Israel & Mideast Commentaries
[Excerpt from full Commentary] The Two-State Solution is indeed the most immoral suggestion of them all. It is a lie built on lies. And, with it now having been sanctified in the President's Cairo Speech in Egypt, it can be termed The Grand Pyramid Scheme. . . . [The Commentary consists of ten sections:] (1) The Bigotry of Banning Jews from Living in a Region . . . (2) "Palestine" Is Another Name for Israel, and That Entirety Is the Land that "Palestinian Arabs" Want for Their "Palestine" Country -- Not a "West Bank" Without a Name . . . (3) "Palestinian Refugee Camps" and Logo Images Now Worn by Their Terror Groups Remind That the Goal Remains Now As When the "P.L.O. -- Palestine Liberation Organization" was founded in 1964: to "Liberate Palestine" by Conquering and Destroying Israel . . . (4) Zionism Humanely Avoided the Moral Failings of America -- the Greatest Beacon of Freedom Ever Created -- by Seeking to Build Fraternally Alongside Landed Neighbors Rather than to Force-and-Death-March Them into "Reservations" of Internal Exile . . . (5) Only One Jewish Homeland: Passionately Loved Without Interruption and Yearned-for Through 2,000 Years of Exile . . . (6) In an Era of Mass Population Exchanges, the Arab World Hatefully Drove out 700,000 Jews and Confiscated All Their Property and Assets, Even as Israelis Pleaded with Their Arab Neighbors to Remain and Build a New Western Democracy Together . . . (7) The Cynicism of the Fabricated "Palestinian Refugee Problem" . . . (8) . . . And the Cynicism of Imposing on Israel a "Two State Solution" Proffered by Three Ambitious Politicians Who Would Abandon America's Long-Term Commitments to a Time-Tested Friend and Ally in Order to Advance Their Own Short-Term Career Goals . . . (9) Pressuring Israel to Abandon Her Security While Turning a Blind Eye, Deaf Ear, and Silent Tongue Towards a Concerted Vitriolic Hate Campaign Against Jews That Has Poisoned Children's Minds and Adults' Hearts Through the Next Generation, Even as the Hate Campaign Materially Has Breached and Thus Has Rendered Void and Nugatory Every Israel-Arab Treaty . . . (10) The Facts on the Ground: Every Israeli Retreat Has Invited Anti-West Arab Terrorists to Arm and Militarize, Rain Unprecedented Destruction, and Launch New Deadly Battle Fronts of Rocket Fire at Israeli Cities That Previously Had Been Secure . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary] [M]y claim to Jerusalem is eternal and unyielding to a Jerusalem indivisible and united, because no one in my family line, going back to the beginning of the exile, ever yielded our claim to Jerusalem. . . [¶] No one compromises on capital cities. America moved her capital around -- from Philadelphia to New York to Washington, D.C. -- but she never offered to split it with the British or Jefferson Davis. No one offers to split Damascus or Beirut or Cairo or Baghdad for peace. No one offers to split Paris or London or Madrid or Prague. [¶] Even the experience with Berlin is instructive. The world forced onto the Germans -- veritably shoved it right down their throats -- the division of Berlin. It barely lasted half a century before the wall came down and the city was reunited. [¶] We owe no apologies, no explanations. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary] If we Jews are anything, we are a people of history. From our first patriarch to Israel's precision-targeted destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, which laid the foundation for a successful Operation Desert Storm and the rescue of Kuwait, our history provides the strength to know that we can be right and the whole world wrong. . . .
Why -- and Whose -- Jerusalem? On Reunification Day [published in Jewish World Review 06-01-11]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] Several covens of Jew-haters recently marked their "Nakba Day" to protest that a Jewish country ever was created in the Middle East. Today, Jerusalem Day, is my chance to respond by affirming the Jewish claim to an eternally undivided capital city of United Jerusalem.
