Saturday, March 05, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
By Naomi Ragen
Caught in a bind of misconception and delusion, the government of Israel signed agreements that resulted in the death of a thousand civilians, and injuries to thousands more.
In the beginning, when the bombings first started, we were told that we would proceed anyway, and not let the terrorists acts interrupt this "historic opportunity" for peace. Again and again, we were told Arafat wasn't behind these acts, so it was okay to honor agreements with him even as our children died in the streets.
Each time there was a terrorist attack, I asked myself: have they had enough yet? Enough self-delusion? And when nothing was changed, I knew the answer was no. They needed more convincing. More dead.
And here we are, after everything we've been through, and it seems the answer to "have they had enough yet" is still no.
Mr. Sharon is now planning a giant "good-will gesture" to the new government of Abu Mazen, who demands that the jails let out the terrorists caught and jailed at so much risk to our soldiers lives. And Mr. Sharon has agreed to release 900. He's agreed to open the checkpoints. He's agreed to give over five West Bank cities to the Palestinian Authority, Jericho first. All this in anticipation of the "historic opportunity" of a meeting with Mubarak, King Abdullah and Abu Mazen next week.
All of these things have been tried. Cities turned over to the Palestinian Authority became bomb factories, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in Jenin alone trying to undo this "good will gesture." We tried opening the jails, and the prisoners, freed, went back to the only life they knew, killing Israelis. We tried opening checkpoints, and what we got were suicide bombers in our pizza parlors.
Today, a 15 year-old Palestinian was caught near Nablus with a four-kilo suicide belt. Grenades were thrown in Gaza at a military patrol, injuring two IDF soldiers. The rocket attacks continue unabated at Gush Katif. Nothing has changed in the Palestinian Authority. And apparently nothing has changed in the self-delusion of our new coalition government.
As a citizen of Israel who voted with the majority of Israelis to remove Mr. Peres and his Oslo junkies from power, it is with a sense of deep betrayal and bitterness that I see my government preparing us for the next round of slaughter, preparing once again to "experiment" with "historic opportunities" to get another thousand Jews murdered.
What my government should be doing now is demanding all illegal weapons be handed over, as was demanded by the British government of the IRA, and the Americans in Fallujah. It should be dismantling terror networks and demanding good will gestures from the Palestinians to convince Israelis they can now be trusted. One of these gestures could be the shutting down of the hate-filled television and radio stations. Removing the hate-filled textbooks from the classrooms. Demanding the turning over of all Hamas operatives. Instead, it does none of these things, because once again we are in a fake peace process that consists of one-sided Israeli concessions in exchange for more lame, baseless generalities about cease-fires.
Yes, a historic opportunity indeed to make the same fatal mistakes again. And when, I ask myself, will it finally be enough?
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This article is posted by participants of the January 27, 2005, BlogBurst (see list at end of article), to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.
On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.
Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that '45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz' (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004).
The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaign. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.
As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.
After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942, and the mass gassings took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation. All were subject to brutal treatment.
In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka.
Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.
For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it. Ironically, during the Polish uprising, the Allies had no hesitation in flying aid to Warsaw, sometimes flying right over Auschwitz.
There are troubling parallels between the systematic vilification of Jews before the Holocaust and the current vilification of the Jewish people and Israel. Suffice it to note the annual flood of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN; or the public opinion polls taken in Europe, which single out Israel as a danger to world peace; or the divestment campaigns being waged in the US against Israel; or the attempts to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. The complicity of the Allies in WW II is mirrored by the support the PLO has been receiving from Europe, China and Russia to this very day.
If remembering Auschwitz should teach us anything, it is that we must all support Israel and the Jewish people against the vilification and the complicity we are witnessing, knowing where it inevitably leads.
The meeting at Wannsee established the mechanism for "the final solution" -- shipment of Jews to eastern labor and death camps -- as the official policy of the Third Reich. Ever efficient and unashamed, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office.
The conference addressed every aspect of Nazi genocide in chillingly ordinary logic and language, e.g., " Europe will be combed through from West to East," "forcing the Jews out of the various spheres of life of the German people." Ever efficient, the participants foresaw that, "[i]n the course of the final solution and under appropriate direction, the Jews are to be utilized for work in the East in a suitable manner. In large labor columns and separated by sexes, Jews capable of working will be dispatched to these regions to build roads, and in the process a large number of them will undoubtedly drop out by way of natural attrition."
