Thursday, May 31, 2012

food for thought

food for thought Posted by: "Yaacov Levi"   jlevi_us Tue May 29, 2012 5:51 am (PDT)    I have read it, but got it again today, and thought its the right time of the year for a reminder and a reality check as well...... This is one of the very best emails I have EVER received where it gently explains the difference in thinking between people with opposite outlooks. A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school. Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying. Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over." Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA." The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!" The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the conservative side of the fence." If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test! If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him. If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down. If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced. If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his. If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh. A liberal will delete it because he's "offended." Well, I forwarded it to you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Was Columbus secretly a Jew ?

Christopher Columbus bids farewell to his son Diego at Palos, Spain, before embarking on his first voyage on August 3, 1492.STORY HIGHLIGHTSSunday marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher ColumbusCharles Garcia: Columbus was a Marrano, or a Jew who feigned to be a CatholicHe says that during Columbus' lifetime, Jews became the target of religious persecutionGarcia: Columbus's voyage was motivated by a desire to find a safe haven for JewsEditor's note: Charles Garcia is the CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a business focused on the Hispanic market, and the author of "Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows." A native of Panama, he now lives in Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @charlespgarcia. Lea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish.(CNN) -- Today marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus.Everybody knows the story of Columbus, right? He was an Italian explorer from Genoa who set sail in 1492 to enrich the Spanish monarchs with gold and spices from the orient. Not quite.For too long, scholars have ignored Columbus's grand passion: the quest to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. Was Columbus secretly a Jew?By Charles Garcia, Special to CNNMay 20, 2012 -- Updated 0719 GMT (1519 HKT)Christopher Columbus bids farewell to his son Diego at Palos, Spain, before embarking on his first voyage on August 3, 1492.STORY HIGHLIGHTSSunday marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher ColumbusCharles Garcia: Columbus was a Marrano, or a Jew who feigned to be a CatholicHe says that during Columbus' lifetime, Jews became the target of religious persecutionGarcia: Columbus's voyage was motivated by a desire to find a safe haven for JewsEditor's note: Charles Garcia is the CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a business focused on the Hispanic market, and the author of "Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows." A native of Panama, he now lives in Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @charlespgarcia. Lea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish.(CNN) -- Today marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus.Everybody knows the story of Columbus, right? He was an Italian explorer from Genoa who set sail in 1492 to enrich the Spanish monarchs with gold and spices from the orient. Not quite.For too long, scholars have ignored Columbus's grand passion: the quest to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims.Charles GarciaDuring Columbus's lifetime, Jews became the target of fanatical religious persecution. On March 31, 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella proclaimed that all Jews were to be expelled from Spain. The edict especially targeted the 800,000 Jews who had never converted, and gave them four months to pack up and get out.The Jews who were forced to renounce Judaism and embrace Catholicism were known as "Conversos," or converts. There were also those who feigned conversion, practicing Catholicism outwardly while covertly practicing Judaism, the so-called "Marranos," or swine.Tens of thousands of Marranos were tortured by the Spanish Inquisition. They were pressured to offer names of friends and family members, who were ultimately paraded in front of crowds, tied to stakes and burned alive. Their land and personal possessions were then divvied up by the church and crown.Recently, a number of Spanish scholars, such as Jose Erugo, Celso Garcia de la Riega, Otero Sanchez and Nicholas Dias Perez, have concluded that Columbus was a Marrano, whose survival depended upon the suppression of all evidence of his Jewish background in face of the brutal, systematic ethnic cleansing.Columbus, who was known in Spain as Cristóbal Colón and didn't speak Italian, signed his last will and testament on May 19, 1506, and made five curious -- and revealing -- provisions.Two of his wishes -- tithe one-tenth of his income to the poor and provide an anonymous dowry for poor girls -- are part of Jewish customs. He also decreed to give money to a Jew who lived at the entrance of the Lisbon Jewish Quarter.On those documents, Columbus used a triangular signature of dots and letters that resembled inscriptions found on gravestones of Jewish cemeteries in Spain. He ordered his heirs to use the signature in perpetuity.According to British historian Cecil Roth's "The History of the Marranos," the anagram was a cryptic substitute for the Kaddish, a prayer recited in the synagogue by mourners after the death of a close relative. Thus, Columbus's subterfuge allowed his sons to say Kaddish for their crypto-Jewish father when he died. Finally, Columbus left money to support the crusade he hoped his successors would take up to liberate the Holy Land.Estelle Irizarry, a linguistics professor at Georgetown University, has analyzed the language and syntax of hundreds of handwritten letters, diaries and documents of Columbus and concluded that the explorer's primary written and spoken language was Castilian Spanish. Irizarry explains that 15th-century Castilian Spanish was the "Yiddish" of Spanish Jewry, known as "Ladino." At the top left-hand corner of all but one of the 13 letters written by Columbus to his son Diego contained the handwritten Hebrew letters bet-hei, meaning b'ezrat Hashem (with God's help). Observant Jews have for centuries customarily added this blessing to their letters. No letters to outsiders bear this mark, and the one letter to Diego in which this was omitted was one meant for King Ferdinand.In Simon Weisenthal's book, "Sails of Hope," he argues that Columbus's voyage was motivated by a desire to find a safe haven for the Jews in light of their expulsion from Spain. Likewise, Carol Delaney, a cultural anthropologist at Stanford University, concludes that Columbus was a deeply religious man whose purpose was to sail to Asia to obtain gold in order to finance a crusade to take back Jerusalem and rebuild the Jews' holy Temple.In Columbus's day, Jews widely believed that Jerusalem had to be liberated and the Temple rebuilt for the Messiah to return.Scholars point to the date on which Columbus set sail as further evidence of his true motives. He was originally going to sail on August 2, 1492, a day that happened to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av, marking the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples of Jerusalem. Columbus postponed this original sail date by one day to avoid embarking on the holiday, which would have been considered by Jews to be an unlucky day to set sail. (Coincidentally or significantly, the day he set forth was the very day that Jews were, by law, given the choice of converting, leaving Spain, or being killed.)Columbus's voyage was not, as is commonly believed, funded by the deep pockets of Queen Isabella, but rather by two Jewish Conversos and another prominent Jew. Louis de Santangel and Gabriel Sanchez advanced an interest free loan of 17,000 ducats from their own pockets to help pay for the voyage, as did Don Isaac Abrabanel, rabbi and Jewish statesman.Indeed, the first two letters Columbus sent back from his journey were not to Ferdinand and Isabella, but to Santangel and Sanchez, thanking them for their support and telling them what he had found.The evidence seem to bear out a far more complicated picture of the man for whom our nation now celebrates a national holiday and has named its capital.As we witness bloodshed the world over in the name of religious freedom, it is valuable to take another look at the man who sailed the seas in search of such freedoms -- landing in a place that would eventually come to hold such an ideal at its very core.Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blind in one eye: Galtung and the toxic European left