Despite Obama's Speech: Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria Will Grow Expansively and Outlast Us All [published in The American Thinker 05-29-11]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] In approximately 18 months Barack Obama may no longer be President, or just a lame duck limping to January 2013. At most, he would be President for another 5 and half years. [¶] During the same period, more thousands of Jews will continue being added to the population of Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, the following people have passed away when G-d took them in His own good time: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. During that same period, the Jewish population of Yesha (Judea and Samaria), including the areas of East Jerusalem liberated in June 1967, have grown to 558,000 — 230,000 in Greater East Jerusalem and 328,000 throughout the rest of Yesha. The numbers are on the way to reaching a million. [¶] Yitzchak Rabin had an Oslo plan to withdraw from Yesha, and he tragically was assassinated. Shimon Peres thereupon entered as Israeli Prime Minister with a higher than 90% poll rating, and assured everyone that he would complete the process of withdrawing. Yet, in an unforeseen short period, an outbreak of Arab bus bombings wiped out his support, and he lost office to Binyamin Netanyahu. After Bibi compromised on Hebron at the Wye Conference, his stellar polls suddenly plummeted south, and he was ousted by Ehud Barak. Barak, touted as "Mr. Security," proceeded to withdraw unilaterally from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum soon filled by Hezbollah, and then worked with Bill Clinton to prepare a complete withdrawal from virtually all of Judea and Samaria.
[Excerpt from full Commentary] The great tragedy within contemporary Zionism is that Zionist leadership and articulators operate on a continuum of defensiveness, always reacting to the latest attack on Israel’s legitimacy. This “reactive defensive Zionism” is the same whether we look at Jewish organizations, Jewish political figures, or even at college Jewish activists. Zionists always “play defense.” [¶] Defense certainly is an important part of a winning strategy. The best hockey and soccer teams still need to field a goalie. Football teams need a defensive squad, and baseball strategy includes defending against a bunt, pulling an infield-in, and over-shifting towards right field when a left-handed hitter comes to bat. Even so, no team ever wins if it fails to score. And teams well ahead of their opponents see their leads disappear when they excessively shift into a “prevent defense mode” that concedes offense exclusively to the opposition. [¶] We who follow spectator or competitive sports understand this philosophy so clearly – the primacy of offense – yet abandon this simplest of survival principles when Israel’s survival is on the line. Thus, we wait for others to call Israel “racist,” and then we respond that she is not. They speak of an “Apartheid wall” being constructed along Judea and Samaria, and we reply that the wall is not separatist but protective. They accuse Israel of starving out the citizens of Gaza, and we counter with photographs of shopping malls in Gaza and with statistics of food supplies that pass into Gaza through Israel. [¶] They accuse Israel of human rights violations, and we respond that Israel is humane. They say that land belongs to “Palestinians,” and we present compromise: “Let us have a two-state solution.” They propose boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and we produce reasons not to boycott Israel, not to divest from holdings in Israel, not to sanction Israel. [¶] Seventy years ago, Sid Luckman was the most prominent Jew in American football. A star quarterback for the Chicago Bears, he once brought his immigrant parents to a game to watch him. With Luckman masterfully at the helm, the Bears won handily. After the game, he proudly asked his parents what they thought of his performance. Even though he successfully had scrambled away from defensive front-linemen and had a wonderful passing game that day, his parents responded: “Sidney, you know those men would not try to keep hurting you all day if you would just give them the ball.” [¶] It is time for Zionists to stop giving them the ball. [¶] We need to initiate the discussion, not to react. We need to be creative in our presentation, not predictably defensive. We need to capture the imagination by shifting dynamically, as Sid Luckman did on the field, into a T-formation with men in motion. . . .
