Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Democrats, Israel and American Jews

‘Idon’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president,” vented Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Boston Herald Radio last week.
It was a small controversy in the grand scheme of things, easily overlooked during a week when: a German pilot turned a routine flight into a murder-suicide mission, Ted Cruz drove the media batty by announcing he will run for president as Ted Cruz, an Army sergeant and Taliban captive the White House touted as a hero was charged with desertion and America joined forces with Iran in Iraq to kill Sunni jihadists while allying with Saudi Arabia in Yemen to kill Shiite jihadists (who are backed by Iran).
Still, King’s comments did enrage a lot of people, particularly people eager to make political hay. “I was shocked and horrified when I heard the remarks made by Rep. King today stating that we are ‘Jewish second,’ and implying that Democrats are anti-Semitic,” responded Greg Rosenbaum, chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., took his hissy fit to Twitter. “I don’t need Congressman Steve King questioning my religion or my politics,” he tweeted. “I demand an apology from him & repudiation from GOP. #dangerous.”
That “dangerous” hashtag — no doubt a rich mix of sincerity and opportunism — is intriguing to me. What is the implied danger?
After all, King’s lament is that American Jews don’t care about Israel enough to break with President Obama.
“In a bizarre way,” left-wing writer Paul Waldman noted in the American Prospect, King’s remarks were “almost reassuring.” They highlight “just how rare anti-Semitism has become in America. An American Jew is more likely to be exposed to weird conservative philo-Semitism than to actual anti-Semitism.”
It’s a good point. On both the far right and among vast swaths of the left, the longstanding complaint against American Jews is that they’re guilty of “dual loyalty” — i.e., they care as much or more about Israel as they do the U.S. One need only spend a few minutes in the swampier quarters of the Internet, or at, say, UCLA, to find this sort of bigotry. Just this month, a Jewish student applying to be a member of the UCLA student council’s judicial board was asked, “Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”
But here’s Steve King, a passionate defender of Israel, complaining that American Jews aren’t being Jewish enough.
Part of the confusion is that being Jewish and supporting Israel have never been wholly synonymous, and regrettably they are getting less synonymous all the time. This is a source of great consternation in many Jewish circles, and a source of profound confusion and frustration in conservative circles. Just as right-leaning non-Jews are embracing Israel, left-leaning Jews are pushing it away.
That’s not a coincidence. The reason American Jews are disproportionately liberal is complex — because there is no single reason for it. I can rattle off a dozen or so with ease, including: FDR’s outreach to Jews, Harry Truman’s recognition of Israel, the historic necessity for Jews to seek protection from central authorities, the tendency of urban populations to be liberal, anti-Semitism in the old (and much more liberal) GOP of the 1920s through the 1960s, the timing of Jewish immigration from central Europe in an era when socialism was in its heyday, and the very secular worldview of most non-orthodox Jews.
Political scientist Kenneth Wald largely disagrees with these and other explanations, save for the last point. In a new article, “The Choosing People: Interpreting the Puzzling Politics of American Jewry,” Wald argues that American Jewish liberalism is derived chiefly from the fact that American Jews want a strict separation of religion and politics. He argues that Jewish support for Democrats intensified in large part because of the GOP’s embrace of Protestant evangelicals, even though Protestant evangelicals are wildly pro-Israel and philo-Semitic (i.e., the opposite of anti-Semitic). I think that’s empirically true, even if it gives short shrift to the deeper roots of Jewish liberalism.
One reason Jews are still liberal is that ideological and partisan affiliations die hard. They tend to be passed, like religion itself, from parent to child, generation after generation. But such loyalties aren’t static either. And while Steve King could have phrased it better, he was absolutely right that at some point — now or in the future — support for the left and support for Israel must conflict. And King is right to lament it when Jews choose the former over the latter.
Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. Email him at goldbergcolumn@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @JonahNRO.

Practice Makes Perfect

By Moshe Feiglin

The preparations for Pesach are approaching their climax and with them, a heightened awareness of the service of the animal sacrifices brought in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Our modern mentality, however, has a rough time digesting the thought of animal sacrifices.