The minutes reflect an intention to dispose of "roughly eleven million Jews." This figure was derived after a horrifyingly detailed discussion of those with only partial Jewish ancestry, sparing some only a quarter Jewish, and magnanimously exempting others from evacuation only if "sterilized in order to prevent any progeny . . . Sterilization will be voluntary, but it is the precondition for remaining in the Reich."
Many conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. The conference, and the bureaucratic sounding murderous minutes, provide a prototypical example of Hannah Arendt's Banality of Evil.
To see a list of sites participating in this commemorative blogburst, click here.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
“Israel must help Mahmoud Abbas improve his standing among Palestinians to facilitate the peace process.”
The death of Yasser Arafat, who remained unwilling to make peace with Israel until the end of his life, has stimulated hope that a new Palestinian leader will emerge with the courage and vision of Anwar Sadat and King Hussein, who is prepared to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state that will live in peace beside Israel.
The Palestinians have chosen Mahmoud Abbas to lead them, and now the Israelis are waiting to see if he is prepared to take the necessary steps to advance the peace process. Abbas is someone who is well-known to the Israelis, because he was involved in past negotiations. They have welcomed his election and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately announced his desire to meet with Abbas.
No one should have any illusions about Abbas. He was the number two person in the PLO and a co-founder of the Fatah terrorist organization [with Arafat].
It is possible to find many irredentist statements made in the past by the new President, some of which were uttered during his recent campaign. His uncompromising position on the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, for example, bodes ill for negotiations. On the other hand, he also demonstrated the courage to publicly criticize the intifada, has said that violence has not helped the Palestinian cause, and declared a readiness to make peace with Israel.
Some suggestions are being made that Israel must make gestures to Abbas to help him consolidate his power; however, Israel owes him nothing. It is Abbas who must show that he has both the will and ability to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA), to dismantle the terrorist networks, and to end the violence. Words are insufficient; he must take action. The agreements signed by the Palestinians are unequivocal about what is required of them; they cannot evade their responsibilities with conciliatory statements to the press in English or cease-fires with groups such as Hamas that remain committed to Israel’s destruction.
The terrorists’ identities and locations are known. The PA has an estimated 40,000 policemen and multiple security services. Abbas must use the resources at his command to disarm and arrest anyone who illegally possesses weapons and threatens or engages in violence.
Though it has no obligation to do so, Israel has taken steps to show its goodwill, including facilitating the Palestinian elections (which international observers reported were unfettered by Israel [Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2005]), releasing prisoners, and withdrawing troops from parts of the territories. Israel has also said it is prepared to negotiate the disengagement rather than act unilaterally. A unity government was formed in January 2005 that now includes the Labor Party, which increases the flexibility Sharon will have to negotiate in the future.
The immediate hope for a negotiated settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians now rests on the shoulders of Abbas. The early days of his regime were not encouraging, as two terrorist attacks were perpetrated (one of which killed six Israeli civilians, two of whom were Arabs) in what either were direct challenges to his leadership or an indication that he has not abandoned the two-track policy of Arafat; namely, to talk about peace with the Western media while calling for jihad in Arabic and orchestrating a terror campaign against Israel.
Coexistence is impossible unless Palestinian violence stops. There can be no attacks on Jews anywhere, no mortars or rockets fired into Israel, and no incitement to violence. This is not a case of giving extremists a veto over negotiations; Israel has not said that Abbas must stop 100 percent of the incidents before it will talk, but Israel does insist that he demonstrate a 100 percent effort to stop them.
This article can be found at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mf22.html#mmm
Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, http://www.JewishVirtualLibrary.org. To order a copy of the paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE. Myths & Facts is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, and Swedish.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
De Atkine notes that “officers returning from the Arab world describe the cultural barriers they encounter as by far the most difficult to navigate, far beyond those of political perceptions. Thinking back on it, I recall many occasions on which I was perplexed by actions or behavior on the part of my Arab hosts—actions and behavior that would have been perfectly understandable had I read The Arab Mind.”
To speak of Arabs is to speak of Muslims, for Arab culture is permeated by Islam. Islamic hatred of America and of Israel is more intense and more widespread today than it was in 1973. American pop culture and commercial imperialism constitute a threat to the Arab’s tradition-based society, and Muslims see Israel as America’s vanguard in the Middle East.