Robert S. WistrichB Blind in one eye: Galtung and the toxic European left MAY 17, 2012, Professor Robert S Wistrich is the director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem… [More] The dark spirit of anti-Western ressentiment and knee-jerk anti-Zionism that has come to characterize a growing sector of Europe’s intellectual left is no secret to seasoned observers of these cultural pathologies. The world-renowned 82-year-old Norwegian Professor Johan Galtung – who over fifty years ago founded Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute – is only the most recent prime exhibit of this syndrome. Widely recognized as the “father” of international peace studies, Galtung has long execrated the United States as an imperialist nation of killers, exploiters and torturers, responsible for most of the world’s evils. The much-traveled white-haired professor, in many ways the embodiment of European elitist anti-Americanism, has more recently lavished his self-righteous indignation on Israel (the “little Satan,” as the Iranian Ayatollahs fondly call it), and seems to have enthusiastically embraced the notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Among Galtung’s most recent claims has been the assertion that the massacre last summer in Norway of 77 young people by Anders Behring Breivik may have been ordered by the Israeli Mossad. He was even quoted as saying, “It will be interesting to read the [Norwegian] police report on Israel, during the trial.” If that blood libel were not enough, he bizarrely linked Breivik’s murderous actions to the King David Hotel bombing of the British Administration’s nerve-center in Palestine by the Irgun in July 1946. The only vague connection between these two totally distinct events is that they both occurred on July 22. But for the distinguished “sociologist,” the link evidently lies in sinister Zionist-masonic machinations and an endemic terrorist blood-lust among Jews. Johan Galtung (photo credit: CC BY-SA Seadart, Wikipedia) Galtung, an iconic figure in the Norwegian and international left, has not hesitated to recommend that we should all look again (more sympathetically) at ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” one of the most notorious anti-Semitic texts of the 20th century. Reading the ‘Protocols’ apparently makes Galtung think above all of Goldman Sachs, the giant international investment bank with an unmistakably Jewish name, and the long tentacles of “Jewish” finance-capital. In this context, he airily dismisses the notion that the ‘Protocols” were a concoction of Tsarist Russian anti-Semites. After all, how could mere forgers and Russian police agents possibly predict, over a century ago, what is supposedly happening before our very eyes!? Galtung obviously regards the USA as the contemporary living embodiment of the “Protocols of Zion” scenario displayed in vivid Technicolor. “Six Jewish companies control 96% of the media,” he has written — including virtually all the major TV networks, film studios, publishers and top journalists. Even the non-Jewish media mogul Rupert Murdoch – a favorite target of anti-Semites worldwide – is on his list, since many of those who work for him are (according to the Norwegian professor) “fanatically pro-Israel.” It is worth noting that a major source for these and other bigoted conspiracy-mongering assertions by Galtung is the deceased American neo-Nazi and white racist supremacist, William Pierce, founder of the “National Alliance.” Galtung, who last week told Haaretz that he is open to all hypotheses on such questions, did not fail to imply that Jews had a historic responsibility for the pogromist assaults directed against them, since they had lent money in the past to indebted peasants; and, he added, even Auschwitz had two sides, since Jews in Weimar Germany allegedly held key positions — which meant that “anti-Semitism could have been predicted.” Ignorance, dogmatic obtuseness and sheer bigotry echo from these statements in a truly toxic mix. Some Norwegian academics and fans of Galtung’s “peace studies” research have professed mild shock and bewilderment at this tissue of neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic rubbish pouring out from the mouth of such a prominent and respected leftist guru. But this astonishment seems thoroughly misplaced. As I demonstrate in my newly published book, “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews and Israel,” there is a well-entrenched tradition of such anti-Jewish bigotry on the left from the beginnings of European Socialism until the present day. Long before Galtung, many left-wing radicals embraced the grossly simplistic view that Jews were the driving-force behind Wall Street, the big banks, international finance-capital, global exploitation and predatory imperialism. Moreover, during the past 40 years it is leftist intellectuals who have often been the spearhead of fashionable “anti-Zionist” conspiracy theories and pernicious efforts to equate Israel with the evils of apartheid, racism, colonialism, fascism and even Nazism. In the last decade we have, for example, seen a growing list of European and even American academics, artists and intellectuals (some of them Jewish and ex-Israeli) join this bandwagon. They include the late José Saramago, Mikis Theodorakis, Tom Paulin, Noam Chomsky, Roger Garaudy and most recentlyGünter Grass. Günter Grass (photo credit: AP Photo/Jens Meyer) Galtung cannot, unfortunately, be dismissed merely as one more senile bigot and ultra-leftist crank. The recipient of many university honors and prizes, his remarks inevitably attract attention and are only a slightly more extreme version of a proliferating European-wide sickness. A long-time admirer of Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Castro, Saddam Hussein and other “leftist” totalitarian tyrants, Professor Galtung’s “peace” orientation in the name of human rights has proven all-too-popular in Western as well as Third World academic circles. In the Arab-Islamic world he would, of course, be considered mainstream, even “moderate.” What is equally troubling is that such anti-Americanism and unabashed anti-Semitism has emerged as a logical extension of what is becoming an established cultural code among radical leftists in the West. In contemporary Norway, too, where elite anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing has turned into something of a national sport in recent years, the time is surely ripe for some serious soul-searching.\ eft/

Exposing the Palestinian media

Photo by: Maxine Dovere Exposing the Palestinian media By MAXINE DOVERE/JOINTMEDIA NEWS SERVICE 19/05/2012 Itamar Marcus, founding director of Palestinian Media Watch, on the PA leadership’s use education and media to influence its population. NEW YORK—“If your enemy says he will destroy you, believe him.” Those were the words of Itamar Marcus, founding director of Palestinian Media Watch, when recently joinedThe Jewish Week Associate Editor Jonathan Mark on stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City to discuss the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership’s use of culture, education, and media to influence its population. Marcus has presented evidence of Palestinian incitement to the US Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, and has lectured to Canadian and European parliamentarians and international security officials. Palestinian Media Watch ( is an NGO (non-governmental organization) dedicated to disclosure of the factual content of Palestinian media, founded by Marcus 14 years ago. Marcus said his purpose is simple: “To get a real sense of what is happening in the Palestinian world.” Marcus made aliyah from New York and lives in Efrat. In an interview with JointMedia News Service, he recalled the first tapes he received of Yasser Arafat’s speeches while working for the Israeli government during the 1990s. In the midst of a highly visible “peace process,” the Palestinian leader, speaking on Arabic and Palestinian TV, called for jihad, saying any agreements with Israel were “temporary.” When Marcus left the government, he initiated Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), and began to “tape all of official Palestinian TV, read the Palestinian newspapers every day.” What he found was an ongoing demonization of Israel and an ongoing denial of Israel’s right to exist. Marcus’s tapes were brought to the 1998 Wye Summit and given to President Bill Clinton. Soon afterwards, an Israeli, Palestinian and American negotiating committee to deal with the problem of incitement was established. Marcus was appointed to the Israeli team, a position he held until Ehud Barak’s election as prime minister. “There was no significant progress” with the Palestinians, said Marcus. “The Palestinians are teaching their children hatred against Jews, and ultimately violence against Jews and Israelis,” he said. The Palestinians, he said, “like to depict the conflict as territorial while hiding this horrific underlying ideology.” Marcus remains a proponent of direct contact between Israelis and Palestinians, which he believes engenders respect and admiration for Israel as a democracy and a supporter of human rights. “The tragedy is that the Palestinians were much closer to peace with Israel before the Oslo Accords,” he said. “An ocean has developed because of hate promotion by the Palestinian Authority.” Marcus said chances for peace may have been better in 1996, when after decades of contact with Israelis, a poll of Palestinians showed that 78 percent considered Israel to be a democracy and a positive force for human rights. Now, Marcus is concerned about the effect that the teaching of hatred and demonization will have on the ability to produce a peaceful outcome with the PA. Given the level of hate indoctrination, success—not only in negotiation, but actualization—remains challenging, he said. Stating that territory which was Israel proper before the 1967 war is not up for negotiations, Marcus explained that “settlements” located on disputed territory are. While Israel “has the right to anything that is part of the negotiations,” said Marcus, it must accept the possibility that disputed territories will be ceded to a Palestinian state. “The only way to reverse the down trend in acceptance of Israel,” Marcus said, if for Palestinians to “drop the lies—the planned delegitimization conducted by the PA, and replace it with truth.” Marcus said Israel has helped the PA in many ways, including construction of its infrastructure, assisting its economic base, and developing its universities. Asked by JointMedia News Service if a more honest Palestinian media could be created, Marcus said there are some people within the PA who are moderate, but none of them are currently in power. He recalled that 17 committees had met regularly for peace negotiations prior to the Oslo Accords and the Intifada. When one member of a Palestinian negotiating team revealed that he had instructed his own children to answer test questions truthfully—not calling Jews “evil,” as instructed by their teacher—he was replaced. “The population is so poisoned by hate material and terror,” Marcus said. “There is suffering on both sides—the Palestinians don’t realize they have their own leadership to blame. They destroy truth and replace it with hate.” Marcus said the way to heal this untenable situation is for the West to suspend funding to the PA, to not give a “penny of financial support or diplomatic support as long as structures of hate remain.” He acknowledged that the PA “will have to go through a period of crisis. If the western world keeps funding corrupt government, there is no future… They pretend that [Mahmoud] Abbas is a moderate while he honors terrorists.” “You can’t have a political peace structure unless it’s proceeded by an educational peace process,” Marcus said. Both content and nomenclature, he said, are important. Marcus called attention to the Palestinian media designation of Israel’s Minister of Defense as the “Minister of War,” its labeling of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as the “Israel Occupations Forces,” and its use of the title “resistance fighter” for Palestinian terrorists. “It’s almost too painful, too hurtful, for many Israelis and American Jews to fully comprehend,” said Marcus. Those yearning for peace “want to believe, so badly, that there is someone there on the Palestinian side. When you look at the Palestinians, adults and children, singing about Tel Aviv and Haifa being Palestinian, or when you see their demonization of Jews and the de-legitimization of Israel and Jewish history, if you accept that’s the official PA culture, then there’s no hope.” PMW’s staff of 12 looks at all Palestinian media. Its purpose is not just to explore media, but also to study society, culture and education, and to “keep a finger on the pulse of the leadership and what they are teaching their kids,” said Marcus. “After more than a generation of hate indoctrination, only 7 percent of Palestinian teenagers accept that Israel has the right to exist,” he said. “For Israel to pretend otherwise is a disaster.” “Bringing up Palestinian children to hate is stealing their future,” he added.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mordejai Anilevich, héroe y principal líder de la resistencia armada judía antinazi en el Ghetto de Varsovia El 8 de mayo, Anilevich, su novia Mira Fuchrer y muchos de los líderes de la ZOB se suicidaron en su búnker ubicado en el Ghetto.

