This memory will live with me forever. Forever. It was chilling.We all lay down on the ground. We had no shelter. The siren was still sounding. I realized I had just followed "those in the know." The veterans. Although I listened to countless radio and television interviews with the Israeli Home Front Defense on how to proceed during an attack - yes, an attack – a missile or rocket attack - that's what the siren signals – for me it was always meant for the population in the South, nearest to Gaza, not for me, in Mevaseret Zion, bordering Jerusalem, Israel's capital. I didn't realize I didn't check if my friend Bob was ok until I saw him lying next to me. Yes, the rules of evacuation to a shelter say specifically to go directly to the shelter – others will follow, do not risk delay by assisting others. They'll get to shelter on their own as well. But I still felt strange.Lying on the ground those few minutes I thought of my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace. She, upon the start of the SCUD War in 1991, immediately took a leave of absence from teaching (in NJ) and flew to Israel and sat in a sealed room as the SCUDS fell on Ramat Gan.After a few endless, eternal minutes, the siren ended. We all rose and went back inside to continue the Shabbat prayer services. "Prayer is boring." I've been hearing that for years. Well Friday evening's prayers were anything but boring.I still can't put my finger on it. But I simply can't understand this whole situation. I spend 5 days a week, from 6:00AM to 3:00PM with Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs. We work together, schmooze together, exchange a piece of fruit or a piece of gum, and talk about our families. Hakol B'seder. Everything's great. I teach them a word or two of English and they teach me a word or two of Arabic. I'm nice to them and they're nice to me. I don't believe they want to harm me, much less kill me. And I've been doing this ever since I moved to Israel 13 years ago – in Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey as well.Some think I'm naïve. Some think I'm a bleeding-heart liberal.Maybe. MaybeSo why do Arabs (generally speaking) want me (Israelis) dead? They don't even know me (us). To make a long story or intellectual discourse short: WHY THIS HATRED?Why do people bring up their children with rage rather than tolerance, understanding and love? Do you have an answer? Any ideas?I'd love to know the answer to the question I've been asking all my life.I am, by the way, not oblivious to the Hand of God in all this.There's a message in what's happening in the world as we create history here, in the State of Israel. And there's no better place to be than Israel for history in the making.A peaceful week to all. Shavuah tov.Stuart PilichowskiMevaseret Zion

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Zionism's Sephardi father 

 Zionism's Sephardi father by Michael FreundThe Jerusalem PostOctober 25, 2012 http://www.michaelfreund.org/12467/rabbi-yehuda-alkalai Send RSS Share: Be the first of your friends to like this. Modern Zionism is largely an Ashkenazi creation, or so popular thinking goes. After all, the World Zionist Organization was founded in Europe in 1897 and dominated by Ashkenazi Jews, who also made up the bulk of the pioneers who built the land and later declared the establishment of the state. So it should come as no surprise that it is possible to read histories of the emergence of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century without encountering the word "Sephardi" other than in passing. But to ignore the contribution made by Sephardi Jews to the return to Zion is a grave injustice, not only to our eastern brethren but to Jewish history itself. Though it has gone largely unacknowledged, the Sephardi role in preserving Zionist yearnings throughout the long centuries of Jewish exile was indispensable, dating back to the 12th-century Spanish rabbi and poet Yehuda HaLevi, whose poem "My heart is in the east" still resonates today. Indeed, this month's anniversary of the passing in October 1878 (4 Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar) of Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai, a Sephardi Jew from Serbia, presents an opportunity to correct the record and restore the Sephardi impact on Zionist renewal to its rightful place. While his name may not be overly familiar to most Israelis, his intellectual legacy laid the groundwork for the modern rebirth of Israel. Though he was born in Sarajevo in 1798, Alkalai's formative years were spent in Jerusalem, where he delved into ancient Jewish texts and became steeped in Jewish mysticism. At the young age of 27, he was offered the post of rabbi in the town of Zemun, which is today part of the Serbian capital of Belgrade. At the time, however, it fell within the boundaries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and straddled the border of Turkish-occupied Serbia. Nationalism was on the rise in the Balkans, as Serbs and others chafed under the heavy hand of Ottoman control. This had a profound effect on Rabbi Alkalai, whose Serbian neighbors longed for liberation and increasingly agitated for independence. As Prof. Arthur Hertzberg noted in The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader: "ideas of national freedom and restoration came easily to Alkalai's mind from the atmosphere of his time and place." Within a decade, in 1834, he produced a booklet called Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) proposing something which at the time was considered radical: to create Jewish colonies in the land of Israel as a prelude to redemption. In other words, Rabbi Alkalai advocated that man take action to bring about Jewish national emancipation. This notion ran counter to conventional wisdom, which primarily believed that Jews should wait passively for Messianic deliverance. Nonetheless, he developed the concept further, writing additional books and pamphlets and traveling throughout Europe to spread his message. IN HIS 1845 work Minhat Yehudah, Rabbi Alkalai wrote, "In the first conquest, under Joshua, the Almighty brought the children of Israel into a land that was prepared: its houses were then full of useful things, its wells were giving water, and its vineyards and olive groves were laden with fruit. This new Redemption will – alas, because of our sins – be different: our land is waste and desolate, and we shall have to build houses, dig wells, and plant vines and olive trees." "Redemption," he wrote, "must come slowly. The land must, by degrees, be built up and prepared." To accomplish this, Rabbi Alkalai offered novel, and highly prescient, suggestions, which included the launch of a national fund to purchase land in Israel, the convening of a "Great Assembly" to oversee Jewish national affairs, and a redoubling of efforts to revive Hebrew as a spoken language. At a time when many Jews were beginning to despair after centuries of persecution, Rabbi Alkalai offered concrete hope. More importantly, by highlighting practical measures that Jews could take, he empowered people throughout the Jewish world to become involved in a national act of self-redemption which would engender Divine mercy. In 1874, at the age of 76, Rabbi Alkalai and his wife made aliya, settling in Jerusalem to fulfill his life-long dream. He passed away four years later. Looking back on his ideas, we might easily take them for granted, as many have become part and parcel of our modern reality. But that only underlines Rabbi Alkalai's profound success, for we are merely enjoying the fruits of his labor. As a matter of fact, the extent of this Sephardi sage's influence may have been greater than we will ever know. In one of those curious twists of fate that even the most inventive novelist could not contrive, one of Rabbi Alkalai's faithful congregants and most ardent disciples was a man named Simon Loeb Herzl, whose grandson Theodor would later alter the course of Zionist and Jewish history. Is it possible that Simon Loeb came home from synagogue on the Sabbath, fired up by the rabbi's sermon about the need for Jews to head to Zion, and shared this passion with his offspring? Might the ideas that he read in his rabbi's writings been passed down in one form or another to his famous progeny? The answer to this question, like many others, has been lost to history. But Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai's impact, and that of other Sephardi Jews, cannot and must not suffer a similar fate. They played a key role in the unfolding of the Zionist drama, and we owe it to them to preserve their memory and the heritage they bequeathed us. For even after more than a century, Rabbi Alkalai's words have the power to guide and inspire us in our national mission. "We, as a people, are properly called Israel," he once wrote, "only in the land of Israel... Though this venture will begin modestly, its future will be very great."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fw: A place for Jews on the Temple Mount Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:10 am (PDT) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us