Who Chose Hamas to Lead Them? : Gazans Seek Sympathy After Voting in Terrorists Who Vow to Exterminate Jews [published Frontpagemag.com 06-10-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] On March 5, 1933, the German people cast their ballots, resulting in Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power as chancellor of Germany. The voters knew Hitler’s agenda, and he prosecuted the agenda he promised them. Mass terror followed, and the world was submerged into a war that brought death to tens of millions. By the end, America and England gained an upper hand and had enough. In one midnight hour, the Allies dropped more than 2,300 tons of aerial bombs on Hamburg. During the bombing of Dresden, the allies dropped more than 3,900 tons of bombs in two days, killing some 25,000 Germans. As the debate raged over whether these aerial bombings had been overkill, an underlying justification always lay in the recognition that the German civilian population had elected the Nazis and, by the power of their ballots, willingly brought the war and destruction on others – and, by the end, onto themselves.[¶] So it is with Gazans and the Hamas terror vision for which they voted “fair and square.” In a world that has seen Iranian civilians rise up and, like Neda Soltani, give their very lives trying to liberate themselves from the yoke of an Islamofascist regime led by Ayatollahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the stark contrast from the people of Gaza is striking. Gazans celebrate death. They celebrate terror. Given a free choice, they have opted for a vision of terror aimed at wiping out innocent Western lives and eradicating Israel off the face of the earth. In the face of such contemporary persecutions as the Sudanese terror in Darfur and the Turkish oppression of the Kurd minority that now numbers more than two million refugees, can anyone truly make a “fair and square” argument that the people of Gaza are victims of anything other than their own tragically violent predilection to support terror over coexistence and war over peace? . . .
Talking Turkey: Where Is the Apology to Israel or, for That Matter, to the Armenians? [published in Frontpagemag.com 06-07-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] Turkey has been at the center of the now infamous flotilla incident involving a Hamas-connected Turkish “NGO” which attempted to run an Israeli naval blockade off the coast of Gaza. The flotilla was supported financially by Hamas and peopled primarily by their Turkish allies. It was purportedly seeking to transport 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. But in fact, Israel supplies Gaza with 15,000 tons of food, medicines, and related humanitarian support every week. There seems to be more here than meets the eye. [¶] Turkey remains a prime transit route for Southwest Asian heroin into Western Europe. International trafficking organizations that operate within the country, from Ankara to Istanbul and beyond, excel at evading narcotics blockades and interdicts. With all the focus on Turks sailing towards the Hamas seas, defying Israel’s determined effort to bar delivery of military weapons and material to the terrorist government that runs Gaza, one wonders how genteel Turkey’s own internal borders have been. Does her treatment of religious and ethnic minorities model Western humanitarian values? Consider Turkey’s treatment of her Armenian, Catholic, and Kurdish minorities. . . .
Paying Palestinians Not to Work with Jews: Why Be in Contact with Apes and Pigs When You Can Live in a Refugee Camp at Home? [published in Frontpagemag.com 06-04-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestine Authority, we are told, comprise the moderate Palestinian alternative to the Hamas-driven vision of mayhem and terror in Gaza. This assurance is repeated despite Abbas’s well-established biography as someone antipathetic to Jews as a people. In his doctoral thesis, written at Moscow’s Institute of Oriental Studies, Abbas presaged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by denying the Holocaust. As a top lieutenant to Yasser Arafat – he named a son “Yasser” for his mentor – he was a terrorist leader, even sporting a nom-de-guerre: Abu Mazen. In his prominent role within Al-Fatah, Abbas provided the funds that Abu Daoud used to perpetrate the 1972 massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munic Olympic Games. During the period Abbas has headed the Palestine Authority on the land that Arabs call the “West Bank” and Jews call “Judea and Samaria,” he has honored mass murderers by naming town squares for them, has permitted mass media under his control to savage Jews as people, and even has allowed anti-Jewish vituperative to be taught in the curricula of his schools.[¶] Now comes word that his Government – ever on the international prowl with outstretched hand seeking hundreds of millions of dollars and euros to cushion its bankrupt economy – has found $50 million to fund a new initiative. The Palestinian Authority will pay Arabs not to accept employment in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. [¶] Will American tax dollars indirectly be financing this “fund”? Inexorably so. Only last year we pledged the Palestinian Authority and Gaza $900 million, then rushed them another emergency infusion of $200 million as their economy crumbled. Yet, while the Palestine Authority may not be wealthy, their sense of irony is rich: If Israelis hesitate to employ Palestinian laborers, sincerely fearing terrorism in their midst, they are berated as “racist” and “apartheid.” Now, in the face of tens of thousands of Palestinians working amicably with Jews, Mahmoud Abbas will pay them to revert to unemployed rather than to accept employment within Judea and Samaria. [¶] More than 20,000 Palestinian Arabs now work at the industrial parks and construction sites that employ them throughout Judea and Samaria. Despite continual efforts by Mr. Abbas and Israel’s haters throughout the world to slander Israel as an “Apartheid” entity, the reality is that Arabs often earn from their Jewish employers twice the income they command within Mr. Abbas’s polity. These are good salaries, and those wages support large families. The people whose lives would be affected by the cynicism – the workers in the industrial parks – do not want to give up those jobs. . . .