Mordejai Anilevich fue el comandante de la Organización de Lucha Judía (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, en polaco), también conocida como ZOB, durante el levantamiento del Ghetto de Varsovia, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Infancia y juventud Anilevich nació en Wyszków, al noreste de Varsovia. Su madre Charel y su padre Abraham eran entonces dueños de un pequeño almacén. Se mudaron después del nacimiento de Mordechai a Povishla, un barrio pobre en los suburbios de Varsovia junto al río Vístula. Anilevich entró en el movimiento juvenil sionista-socialista "Hashomer Hatzair" después de finalizar los estudios secundarios en el Gymnasium de Wyszków. Invasión y ocupación alemana El 7 de septiembre de 1939, una semana después de que Alemania atacara a Polonia, Anilevich escapó con sus camaradas al Este con la esperanza de que el ejército de Polonia frenara el avance alemán. Cuando la Unión Soviética invadió a Polonia desde el Este, tres semanas después que Alemania, Anilevich intentó abrir un paso hacia Rumania con la intención de ayudar a los judíos a escapar a Palestina. Sin embargo, su plan fracasó y fue capturado por los soviéticosy dejado en libertad poco tiempo después. Entonces Anilevich se fue a vivir al Ghetto de Varsovia. Cuando escuchó que los principales grupos judíos polacos habían escapado a Vilna, en Lituania, en aquel entonces bajo dominio soviético, Anilevich viajó para allá e intentó convencer a sus compatriotas de que regresaran a Polonia a ayudar en la lucha contra la ocupación nazi. Volvió a Varsovia en 1940 con su novia Mira Fuchrer, donde organizó grupos guerrilleros en el Ghetto, participó en la elaboración de publicaciones clandestinas, organizó reuniones y seminarios, y viajó a otras ciudades para establecer contacto con otros grupos insurgentes. En el verano de 1942, Anilevich estaba en el suroeste de Polonia -en aquel entonces anexado a Alemania, con el nombre de Provincia de Alta Silesia-, intentando organizar a las fuerzas defensivas judías. Cuando regresó a Varsovia, descubrió que durante su ausencia había ocurrido una deportación masiva de judíos al campo de exterminio de Treblinka, y sólo 60.000 judíos de los 350.000 originales permanecían en el Ghetto. Se unió a la ZOB, y en noviembre fue elegido comandante en jefe. A inicios de 1943, estableció comunicación con el Armia Krajowa, el Ejército Territorial Polaco, recibiendo armas de este grupo polaco en el exilio. Levantamiento del Ghetto y muerte El 18 de enero de 1943, los alemanes intentaron llevar a cabo el segundo envío deportando a los judíos restantes a los campos de concentración, pero la ZOB y la ZZW expulsaron a los sorprendidos alemanes. Éste incidente, en el que Anilevich jugó un papel fundamental, fue el que dio inicio a este reconocido heroico levantamiento del Ghetto de Varsovia. Mordechai Anilevich y su novia Mira Fuchrer [Fujrer] en las ruinas del ghetto de Varsovia. Pintado por Shimon Garmize. El 19 de abril los alemanes lanzaron su contraataque, logrando reducir a la resistencia judía. Pero los defensores del Ghetto siguieron escondiéndose en los desagües y los sótanos del mismo, aunque ya sin prestar una resistencia organizada. El 8 de mayo, Anilevich, su novia Mira Fuchrer y muchos de los líderes de la ZOB se suicidaron en su búnker ubicado en el Ghetto, poco antes de que los alemanes ocuparan el edificio de la calle Mila 18. El 16 de mayo la lucha en el Ghetto finalizó, si bien algunos insurgentes permanecieron escondidos allí hasta el verano. El cuerpo de Anilevich nunca fue encontrado, se cree que fue llevado junto con el de otros judíos hasta los crematorios, donde fueron incinerados. Sin embargo, la inscripción en el monumento erigido al lado del búnker de Mila 18, dice que está enterrado allí. Así está escrito: "Tumba de los combatientes del levantamiento del Ghetto de Varsovia... Estas ruinas del búnker de la calle Mila 18 son el último lugar de descanso de los comandantes y combatientes de la Organización de combate judía, así como de algunos civiles. Entre ellos se encuentra Mordechai Anilevich, el comandante en jefe... En el búnker... reposan más de un centenar de combatientes, sólo algunos de los cuales son conocidos por su nombre. Aquí el resto, enterrado en donde cayó, nos recuerda que toda la tierra es su tumba." A principios de 1944 el gobierno constitucional de Polonia, exiliado en Londres, le otorgó post-mortem la cruz militar polaca, Virtuti Militari. Monumento en memoria de Mordechai Anilevich en su pueblo natal. Un Kibutz ubicado en Israel, aparte de haber erigido allí una estatua de Mordechai Anilevich, tomó el nombre de Yad Mordechai en recuerdo a su heroísmo y entrega y, en Wyszków, su ciudad natal, también fue levantado un monumento en su memoria. Tras la muerte de Anilevich, Mijoel Klepfish y Mark Edelman tomaron las riendas del Levantamiento. Mijoel murió unos días más tarde mientras que Mark sobrevivió el levantamiento, escapó a los bosques donde sobrevivió a los antisemitas polacos, regresó a Varsovia a luchar en el levantamiento de esta ciudad contra los nazis un año mas tarde (y el que, a pesar de haberse realizado cuando los alemanes ya iban en retirada y haber contado con la ayuda de los ejércitos aliados resistió apenas unos días -(el Ghetto resistió casi un mes)- sobrevivió también este levantamiento y tras la guerra decidió quedarse en Polonia donde falleció siendo reconocido como uno de los mejores médicos, políticos y héroes de este país.