Michael Freund A place for Jews on the Temple Mountby Michael FreundThe Jerusalem PostOctober 18, 2012http://www.michaelfreund.org/12431/temple-mountSend RSS Share: Be the first of your friends to like this.A little more than a week ago, I ascended the Temple Mount together with a group of more than 50 Jews from Ra'anana's Ohel Ari synagogue.Needless to say, all of us immersed in a mikva (ritual bath) prior to the trip, refrained from wearing leather shoes, and walked only in areas that are permitted by halacha.Guided by the indefatigable Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, and led by our congregation's Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, we got a firsthand look at the situation which prevails at Judaism's holiest site.Put simply, it is absolutely infuriating.Brazen discrimination is practiced against religious Jews, who are singled out for special treatment by Israel's police that is not accorded anyone professing a different faith.After going through a security checkpoint, a gruff policeman told our group, "you must stay together at all times, you must move quickly through the site and do not pray. You are not allowed to pray."Not exactly the welcome that I expected to receive at a place of such profound significance to Jewish history and destiny.Throughout our visit, we were accompanied by five to six Israeli Arab policemen and two or three officials from the Muslim Wakf which administers the site. In addition to hurrying us along and brusquely interrupting our guide, their primary task was to keep an eye on our lips, lest anyone dare to move them and utter a silent prayer to his Creator.There were other groups on the Mount at the same time as ours, including Christian pilgrims from Romania, various non-religious tourists, and Israeli Arabs. None of them were subjected to the same watchful scrutiny.In the week prior to our visit, the police had arrested 15 Jews for praying or being suspected of praying (whatever that means) on the Mount. Later, when I asked a border policeman why Jews were barred from praying, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "it would upset the Arabs."The state of affairs on the Temple Mount is intolerable and untenable. Basic freedoms, such as the right to worship and free speech, are being trampled, and Jews are subjected to discrimination unheard of anywhere else in the Western world.A way must be found to enable Jews to exercise their right to commune with their Maker, without further stoking hatred and intolerance. In fact, there is a simple and very practical solution to this predicament: build a synagogue on the Temple Mount where Jews would be free to pray as they wish.NOW BEFORE you start rolling your eyes at the idea, consider the following: for over four centuries after the Caliph Omar conquered the land of Israel in 633-4 CE, a synagogue and Jewish house of study operated on the Temple Mount and Jews were able to pray there freely.Among others, this is attested to by Rabbi Abraham bar Chiya HaNassi, a leading Spanish rabbinical authority of the 12th century, who wrote in his book Megilat Megaleh that, "at the beginning, after the Romans destroyed the Temple, Israel was not prevented from coming and praying there, and similarly the kings of Ishmael enacted a beneficent custom and allowed Israel to come to the Temple Mount and build a house of prayer and study."Furthermore, he notes, "all the exiles of Israel who lived near the Temple Mount would ascend on festivals and holidays and pray there."In other words, there is a clear historical precedent that even during periods when the Mount was under Muslim control, the rights of Jews were respected. So now that it is under Israeli sovereignty, should we accept anything less? Even after the synagogue was closed in 1080, individual Jews continued to pray on the Mount, such as the great medieval Jewish authority Maimonides. In the 13th century, the Meiri, one of the greatest commentators on the Talmud, noted in his comments on Tractate Shevuot (16a) that there was a custom among Jews to enter the Temple Mount.More recently, prominent rabbinical authorities such as former chief rabbis Shlomo Goren and Mordechai Eliyahu have supported the idea of Jews ascending the Temple Mount and constructing a synagogue there.Indeed, after Israel liberated the Temple Mount in 1967, Jews prayed and studied there regularly.Rabbi Goren, who served as chief rabbi of the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War, wrote in his monumental work Har HaBayit (p.14), that after the site's liberation, "in the framework of the IDF Chief Rabbinate, we held symposiums and conducted organized public prayers on the Temple Mount – morning, afternoon and evening – and we read from the Torah on the Sabbath and on Mondays and Thursdays."Fearful of angering the Arabs, the Israeli government later put an end to Rabbi Goren's initiative.But the idea of building a synagogue on the Temple Mount did not die, and six years ago, in October 2006, National Union MK Uri Ariel proposed a similar measure, saying at the time, "a synagogue will not harm the status quo and it will not come in place of a mosque. The Arabs can do their thing in the mosque, and we will do ours in a synagogue" on the Mount.Ariel has it exactly right.Building a synagogue on the Temple Mount will not exacerbate tensions with the Arabs, it will alleviate them.By preventing Jews from praying on the Mount, and mistreating those who do, the police are actually fanning the flames of outrage, rather than dousing them.The best way to prevent friction on the Temple Mount is to accommodate the needs and wishes of both Jews and Arabs, rather than squelching one at the expense of the other.The Temple Mount is our holiest site, one that has served as the focus of our people's dreams and yearnings for the past 2,000 years. Visiting it was a powerful spiritual experience, one that touched me to the core of my very being.But it was distressing to see the extent to which Israel's government defers to threats of Arab unrest at the expense of its own citizens and their basic rights.Building a synagogue on the Temple Mount will underline Israel's sovereignty, while also guaranteeing the freedom of access to all religions that is at the heart of governmental policy. It would give the Muslims a chance to demonstrate just how tolerant they truly are. We don't begrudge them the right to pray, so why should they begrudge us? Just before the leaving the Mount, I leaned over and pretended to whisper in my 12-year old son's ear, reciting the section from the daily Amida prayer, "May You return in compassion to Jerusalem Your city, and dwell in it as You promised. May you rebuild it rapidly in our days, an everlasting structure...."Just then, my son interrupted me, saying, "Daddy, there is a policeman running at us." I looked up and saw the officer, his face contorted in anger, as if I had just stolen his donuts.The cop barked at us, yelling that we should leave immediately, which my son and I proceeded to do, but not before I stubbornly completed the rest of the prayer: "May You install within it soon the throne of David. Blessed are You, O Lord, who builds Jerusalem."May the day soon come when that prayer, and others like it, can be recited freely by Jews in the place where the Temple once stood, and will yet stand again.Latest Featured Articles from the Pundicity Network* Jacoby: What would Hippocrates do?* Berman: Defense Budget Cuts Will Hurt American Strategic Planning* Schanzer: Reality catches up with HamasYou are subscribed to this list as jlevi_us@yahoo.com.To edit your subscription options, or to unsubscribe, go to http://www.pundicity.com/list_edit.phpTo subscribe to the Michael Freund mailing list, go to http://www.pundicity.com/list_subscribe.phpPundicity