Israel After the Flotilla Debacle: Maybe the Wake-Up Call Israel Needs Before Acquiescing to a "Two-State Solution" [published in The American Thinker 06-03-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] There are Western "statesmen" throughout Europe and America, from Tony Blair to the Obama administration -- and the Bush White House before it -- who have advised Israel that the only road to lasting peace is the "Two State Solution." If only Israel will acquiesce and cede vast amounts of Judea and Samaria to Abbas, much as Israel ceded Gush Katif and Gaza before, and agree to withdraw her military from the West Bank, Israel will find Palestinian Arabs immersing themselves peacefully and productively with the constructive responsibilities of governing themselves. [¶] 'Tis not so. For all the public relations damage that this week's Flotilla Debacle has caused Israel, the experience can redound to Israel's benefit if she perceives the wake-up call. A "Two State Solution" will not bring her peace on her eastern front, nor a harmonious coexistence with irredentist polities dedicated to her destruction from both her sides. Until Palestinian Arab leaders and the Arab world recognize the Jewish right to be sovereign anywhere in Israel and agree to internationally authorized conditions that enable Israel to assure permanent Palestinian Arab disarmament both in Judea-Samaria and in Gaza, she dare not contemplate siren calls of a "Two State Solution," or she will face future nightmares that make this week's Flotilla Debacle seem like a holiday cruise. . . .
The Flotilla of the Damned: A Flotilla-for-Fun to Attila the Hun? [published in Orange County Jewish Life 07-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] When mass murder was rampant in Rwanda, did the “International Solidarity Movement” run supply flotillas? What would Kamal Ataturk have done if a civilian flotilla were sent to Armenia while the Turks were committing genocide there? When President John F. Kennedy blockaded Cuba, would anyone have tried running a flotilla through to Havana? If they had, what would the U.S. Navy have done if they refused to stop? Has anyone tried running a parade of boats to Guantanamo Bay to assure that America’s Gitmo prisoners are well provided for? If America ultimately maximizes sanctions against Iran, blockading Ahmadinejad’s ports, how will we respond to flotillas seeking to ram through? [¶] Israel seems positioned as the target of every bully or wannabe-tough-guy who wishes to dabble in social justice. She is perceived as the kid with thick-framed glasses whose lunch money is easiest to steal. For left-anarchist groups like the International Solidarity Movement, Israel is the target for a radical-chic war game, perhaps to alleviate students’ residual stress from just-completed final exams. Many of them may have been unaware that the International Solidarity Movement is a front group created by Palestinian Arabs, funded by Palestinian Arabs, with direct ties to Arab terrorists. Even so, a hint of the flotilla’s unilaterally hostile agenda against Israel should have been apparent when ISM leaders refused a plea from the parents of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006, to transmit a letter and package to him if they arrived in Gaza. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary] . . . In all of world history, which has seen so many countries pull free people out of Africa to enslave them, only one country ever risked its citizens’ lives in covert operations aimed at extricating African slaves from Africa to set them free as full citizens in their land: Israel. When Vietnamese “boat people” risked their very lives in rickety crafts on the high seas in a desperate effort to escape Communism and totalitarianism, Israel opened its doors and rescued survivors, who today are third generation Vietnamese Israelis. [¶] In Israel there is hope, even though all the surrounding populations aim their weapons at her. Her northern border is not Canada but the terrorist Hezbollah who rain rockets on her. Her southern border is not Mexico but the terrorist Hamas who swear to destroy Israel. And yet, somehow, Israelis keep believing in peace. No one in her region is willing to negotiate a sincere peace with her, yet she remains a nation ever-optimistic that the terrorists someday will change course. From the Palestine Authority to Hamas to Hezbollah, the leaders of those polities manipulate their children, through corrupted kids’ television shows and summer camps and hateful school texts, to hate the Jews next door. And yet Israel teaches peace and mutual acceptance, preparing its children for the day when the others stop hating. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]
It is instructive that the Arab world does not even have a name for the
land. Think about it. "Palestine" is a name that the ancient Romans gave
the Land of Israel after that now-vanished empire destroyed the last
breaths of Jewish freedom in the Holy Land in 135. The Romans renamed
the cities and the land to excise all memory of the stubborn Jewish
patriots who had defied the empire from within the Holy Land. So,
Jerusalem became Aelonia Capitolina. Shechem became Naples. (Naples
later became Nablus.) And the country itself was renamed "Palestine" for
the Biblical people who preceded the Jews — the Philistines.