Fw: Professor Louis Rene Beres/Israeli Nuclear Deterrence

      RATIONALITY, IRRATIONALITY, AND MADNESST CORE ENEMY DIFFERENCES FOR ISRAELI NUCLEAR DETERRENCE    As published in The Jewish Press   May 9, 2012   Louis René Beres Professor of International Law Purdue University -------------           Over many years, beginning at Princeton in the late 1960s, I have examined the critical bases of Israeli nuclear deterrence. Recently, in consequence of  the growing threat of Iranian nuclearization, increasing attention has been directed toward pertinent issues of enemy rationality. With this in mind, the following essay will seek to explain the impact of "irrationality" on Israel's deterrence posture, and also the vital differences between prospective  Iranian irrationality and "madness."                     For all states in world politics, successful strategies of deterrence require assumptions of enemy rationality. In the absence of rationality – that is, in those relatively rare or residual circumstances where an enemy country would rank order certain values or preferences more highly than “staying alive” as a nation – deterrence could fail. In those potentially more serious situations involving nuclear deterrence, the direct consequences of any such failure could be catastrophic, stark, and even unprecedented.           Significantly, irrationality is not the same as “crazy,” or “mad.” An irrational enemy leadership would still have a distinct and identifiable hierarchy of preferences, only one in which national survival does not always rank at the top. In more technical terms, analysts would say that these irrational state actors still have an order of preferences that is “consistent” and “transitive.”           A “crazy” or “mad” leadership, however, would have no discernible order of preferences; its actions, for the most part, would be random and unpredictable. It goes without saying that facing a “mad” adversary in world politics is “worse” than facing a “merely” irrational adversary. In different terms, although it might still be possible and purposeful to try to deter an irrational enemy, there would be little point to seeking deterrence against a “mad” one.           "Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman," asks Luigi Pirandello's Henry IV.  "Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather with a logic that flies like a feather."            What is true for individuals is sometimes also true for states. In the sometimes-unpredictable theatre of modern world politics, a drama that often bristles with genuine absurdity, decisions that rest upon ordinary logic can quickly crumble before madness. Dangers may reach the most portentous level when madness and a nuclear weapons capability come together.           Enter Israel and Iran. Soon, because not a single responsible member of the “international community” has demonstrated a determinable willingness to undertake appropriately preemptive action (“anticipatory self-defense,” in the formal language of  law), the Jewish State may have to face an expressly genocidal Iranian nuclear adversary. Although improbable, a potentially “suicidal” enemy state in Iran, one animated by graphically  precise visions of a Shiite apocalypse, cannot be dismissed out of hand.           Iran’s current leadership, and possibly even a successor “reformist” government in Tehran, could, at some point, choose to value Israel’s physical destruction more highly than even its own physical survival. Should this happen, the “play” would almost certainly end badly for all “actors.” In theatrical terms, Exeunt omnes.            Nonetheless, Israel’s ultimate source of national security must lie in sustained nuclear deterrence. Although still implicit or ambiguous, and not yet open or disclosed, this Israeli “bomb in the basement” could “crumble before madness.” In certain easily-imaginable instances, involving enemy “madness,” the results of failed Israeli retaliatory threats could be existential.           Though the logic of deterrence has always rested upon an assumption of rationality, history reveals the persistent fragility of any such understanding. We already know all too well that nations can sometimes behave in ways that are consciously, and even conspicuously, self-destructive.           Sometimes, mirroring the infrequent but decisively unpredictable behavior of individual human beings, national leaders can choose to assign the very highest value to certain preferences other than collective self-preservation, a Gotterdammerung scenario.           For the moment, no single Arab or Iranian adversary of Israel would appear to be authentically irrational or mad.  Harsh enemy rhetoric notwithstanding, no current adversary appears ready to launch a major first-strike against Israel using weapons of mass destruction with the expectation that it would thereby elicit a devastating reprisal.  Of course, miscalculations and errors in information could still lead a perfectly rational enemy state to strike first, but this decision, by definition, would not be the outcome of irrationality or madness. In strategic thinking, judgments of rationality and irrationality are always based upon prior intent.           Certain enemy states, most likely Iran, could one day decide that excising the “Jewish cancer" or the “enemies of Allah,” from the Middle East would be worth the most staggering costs.  In principle, at least, this genocidal prospect could still be avoided by Israel using pertinent "hard target" preemptions. Increasingly, however, any such once-reasonable expressions of anticipatory self-defense are now difficult or impossible to imagine. Operationally, a successful preemption is now almost certainly "too late."           All pertinent Iranian nuclear assets have likely been deeply hardened, widely dispersed, and substantially multiplied. For Israel, there would also be considerable political costs to any preemption. A preemptive attack, even one that becomes an operational failure, would elicit overwhelming public and diplomatic condemnation.           It is plausible that certain alternative forms of preemption, including assassination of nuclear scientists, and/or cyber defense/cyber-warfare, could (still) be purposefully undertaken, but it is unlikely that any such alternatives could permanently obviate the more traditionally expedient resorts to military force.                                                               *              A "bolt-from-the-blue" CBN (chemical, biological or even nuclear) attack upon Israel that is launched with the expectation of city-busting reprisals might not necessarily exhibit irrationality or madness. Within such an attacking state's particular ordering of preferences, any presumed religious obligation to annihilate the "Zionist Entity" could represent the overriding value.  Here, from the standpoint of the prospective attacker’s decisional calculus, the expected benefits of producing such a “blessed” annihilation would exceed the expected costs of any expected Israeli reprisal. Judged from this critical analytic standpoint, a seemingly “mad” attack decision could actually “make sense.”            Any enemy state with such explicitly-exterminatory orientations could represent the individual suicide bomber in macrocosm.  It is a meaningful and powerful image. Just as individual Jihadists are now plainly willing to achieve personal "martyrdom,” so might certain Jihadist states become willing to “sacrifice themselves” collectively. From a purely strategic standpoint, the fact that any such suicidal willingness would lack democratic origins would be irrelevant.            Any Iranian or Arab leaders making the decision to strike at Israel would be willing to make "martyrs" of their own peoples, but probably not of themselves.  In this not inconceivable decisional scenario, it would be judged “acceptable” by these particular leaders to sacrifice more-or-less huge portions of their respective populations, but only while they, and presumably their own families, were themselves able to flee expeditiously to a predetermined, albeit still earth-bound, safe haven.           What is Israel to do?  It can’t rely, forever, on even the most creative forms of preemption/anticipatory self-defense. It can't very well choose to live, indefinitely, with enemies who might not always be reliably deterred by more usual threats of retaliation, and who are themselves already armed with assorted weapons of mass destruction.           Effectively, Israel can't still decide to preempt against selected Iranian and/or other threatening military targets, because the operational prospects of success would now be very remote, and because the global outcry would be deafening.  It cannot place more than partial faith in any anti-tactical ballistic missile defenses, because, after all, Israel’s “Arrow” would require a near-100% reliability of intercept to be purposeful in any "soft-point" protection of cities. Not even the oft-tested and brilliantly-engineered Arrow, together with its corollary elements of active defense, can do this. The same "leakage" problems, for example, would apply to the shorter-range protections of "Iron Dome."           The strategic options still available to Israel now seem very limited; the associated consequences of failure could include national extinction.             If Israel's enemies were all presumed to be rational, in the ordinary sense of valuing physical survival more highly than any other preference or combination of preferences, Jerusalem could begin, among other things, to exploit the strategic benefits of pretended irrationality. Recognizing that, in certain strategic situations, it can be rational to feign irrationality, Israel could then work to create more cautionary behavior among its relevant adversaries.  In such cases, the threat of an Israeli resort to a "Samson Option" might be enough to dissuade an enemy first-strike. Recalling Sun-Tzu, any more explicit Israeli hints of “Samson” could indicate a very useful grasp of the ancient Chinese strategist’s advice to diminish reliance on defense, and, instead, to “seize the unorthodox.”            If, however, Israel's relevant adversaries were presumably irrational in this ordinary sense, there would likely be no real benefit to postures of pretended irrationality.  