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Islam’s Challenge to Israel and America Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Let us try to reformulate Islam’s challenge to Israel and America in psychological terms.  Bat Ye’or, an Egyptian-born scholar, called Islam a “culture of hate." This deeply engrained hatred, which poses an existential threat to Israel and America, gives Islam a psychological advantage over these two humanistic countries. Why? Ben Hecht offers an explanation. Every Muslim leader knows “that it is easier to win followers through their deep talent for hate than their capacity for love.â€�  He knows “that hatred is the magic for victory, if you can control it. Hatred strengthens people and solidifies them … When we hate someone we feel the courage necessary for their slaying.â€� By now it should be obvious that Islam celebrates murder and martyrdom. The Quran exalts the Muslim who “slays and is slain for Allahâ€� (Sura 9:11). This savagery is magnified and perpetuated by the hatred of infidels generated by Islamic theology. Leon Uris vividly portrays this hate in his 1985 novel The Haj. One of its characters, the famous Orde Wingate, says:  ... every last Arab is a total prisoner of his society.  The Jews will eventually have to face up to what you’re dealing with here. The Arabs will never love you for what good you’ve brought them. They don’t know how to really love. But hate!  Oh God, can they hate!  And they have a deep, deep, deep resentment because you [Jews] have jolted them from their delusion of grandeur and shown them for what they are—a decadent, savage people controlled by a religion that has stripped them of all human ambition ... except for the few cruel enough and arrogant enough to command them as one commands a mob of sheep.  You [Jews] are dealing with a mad society and you’d better learn how to control it. The novel’s central (but hardly typical) character, Haj Ibrahim, confides to a Jewish friend: During the summer heat my people become frazzled.... They are pent up. They must explode. Nothing directs their frustration like Islam.  Hatred is holy in this part of the world. It is also eternal.... You [Jews] do not know how to deal with us. For years, decades, we may seem to be at peace with you, but always in the back of our minds we keep up the hope of vengeance.  No dispute is ever really settled in our world. The Jews give us a special reason to continue warring.  Uris uses another such character, the cultured Dr. Mudhil, to elaborate: We [Muslims] do not have leave to love one another and we have long ago lost the ability.  It was so written twelve hundred years earlier.  Hate is our overpowering legacy and we have regenerated ourselves by hatred from decade to decade, generation to generation, century to century.  The return of the Jews has unleashed that hatred, exploding it wildly ...  In ten, twenty, thirty years the world of Islam will begin to consume itself in madness.  We cannot live with ourselves ... we never have.  We are incapable of change.   Later in the novel, Mudhil remarks: “Islam is unable to live at peace with anyone.... One day our oil will be gone, along with our ability to blackmail. We have contributed nothing to human betterment in centuries, unless you consider the assassin and the terrorist as human gifts.â€� Some pundits may call Uris a “racist.â€� They lack the novelist’s sensitive but clear-headed understanding of Arab-Islamic culture. Unlike apologists, Uris appreciates the tragedy of a few insightful Muslims who know they’re trapped in a savage culture of hate.Theologically animated hatred is the driving force of Islamic imperialism. In all the lands it conquered, Islam replaced the indigenous places of worship—Christian, Jewish, Persian, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Hindu—with Mosques. This could not be done without enormous bloodshed. The notion that Islam is a religion of peace is cowardly nonsense. Consider what happens to a culture animated by hate? Hate has closed the Muslim mind. It breeds intolerance. It precludes self-criticism and undermines any incentive to understand and learn from non-Muslims. Contrast Judaism, in which kindness (Hesed) is a fundamental principle. Kindness prompts the Jew not only to help but also to understand and learn from non-Jews. (In the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Judah the Prince, compiler of the Mishna, unhesitatingly declares in favor of a Gentile astronomical theory over that of the wise men of Israel.) The kindliness of the Jew enlarges his mind and makes him tolerant toward others. Accordingly, whereas Jews speak of righteous Gentiles whose place in heaven is assured, Muslims designate as evil everything that is non-Muslim and consign all infidels to hell.  And yet, the kindliness of Jews can also be irrational. The inability of Jewish leaders to hate Israel’s Islamic enemies is symptomatic of a mental disorder. In the Kuzari, Judah Halevi quotes King David: “I hate them, O God, that hate youâ€� (Psalms 129:21). The haters of God, the Kuzari explains, refers to “those who hate God’s people, God’s covenant, or God’s Torah …â€� Hatred, however, is futile if it doesn’t issue in action. In Psalms 18:38-43, Israel’s greatest king writes: “I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and returned not until they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they are not able to rise; ... I pulverized them like dust in the face of the storm...â€� The Jewish Sages teach: “There is a time to kill, in the time of war, and a time to heal, in the time of peace.… There is a time to love, in the time of peace, and a time to hate, in the time of warâ€� (Kohelet Rabbah 3:1).  Consider the verse, “When you go forth to battle against your enemiesâ€� (Deut. 20:1). The Sages ask: “What is meant by ‘against your enemies’â€�? They answer: “God said, ‘Confront them as enemies. Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them any mercy’â€� (Tanchuma, Shoftim 15). Israel’s ruling elites have ignored this teaching, in consequence of which the Jew-hating Muslims of the Palestinian Authority have murdered or mutilated thousands of Jewish women, men, and children. Because Israel does not hate her Muslim enemies, she has been in retreat and will continue to retreat until retreat is no longer possible. Will America continue to ignore the challenge posed by Islamic hate? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