Digesting? We have no problem eating a juicy steak (cruelty to animals in the era of modern manufactured food is the worst in history) but for most people – myself included – to mentally digest the slaughtering of animals as part of a spiritual process is beyond the pale.
There are many beautiful explanations for the animal sacrifices. But it is like playing Mozart to a person who has never heard classical music and expecting him to enjoy it. Our spiritual antennae have been folded up for 2000 years. The unmediated connection between the physical and the metaphysical, between our world and G-d’s Divine Presence – was lost when the Holy Temple was destroyed. We are fine with taking a bite of steak. But meat as part of a spiritual process? It doesn’t work.
To return to the authentic connection between the created beings and the Creator, between the material and the spiritual, the physical and the metaphysical – to return to the secret of the life of the body and soul together, to reveal the secret of love and peace – we have to begin to practice. And like any practice, the beginning is awkward, even repulsive.
It is like a child who begins to play the piano. At first, there is a lot of noise and dissonance. But the parents know that there is endless potential for music out there, an entire world of harmony. When the child’s fingers begin to fly on the keys with skill – they will no longer be an obstacle, but rather the tool that will connect the his soul to its musical expression.
Our Torah is also endless and encompasses all of creation. When we begin to practice the holy service, the unmediated connection between each and every one of us, between our Nation and our world – will return to its spiritual foundation. In the picture are the first steps of the Nation of Israel’s practice  (Kohanim practicing Korban Pesach) for a spiritual expression that was destroyed and will soon shine once again.
Wishing all of you a Blessed and Happy Pesach

Why I Will Be Keeping TWO Seders

By Shmuel Sackett
My wife’s siblings have decided to spend Pesach together in New York. I have to admit that I tried everything possible NOT to do this… but I lost the battle. About 3 hours after Bedikas Chometz, my wife and I will board an EL AL flight to NY and yes, we will land on Erev Pesach at 6am. Thankfully, I heard that the Kosher Dunkin’ Donuts will still be open so I will have plenty of time to eat that last yummy bit of chometz filled with custard and covered in chocolate glaze (that’s called “going out in style”!!). The plan is to take a nice nap and then come to Seder #1 all rested and ready to go. And then, 24 hours later – I will sit and do it all over again.
Trust me that I can get 101 Rabbis to sign a letter why I should NOT have that second seder. After all, I live in Israel and am going back immediately after the Yom Tov. This qualifies me as a “ben Eretz Yisrael” and therefore I should keep just one day, so why am I going to do this? My reason is quite simple. If you have been reading my articles, you understand that my main theme in almost all of them is that we are a Nation. For 2,000 years we were exiled from our land where our “Nation” status was downgraded to “Community” status. It’s like we changed our Facebook status from the Jewish nation to the Jewish community of Lublin, Brisk, Latvia, Morocco or Istanbul. We were no longer one nation but a bunch of Jews scattered all over the world, each one with its own minhagim and traditions. It was in that bitter exile that things changed; from the style of davening to things we are permitted or forbidden to eat. All of a sudden certain Jews would not eat rice or chumus on Pesach while others did. During Hallel on Rosh Chodesh some Jews said a bracha while others did not. In certain communities hundreds of new customs were established and set in stone while in others, very religious Jews had no idea what their brothers and sisters were even doing! Some may look at this as the beauty of expression and individualism but I look at it as one of the biggest punishments our people ever received.
In private life, people have different likes and dislikes. There could be a family of 5 brothers where the first is a vegetarian, the second a vegan, the third eats no gluten, the fourth eats only organic food and the fifth eats everything that money can buy. That’s fine – they are still brothers albeit with different preferences in food. I am not talking about that at all. I am talking about brothers who don’t simply have different wants and desires but different laws and rules that separate them from each other. Things like this break families apart and keep them apart for hundreds of years.
This is what happened in the Galut, when Jews became “Ashkenazim” and “Sefardim” and wound up battling each other to this very day. Even within these worlds there are such different minhagim that in some shuls I feel like a real foreigner. How terrible is that? All of this had the potential to end in 1948 when, in Hashem’s mercy and kindness, He led his mighty soldiers to victory in Israel’s War of Independence. That victory was not just winning a difficult war. It was establishing a homeland for the Jewish people and giving an opportunity for Jews to return home after 2,000 years of being lost in the forest! Yet, what did most of us do? We either came home but made sure to pack our luggage with all the kitniyos restrictions and other European customs or we stayed in London, New York or Johannesburg and let others build the land of our fathers.
Dearest friends, this will be recorded as one of – if not the biggest – blown opportunity in Jewish history! We had the opportunity to reunite as a nation but we chose to remain as communities. How sad… how tragic! The seder night can change all of that. The seder night reunites us as one people and one nation. The Arizal writes that there is no greater time for “Simchas Ha’Shechina” (joy of the Divine presence) than the night of the seder. The Nesivos Shalom explains that the reason for this joy is that in addition to being redeemed, the seder night was the time we became the chosen nation of Hashem and there is no Simcha greater than that! (See Nesivos Shalom on Pesach, essay 6, section 3).
Therefore, I have decided not to be different while in NY. Since according to Halacha, Jews who dwell outside the Land of Israel keep two days of Yom Tov and two seders, I will keep those two days of Yom Tov and two seders together with them! I will not sit at a table where one has Yom Tov and the other does not. We are a NATION… we are ONE… so we will do everything together! If I am in NY for Pesach then I will do what every Yid does in that place. It will not be Chol Hamoed for my wife while her sister is keeping Yom Tov. I will not say Havdallah next to my brother-in-law who will be saying Kiddush and if he eats Maror then I will do so as well!
The only point I want to stress is that the same applies to each and every one of you when you come to Israel for Yom Tov. If I am going to sweat through two seders then you will keep one day of Sukkot. We will not have a situation where religious people are driving in Jerusalem while others are going to shul for their second day of Yom Tov. Remember what I wrote: One nation, one people in one Land keeping the same Torah. We cannot allow ourselves to be in the same place but make believe that we are really not there. When in the USA it’s two days – for every one and when in Israel it’s one day – for every one!
Let’s unite and become a nation once again and stop the things that divide us. Next Year in Jerusalem… with one seder!!!