[Excerpt from full Commentary] In time, Arafat nonetheless will pass from the scene. He is aged and manifestly feeble. And though it is not clear whether the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade similarly will move on, let us assume — without any basis — that they also will step aside. Even then, after all the terror-stained Palestinian Arab leaders have departed, and after all Palestinian Arab civilians have compromised on their expectation to extend "Palestine" to the Mediterranean Sea — no American Mideast plan will succeed until Washington finally starts following up on its demands for an absolute end to the teaching and transmitting of hate to the people living under the Palestinian Authority's control. [¶] We continually have failed to recognize that Mideast peace ultimately is not about paper promises but about building a vigorous foundational societal framework that proactively promotes a new way of thinking about the Other. Through all the "peace processes" and "peace plans" Washington has endorsed and promoted since Oslo, we always have failed to demand with sustained follow-up that the educational systems and communications media of the Palestinian Arabs and other Islamist societies stop teaching children and young adults to hate the West. Even as we've been pumping more than $200 million of our tax dollars each year into the Palestinian Authority — and have sent hundreds of millions more to the "Palestinian refugee camps" of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — we consistently have turned a blind eye to the way they use their schools, summer camps, and radio and television — even their "Sesame Street"-type shows — to promote the most vile anti-Jewish stereotypes and crude distortions of Western society. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]
As I read
the grim news from
[Excerpt from full Commentary] And so it was fitting, in the ultimate measure for
measure, that Bin Laden died a decade later in a sudden hail of frenzy,
never having seen it coming. It was a day that had begun like all
others with the three wives and the 23 kids. And then, from
nowhere, with no advance warning, it all came to thud of a halt. A
hail of fire, a blown-off piece of skull, and tomorrow never came.
Only A flash of fire and a last image: that of Uncle Sam's SEALs
discharging their weapons at his head. And, even as those who
survived him never got to say "good-bye," they and their fellow mourners
have nowhere to go to pay their respects. His body is gone,
remains disappeared. There is no gravesite, no marker. As
Moses the Zionist cheerfully sang in Exodus 15:3-5,10: "G-d
is a master of war. . . . Pharaoh's chariots and warriors He threw
in the sea, and the most select of his officers sank in the sea.
Deep waters covered them; they descended in the depths like stone.
. . [T]he sea enshrouded them; they sank like lead in water." [¶]
And so Osama, too, promptly sank in the ocean like lead, subsumed by the
mighty waters and the deepest of depths. There is nowhere to go to
say "good-bye, Bin Laden." By now, part of him still may lie on
the ocean floor, part in some whale, part in some shark. Perhaps,
by now, a bit even in some local aquarium's population.[¶]
Gone at once. Never saw it coming. Nowhere to be found.