British Methodists: Palestine First, Germany Next? by Malcolm LoweJune 13, 2011 at 5:00 am

In 2010, the Methodist Church in Britain produced a report entitled "Justice for Palestine and Israel". The report was adopted as official Methodist policy. Consequently, British Methodists are now called upon to boycott certain Israeli products and support the pro-Palestinian initiatives of the World Council of Churches and Christian Aid.We have looked at this report, which relies heavily upon a purported history of Palestine in the twentieth century, supported by a bibliography that makes no pretense to impartiality. Anyone who has any genuine acquaintance of that history will be amazed at the continual misrepresentations. In particular, the report repeatedly uses statistics that will mislead an unknowing reader. The report is not the first example of this genre of semi-fact, but perhaps it is the greatest masterpiece to date.Some time ago, we reviewed a miniature product of the genre in our exposé of the Myth of Palestinian Christianity. To do the same for the Methodist report would require a substantial monograph, not a mere article. Moreover, the task would be a waste of time, since such a report can hardly have come from people who might be prepared to change their minds.But if the British Methodists ever show interest in salvaging their reputation, they should engage a respectable historian (say Benny Morris) to review the report and list its falsities. Moreover, they should pay that historian handsomely for the mental torture involved. Cheaper and more befitting a Christian institution would be to throw it officially into the waste-paper basket. If that sounds exaggerated, consider just a sample of the report's statements.Of the Arab revolt (1936-1939), the report says that it "was put down with brutal ferocity by British forces during which 5000 Palestinians were killed and 10,000 wounded". Not mentioned is that up to half of the fatalities were Arabs killed by other Arabs on various pretexts. This includes the fighting between the Husseini and Nashashibi clans, in which the Nashashibi leadership was largely wiped out. Jewish casualties are not mentioned at all.Similar omissions occur where the report mentions the first Palestinian intifada. It is described in this sentence: "This Intifada, which lasted from 1987 to 1991, was mainly associated with stone throwing and popular unrest within the Occupied territories, together with a corresponding firm response by Israeli forces."Not mentioned is that as many Arabs were killed by other Arabs as by Israelis, on various accusations of being collaborators and prostitutes, etc. The PLO and Hamas also ordered the resignation of the entire local Jordanian-created police, which Israel had left in place since 1967. As a result, crime multiplied without control and various Palestinian organizations could rob the population in the name of resistance. Those organizations also ordered endless strikes that deprived the middle classes of income. A lot more happened than mere stone throwing.The 1947 resolution of the United Nations General Assembly is described as a plan "to partition the territory, with 56% going to the third of the population who were Jewish." Sounds very unfair, if you do not know that 82% of the Jewish part was the Negev desert. Its then population, apart from Beersheba (6,490) and 510 in Jewish villages, consisted of uncounted Bedouin nomads. It was allocated to the Jews on the assumption that they alone might make it less of a desert, as indeed happened.The UN plan, continues the report, "ignited a civil war" in which "750,000 Palestinians" were "forced from their country." Here the report is guilty of the most elementary of mistakes, or rather deceptions: equating the total number of refugees with the number that left the area of the British Mandate. In fact, it is estimated that about a third went to the West Bank, a third went to the Gaza Strip and only a third actually went away "from their country" to Lebanon, Syria or Transjordan. Two-thirds, that is, of the Arab refugees were displaced not from Mandatory Palestine but merely within it. The Jordanians and Egyptians put them in refugee camps; the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, too, keep them in those same camps.Thus, adds the report, "Israel secured its independence on 78% of the territory, having expelled around 80% of the Arab population." Only it omits to note that 100% of the Jewish population was expelled from the areas that came under Jordanian and Egyptian rule. As for the 78%, three-fifths of it (4,700 out of 8,019 sq miles) was the Negev desert. Once again, the percentages mentioned by the report serve to deceive rather than to inform.The description of the origins of the Six Day War is even more laconic: "tensions culminated in the Six Day War in which Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan and Syria." In fact, the first belligerent act was committed by Egypt, when Nasser ordered a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat and told the UN buffer force to leave the border between Egypt and Israel. It was also Jordan that initiated hostilities against Israel, not the reverse. So it was Egypt and Jordan who made war on Israel, who lost, and who thereby gave Israel control of the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab League, meeting in Khartoum on September 1, 1967, thereupon adopted its "Three 'No's": "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel."Thus the "Occupied Territories" were born in a war of Arab aggression, after which the Arabs refused to make peace because they refused to accept Israel in any form. That was the permanent reality in which Israel was left to decide alone what areas were necessary for its long-term security and began to settle them. Not that the Methodists would tell you.Of the origins of the PLO, the report merely declares: "In 1964, the Palestinians finally achieved an independent political voice, through the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization." No mention of the fact that the PLO adopted a charter calling for the destruction of the State of Israel by armed force, etc. This was before the Six Day War, when all that prevented the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza was Arab opposition.The opposition included the PLO itself, since thePLO charter of 1964 stated: "Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area..." Israel alone must be the target. Only after the war, in 1968, did the PLO revised the charter to eliminate that restriction. Indeed, the Methodist report contains no explanation whatsoever of the Fatah and Hamas ideologies, nor of the constant incitement against Israel today in the Palestinian media and educational system.And so on and so on. Now, we are familiar with this sort of repetitive deception from banal Palestinian propaganda. But what is left of the reputation of a church that adopts such a strategy?So let us go on to a further example of the elementary statistical blunders: "There are currently around 125,000 Palestinian Christians in Israel/Palestine." Here they may be quoting a figure recently given by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics of 122,000 Arab Christians in Israel, including Jerusalem. But they forget that there are another 40,000 or so Arab Christians in the West Bank and a few in Gaza. Add to that some tens of thousands, at