Jerusalem Post: Feiglin to Register New Political Party

His political predictions proved right in the past. He wrote on Facebook ahead of the 2013 election, when Bayit Yehudi was polling 16 seats, that it would fall to eight when the Likud would warn its voters that the Left could come to power.
Zehut will be registered as soon as the Interior Ministry verifies the Israeli residence of everyone on its list of founders in accordance with the law.
Feiglin hopes the current Knesset will pass a bill allowing Jews abroad who are not citizens to join Israeli political parties.
Many secular people attended a pre-Passover toast Feiglin hosted Sunday night in Jerusalem. Uri Noy of Petah Tikva, who was one of them, said he was surprised to see so many people not wearing kippot.
“The upheaval is really happening,” he said. “I came to Feiglin because I saw that in the Second Lebanon War, Israel did not fight back. I got turned on by him, and I’ve supported him since then.” Noy said he was in Likud with Feiglin and he was glad they left because the Likud has not been true to its political platform that calls for keeping and settling the land of Israel. He said there was nothing wrong with a secular Jew supporting the building of a Third Temple, noting that Zionist founder Theodore Herzl wrote in favor of it in his book Altneuland.
“Leaving the Likud is not giving up,” said Binyamin Nakonechny, a former Likud central committee member who was the first person who joined Zehut. “Feiglin has faced political setbacks throughout his career but he hasn’t given up. He has just started over.”

Moshe Feiglin: Olmert Disgrace

Nevertheless, I do not want to see him go to jail. A former prime minister in jail is a disgrace for the State of Israel. It is a desecration of G-d’s Name. Some may say just the opposite: Let the world see how enlightened our regime is. But that is not true. What the world will say is ‘Look who represents and leads the Jews.’ I will not be happy when Olmert goes to jail. Maybe they can arrange an exile for him on a desert island…,” Feiglin concluded.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Combining Matzah and Marror -- Freedom and Slavery

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshivah, Machon Meir

“Thus did Hillel when the Temple stood: He would combine matzah and marror [bitter herbs] and eat them together to fulfill what it says, ‘They shall eat it with matzah and marror’ (Numbers 9:11).” (Haggadah) 

As is known, matzah recalls freedom while marror recalls slavery. Seemingly, the two are opposites. Even so, Hillel, whose identifying trait was that he “loved peace and would pursue peace, he loved his fellow men and would bring them close to the Torah” (Avot), would combine matzah and marror and eat them. Why? Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (Olat Re’iyah 289) explains that we have to view slavery and freedom not as two distinct forces that do not influence each other, but as two forces which are linked together and which complete each other. 

Matzah, symbolizing freedom, alludes to Israel’s instinctive love of G-d, His Torah, His mitzvot and His creations. By contrast, marror, symbolizing slavery, teaches us that we have to bring that love from a potential to a reality through our being slaves to the will of Gd. This is exalted enslavement, enslavement to the King of Glory, which is total freedom. Thus, the perfect form of freedom emerges when it is linked to slavery. 

Today, we must learn from Hillel the Elder as we approach reclining on the seder night as free men. As we celebrate the holiday of freedom, we must tell our children, and ourselves, the remarkable story of our people when they were first born in the darkness of Egypt. We must tell of the miracles and wonders which G-d performed by dint of His love for His firstborn son Israel. We must tell of Israel’s good soul, which serves to bring light to the entire world despite the forces of darkness which rise up against us in every generation with the intent of snuffing out the light of the world -- it will never be! 

We must remember that freedom truly demands enslavement, and we must combine the two together, as in the words of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (Kuzari 5:205): “I seek only freedom from enslavement to man. I seek enslavement to One -- to G-d, because enslavement to Him is freedom, and surrender to Him is the true glory.” 