This is the case because the more probable threat of any massive Israeli nuclear counterstrike linked in enemy calculations with irrationality would be no more compelling to Iran, or to any other enemy state, than if it were confronted by a presumably rational State of Israel.             In strategic nuance, Israel could benefit from a greater understanding of the "rationality of pretended irrationality," but only in particular reference to expectedly rational enemy states.  In those circumstances where such enemy states were presumed to be irrational, something else would be needed, something other than nuclear deterrence, preemption, and/or ballistic missile defense. Although many commentators and scholars still believe the answer to this quandary lies in certain far-reaching political settlements, this time-dishonored belief is born largely of frustration, and utterly naïve self-delusion.  Recalling regional histories, it is not the documented product of any deliberate or informed strategic calculation.            No meaningful political settlements can ever be worked out with enemies who openly seek Israel's "liquidation,” a word that is still used commonly in many Arab and Iranian newspapers, web sites, and texts.            Israel must fully understand that irrationality need not mean madness. Even an irrational state leadership may have an identifiable, consistent, and transitive hierarchy of wants. The first task for Israel, therefore, must always be to identify this hierarchy among its several state enemies. Although these states might not be deterred from aggression by even the plausibly persuasive threat of massive Israeli retaliations, they might still be deterred by certain threats aimed at what they do hold to be most important.                                                               *             What, then, might be most important to Israel's prospectively irrational enemies, potentially even more important than their own physical survival as a state?  One possible answer is the avoidance of certain forms of shame and humiliation.  Another would be avoidance of the potentially unendurable charge that they had somehow defiled their most sacred religious obligations. Still another would be leaders' preferred avoidance of their own violent deaths at the hand of Israel, deaths that could be attributable to Israeli strategies of "targeted killing," and/or "regime-targeting.”            Oddly enough, this last suggestion may be problematic to the extent that, theologically, being killed by Jews for the sake of Allah could be regarded as a distinct positive. In this connection, Israel must recall that there is no greater form of power in world politics than power over death. Dying for the sake of Allah could be regarded in certain contexts as a clerically-blessed passport to immortality.           These tentative answers are only a beginning. Strategic problems are fundamentally intellectual problems. What is needed, now, is a sustained and conspicuously competent intellectual effort to answer such questions in much greater depth, and breadth.            In the future, Israel will need to deal with both rational and irrational adversaries. These enemies, in turn, will be both state and sub-state actors. On occasion, Israel’s leaders will also have to deal with various complex and subtle combinations of rational and irrational enemies, sometimes even simultaneously.            Ultimately, Israel must also prepare to deal with “nuclear madmen,” both as terrorists, and as national leaders, but, first, it must fashion a suitable plan for dealing with nuclear adversaries who are neither mad, nor irrational. With such an imperative, Israel must now do everything possible to enhance its deterrence, preemption, defense, and war-fighting capabilities. This means, inter alia, enhanced and explicit preparations for certain “last resort” or “Samson” operations.           Concerning any prospective contributions to Israeli nuclear deterrence, recognizable preparations for a Samson Option could serve to convince certain would-be attackers that their anticipated aggression would not be gainful. This is especially true if such Israeli preparations were combined with certain levels of disclosure, that is, if Israel’s  â€œSamson” weapons were made to appear sufficiently invulnerable to enemy first-strikes, and if these weapons were identifiably “countervalue” (counter-city) in mission function.           The Samson Option, by definition, would be executed with countervalue-targeted nuclear weapons. It is likely that any such last-resort operations would come into play only after all Israeli counterforce options had been exhausted.           Concerning the previously mentioned “rationality of pretended irrationality,” Samson could enhance Israeli nuclear deterrence by demonstrating a national willingness to take existential risks, but this would hold true only if Israeli last-resort options were directed toward rational adversaries.           Concerning prospective contributions to preemption options, preparations for a Samson Option could convince Israeli leaders that their own defensive first-strikes would be undertaken with diminished expectations of unacceptably destructive enemy retaliations. This sort of convincing would depend, at least in part, upon antecedent Israeli government decisions on disclosure (that is, an end to “nuclear ambiguity”); on Israeli perceptions of the effects of disclosure on enemy retaliatory prospects;  on Israeli judgments about enemy perceptions of Samson weapons’ vulnerability; and on an enemy awareness of Samson’s countervalue force posture. In almost any event, the optimal time to end Israel’s bomb in the basement policy, and thereby replace “deliberate ambiguity” with appropriate forms of disclosure, will soon be at hand.           Similar to Samson’s plausible impact upon Israeli nuclear deterrence, recognizable last-resort preparations could enhance Israeli preemption options by displaying a clear and verifiable willingness to accept certain existential risks. In this scenario, however, Israeli leaders must always bear in mind that pretended irrationality could become a double-edged sword. Brandished too flagrantly, and without sufficient nuance, any Israeli preparations for a Samson Option could impair rather than reinforce Israel’s nuclear war-fighting options.           Concerning prospective contributions to Israel’s nuclear war fighting options, preparations for a Samson Option could convince enemy states that any clear victory over Israel would be impossible. With such reasoning, it would be important for Israel to communicate to potential aggressors the following very precise understanding: Israel’s counter value-targeted Samson weapons are additional to its counterforce-targeted war fighting weapons. Without such a communication, any preparations for a Samson Option could impair rather than reinforce Israel’s nuclear warfighting options.           Undoubtedly, as was concluded by Project Daniel more than nine years ago (see Israel’s Strategic Future, The Final Report of Project Daniel, 2003), nuclear war fighting should, wherever possible, be scrupulously avoided by Israel. But, just as undeniably, there are some readily identifiable circumstances in which such exchanges could be unavoidable. Here, some form of nuclear warfighting could ensue, so long as: (a) enemy state first-strikes launched against Israel would not destroy Israel’s second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy state retaliations for an Israeli conventional preemption would not destroy Israel’s nuclear counter-retaliatory capability; (c) conventional Israeli preemptive strikes would not destroy enemy state second-strike nuclear capability; and (d) Israeli retaliations for enemy state conventional first strikes would not destroy enemy state nuclear counter-retaliatory capability. From the standpoint of protecting its overall existential security, this means that Israel must take appropriate steps to ensure the plausibility of (a) and (b), above, and also the implausibility of (c) and (d).           “Do you know what it means to find yourself face to face with a madman?” Repeating this pertinent question from Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV does have immediate relevance to Israel’s existential dilemma. At the same time, the mounting strategic challenge to Israel will come primarily from enemy decision-makers who are not-at-all mad, and who are more-or-less rational.              Israel will need to promptly fashion a comprehensive and suitably-calibrated strategic doctrine from which various specific policies and operations could readily be extrapolated. This focused framework would identify and correlate all available strategic options (deterrence, preemption, active defense, strategic targeting, nuclear war fighting) with indisputable survival goals. It would also take close account of the possible interactions between these strategic options, and of the determinable synergies between all conceivable enemy actions directed against Israel. Calculating these particular interactions and synergies will be a computational task on the very highest order of intellectual difficulty.           Nuclear strategy is a “game” that sane and rational people can and must play, but to compete effectively and purposefully, a would-be winner must always first assess (1) the expected rationality of each critical opponent; and (2) the probable costs and benefits of pretending irrationality oneself. These are undoubtedly complex, interactive and glaringly imprecise forms of assessment, but, doubtlessly, they also constitute an indispensable foundation for Israel’s long-term security. -----------------   LOUIS RENÉ BERES is Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he is the author of ten books and several hundred published articles dealing with Israeli security matters, including APOCALYPSE: NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE IN WORLD POLITICS (University of Chicago Press, 1980), and SECURITY OR ARMAGEDDON: ISRAEL'S NUCLEAR STRATEGY (Heath/Lexington Books, 1986). Professor Beres served as Chair of Project Daniel, a private effort (2003) to counsel former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on existential nuclear threats to Israel.  He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Dishonest and disgusting