least, of non-Arab Christians in Israel.This invalidates the report's central claim that there are "declining numbers" of Christians in "Israel/Palestine." In fact, their numbers have slowly but steadily increased since 1948. It is simply their percentage in the total population that has decreased; for the details see my Myth of Palestinian Christianity. Thus the Methodist report not merely repeats the frequent confusion between absolute numbers and percentages, it sloppily fails to get the absolute number correct in the first place.Note that the great majority of the Arab Christians live in Israel. From there, during 1948-1967, the Jordanians rarely let them visit the holy places in Jerusalem. After 1967, they could go there whenever they wanted to. But what did the Six Day War mean for Christians, according to the Methodist report? "To Christians, the loss of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was of great significance."Think, Methodists, what you mean by that. Christians have "lost" the Holy Sepulchre, which is visited by thousands upon thousands of Christians every day? Well, the Holy Sepulchre is technically owned by the Muslim Waqf, while the local churches have to request the key from two Muslim families in order to open the door – and pay for the privilege. But in that sense the Holy Sepulchre was "lost" centuries ago. Some Christians might call it a demeaning and intolerable situation, but not our Methodists.As for the Muslims themselves, the report complains that "Muslims lost de facto control of their third holiest Mosque – the Al Aqsa Mosque – as well as the Dome of the Rock or Haram-al Sharif." Here the Methodists show that, without any examination of the facts, they are merely capable of making baseless pronouncements of politico-theological dogma.After the Six Day War, the Muslim Waqf was immediately permitted by Israel to retain its control of the Temple Mount, while Jews were forbidden to pray there. The problem is the very opposite: the State of Israel has been far too hesitant to exercise any authority there, despite grossly irresponsible activities of the Waqf. The Israeli police is satisfied if it can prevent rioting on the Temple Mount and the hurling of rocks from there on Jews down below at the Western Wall. And that is all.In particular, the Waqf has carried out unauthorized and unsupervised excavations in order to add a third mosque underground. This cultural vandalism also dangerously weakened the support walls of the Temple Mount. The excavated material was dumped outside in the Kidron valley, where the Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay belatedly rescued 400 lorry loads of it. He is supervising a multi-year project to sift through it all. Extremely valuable artefacts going back to the First Temple period have emerged.The Waqf cares nothing for this, since it claims that any talk of a Jewish temple there is a Zionist fabrication; this is a purely Muslim site. Such claims belie the New Testament along with the Old Testament, since Jesus and the apostles are often described as visiting the Temple. But the Methodists ignore those Muslim claims that their Bible is replete with lies.The report has a section bemoaning "The Plight of Palestinian Israelis." Among its complaints is that "despite being 20% of the population, only 3.5% of Israeli land is in Arab-Palestinian ownership." What it does not mention is that only about 7% of Israeli land altogether is in private ownership. This is yet another item of statistical trickery that features widely in Palestinian propaganda, but disgraces a church that employs it.The issue is rather who can live on state land. Alandmark decision of Israel's Supreme Court in 2000 cemented the principle that state land must be available to all citizens. The petitioners, the Kadaan family, moved into their newly-built house in Katzir in December 2010. This is an issue on which the last word has not been said, yet it has involved hypocrisy that was not limited to Jewish right-wingers.Nothing would rouse greater fury in the Israeli Arab sector than a concerted attempt by Jews to buy up houses in Arab villages. Last year, a Jew who bought a house in the Arab village of Ibillin was forced to leave within days after neighbours openly threatened to kill him. Here, by the way, is where the much celebrated Elias Chacour made his name. His intervention would have been appreciated.There is just one village in Galilee, Peki'in, where for centuries Jews lived alongside Druze and Christian Arabs. In recent years, however, Arab gangs harassed the Jewish families and all the last Jews were driven out in 2007 except for one lady who looks after the synagogue. Basically, it is impossible for Jews to live in an Arab village in Israel.In its call for boycotts of Israel, the report relies heavily upon the so-called Kairos Palestine Document, which it recommends to all Methodists as coming from "church leaders in Palestine." But apart from Bishop Munib Younan, who subsequently withdrew his signature, the listed authors of the document are a group of minor figures, dissidents and retirees. Note also that one of the authors, Rifat Odeh Kassis, has made it clear that the document does not claim that the Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem support boycotts.We have exposed the real agenda of the document elsewhere. It has also been severely criticised by a number of leading German theologians, including Rolf Schieder (Neukirchener Theologische Zeitschrift 25/2, 2010, pp. 191-194), Michael Volkmann (also in English) and Klaus Wengst (lecture in Bonn on May 13, 2011). Methodist theology must be at a low ebb in the UK if this sort of material is its staple.We shall omit the further litany of complaints against Israel (with a couple of token mentions of Palestinian terrorism). They use the familiar propaganda trick of describing incidents without any mention of context. Nor shall we review the long list of variously absurd demands made of Israel, nor the calls upon Methodists to act to enforce those demands. Thus the Methodists uphold "the rights of the refugees," that is, the "right" of the Palestinians to create an Arab majority in the State of Israel. As we said, the Methodists should pay someone to clean up the mess.What we can do, instead, is reveal a possible scoop. Some gullible Methodists, it is rumored, have begun to review all that they thought they knew about another aspect of twentieth-century history. What looks like an early draft of their conclusions follows. It will be seen how the one "history" has become a pattern for the other.Proposed Conference Report: Justice for Germany and BritainFollowing the adoption of the Methodist Conference Report on Justice for Palestine and Israel, we carefully studied the literature appended to the report. This led us to authors who alerted us to the problem of justice for Germany and Britain.Eventually, we were able to put together a team of experts on Occupied Germany. We urge Methodists to take their findings as seriously as that report on Occupied Palestine. What we have learnt contradicts all that we thought we knew. But, as the earlier report stressed, "Public awareness of what is actually happening in Israel/Palestine is largely lacking" and the same applies to Germany/Britain. Here, too, your local church can make a difference.During 1914-1918, the nationalistic government of France fought against Germany with the