Patai, says de Atkine, does not deny the virtues of Arab culture. “The hospitality, generosity, and depth personal friendships common within the Arab world are rarely encountered in our more frenetic society. The Arab sense of honor and of obligation to the family—especially to the family’s old and young members—can be contrasted to the frequently dysfunctional family life found in our own society ”
But such is the burning hatred Arabs bear toward Jews that many willingly use their own children as human bombs, while the Arab street cheers such self-immolation. Hatred trumps love. Arab hatred was not born with the Balfour Declaration or the establishment of the State of Israel. It precedes Muhammad and remains deeply ingrained in Arab culture.
Patai quotes Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), the greatest historian ever produced by the Arabs. Khaldun’s portrait of Arab national character is that of a historian who could look back upon seven centuries of Arab history. The Arabs, he says, “are people who plunder and cause damage.” The civilizations they conquer are “wiped out.” “Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined.” “The reason for this is that [the Arabs] are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery ” “Savagery has become their character and nature. They enjoy it because it means freedom from authority and no subservience to leadership. Such a natural disposition is the negation and antithesis of civilization.”
Again, “because of their savagery, the Arabs are least willing of nations to subordinate themselves to each other, as they are proud, ambitious, and eager to be the leader.” (Recall Genesis 16:12 on the character of Ishmael: “He will be a rebel. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.”)
The Arab’s sense of honor is notorious. Any insult or injury, let alone defeat in war, must be avenged. The Yom Kippur War was nothing less than an act of revenge for Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War—and that is why the war was launched on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
Any bellicose people are well-practiced in deception; as for the Arabs, however, one must add they are unequaled in the art of ingratiation. Khaldun’s disciple, Taqi al-Din Ahmad al-Maqrizi (1364-1442), an Egyptian, writes that Egyptians “are extremely inclined to cunning and deceit, from their birth they excel in it and are very skillful in using it, because there is in their character a basis of flattery and adulation which makes them masters in it more than all the peoples who have lived before them or will live after them.”
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s campaign of deception before the Yom Kippur War is documented in my book Sadat’s Strategy. But he was also a master of ingratiation. He constantly referred to Secretary of State William Rogers, whom he had met for the first time, as “Bill.” When Secretary Kissinger replaced Rogers, he became “dear Henry” just as quickly.
Countless pundits have been deceived by Sadat. A few quotes may dispel their naiveté. In an interview with al-Anwar on June 22, 1975, Sadat said: “The effort of our generation is to return to the 1967 borders. Afterward the next generation will carry the responsibility.”
In a New York Times interview dated October 19, 1980, he boasted: “Poor Menachem [Begin], he has his problems ... After all, I got back ... the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachem got? A piece of paper.”
A year after signing the March 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Sadat ominously declared: “Despite the present differences with the Arab 'rejectionist' rulers over the Egyptian peace initiative, the fact remains that these differences are only tactical not strategic, temporary not permanent.”
By the way, in his Knesset speech of November 20, 1977, Sadat used the name of God 10 times in his first ten sentences. Surely a man of God would not lie about his desire for peace—a word he used 95 times in his 50 minute performance!
With astonishing insight, Ibn Khaldun points out that “The Arab can obtain authority only by making use of some religious coloring, such as prophecy or sainthood, or some great religious event in general.
Patai’s 1973 classic, says de Atkine, “has not aged at all. The analysis is just as (prescient and on-the-mark now [in post-September 11, 2001]) as on the day it was written. One could even make the argument that, in fact, many of the [Arab] traits described have become more pronounced.”
Israeli politicians and diplomats are children compared to the likes of PLO-Palestinian leaders like Abu Ala and Abu Mazen. And sending Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom to negotiate with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would be laughable if it did not have tragic consequences.
Despite its overwhelming military power vis-à-vis its Arab neighbors, Israel is retreating toward its indefensible 1949 borders. Even a Machiavellian like Ariel Sharon has become a poodle of the Arabs.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Please go to this site and read the full text of this speech given recently by Arnold Roth, the father of 15-year-old Sbarro victim Malki Roth. This man's articulate love, compassion, and good sense are, I am proud to say, thoroughly representative of the very best in Judaism.
