Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of Israeli Friends and Enemies

1. American Jews seem to have an intense dislike for Sarah Palin. Part of that, of course, has to do with the fact that nearly 80% of American Jews are liberal democrats, and Palin is a conservative Republican. The fact that she is one of the strongest supporters of Israel is of no consequence. Palin: "We need a foreign policy that distinguishes America's friends from her enemies..." She goes on: "Israel, a friend and a critical ally, now questions the strength of our support." (From Caroline Glick at the 2/12/10 Jerusalem Post online.) As previously reported here, only 4% of Israelis believe that Obama favors Israel over the palestinians. As noted in the same article, Obama's attitudes about Israel come from such notable anti-Israel "intellectuals" as: Rashid Khalidi, John Mearshimer, Samantha Power, William Ayres, Bernadine Dohrn and the late Edward Said. Mearshimer is the co-author of the anti-Israel diatribe "Palestine-Peace not Apartheid." Ms. Glick also left out the Reverend Wright as another anti-Israel friend of Obama's. Or as Obama said in referring to Wright: "my mentor."

Sadly, for many American Jews the continued existence of their fellow Jews in Israel is either foolishly taken for granted (notwithstanding the greatest forces ever allied against the Jewish State) or worse, deemed unimportant.

2. Meanwhile, Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. was invited to speak at a Southern California college campus, UC Irvine. That campus, like many others, has seen extreme levels of anti-Israel and anti-semitic expressions. About 75 muslims, among others, showed up for the Ambassador's speech on February 12. Some were students, some not. They had obviously prearranged periodic interruptions of Oren's speech in an effort to prevent him from continuing. In listening to part of it on You Tube, I heard such challenges as: "Propaganda is not an expression of free speech." And: "Propagating murder is not an expression of free speech." Well, not unless the muslim palestinians/arabs are doing it - then all bets are off. As each one of the hecklers spoke and were removed by the police, they were applauded by the remaining men and women muslims. The Ambassador, however, carried on. Outside, more muslims were holding signs and yelling expressions equating Israel with racism and with baby killing. But if a palestinian blows up men, women, and children on a bus or in a cafe, they are heroes and martyrs. These people disgust me. And they should disgust all Americans who favor freedom over the tyranny of the islamic (islamofascist) world.

3. Recently, the highest court in England took it upon themselves to define who is a Jew. A couple tried to enroll their son in one of the country's Jewish schools, all of which receive some public support. For those who do not know, whether or not one is deemed a Jew - by the religion - is based on birth, and more specifically, matrilineal descent. If your mother is a Jew, so are you. If your father is and your mother is not, you are not a Jew. Judaism does allow for conversions; however, the Orthodox do not accept conversions performed by a Reform Rabbi. In this case the mother was born a Catholic and had a reform conversion. The school, however, followed orthodoxy, and the child was not admitted. The lawsuit followed.

The UK's Race Relations Act of 1976 forbids discrimination based on "colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins." Somehow, the court decided that the use of matrilineal descent was "a test of ethnic origin by definition" and therefore the school discriminated on "racial grounds." (Information from an article by David Pryce-Jones in the February 2010 edition of Commentary magazine.) So, not unlike the UN before it, the court in Britain basically decided that Judaism is racism! Perhaps not such a surprise from an increasingly anti-semitic country. The number of anti-semitic incidents rose 55% in England from 2008 to 2009. And the unions and intellectuals in Britain regularly call for the boycott of all things Israeli. In fact, some British lawyers working with Hamas tried to get Tzipi Livni (former Prime Minister of Israel) arrested on a trip she was due to make to the UK. The charge: war crimes because of the war with Hamas in 2008. She found out about the plan and cancelled her trip.

4. There seems to be a great fear among Jews both in and out of Israel of a Jew speaking out strongly and not being intimidated by threats. A Jew is supposed to be meek and not "cause any trouble." My Jewish readers know exactly what I am talking about.

Case in point. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem threatened Israel, saying: "Don't test...the determination of Syria. You know that war this time would move to your cities." Not cowering and not backing down, Israel's own Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, replied: "...what was said yesterday marked a dramatic change of game, a direct threat on the State of Israel...Assad should know that if he attacks, he will not only lose the war. Neither he nor his family will remain in power." (From the 2/12/10 edition of Yated Ne'eman.) Lieberman is controversial precisely because he does speak out and refuses to let the Arabs play their games and say whatever they want. He will call them on it every time. In return, the cowering Jews criticize Lieberman for "stiring up trouble." Again, my Jewish readers know exactly what I am talking about.

Meanwhile, Syria has pledged its support of Lebanon in the event of another war; and the Lebanese government has pledged their support of Hezbollah if there is a further war with Israel.

5. In a visit to Israel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had this to say to the Knesset, Israel's Parliament: "We cannot accept the nuclearization of a country whose leaders have exlicitly expressed their desire to destroy Israel, denied the Holocaust and delegitimized the Jewish State." He went on: "Today, the safeguarding of Israel's safety, and its right to exist as a Jewish State is an ethical choice and a moral decree against the possibility of the return of anti-semitism, Holocaust denial and a loss of memory of the West." (From the 2/12/10 Yated Ne'eman and the 2/12/10 Jewish Press.)

In return, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had this interesting story to tell: "On the train on her way to work, (an Italian woman) saw a German policeman arrest a Jewish girl. The woman, who was eight months pregnant, fearlessly put herself between the two, telling the German policeman, "You can kill me, but look at the faces of the passengers. They won't let you get out of here alive." In this courageous way, she saved the life of the Jewish girl and sparked a light of humanity in this dark period which had fallen upon Europe. This woman was called Rosa, and one of her children is called Silvio Berlusconi." And we Jews refer to her as one of the righteous among the nations.

6. So back to the USA. As noted above, Sarah Palin - huge supporter of Israel. And our President? Still talking sanctions against Iran, the biggest threat to Israel's existence and to the world. China, however, continues to insist on diplomacy. Clearly, neither sanctions nor diplomacy has worked over the last 6 years. So both are meaningless. Obama, however, seems to think that reducing our nuclear arsenal (in the latest arms control agreement with Russia) will what - make Teheran see the error of their ways? Or does he still want to sit down and talk with Ahmadinijad on the assumption that he can convince Iran to drop the nukes?

On the plus side, the 2/15/10 Jerusalem Report notes that, after a shaky start, Obama has allowed cooperation between the US and Israeli militaries. And according to the same article, Obama has now recommitted to the same 10 year $30 billion aid package to Israel that Bush had put in place.

But just how far is Obama willing to go to stop Iran's nukes? Bush clearly did not do enough. So now it is up to Obama. Is he willing to send in the cruise missiles and drones, followed by an aerial attack of US and Israeli fighter planes and bombers? I cannot foresee Israel sitting out the next battle, as Bush I asked of them in the Gulf War with Saddam. We put a stop to Iran, and that should quiet the terrorists and their supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah. The stronger Iran gets, the greater the threats from its puppets, and the greater the likelihood of war breaking out in the Middle East somewhere, and spreading to G-d knows where. The time for appeasement has long since passed.