aim of acquiring the German provinces of Elsass and Lothringen. (Clarification: just as Israel insists on calling the West Bank "Judea and Samaria", the French call these "Alsace et Lorraine".) They persuaded the Russian and British monarchs to join this campaign, although neither had suffered any grievance at German hands.Germany held its own against France and Britain. It also enabled Russia to depose its tyrannical ruler and introduce democracy, whereupon Russia made peace. But the Western allies persuaded US President Woodrow Wilson to join the war, which is how Germany was defeated despite stubborn resistance. That the American people had been unwillingly dragged into this conflict was quickly shown: the US Senate rejected Wilson's scheme to give permanent status to the League of Nations that had subjugated Germany.Not only did France succeed in occupying Elsass and Lothringen; a large part of Germany territory was used to recreate the long-forgotten country of Poland. Germany was also ordered to pay money annually to the victors and forbidden to have an army.By the early 1930s, Germany was in grave economic troubles until the 1933 elections brought a little-known politician, Adolf Hitler, to power. Like his Palestinian contemporary, Haj Amin al-Husseini (an uncle of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat), Hitler realised that economic problems arise when industry and finance lie in the hands of people of foreign origin. He persuaded many of the foreigners to leave, even allowing them to take some of their capital with them. Germany's economy quickly improved. Hitler also pioneered the building of motorways and initiated a project to enable every German family to have a "Volkswagen" (people's car).Unfortunately, some of those non-Germans went to Palestine, where they played a major role in the Israeli occupation of that country (see the earlier report for details). Collaboration between Britain and those settlers in Palestine forced al-Husseini himself to become a refugee in Germany. Here he later provided advice for Hitler's attempts to encourage similar reforms among Germany's neighbours.Hitler quickly managed to persuade Germany's former enemies to restore parts of occupied German territory peacefully, such as the Saar and the Sudeten lands. But when he raised the issue of the artificial creation of Poland on German territory, Germany was subject to a second unprovoked attack by France and Britain. This, although Hitler had not even questioned France's illegal occupation of Elsass and Lothringen.Once again, Germany was able to hold off their attack, but again the aggressors succeeded in persuading Russia and the USA to join the war. This time the war ended with Germany under total occupation. More Germany territory was added to Poland, Germans were expelled and Polish settlers put in their place. Also East Prussia was given to Russia and subjected to the same mistreatment. The Sudeten lands were reoccupied and Germans expelled from there too.Having learnt this history, your report team decided to sponsor volunteers on the programme of the WCAC (World Committee of Aryan Christians) called EAPGB (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Germany and Britain). When our volunteers compared notes with people who had been on the WCC (World Council of Churches) programme EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel), they found a situation even worse than the misery of the Israeli occupation.In Bethlehem, the WCC's Ecumenical Accompaniers could still find a few Palestinian Christians. In Hebron there were at least some remaining Palestinian Muslims. The only Christian in Hebron, a Russian monk, has not been joined by his colleagues and will not be until Palestinian Christians are allowed back by the occupation authorities.But when our Ecumenical Accompaniers went to Breslau, Stettin and Danzig (which the Polish settlers have renamed Wroclaw, Szczecin and Gdansk), they could not find a single survivor of the native German population. In one sad case, a group of German visitors in traditional dress (brown shirts and short leather trousers) staged a peaceful protest by raising a German flag and singing a German folksong called "Horst-Wessel-Lied". They were brutally assaulted by the settlers, arrested by the occupation police and sent back to Western Germany under armed guard. Besides those cities, by the way, thousands of former German villages have vanished (far more than the vanished Arab villages in Israel).As for Russian-occupied Königsberg, the hometown of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant, what happened to our Ecumenical Accompaniers in that city is too undignified to be described here. It makes even the Israeli occupation army look benign by comparison.Consequently, we have some recommendations for the next Methodist Conference. For one, we urge Methodists to join the EAPGB program. Please note that just as the EAPPI includes Ecumenical Accompaniers who encourage Israeli peace activists, so also you can join EAPGB and work in Britain itself with British peace activists who are seeking justice for Occupied Germany. Since Christian Aid, for operational reasons, is not active in Occupied Germany, we are looking for a replacement with WCAC help.Second, in those parts of Germany where the allied occupation has officially been withdrawn, on the model of the so-called Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, there are popular relief organizations called Landsmannschaften. These try to keep alive the memories of German refugees from the areas under continuing Polish, Russian and Czech occupation. Unlike the Palestinian refugees, all the German refugees were quickly resettled in new homes and many have since become economically well off. The result is that the Landsmannschaften have been languishing. Methodists can help to revive them by solidarity visits and church collections to replenish their funding.Third, we recommend a boycott of all British supermarkets that are not owned by Germans (please note that only two German-owned chains, Aldi and Lidl, have been allowed to operate in Britain). This corresponds to our awareness that some businesses in Israel are owned by Palestinians and must be seen as tacit exceptions to any boycott of Israel.The boycott of Britain should continue until the government of this country takes decisive steps to end the occupation of Germany. Here we should follow the example of Israelis who bravely boycott their own occupation of Palestine (on this, too, see the earlier report). It explains why we call this "Justice for Germany and Britain", because the British in their own way suffer from the occupation alongside the Germans.At present, we admit that this sounds a daunting task. But that is what the EAPPI scheme was thought to be at first, whereas now the sale of Israeli cosmetics in Britain has been partly stopped. For sure, in Ramallah the native Palestinians, who are not yet free from the occupation mentality, are still buying the same cosmetics in greater quantities.We are in the process of completing a recommended bibliography and a catalogue of the websites that seek to remedy the injustices done to Germany. In the meantime, see the organizations mentioned in the online encyclopaedia article on The Post-World War II Heritage of Adolf Hitler.– Your report team.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Tack: To the shores of Tripoli