With blessings for a joyous festival of freedom, 
Looking forward to complete salvation.

The Shabbat Hagadol Miracle

By Moshe Feiglin

The Tur on Orach Haim explains the reason why we call this coming Shabbat ‘Shabbat Hagadol’, ‘The Great Shabbat, as follows:

“The Shabbat before Pesach is called ‘The Great Shabbat’. The reason is that a great miracle occurred on that day, for on that year, the lamb for the Pesach offering was set aside on the tenth of the month of Nissan. As it is written: ‘On the tenth of this month, and they shall take for them a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.’ Pesach, when Israel went out of Egypt was on a Thursday, as is written in Seder Olam. Thus, the tenth of the month was on Shabbat, and each head of household took a lamb to be set aside for his Pesach offering and tied it to the foot of his bed. The Egyptians asked them: ‘What are you doing?’ And they answered, ‘To slaughter it for Pesach, as G-d has commanded us!’ And their teeth became blunt because the Jews were slaughtering their deity, but they were not permitted to say a thing. In commemoration of that miracle, we call it ‘The Great Shabbat’.”
In other words, a number of days before the exodus from Egypt, while our ancestors were still in the ‘House of Bondage’, they already displayed signs of liberty by following G-d’s word without receiving the approval of their Egyptian masters. Designating a lamb for ritual slaughter, despite the fact that the Egyptians considered the lamb a deity, was diametrically opposed to the Egyptian lifestyle and faith-system. This was the great miracle. The Children of Israel, slaves in Egypt, conducted themselves as a liberated people by preparing the lamb for slaughter; obeying G-d’s word, and not the orders of their Egyptian slave masters.
In our day and age, we must remember the liberated conduct of our ancestors, which was the merit they needed to emerge from slavery to liberty. For without preparing the lamb as G-d commanded, our ancestors would not have been able to be redeemed from Egypt. We see, therefore, that the first condition for redemption is for those being redeemed to conduct themselves as free people.
May we conduct ourselves with true liberty and connect to our Jewish identity with joy on this Pesach holiday.
Shabbat Shalom and a Joyous Pesach

Celebrating Choosing Life with the Feiglins

By Shlomo Vile

This wedding – on Tuesday night, Election night – revealed something deep and extraordinary about who Moshe Feiglin is and what he stands for.
The word for choice in Hebrew – Bechira – is the same word used for voting in an election.  Election day was Yom Bechirot – which could also be translated as “the day of choices.” All of us in attendance at the wedding had the privilege in participating in an “election” night victory celebration, celebrating the most important choice we have.  It was a celebration of choosing life.
And what a celebration!
Around the Chupah there was an incredible shower of emotional energy. No one was dry-eyed.  When Yedudah Glick stood under the Chupah to deliver a bracha, it was a bracha that I’m sure reverberated to all corners of the universe.
But even more than it was David’s victory celebration, it was really Tzippy Feiglin’s (Moshe’s wife’s) victory celebration.  She’s been battling Parkinson’s disease and lives with almost constant and sometimes unbearable pain and a body that no longer seems to work right.  Every day, she faces a heroic battle to get out of bed, and day after day she chooses to live.  Her dancing at her son’s wedding was an incredible celebration of that heroic choice.
Also, the story of David’s return to life is more than anything the story of a mother’s unbreakable faith.  It was Tzippy who spent months by her son’s hospital bed 24/7, holding his hand and speaking to him with no response during the months when it looked hopeless, refusing to believe the doctors’ negative prognoses.
It was also Natalie’s victory, for choosing as her mate someone with significant physical and mental challenges.  She’s obviously a very special woman.
Their victories are victories of an authentic Jewish Spirit, a spirit that is committed to life at all costs.  And, in the month of Nisan, the month of our redemption, it’s particularly timely.  One of things I’ve learned from my teacher, Rav Daniel Kohn, is that the roots of the redemption from Egypt are to be found in the unequivocal embrace of life by Moshe Rabeinu’s family.
One of the puzzles of the Exodus story is why Pharoah chose to have the baby Jewish boys killed and not the girls. We’re told that Pharoah was intimidated by the rapid growth in the Jewish population; but if that’s the case, then it would have been more effective to kill the baby girls.  Why did he instead choose to kill the baby boys?
The answer, according to the Midrash, is that Pharoah had been warned by his astrologers of the impending birth of a redeemer from among the Jews.   The redeemer is a man.  He’s the politician.  He’s the one who holds up the flag and says “follow me.”
What Pharoah didn’t understand is that the real source of redemption is not the politician waving the flag.  The real source of redemption is the unequivocal embrace of life on the part of the women in the redeemer’s family.
It was Moshe Rabeinu’s mother, Yocheved and his sister Miriam whose unequivocal commitment to life led to his birth.  There are a number of Midrashim on how Miriam and Yocheved re-united the Jewish men and women to keep the cycle of life going, despite the pain.  On the surface, Moshe Rabeinu’s mission and his message in life was about freedom – Cherut – for the Jewish people.  Underneath that however, Moshe Rabeinu represented an unequivocal embrace of life – not through what he said or did but through his family’s heroic stand, embracing life no matter what.
And it was Moshe Rabeinu’s stand as well.  His last, summary directive to our people was “Chooose life.”
This stance on the absolute value of life is a core value of our people.  It defines us and is one of the key reasons for our people’s survival through a history full of episodes as bad or worse than the Egyptian slavery.   Moshe’s Rabeinu’s identity as the man who embodied the absolute value of life is part of what made him the fit leader for the people who embody that same stance.
So too, with Moshe Feiglin.  His new party – Zehut – seeks to bring true Jewish freedom – Cherut – to our nation and to the world.  But underneath that, and underneath his role as a political leader is a deeper message about the ultimate value of life.
That message of choosing life is not a political slogan or the plank of political platform.  It’s who he is what he stands for by virtue of his most intimate family relationships.
In the coming months, we will be sharing our message and our vision for an authentically Jewish State of Israel, and everyone will have a chance to be part of this movement of choosing life.  Stay tuned.