Another Tack: Dishonest and disgusting Posted on May 11, 2012 by Sarah Honig Back in 1942, George Orwell pointed out matter-of-factly that “so-called peace propaganda is just as dishonest and intellectually disgusting as war propaganda. Like war propaganda it concentrates on putting forward a ‘case,’ obscuring the opponent’s point of view and avoiding awkward questions. The line normally followed is ‘those who fight Fascism become Fascist themselves.’” Just substitute “terrorist” for the “Fascist” or “Nazi” in Orwell’s text. We have no way of telling whether said text was perused by Zeev Degani, current principal of Gymnasia Herzliya (the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, or in its Hebrew moniker, HaGymnasia HaIvrit Herzliya). If he didn’t read this particular Orwell essay in the Partisan Review, Degani should. Peace-propagandists, Orwell noted therein, “evade quite obvious objections” with “propaganda-tricks” which include “pooh-poohing the actual record of Fascism,” while “systematically exaggerating” alleged “Fascizing processes” within Allied ranks. Orwell was intrigued by the “psychological processes by which pacifists who started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism.” “Even those who don’t,” he wrote, “imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German Army by lying on one’s back” and they shun “discussion of what the world would actually be like if the Axis dominated it.” Sound familiar? It should. We have too many peace-propagandists among us who cunningly skew our reality and dodge discussion of the ramifications of their recommendations. Degani is one and he is influential beyond his pro forma position. Degani recently told Channel 2 interviewers that the fault for all that provokes ballyhooed local tongue-clicking is Israel’s resort to force: “A nation which employs violence for years against another nation shouldn’t think that the violence only remains in the neighbor’s field. It comes back to us. We are now at one of the peaks of the enhancement and reinforcement of violence which radiates outward and returns inward.” In this quintessential encapsulation of left-wing conceit, Degani professed to know instantly and smugly who to blame for loutish manifestations on our society’s margins. He harbored no doubts. By the criteria of his pedagogic omniscience, everything untoward – from teen rowdies disrupting the Cameri Theater’s performance of Ghetto to football hooliganism – emanates from “occupation.” Regardless of sanctimonious linguistic obfuscation, the ultimate logic of Degani’s analysis leads to the denigration of Jewish self-defense. According to Degani’s facile outline, everything is neatly black and white, with no complexities, subtleties or suggestions of soft shading. Israel is the villainous ogre and the Arabs under its hobnailed boot are the randomly terrorized victims. It’s a simplistic formula sure to impress juvenile minds placed under Degani’s charge. Therein lies the danger of his crude, one-dimensional distortion. There’s no depth, no background, no history, no whys and wherefores, no hint of justification for anything. It’s sloganism at its shallowest. Degani gives voice to anti-Israel propaganda, even though he’s sure to indignantly deny this. He teaches his susceptible pupils to see Israel as its enemies portray it. In our region that’s a recipe for self-destruction no matter how ornately and pretentiously garnished with human-rights palaver. Yet worse than the affectation of virtue, is the plain fact that Degani is wrong (or perhaps demagogically misleading). Disrespectful and disorderly behavior in our midst doesn’t arise from those segments of Israel’s population of whom Degani most disapproves. There’s no infestation of oafish and boorish outcroppings where ideology, tradition and values are high on the scale of priorities. The thugs who couldn’t contain themselves at the theater didn’t come from the national-religious school system, for instance. But a disproportionate number of volunteers for IDF combat officers’ training and for crack commando units do hail from that environment. Fewer and fewer come from the milieu favored by Degani. Conceivably the excessive political correctness of the Degani-model school breeds nihilism. Indeed, in 2010 Degani refused to allow IDF officers into Gymnasia Herzliya in the framework of a program geared to stress the importance of “significant military service.” The results of Degani-like indoctrination aren’t difficult to detect. In one Tel Aviv school ceremony, around the time of Degani’s barring of the officers, students adamantly refused to sing the lyrics to “I Have No Other Country.” Their ties to this country are by inference tenuous and conditional. Tel Aviv’s educational institutions have descended very far from those of the city’s visionary beginnings and subsequent trailblazing. Tel Aviv sprang up around Gymnasia Herzliya. Its building was the first public structure erected in 1909 on the shifting sands that would become the first Zionist urban creation. The Gymnasia was Tel Aviv’s central hub. It was founded four years earlier in Jaffa, dedicated to the premise that all subjects can be taught in Hebrew. It served for decades as a magnet for Jewish youth and as the embodiment of Zionist fervor. But as per the old adage, it appears sadly that Gymnasia Herzliya’s old age shames its youth. One would have assumed that given the unique circumstances of its birth, this school’s successive stewards would be particularly cognizant of the historic duty entrusted temporarily in their hands. Instead of posturing as postmodern guardians of other people’s consciences, they ought to remember that the only reason Gymnasia Herzliya ever took off from its ultra-humble beginnings was an insatiable hunger for Jewish nationalism, as distinct from today’s universalist zeitgeist. Dr. Yehuda-Leib Metman-Cohen and his wife, Fania, founded the school in their own narrow two-room flat off a winding dark and dank alley near today’s Clock Tower in Turkish-ruled Jaffa. Following the then-predominant European pattern, their secondary school accepted pupils aged nine to 19 and offered a nine-year program. Fania, the author of the country’s first-ever Hebrew arithmetic textbook, taught math while stirring the pots in her makeshift kitchenette and peeling onions. After class, both husband and wife washed down the floors each day. The original teaching staff of four and student body of 17 soon mushroomed. The Gymnasia especially flourished after its relocation to Tel Aviv. Jewish parents the world over sent their offspring to receive Zionist education in “the first Hebrew city.” It took nerve and verve to forge ahead with an all-Hebrew curriculum when no modern teaching material existed in Hebrew. Everything had to be fashioned from scratch. “There was an ecstasy of creativity and pioneering that gripped both children and teachers,” recalled the late Dr. Baruch Ben-Yehuda who was enrolled in the school in 1906 and stayed with it for most of his life, studying there, teaching, becoming an inspiring principal and then president. I interviewed him in 1975, when Gymnasia Herzliya celebrated its 70th birthday. “Everything we did was revolutionary and we were flushed with the importance of our every accomplishment. Our kids roamed the length and breadth of the county, venturing to neglected far-flung corners to form a bond with Israel’s past and present. This school stood in the vanguard of the Jewish national revival and partook in all our national battles. If Mikve Yisrael epitomized the tie with land, Herzliya epitomized the tie with our nationhood and culture,” Ben-Yehuda argued. He went on: “There’s no major Zionist ideological movement whose activity cannot be traced to Gymnasia Herzliya. Our students also figured in the practical side of the Zionist endeavor. They guarded Tel Aviv when the Ottoman Turks expelled all its residents in WWI. Our students and graduates – like Eliyahu Golomb and Dov Hoz – were among the founders and driving forces of the Hagana. Many in this school took part in Lehi and IZL underground struggles. Our alumni underpinned Israel’s independence and self-defense. “Our students fought in the ranks of the Jewish Brigade in WWII and set the IDF in motion. We produced outstanding scientists like Prof. Yuval Ne’eman and national poets like Natan Alterman. A great spirit hovered over this institution – the spirit of a national rebirth,” Ben-Yehuda summed up. “This was a miniature Jewish state – the embryo Israel full of dreamers and fighters. If I seek one word to describe Gymnasia Herzliya it’s patriotism.” The then-novel passion for Hebrew appears to have nowadays been replaced with a penchant for Orwellian Newspeak, produced prodigiously by Israeli Doublethinkers. Their misuse of the word “occupation” inculcates in the listener’s ear the notion that Israelis willfully, with no provocation, crossed the blessed Green Line one sunny June morning in 1967, snuffled out Palestinian sovereignty (nonexistent though it was) and sadistically subjugated the ancient Palestinian nation (invented only lately). Heaven forefend we mention that the territory in question isn’t foreign but directly contiguous to our incredibly narrow-waisted state – an integral part of our ancestral homeland – yet we hadn’t taken it until forced to defend ourselves against attempted genocide and ethnic cleansing. The prattle in latter-day Gymnasia Herzliya about how “occupation corrupts” advocates relinquishment by Israel of its deterrent potential, making instead do with containing would-be annihilators and reacting to their initiatives. Yet by not utilizing the capabilities we possess, by not opting for decisive victories and by acquiescing to prolonged conflicts of attrition, we embolden our implacable foes to introduce deadlier means and escalate terror. Half-hearted responses invigorate enemy resolve and increase noncombatant casualties and suffering. That was Orwell’s observation precisely. Despots, he concluded, “can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.” Ramallah’s and Gaza’s death-mongers fear physical force. They want Israelis to flee. Israelis who preach withdrawal and protest intermittent IDF actions, help fulfill the enemy’s wishes. Degani and fellow holier-than-thou peace-pontificators are our present-day counterparts to the antiwar activists of Orwell’s day. Orwell regarded them as “objectively pro- Fascist. This is elementary commonsense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, he that is not with me is against me.”