-------- Begin forwarded message --------
Subject: Another Tack: To the shores of Tripoli (Sarah Honig)
Date: 9/20/12 4:11:39 PM
From: "Robert Robert Hand"
To: borntolose3@...

Another Tack: To the shores of Tripoli
Posted on September 20, 2012 by Sarah Honig

It is written in the Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet are sinners, whom it is the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who is slain in this warfare is sure to go to Paradise.

Difficult as it may be for some New York Times devotees to believe, the above wasn’t enunciated in response to an esoteric 14-minute YouTube clip, which was uploaded months ago by a California-resident Egyptian Copt, which few actually viewed but which invisible Islamic puppet-masters belatedly decried as too offensive to overlook.

The above quote dates back to 1785 but it undeniably bloviates in precisely the same spirit as latter-day Muslim rabble-rousers. Nothing has changed since these supremacist sentiments were sounded to American emissaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were dispatched to London in an attempt to reason with the proto-al-Qaida leaders of their day.

Suffice it to say that the negotiations led nowhere. What the two future American presidents – both Founding Fathers with the impeccable credentials of enlightened political philosophers – would hear was that Muslims are above accommodating themselves to lowly infidels and that the infidels had better admit their inferiority and pay the obligatory penalty for being inferior.

In time, this standoff would escalate to what became known as the First Barbary War. It marked the first occasion ever that America employed military force overseas as an independent republic. The military reputation of the newly autonomous upstart from across the Atlantic was beginning to be established. America’s ability to strike far from home was tested for the first time. It was also the first time a united American force was deployed as distinct from a collection of local militias.

This chapter in American annals was seminal enough to be immortalized in the official hymn of the American Marine Corps via the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli.â€

Few Americans today have an iota of non-romanticized inkling about their own country’s beginnings, never mind the realization that the first foreign war the US fought was with Muslims. Such ignorance is a great shame for the country which still purports to lead the Free World. But worse yet is the suspicion that America’s current commander-in- chief, Barack Obama – the latest to don the mantle of both Adams and Jefferson – has no idea.