Obama is simply using the Netanyahu’s re-election as an excuse to execute one of his cherished goals.

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, INN
POTUS (the President of the United States) is pouting over the re-election of PM Netanyahu. He withheld his congratulatory phone call to Netanyahu for two days. By comparison, Obama called Iran’s Rouhani immediately, perhaps even before the polls closed. Netanyahu received the al-Sisi treatment, another leader who is disfavored by the White House and received the two-day delayed phone call.
There is something perversely delightful in observing the irrational anger in the administration and among Jews on the far left of the political spectrum on Israel’s election results. Granted, millions of dollars were wasted trying to unseat Netanyahu and augment the vote the Israeli Arabs – some of that, disgracefully, US taxpayer dollars. Watching another’s tantrum is often amusing and it doesn’t seem to abate. The commentators and activists who hide their anti-Israel animus behind their Jewish genes – the Friedman’s, Klein’s and J Street’s of the world – are nearly apoplectic.
It is sort of funny – the irrationality of it all, especially considering the number of dictators and thugs with whom Obama plays footsie – but Obama can still be dangerous. Now, the threats against Israel are mounting. As predicted here last month, the US will soon recognize a Palestinian state and seek a UN Resolution that enshrines in international law that amputation of the Jewish homeland. Obama is simply using the Netanyahu’s re-election as an excuse to execute one of his cherished goals.
The two pretexts that Obama and the left have seized on were comments made by Netanyahu in the days before and on the day of the election. Last week, he was said to have walked back his support of a “Palestinian” state by saying that such would not happen as long as he was prime minister. For sure, one can see that the ambiguous language used was designed to win him votes from right-wingers who otherwise would have voted for the “Jewish Home.”
If one parses his words, Netanyahu was not saying that he was “against” a Palestinian state, but rather that such would not happen while he was prime minister – not because he personally opposes it but because the conditions he placed on the creation of such a state would not occur while he is prime minister. There are no Arab interlocutors who would agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Add to that the radicalization of the Middle East, now well under way, that has brought radical Islam to the gates of Israel – and the dominance of the genocidal Hamas in Gaza and ISIS just over the border – and anyone with sense realizes that conditions are not ripe for the creation of an irredentist Arab state in Israel’s heartland. Big shock.
But that statement sent the White House into paroxysms of rage. Rather than attribute the statement to a campaign ploy, Obama went into rhetorical overdrive, and his minions began threatening Israel with dire consequences. How ironic – how drippingly cynical is it – that Obama, of all people, is complaining about the effect of misleading rhetoric. Apparently what Netanyahu should have said on the eve of Election Day was this: “If you like your peace process you can keep your peace process.” Indeed, keep it.
Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech from 2009 in which he unilaterally reversed a campaign pledge (hey, there’s a tactic Obama could appreciate) and endorsed a Palestinian state was a mistake, but a tactical mistake. Netanyahu today operates based on a formula that much of the world – even much of the Arab world – tacitly but never explicitly supports: favor the establishment of a Palestinian state in theory but not in practice. From my perspective this too is a mistake – you don’t offer your divinely-given patrimony to others because you are effectively renouncing your rights to it – but at least it has strategic value. Indeed, that tactic has worked for five years, as the hatred of the Palestinians for Israel is so intense and unhinged that they have repeatedly rejected the two-state fantasy.
But the diplomatic outrage itself is so contrived as to be farcical. Conventional wisdom is that Israel has walked back from the Oslo Accords and refused to implement the clause calling for a “Palestinian” state. But – note this well – the Oslo Accords did not guarantee or even offer the Arabs of the land of Israel a second “Palestinian” state. (Jordan remains the first.) Yitzchak Rabin opposed a Palestinian state, and he thought – perhaps foolishly – that he could thwart those desires by offering self-rule and Israeli withdrawal.
Nor is support for a “Palestinian” state long-standing Israeli or American policy – exactly the opposite. Until two decades ago, the mainstream of Israeli politics – both Likud and Labor – opposed a Palestinian state. In the 1970’s, none other than Shimon Peres himself equated the creation of a “Palestinian” state with the destruction of Israel. So did Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin and of course Yitzchak Shamir. It was a sign of bad faith, fatal to the electoral hopes of any Israeli politician. It was assumed that a second “Palestinian” state would lead to Israel’s demise.