Dear reader, if you have bought into the "moral equivalence" lie (Israel = "Palestine") of the media, please see if you can find a morally equivalent statement by an Arab leader, anywhere. Then reconsider whether or not your picture of the situation is valid.
by Sarah Honig
Among the junk mail that clogs my postbox daily, I found a Gush Shalom leaflet calling on me to fulfill my "national duty and the duty of every peace-loving person" to help remove all settlements. How do I pitch in? By boycotting anything that's settlement-made. To facilitate my task, I was supplied with a list of brands to be shunned. In case of unmarked agricultural produce, I must grill the retailer to make sure he's not selling me forbidden fruit. Moreover, I was urged to disseminate said blacklist amongst friends and relations, post it on neighborhood billboards and in my workplace.
Lastly, should I feel a tad discomfited, I was advised to ignore counterarguments that I collaborate in "depriving Jewish brethren of their livelihood." Most settlers, I was assured, anyway "aren't productive citizens but live off the public. This is why they had so much free time to participate in the violent demonstrations that preceded the Rabin assassination. "While most Israelis worked for a living, the settlers blocked roads and burned tires. Settlements constitute the chief obstacle to a historic rapprochement between Israel and Falastin."
I finally realized who's responsible for our collective distress and insecurity. I forgot about the Arab genocidal penchant for throwing us into the sea - long before any occupation or beyond-the-Green-Line settlements existed. I never asked about all the available time Gush Shalom altruists have to protest against the security fence and IDF roadblocks (which keep me and them alive). I was too reviled by the use settlers make of the right to free assembly and speech. I discovered who the parasites feeding off my honest toil were and was reminded of the dastardly mischief they were up to, which invariably led to Rabin's slaying. There's no telling what existential disaster they could drag us into. They make my skin crawl.
In ordinary times I'd quickly return to my senses and identify this as the post-Zionist fringe's self-destructive variation on entrenched anti-Semitic themes. These, however, aren't ordinary times. Ever since Ariel Sharon's epiphany, demonizing settlers is no longer an exclusive far-Left prerogative. Arik gave settler-bashing unprecedented respectability. Now that he no longer loves them, it's bon ton to vilify those freeloaders who infest our surroundings, endanger our perfect peace, dare dissent and protest against Arik's designs, and who may now be plotting the next assassination.
REINFORCED BY Tnuva's chairman, I can finally enjoy the coziness of the mainstream. It's good being in league with those who gang up on Public Enemies. It's good being on the same side as Arik, now King of the Enlightened Ones. It's good to enjoy the security of running with the majority flock, like the flock of hens that loomed large in the homespun childhood recollections Arik was once excessively fond of recounting.
Growing up in Kfar Malal, young Arik astutely observed the chickens on his family's farm. He noted that the hens clucked harmoniously most of the time; but if one took ill, its mates suddenly and ferociously turned on it, pecking, scratching, and clawing their victim to death. It was then the future general concluded that weakness encourages aggression. Those who can't defend themselves are terminated viciously. Those who don't deter, invite their own destruction. That's how it is in nature, in the barnyard, in Israeli politics, and in the Mideast. When Arik grievously injured the settlers, he must have realized he was turning them into fair game, not only for Gush Shalom's serial predators and Tnuva's chairman. Confused ordinary folk prefer being among the assaulting fowl rather than associating with pitiful pariah pullets everyone rips into.
That's why the projected construction of prison camps for entire settler families and of mock-settlements for destruction drills evoke not a grassroots murmur. Fearful folks are glad it's not happening to them and rationalize why the others have it coming. Arik counts on that. Manipulating mass psychology will win him support. It's elementary, but not without risks. The delegitimization, blackballing, and ostracism visited on slandered settlers could become the sad lot of us all.
One flock's top hen is another's ravaged prey. Arik seems to have conveniently relinquished his once-reliable chicken-sense. By retreating and dismantling veteran villages, he signals the rest of the world that Israel is weakening. He thereby turns Israel into the enfeebled chicken of this savage region and of the heartless world.
He weakens our moral claim to any part of this land in an international environment where it's already increasingly trendy to dispute Israel's very right to exist. He may be intent on dismantling some settlements. Enemies and their overseas sympathizers focus on all settlements, first outside the Green Line and later within. Like it or not, Arik, we're all in the same chicken coop.