Another option is that he does have an idea but pretends not to. It’s hard to decide which is worse – a president who is uninformed or disingenuous. Perhaps Obama just doesn’t care. Graver yet, he might care in an alarming way – he may be willfully hostile to the legacy of American history. Any way you look at it, none of this can instill cheer in the hearts of Americans or of those who continue to count on America.

From this history-deficient worldview springs the politically correct rationalization about why assorted Muslim fanatics have taken to the streets of far-flung cities to vent hate. Like an imperious choirmaster, the Obama administration inculcates into the public’s mind the convenient pretext that an inane YouTube clip could automatically trigger the uncontrollable fury of the mobs.

To hear Obama’s mouthpieces, the to-be-expected reaction of the faithful is to riot against diplomatic sanctuaries (of different nations), despoil foreign-franchised eateries and obviously – it goes without saying – hoarsely recommend the slaughter of all Jews everywhere.

The impression willy-nilly imparted by this neat explanation is that there was a specific match which ignited the flame, that the consequences might have been avoided had the match not been struck and had we Westerners been a tad more considerate of the noble sensitivities of our Muslim brethren.

The implication is unfailingly that only Muslims possess the prerogative to be sensitive and to express their sensitivities brutally. Say it how you will, the unspoken axiom is that even a perceived affront against Islam sets loose the wrath of hell.

On the other hand, Muslims may call Jews descendents of apes and pigs but Jews are never expected to respond ferociously because, as Muhammadan believers aver, the lowly Jews are indeed swine and hence fully deserve all the scorn heaped upon them. Jews have no right to rage right back (not that they ever do).

The justifiably proud Muslims are in contrast perfect (which is what the appellation Muslim means in Arabic) and thus are worthy of veneration. Anything less is a severe insult that must be avenged. The very notion of coexistence is nonexistent for those who see any hint of a hint of a non-adulatory appraisal as extreme sacrilege mandating the death sentence. Simply put, the Muslim view is “we are the best, you are the worst.â€

All our Western notions of live-and-let-live might as well come from an alternative universe. They are irrelevant, which is why Obama erred so fundamentally when apologizing to Islam and bowing down to its potentates.

This is where memory blanks come in handy. They help cover up the fact that the video clip is a trite excuse – that we have heard it all before – with the Danish political caricature six years ago, with Salman Rushdie’s novel over 20 years ago, with Jerusalem mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini’s pogrom-instigating calumnies from the 1920s onward or the license which North African Muslims issued themselves to abduct foreign mariners and hold them for ransom hundreds of years ago.

All these are links in one long chain.

The Barbary Coast – as it was known in the 18th century – was straddled by the independent Sultanate of Morocco and the quasi-independent states surrounding Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers, under the minimally nominal hegemony of the Ottoman Empire. All were in the business of piracy. They hijacked merchant ships throughout the Mediterranean and in parts of the Atlantic and held their crews in abject misery, in conditions of hard labor and privation, until ransomed.

The Muslim leaders of these provinces amassed great wealth and power thereby. Before independence, American shipping came under British protection and during the Revolutionary War under that of the French. Thereafter, however, beginning in 1784, the Barbary rulers focused on American vessels.

Attempts to negotiate the price of safe passage succeeded only partially and temporarily. The ante kept going up to the point that each honcho demanded hefty chunks of the entire American budget.

By the time Jefferson became America’s third president, things had deteriorated into bloody skirmishes and spawned an American naval blockade.

Then Tripoli captured the USS Philadelphia. On the night of February 16, 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur commanded an undersized contingent of American Marines who stormed the captive Philadelphia and set it ablaze. British Admiral Horatio Nelson lauded this as “the most bold and daring act of the age.â€

But there was more to come. Tripoli itself was attacked a few months later and more months down the line the city of Derna, in Tripoli’s sphere, fell to a force of Marines and a ragtag hodgepodge of mercenaries. An American flag was hoisted victoriously abroad for the first time in what we now dub Libya.

It all concluded in a compromise which the Muslim princes violated in no time, especially once America became embroiled in its existential War of 1812. Not until the 1815 Second Barbary War did the US successfully halt the extortions and end all tribute payments.

There must be a lesson here for today’s pampered, more powerful and less imperiled America. No good will come of sucking up to those who believe they have the only direct line to the Almighty, and were ordained by Allah to lord it over the rest of us underlings, menacingly extract submission but dish out contempt with impunity.

Powwowing won’t lead to a change of heart among Islam’s supremacists. The showdown is inevitable. The Barbary War’s rallying call was: “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.â€

Two footnotes offer further insights.

The first goes to underscore the difference of mindsets between the enlightened West and Islam already 227 years ago. While Adams’s and Jefferson’s interlocutor justified murder and pillage as the inherent right of the superior Muslim, Jefferson was the principal author of the trailblazing American Declaration of Independence and in his later life composed an alternative Bible called The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jefferson transposed and deleted portions of the New Testament (mainly those with supernatural content which he argued were the personal conjectures and/or embellishments of the Four Evangelists) in order to reconstruct what he presented as a rational and more reliable account of the life of Jesus.

Religious as America was, no violent vendettas were mounted against Jefferson by offended Christians. Unlike the rampaging Muslims, they made do with disagreeing.

The second footnote is about Joseph Israel. This Jewish midshipman was killed on September 4, 1804, in Tripoli Harbor. An ornate monument was erected in his memory and that of the five other fallen of that battle. One of America’s oldest military monuments, it stands today at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

In 1918, the American Navy launched a destroyer that honored his heroism. It sailed the seas as the USS Israel. It was the only instance in which a US naval vessel bore the name.