The Real Palestinian Refugee Problem

May 10, 2012 The Real Palestinian Refugee Problem By Clifford D. May Most aren't refugees. They're pawns After World War II, the British left India, which was to be partitioned into two independent nations. One of them would have a Hindu majority, the other a Muslim majority. More than 7 million Muslims moved to the territory that became Pakistan. A similar number of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Today, not one remains a refugee. After World War II, the British left Palestine, which was to be partitioned into two independent nations. One would have a Jewish majority, the other a Muslim majority. About 750,000 Muslims left the territories that became Israel. A similar number of Jews left Arab/Muslim lands. Today, not one of the Jews remains a refugee. But there are still Palestinian refugees — indeed, their number has mushroomed to almost 5 million. How is that possible? Through two mechanisms. First of all, a refugee, by definition, lives on foreign soil, but for Palestinians the definition has been changed, so that a displaced Palestinian on Palestinian soil also receives refugee status. Second, the international organization responsible for resettling refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was cut out from the start. A new organization was set up exclusively for Palestinians: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In 1950, UNRWA defined a refugee as someone who had “lost his home and his means of livelihood” during the war launched by Arab/Muslim countries in response to Israel’s declaration of independent statehood. Fifteen years later, UNRWA decided — against objections from the United States — to include as refugees the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who left Israel. And in 1982, UNRWA further extended eligibility to all subsequent generations of descendants — forever. Under UNRWA’s rules, even if the descendant of a Palestinian refugee has become a citizen of another state, he’s still a refugee. For example, of the 2 million refugees registered in Jordan, all but 167,000 hold Jordanian citizenship. (In fact, approximately 80 percent of Jordan’s population is Palestinian — not surprising, since Jordan occupies more than three-fourths of the area historically referred to as Palestine.) By adopting such a policy, UNRWA is flagrantly violating the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which states clearly that a person shall cease to be considered a refugee if he has “acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.” But UNRWA’s plan is to continue expanding — rather than shrinking — the Palestinian refugee population ad infinitum. According to UNHCR projections, by 2030 UNRWA’s refugee list will reach 8.5 million. By 2060 there will be 25 times the number registered by UNRWA in 1950 — even though not one of those who actually left Israel is likely to still be breathing. Everyone understands what it would mean if all these refugees were actually to be granted a “right to return” to Israel. “On numbers of refugees, it is illogical to ask Israel to take five million, or indeed one million,” Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said on March 24, 2009. “That would mean the end of Israel.” But, of course, that’s the goal: The descendants of those displaced more than 60 years ago — when the first offer of what we’ve come to call a “two-state solution” was rejected — are being used as pawns to prevent a two-state solution now or in the future. By increasing the number of refugees, by maintaining that population in poverty, dependence, and anger, by understanding that the “right of return” will be demanded by some Palestinian leaders, UNRWA is helping the extremists to prevent peace and continue to wage a war of annihilation against Israel. This anti-peace policy is being funded largely by Americans: We’ve always been the largest donor to UNRWA, contributing about $4.4 billion since 1950. A few members of Congress have figured out what’s going on and plan to do something about it. Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) is working on an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that, for the first time, would establish as U.S. policy that only a Palestinian refugee can be classified as a Palestinian refugee — not a son, grandson, or great-grandson, and not someone who has resettled and taken citizenship in another country. The Kirk amendment would require the secretary of state to report to Congress on how many Palestinians serviced by UNRWA fit the traditional definition of a refugee. Representative Howard Berman (D., Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, also is considering legislative options in response to these problems. At the very least, these approaches would ensure that descendants of refugees would be listed — with unaccustomed clarity — as “descendants of refugees.” They might still be eligible to receive UNRWA “services,” but as “Palestinian Authority citizens” who could look forward to becoming citizens of a Palestinian state — if and when the Palestinians come to the conclusion that establishing a Palestinian state is worth what it will cost: giving up the dream of destroying the Jewish state. Too few Palestinians are there yet. If Congress can rein in UNRWA, more may be moved in that direction.

Churchill on Islam

ON ISLAM - Sir Winston Churchill wrote this in 1899. He died 1965  Sir Winston Churchill 1899 CHURCHILL ON ISLAM Unbelievable, but the speech below was written in 1899!  (check Wikipedia - The River War) I am sending the attached short speech from Winston Churchill, delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many but expressed in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language, of which he was a past master. Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries. He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt. He was a prophet in his own time; He died on 24 January 1965, at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral. HERE IS THE SPEECH: "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.  No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome." Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 London ) Churchill  saw it coming...............          

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Electoral Rules Matter: Conclusion

Electoral Rules Matter: Conclusion   Prof. Paul EidelbergD Israel-America Renaissance Institute   As noted by professors Rein Taagepera and Matthew Shugart, “a main function of an electoral system is to preserve political stability in the face of potentially disruptive or paralyzing disagreements on issues.”  Since Proportional Representation (PR), as a general rule, multiplies the number parties, then, as indicated in Part II, the number of possible disputes in government increases roughly as the square of the number of actors.   However, diminishing the degree of Proportional Representation—say by combining national list PR with single-member plurality districts—does not necessarily diminish the number parties in the legislature (or in multi-party governments like Israel).  Italy recently diminished PR, but the number of parties remained virtually the same because new issue dimensions arose, serious enough to trigger the formation of new parties. This only indicates that politics is more complicated than electoral rules, although the significance of such rules should not be minimized, let alone ignored.   As our two experts make clear, electoral systems and issue dimensions are not independent of each other. When an electoral system is changed, it will influence the number of issue dimensions existing at that particular time.  This is not an argument against shifting from PR to single-member electoral districts. We merely want to emphasize the complexity not only of political systems but also of political culture.   For example, under the French Constitution, where the President may be of one party while the parliamentary majority belongs to different parties, the resulting “cohabitation” may paralyze the government.  This is not the case of the United States where the President and the Congress are controlled by different parties [the situation under the second previous George W. Bush administration].  Cohabitation or “gridlock” is avoided because the two major parties, Democratic and Republican, unlike parties in France, are loose coalitions; and given the existence of open primaries in the U.S., where candidates are not subject to party leadership, what may appear to amateurs or the media as a political deadlock in theory is negligible in practice.     U.S. Senators and Representatives, unlike members of Israel’s Knesset, are individually accountable to the voters in their respective (geographic) constituencies; and politicians must produce results if they are going to be re-elected.  Bi-partisanship is the rule (but like any political rule, is punctuated by exceptions).   The phenomenon of gerrymandering, which may result from multi-district elections, is another matter.  There are ways of eliminating or at least minimizing this evil by diverse electoral rules: for example, by the “Personalized Proportional Representation” system used in Sweden, Germany, and Denmark, or the “Preferential Vote” system used in Australia, Ireland, and Malta.  (See my book Jewish Statesmanship on this subject.)       Conclusion:   Our two mentioned authorities raise the question: “Can a malfunctioning electoral system alone destabilize a regime?”  They answer: “This is rarely the case in a direct sense [but let’s not forget the examples of Chile and Germany discussed in Part I]. Undesirable outputs [such as instability] can be compensated by ad hoc means or by changes in either the electoral system itself or in some other component of the political system.  This is possible if the polity is otherwise healthy.  A sound polity can salvage a defective electoral system, while no electoral system can save a polity bent on self-destruction…. But this leaves the marginal cases, and in our world many regimes are in marginal health.” (Emphasis added.)   Many people will agree with the present writer that Israel is anything but a healthy regime.  Hence I have ceaselessly advocated not only changes in its electoral rules, but also drastic reform of Israel’s political and judicial institutions (to say nothing of its liberal universities insofar as they are tainted by moral relativism).   However, as Rein Taagepera and Matthew Shugart point put, “Compared to other components of political systems, electoral systems are the easiest to manipulate with specific goals in view.  This does not mean that electoral rules are easy to change but only that the other components are usually even harder to change.”   It is in this light that the present author has so often urged that Israel, to begin with, should scrap its single nationwide district election—which necessitates proportional representation—and establish a multi-district or constituency electoral system that makes members of the Knesset individually accountable to the voters, and not to party machines or party leaders.   This reform is a necessary precondition of changing the disastrous course of this country.                    