Measure for measure. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]
Regardless of how one views the War in Iraq, virtually all Americans are
agreed that we are glad the Taliban and Saddam are out of power, and we
[Excerpt from full Commentary] I have been a big-firm business-litigation attorney for nearly a decade. My favorite case matters are those that promptly move towards a negotiated settlement between or among parties who each emerge with something constructive, resulting in a "win-win" outcome. After the parties negotiate their agreement, we attorneys document the settlement and the parties' respective concessions. Invariably, we insert into each settlement agreement a paragraph that seems so obvious, that an attorney omitting it could risk a claim of malpractice: Warranty of Authority to Execute Agreement. Each person executing this Agreement on behalf of an entity or individual and/or in a specified capacity hereby warrants and represents that he or she has been granted the power and authority to make and enter into the agreements and releases contained herein for said entity or individual in the capacity set forth herein . . . . [¶] In plain talk, each party to the agreement affirms that he or she has the authority to negotiate the agreement, the authority to offer concessions in return for counter-concessions, and the authority to enforce the concessions and promises he makes. . . . [¶] If Arafat and, now, Mahmoud Abbas, cannot deliver the goods, then Israel cannot reasonably be expected to offer him concessions and abandon preciously guarded rights in return for peace promises and treaties that are destined to fail ab initio because he lacks enforcement authority. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Ultimately
[Excerpt from full Commentary]
It took me forty years to figure it out,
but I think I finally have figured out that Israel is not going to win
any PR wars. The best we can hope for is that Fox News remains the way
it is, along with the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
Until Israel gives up Judea, Samaria, and half of Jerusalem, she will
not win any PR wars. [¶] That kind of PR
boost in world attention all-too-often seems associated with pictures
from Auschwitz and Dachau and Buchenwald when the respective Allies
Forces liberated the camps. That is quite a price to pay for world
sympthy. One picture may be worth a thousand words, but is it worth a
thousand souls? [¶] To be sure,
if we don't do it, no one else will -- least of all, the
Israelis. The Israelis send us, in 99% of the cases,
the most useless political hacks for their public relations.
People who barely speak English (and thank G-d that they are so hard to
understand!), who make the most inane arguments, people whose twenty
years' dutiful service in Israel in one or another political party's
inner circle, pushing papers from right to left, receive the
game-show-like reward -- first prize : an appointment as an ambassador
or a consul-general in America. [¶]
Only rarely did Israel give her supporters a chance to work in America
with people who spoke American English -- Golda and Bibi. Both were so
successful that they became Prime Ministers. A third guy, Abba Eban,
spoke English so beautifully that people who heard him supported Israel
even though they (like he) barely knew what he was talking about. The
lesson: send people to America who lack clever political acumen, who
barely can speak English, and with thick accents at that?
[Excerpt from full Commentary] Today’s “J Street” was yesterday’s Peace Now and Breira. Always rushing to “make peace,” to trust Arafat to keep his word, to encourage and push Israel to sign Oslo Accords. [¶] I like to think of myself as an intellectual, too. I do not cede that ground to the “J Street” crowd. But I also grew up a bit on the streets. I know both sides – the people who attended Columbia University with me, the law school types, the scholars. And I know street fighters. [¶] Then Israel ceded Gaza. “Who needs Gaza anyway – with all its Arab overpopulation and all the trouble? It’s not worth it – let them choke on their own suffering! They will be so busy running an economy and a government that they will not have time to bother Israel.” Yeah. So Hamas took over and turned Gaza into an arcade, with terrorists raining down missiles and rockets on Sderot. [¶] There is no way to get them honestly to live with us except to persuade them that the cost of fighting us is too dear. That is how Israel took Jordan and Egypt out of the confrontation – beating them in war after war, until those governments gave up on destroying Israel.
[Excerpt from full Commentary]
1. Pollard did a terrible, terrible thing.
2. A terrible thing. Just terrible.
3. Horrible. And he messed up the position and status of Jews in American government. He fed into anti-Semites’ worst diatribes about Jews being of diverted loyalty to foreign powers. He had no right to imperil the Jewish position in this country and, thereby, to lend credence to haters elsewhere in the world who wonder about Jews and our loyalties in those countries. . . .