Israeli politics has changed but the basic equation remains the same. The assumption of the 1970’s is as true today as it was then. There is not a shred of evidence indicating otherwise, notwithstanding the pronouncements of Israeli politicians or the blathering of the liberal left in the American Jewish community.
American diplomacy also opposed a Palestinian state for decades. Jimmy Carter publicly opposed a Palestinian state (in private he was adamant about it, and was studiously ignored by both Begin and Anwar Sadat). Ronald Reagan was opposed, as was George Bush I. Bill Clinton was opposed, at least until the Israeli left started to weaken and permeate Israeli society with their weakness. It was George Bush II – with the acquiescence of Israel – who officially endorsed a Palestinian state on June 24, 2002 – the same letter in which he endorsed the retention of Israeli settlements in any agreement. As noted here, that part of the letter was renounced by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So, tantalizing question, why can the Americans change their minds about paragraph seven of the letter and deem it no longer binding, but Israel cannot do the same about paragraph three of the same letter?
Some questions are only answered by references to double standards and anti-Jewish bias.
Support for a Palestinian state is therefore a relatively new diplomatic phenomenon. More importantly, the Arabs of the land of Israel have consistently rejected this offer – most notably from Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2007. Spend one day in law school, and you will learn that an offer that is rejected is construed as revoked. Israeli concessions do not remain on the table for eternity and certainly not embarrassing concessions that trifle with the sanctity and inviolability of the land of Israel. Finesse it all you want with diplomatese, but it is quite reasonable to maintain that that Israeli offer has been withdrawn in light of the new and catastrophic strategic environment in the Middle East.
The second Obama pretext was Netanyahu’s Election Day warning to his constituents that Arabs are voting in “droves” and his supporters must get to the polls. Racist? Hardly. It did frustrate the Obama team’s efforts to so discredit Netanyahu that his base would stay home; hence the feigned anger. But, hey, that’s hardball politics, with which the Obama team is very familiar. Those who equate producing photo ID’s at the American voting booth (by the way, the law in Israel!) with suppression of the black vote (!) cannot in good faith claim that a call for one’s voters to vote because one bloc inimical to Israel’s national interests is voting in large numbers is racist.
And wasn’t Obama the one who told a black audience (August 14, 2012) that if Romney was elected, they would “put y’all back in chains?” No, it was actually Joe Biden, but Obama’s White House said that they saw nothing wrong in Biden’s remark. And he’s complaining about Netanyahu exhorting Likud voters to vote? It is difficult to stomach a White House that uses self-righteous phoniness and feigned outrage as a fig leaf for its Jew hatred. Both are execrable.
What is as clear as the hostility of Barack Obama to Israel is the panic among liberal American Jews. I recall quite well being pilloried for my public opposition to Oslo by liberal Jews and their organizations for “opposing the will of the lawfully elected government of Israel.” Hmmm… Will these same Jews and their organizations now defy President Obama – risking their invitations to the White House, photo ops and other perks – by supporting the duly elected Prime Minister of Israel? Will they lovingly embrace – as they should – a Foreign Minister Naftali Bennett?
Or will they persist in their defense of Obama? That Jews can be fooled is obvious. That Jews allow themselves to be fooled is even more obvious. That some Jews beg to be fooled is obvious and sad.
It is crunch time for Jewish identity in America. The land of Israel is under attack, and the people of Israel – and its leaders – have been marked by this administration as global enemy number one. How will those Jews respond? With cowering and double talk, or with pride and outspokenness?
If the latter, then the Netanyahu re-election could not only be good for Israel but it could also spark a revival of Jewish identity and a deeper connection with Israel among all Jews, especially those whose bonds with Jewish life are fraying. That itself could hasten the process of redemption, the only clear and certain way out of the morass.
Until then, let POTUS be POUTUS – but let Jews state firmly and unequivocally that the land of Israel was given to the people of Israel by the G-d of Israel, and no president or prime minister can change that.
The writer is spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, N.J.