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380
Sunday, December 12, 2004
To: Brigadier General Rabbi Israel Weiss, Chief Rabbi of the IDF
From: Jonathan Pollard, 09185-016; FCI Butner, Butner NC, USA
Dear Rabbi Weiss,
As you know, our tradition teaches that a Jew does not sin unless he is afflicted by temporary insanity, a "ruach shtut". How else are we to understand why a G-d -fearing Jew like yourself, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, would declare his support for orders to uproot thousands of Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel? I refer to your recent comments on IDF Radio supporting the evil disengagement plan and identifying secular military commanders and state officials as the ultimate authority which soldiers must obey. "Refusal to carry out orders is liable to bring about the collapse of the army and the end of the People of Israel's task," you said. "The army, the state is the authority." "We can't allow a soldier to do whatever he wants. This will bring a danger that the army will end its function and this nation will end its task," you declared.
With all due respect, Rabbi, it is difficult to imagine that you truly believe that it is the state and the army alone which protect us and ensure our viability as a People! The Jewish People lived for 2000 years without a state and without an army, under the grace of G-d Almighty - it is only because of His loving kindness and His will expressed as through the Laws of Torah, that we live in the Land today and continue to thrive as a People. When you visited with me 2 months ago, I told you that HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, shlita, is my father. You replied joyfully, "We are sons of the same father! He is my father too!" You said that you consider HaRav Eliyahu to be your superior in Torah, and that before issuing any important Halachik ruling for the army, you first consult with him.
Surely you are aware that HaRav Eliyahu has unequivocally declared that it is forbidden for G-d -fearing soldiers to obey orders to uproot Jews from the Land! HaRav Eliyahu has ruled that it is better for soldiers to sit in prison than to take part in the expulsion of Jews from their homes. Rabbi Weiss, in light of your apparent disregard for the psak Halacha of your own rabbinic superior, how can you expect thousands of soldiers to rely on you?
In my dealings with Jewish leaders over the past 20 years, it is clear to me that often Heaven raises a man up to a position of power and authority not as a reward, but as a test. It is obvious that in this lifetime, G-d has placed you, of all men, in the unique position of being able to single-handedly defeat the immoral disengagement plan. You, amongst all men, can say "No!" to disengagement, and in so doing, support thousands upon thousands of soldiers to do the same! No other rabbi living in the Land today, is in such a powerful position as your are, in regard to this issue.
Just as good government never depends on laws, but upon the moral character of those who govern, so too an army depends not upon specific orders, but upon the personal qualities (midot) of its leaders. The functioning of the army is always subordinate to the will of those who administer it. The most important element of an army is who its leaders are. And Torah is the software that transforms it into a Jewish army. Without our divine software, we are nothing but machines and uniforms.
Rabbi Weiss, it appears that you are now being tested as both soldier and rabbi. You must now choose between your officer's commission and the yoke of Torah; between serving G-d or serving man.
Your choice will set the model for all G-d -fearing soldiers. It will also determine whether your name is revered for all generations as the rabbi who stood up to secular power in defense of the Land; or, G-d forbid, remembered as the rabbi who betrayed Jewish soldiers into defaming Torah and desecrating the Land.
Therefore, I plead with you to retract your statements regarding the disengagement plan! It is imperative that you issue a new ruling in harmony with the psak Halacha of HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu. Retracting now, especially since it is Chanukah, would be a great kiddush HaShem, in the best tradition of Mattityahu HaMaccabee himself.
I implore you to act now in the tradition of Gideon, of Yehoshua Bin Nun, and of Yehuda HaMaccabee! Be a Jewish warrior in defense of the Land! Say "No!" to disengagement! Kavod HaRav, by retracting your previous position and openly encouraging soldiers not to participate in uprooting Jews from the Land, you will create a powerful model of Tshuva not only for the soldiers but for all of Israel. You will bring relief to the Nation and honor to the Israel Defense Forces.
As it is written in Tehillim: "Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses; but we rely solely upon Hashem, our G-d!" As upholders of Torah we know that G-d and G-d alone is the ultimate authority for a Jew.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
In Column One: Leaving the Hall of Mirrors, Jerusalem Post columnist Carolyn Glick writes one of her most insightful and level-headed analyses ever. Thanks, Carolyn! (and thanks, Naomi, for pointing this out.)
You have to register with Jpost to read it, but it’s free.