[¶] 19. A final word: I cannot emphasize enough that Pollard did terrible, terrible stuff. I am not impressed with some people's arguments that he needed to do what he did, that he gave Israel documents that America was obligated to share with Israel anyway, that he had to do it to save lives. But, for G-d’s sake, after 23 years in prison, his continued incarceration no longer is about him. It is about us -- it is about Jews. It is a statement to American Jews that says to us every day: “We in Washington regard you differently from Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, German-Americans, Polish-Americans, Latino-Americans. You may need a reminder that other people don’t need. You need to remember what we do to people who are not loyal to this country, who have loyalties diverted elsewhere.” Thus, Pollard's continued incarceration is personally offensive to the Jewish community. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary] Not all Jews, even the Torah-observant Jews among us, even Chassidic Jews, count themselves as Chabad Jews. There are doctrinal differences, sometimes very significant, that individuate Chabad from the larger normative Orthodox community.[¶] Nevertheless, virtually each and every one of us has been at some end-of-the-earth place where even MasterCard/Visa is not accepted, but where a Chabad House exists to provide a kosher meal, a local Jewish resting place, an address for Shabbat. . . . . And for so many people who today are members of shuls like Young Israel of Orange County, their first step into normative Torah practice took place at a Chabad House or at a campus Chabad.[¶] It is the paradox of the Jewish experience in history that we so uniquely among peoples get caught in others’ cross-fires. [¶] Ask the average Jew his thoughts about Kashmir, and he will tell you that he cannot afford it and buys sweaters made from Shetland wool instead. We do not know what it is, where it is, and -- maybe the ultimate indicator -- it is so far off our radar and alien to our world that there is not even a Chabad in Kashmir.  Things happen for reasons. Bad things sometimes happen for the purpose of laying foundations for great things. As Rav Avigdor Miller brings out, all of our Patriarch Yaakov’s setbacks in his relationship with Esav were necessary for the expansive formation of a Jewish People. [¶] That is how setbacks work for Jews. One must wait twenty years (as during Yaakov’s sojourn with Lavan), and sometimes 200 years or even 2,000 years, to know how it all will play out. And this tragedy in Mumbai that has no words for its pain is not the final word on how the result of this incident will play out. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary] I did not vote for Obama, instead choosing to vote as the exit polls told us that most Jews in Orthodox circles did. Still, I view Obama's election with fascination and a touch of wonder.[¶] . By the natural course of events, Obama should never have been elected or, frankly, even nominated. Historians will not understand it. Nevertheless, he now is the President-elect, and we will recite the same blessing in Shul for his welfare and that of his Government as we have recited for his predecessors. [¶] I am long past predicting who among the princes of flesh-and-blood is good for Israel and who bad. I vote based on commonsense natural analyses, but I know I can be wrong because good politicians can fool you, and so can bad ones. I know that all we can do is vote based on what we reasonably expect. But, in the end, it is all in Hashem's hands. Politicians often surprise.[¶] Our parents' generation bullet-voted for FDR, whom they regarded as the best American friend that Jews ever had in the White House. Turns out he and his State Department were not our best friends. Rather, they hated us and in some real measure were accessories to the mass murder of six million of us.[¶] Democrats-Republicans. We don't know. Nixon rushed weapons to Israel in an full-blast urgent airlift. Bill Clinton gave us Oslo and Arafat.[¶] Shalom Chaver.
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Now Arafat is dead in the land of quiche, mousse, croissant, vichysoisse, and Jew-hatred, consulting with Generalissimo Francisco Franco. And it is not a time for Israel or her friends to celebrate. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Over the past 18 months, Americans have been bombarded with images comparing rock-throwing young Arabs with the Israelite David who confronted Goliath in biblical days. . . . [¶] But David did not hijack wagons. And David did not murder children. . . . [¶] No minority has found peace or security under Arab Islamic patronage. Not the Berbers of
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Israel has militarily occupied Judea, Samaria and Gaza since 1967, yet has taken no steps to assert its claim to the territories. While
[Excerpt from full Commentary]No one in my family was directly touched by the Nazi Holocaust. Nor did any of my friends lose any relatives to Hitler. While that unspeakable tragedy has deeply affected the psyche of every Jew born in the past half century, not many of us directly experienced what it was like to be a Jew in that era. . . . [¶] Until now. Since Thursday night, when the first Iraqi Scud missiles landed in Tel Aviv and