Why the Left cannot win over Voters

By Yoel T. Israel
The Left in Israel continue to find themselves on the losing end of national elections. Post election you’ll find numerous political figures and endless articles pouring out from the Left with an overwhelming tone of bitterness and blame. Instead of the Left’s leadership taking responsibility for their loss, reevaluating their positions, and marketing them better, they continue to bury themselves further into isolation or as many call it “the Tel Aviv Bubble”.
Economics. Israel’s housing prices have skyrocketed and this has mostly occurred under Netanyahu’s leadership and it is his responsibility to bring down the prices. Aside from the soaring house prices, the economic arguments from the Left do not match the reality on the ground. For example many staple goods such as coffee has dropped significantly, along with cell phone plans, water bills, gas prices, electric bills and other basic necessities. Not all of these improvements are directly associated with the Right, but it is counter to the Left’s narrative.
People know very well why a Milky or chocolate pudding is cheaper in Berlin or New York. These countries have serious competition in the market forcing competitive prices. Voters, especially from the former Soviet Union, are aware of the government’s support for big businesses, therefore suppressing legislation that will open up industries to real competition.
The Histadrut (Israel’s major labor union) has done significant damage to Israel’s Left. The Histadrut has routinely gone on strike and shut down Israel’s airports, seaports, post offices and practically every part of the country. They have denied the worker his or her right to earn a living by calling a strike on his or her behalf. The Histadrut has also increased prices by forcing ships to wait at sea and making it extremely difficult and expensive to conduct business. The middle class has woken up to the damage the Histadrut and the unions have caused to the economy and the cost of living. Israel’s Left must distance themselves from the Histadrut and come out against them, as the liberal Yesh Atid party has.
Overall the economy is doing rather well and people attribute that to a Netanyahu government. Hi-tech is soaring. Tourism is at an all time high. Israel has free trade agreements in the pipeline with Japan, China and India. The minimum wage was just raised. The Israeli economy thrived during the international recession. Competition has increased in most sectors, and prices have dropped. Above all, Israel was unanimously accepted to the OECD. Voters notice this all happened under Netanyahu’s leadership and they feel it when they go to the store.
Appeasement. The Israeli Left said Israel would never be accepted to the OECD (which needs a unanimous vote from all members to join) because of settlement construction and because we are internationally isolated under a Netanyahu government. When the 31 advanced nations voted Israel into their exclusive group, it became apparent that the Right’s policies have not isolated Israel and that the Left continues to ‘cry wolf’ when international outcry has had minimal impact.
Repeatedly throughout the campaign when interviewers asked Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog what his first steps would be as prime minister, his focus was consistently appeasing the PLO and the White House. Many on the Left, consider these policies in Israel’s best interest, however they have become very insecure in Israel’s existence. This explains all the panic and hysteria by the Zionist Union leadership over Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and the need to appease the PLO and the Obama administration. Most Israelis however are very confident and optimistic in Israel’s future and see appeasement as weakness, particularly since we live in the Middle East..
International Support. The Israeli Left has more foreign support and funding than they do at home. Most of the funding for their NGOs such as V15, the New Israel Fund and other organizations are provided by foreigners with foreign allegiances. If the Zionist Union wanted to get elected, voters needed to feel that their loyalty was with them over alien funding and supporters. Most Israelis see these NGOs operating in Israel as a fifth column, it would have served the Zionist Union to at least verbally come out against these organizations rather than quietly embracing and collaborating with them.
Bigotry. The Left continues to attack Russian, Ethiopian and traditional Sephardi voters. Liberal academic Amir Hestroni recently said “If we didn’t open our legs without selection to all kinds of Jews, questionable Jews and half-Jews from third-rate countries, whose uniting characteristics are to kiss amulets, eat hummus, drink borscht, take government handouts and get an orgasm from arguing with the world — Boujie [Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog] would have taken it in a cake walk…The Israeli Left is paying the Zionist price, and no one other than the professor [Hetsroni himself]…is willing to say it.”
The Labor party is having trouble expanding beyond the Jewish voters of European descent. It is not because voters are not willing to give the Left a try, rather the Left continues to attack the poor, lower and middle class of Russian and Mizrahi Jews. Just recently, there have been social media campaigns from the Left to stop giving charity to the poor segments of society because of their general support for right leaning parties.
Before the elections the Zionist Union held a large rally in Rabin Square to boost their base. One of their headline speakers Yair Garboz said in his speech to the huge crowd “the thieves and bribe-takers, who kiss the ‘luck charms’ (mezuzahs) and bow down at the graves of the dead and the like are controlling and ruining Israel.” This is someone the Zionist Union decided to have speak at their major rally before the election. How disconnected can they get?
These examples of bigoted rhetoric lost many votes for the Left. This consequentially fired up the Russians and Sephardi Jews to come out and vote against this bigotry by giving support to the diverse right wing parties.
Post-election. It’s a shame that when a side loses by a landslide it makes excuses and blames the winner. Calling the prime minister a racist will never help Labor win. Especially when most of the left wing is overwhelmingly of European origin and the right wing are mostly Mizrahi. It would be wise if the Left got together and did some internal polling to see how their policies lined up with the public. But this is unlikely because slinging mud against your political opponent is easier than taking a public stand for all citizens against the United States and Iran. After all if they did take a stand, they would no longer be left wingers.