Electoral Rules Matter: Part II

Electoral Rules Matter: Part II   Paul Eidelberg   Part I cited the renowned expert on electoral rules professor Rein Taagepera.  Perhaps his most telling point is this: “As the number of actors increases the number of possible disputes increase roughly as the square of the number of actors.” This obviously applies to Israel, whose government typically consists of roughly 20 cabinet ministers representing rival political parties.   No wonder the average duration of Israeli governments since 1948 is less than two years!  This short tenure renders it virtually impossible for the government to pursue coherent, consistent, and long-term national policies.   Here I am reminded of the warnings and wisdom of James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 62, where he defends the six-year tenure of the Senate, a defense that applies to Israel’s Knesset as well as to its Government despite their prescribed (but unrealized) tenure of four years:   The mutability in the public councils arising from a rapid succession of new members, however qualified they may be, points out, in the strongest manner, the necessity of some stable institution in the government.  Every election in the States [i.e., the original thirteen states] is found to change one-half of the representatives.  From this change of men must proceed a change of opinions; and from a change of opinions, a change of [laws or] measures.  But a continual change even of good measures is inconsistent with every rule of prudence and every prospect of success.  The remark is verified in private life, and becomes more just as well as more important, in national transactions.    Madison goes on to enumerate the mischievous effects of mutable governments:   In the first place, it forfeits the respect and confidence of other nations, and all the advantages connected with national character [my emphasis] …The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous.  It poisons the blessing of liberty itself.  It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood … or undergo such incessant change that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.  Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?   Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uninformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner affecting the value of different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens…..   Madison also shows how mutable governments and policies undermine the predictability essential to enterprise and commerce, hence national prosperity.  He concludes by saying:   But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their hopes.  No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a portion of order and stability.   Is it any wonder that opinion polls in Israel indicate that as much as 90 percent of the public despises the government and regards the Knesset as a mere haven for job-seekers?   In conclusion, certain Madisonian insights should be reiterated.  First, the instability of Israeli governments diminishes the respect of other nations.  Second, frequent change of public policies facilitates corruption by cunning “insiders.” Third, the excessive mutability of Israeli governments erodes public trust and confidence. Fourth, the transient nature of Israeli governments—a consequence of Israel’s ill-designed electoral rules—undermines the development of Jewish national character.   (To be continued)  

Fw: Electoral Rules Matter: Part I

    Electoral Rules Matter: Part I   Prof. Paul Eidelberg, President Israel-America Renaissance Institute   Abysmal ignorance reigns among Israeli political analysts regarding the importance of electoral rules in evaluating the quality and viability of what is called "Israeli democracy." This prompts me to republish with slight editing this two-part article.   Professor of social sciences Rein Taagepera and political scientist Matthew Soberg Shugart are renowned University of California experts on electoral systems. Their book Seats & Votes should be studied by political analysts and serious politicians, especially those who have not been misled by the veneer of Israeli democracy.   Taagepera and Shugart use mathematical models in studying scores of electoral rules. Their research is especially relevant to Israel if only because it has been proposed that the leader of the party that wins the largest number of seats in a Knesset election should automatically be Israel’s prime minister.      Back in 2006, the fact that Kadima won 29 seats (the most of any party) in that year’s national election would have been sufficient to make Ehud Olmert prime minister without his having been designated by the president to form a government and have it approved by the Knesset.    In other words, it was enough for Kadima to win a mere 24 percent of the votes cast in the 2006 election for Olmert to become Israel’s prime minister. This calls to mind the following passages from Seats & Votes:   In 1970 Chile had three major candidates running for president. Socialist Salvador Allende narrowly surpassed a centrist and a rightist candidate and became president, although he received only 36.3 percent of the total vote. Allende’s electoral platform committed him to carry out extensive social changes. However, his support base was too narrow, and his attempt to forge ahead with radical changes despite this drawback backfired badly. The centrists became alienated to the point where they acquiesced in a military coup. The outcome was a bloody dictatorship.   History would have been quite different if Chile had different electoral rules.  Chilean tradition demanded that the legislature confirm as president the candidate with the largest number of votes, although Allende was the least desirable of the three candidates for more than half the voters. In some other countries an absolute majority (that is, more than 50 percent of votes cast) is required for election. A majority can be achieved by having a second round of elections in which only the two candidates with the most votes participate. The outcome might be that the centrist candidate is eliminated, and the voters offered the choice between a rightist and a leftist. If most of the former supporters of the centrist candidate were to switch to the rightist, the latter could win, much to the dismay of many leftist voters. Instead of a second round, one can also have one round of elections but ask voters for their second preferences. In this case, the centrist candidate would presumably be the second choice of both leftists and rights, and the country would get a president at least semi-acceptable to everybody.   The point is not to argue that one of the possible methods or outcomes described above is better than the others. The point is that electoral rules matter: with the same distribution of votes. The presidency could go to the leftist, the centrist, or the rightist candidate, depending on the rules.   Another case in point: The Weimar Republic’s parliamentary system [like Israel's [present system] was based on Proportional Representation [PR], and with a low electoral threshold. It has been argued that Hitler’s ascendancy was helped by this electoral system, which, as one writer has put it, “preserved a maddening profusion of parties and led to a widespread yearning for a strong leader.” Even if the connection between electoral rules and Hitler’s political success is debatable, “the very suggestion indicates that electoral rules might have serious consequences … even for an entire nation, its neighbors—and even the whole world.”   Electoral rules matter in Israel. Indeed, it was known as early as 1952 that Israel’s electoral rules—more precisely, her single countrywide electoral district with Proportional Representation and closed party lists—intensify group conflict, produce unstable governments, and actually render the people powerless.   In his essay “How Electoral Systems Matter for Democratization,” Taagepera sets forth two desirable outputs of an electoral system: fairness and stability. “A major (though by no means the sole) criterion of fairness is proportionality between vote shares and seat shares. Representation of significant minorities is an aspect of it. Stability is affected, among many other factors, by the number of parties … Too many parties may make for unstable coalition [and inept] governments.”   A tension thus exists between fairness and stability. While Proportional Representation (PR) seems to promote fairness, it may also undermine stability and even national security, without which talk about fairness is flapdoodle. PR obviously produces a multiplicity of parties—more with a low electoral threshold (currently two percent in Israel). Since no party in Israel has ever come close to winning a majority of the seats in the Knesset, a coalition of (rival) parties is necessary to form the government.  According to Taagepera, “As the number of actors [in the government] increases the number of possible disputes increase roughly as the square of the number of actors.” Taagepera arrived at this conclusion by statistical analysis of many countries. Since Israeli governments often have more than five rival party leaders in the cabinet, it seems miraculous that Israel has survived under its divisive electoral rules. (To be continued)