[Excerpt from full Commentary] United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed a three-person investigative committee to visit the site in Jenin where Israeli efforts to uproot the infrastructure of terror have prompted Arab allegations of "massacre." However, before the "fact-finding team" is dispatched, those who care about fairness should carefully investigate the investigators. . . .[¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]That's a basic rule of civilized society, and it defines the parameters of the Free Marketplace of Ideas that highlights American civil discourse. It is a rule that applies equally to plumbers, to auto mechanics, to locksmiths - and, as should go without saying, to members of the academic community, including college professors. At least, that is what they taught me during my undergraduate days at Columbia University. . . . [¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]The Israeli bombing this weekend in the Arab town of Qana was the subject of widespread condemnation. It even prompted the Israeli Prime Minister to announce a suspension of air attacks for 48 hours. It is important to recognize that Hezbollah deliberately establishes rockets and launchers, and stations its headquarters and fighters, in the heart of civilian populations. That is how Arafat did it. That is how Hamas and the PLO and all the others in Fatah and Islamic Jihad and Force 17 and Tanzim and Al Aqsa Brigades do it. They pack ambulances with explosives. They set up bases in hospitals, schools, even mosques and churches. Just consider how often Sunnis blow up enemy Shiite mosques to stop their attackers, and vice-versa. . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]When the thunderous claps in Heaven jolted Orange County out of our rooms a few Sunday mornings ago, I thought of Israel. When the earth – almost simultaneously – thundered below our feet in a 3.8 earthquake, I thought of Israel. What must it be like to live in Nahariyah, Tz’fat, Ashdod, or Haifa – and be jolted out of bed all night and out of one’s home all day by incessant thunder and earthquake?. . . . [¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Through the millennia of Jewish Diaspora, long after Arabs invaded and conquered by right of sword, the land of Judea and Samaria never became an Arab territorial entity. By the 20th century, with the rise of political Zionism, Jews still were the "Palestinians." Thus, the predecessor of the Jerusalem Post was called the Palestine Post. The predecessor of the United Jewish Appeal was the United Palestine Appeal. Even the American support group for Menachem Begin's nationalist Irgun underground called itself the American League for a Free Palestine.[¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]So it turns out that the Arabs of Judea and Samaria really hate the guts out of us Jews. [¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Several years ago, before I became an attorney, the news of Iran's star-chamber proceedings and convictions of Jews would have sent me protesting in the streets. I would have joined - or organized - massive protests, including nonviolent sit-downs at major arteries, like Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and Park or Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. [¶]
[Excerpt from full Commentary]Either the authoritarians of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority have the power to direct, control, intercept and stymie Arab terrorist attacks against Israel, or they do not. If this year's proliferation of Arab mass murder has been within the Palestinian Authority's power to control, then those events confirm that the Palestinian Authority has no right to exist as a polity. On the other hand, if the Palestinian Authority cannot control the anti-Israel terror emanating from within its borders, then it also has no right to exist as a polity. [¶]
Not This Month: On the Emanuel School Crisis in Israel [published in Cross-Currents 06-28-10]
[Excerpt from full Commentary] The recent brouhaha in Israel, occasioned by an unfortunate rush to pre-judgment by the Israeli High Court of Justice, raises a question for us all to consider: How do we indeed relate to the Other? In a world where there is racism and bigotry between Black and White, Shiite and Sunni, Hutu and Tutsi – where and how do we Jews stack up? [¶] For that matter – in a world of bloodshed and internecine violence among nations and between individuals, in a world marred by reports of corruption and immorality – who are we, the Jewish people, as a Community of Israel? [¶] We are a good people. Whether Haredi or “Modern” or, for that matter, utterly non-Observant, we are – as a People – an accepting people. Racism is not our way. Similarly, despite the presence among our number of some egregious financial cheats, we are a profoundly honest people. Despite an occasional act of violence ascribed to one of our own, we are a monolithically peaceful people. As the prophet Bil’am described us: We are a nation that dwells alone, whose behavior patterns and values lie utterly outside any realm of contemplation of the Nations. (Bamidbar 23:9). . . .
[Excerpt from full Commentary]It was three years ago this week that Palestinian Arab murderers bombed Jerusalem's cheery, cafe-lined Ben Yehuda Street into a nightmare of death and destruction - murdering, among others, Yael Botwin, a 14-year-old girl from Claremont. This past week, Mahmoud Abu-Hanud, the butcher who masterminded the murders, finally was uncovered. Yet, paradoxically, he still walks free, while three Israeli soldiers lie dead after their failed effort to apprehend him. [¶]