Reestablishing the ICC and the UN in Jerusalem

By Yoel T. Israel
It is no secret that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court have repeatedly refused to address evil. The corruption in these international organizations is very apparent, and examples can be drawn from across the world. We Syria using chemical weapons on its own population, the Chinese government organ harvesting the Falun Gong Practitioners, North Korea starving her own people and placing many of them in concentration camps, and Turkey locking up bloggers and people tweeting against their president – just to name a few.
People wonder why the United Nations and the International Criminal Court are so focused on libels against Jews and intentionally ignore real human rights violations. It’s because they hate what the Jewish people stand for, freedom and liberty. It is easy for the UN to get away with it because one country that advocates liberty has an equal vote to a one country that violates human rights. The world is full of evil that wants to destroy the freedoms that I enjoy by writing these very words.
So here is my question: Why does the liberty loving west continue to promote evil and provide a platform and even leverage against liberty and freedom loving countries? The answer: It is easier to be politically correct and multicultural by equating Denmark to North Korea than to distinguish between them.
Many countries, governments, organizations and individuals around the world have tried to stop some of the immoral policies at the UN and the ICC, but with little or no success.
There are two ways to fight evil, firepower and knowledge. Generally the west refuses to fight evil with firepower, therefore the free world must fight them with knowledge and debate. When one enters the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, they enter the lion’s den of bureaucratic bullies where calls for liberty are squashed.
My proposal to stop the UN and the ICC from repeated Jew hating, liberty bashing and promoting fascist policies is for Israel to build her own UN and ICC in her capital Jerusalem. The new UN and ICC will directly compete with the ones in New York and the Netherlands. We need a global competition in ideas of liberty, not the silencing of it.
We must reestablish the United Nations and the ICC in the most moral country’s capital, Jerusalem. The new UN will only permit members of countries that promote policies of freedom. The power will inevitably be very limited, but there is an alternate purpose. The goal is to provide certain countries with the choice to vote against evil as opposed to doing nothing, or better yet supporting it.
For example, next time there is an anti-Jew vote at the UN libeling Israel of atrocities, Israel should bring a vote to the reestablished UN in Jerusalem about the way gays are treated in the ‘Palestinian Territories’ or how political dissidents are treated in North Korea or China. This will demonstrate a clear contrast of good and evil. This will give Sweden the opportunity to distinguish between bashing Jews and protecting gays. The moral comparison will bring refocus to the real evils of the world.
Next time the International Criminal Court decides to prosecute Israelis, the reestablished ICC in Jerusalem will charge war crimes against Bashar Assad, Kim Jong-un and other fascist leaders that have murdered so many of their own citizens.
We may not be able to meet the dictators and haters on the battlefield but we can meet them on the battlefield of ideas. Israel must first create this battlefield to wage war against evil.
After we debate, prosecute and condemn the dictators, let’s prosecute their greatest enablers, the United Nations in New York and the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

Israel’s Leftist Losers

By Daniel Greenfield

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.
It dreamed of a country run by bureaucrats that worked only three days a week. It dreamed of unions running monopolies that worked whenever they liked and charged whatever they wanted. It dreamed of children raised on collective farms without parents and of government as a Socialist café debate.
Most of all it dreamed of a country without conservatives. It still hasn’t gotten that wish.
Netanyahu’s victory hit hardest in Tel Aviv where, as Haaretz, the paper of the left, reports, “Leftist, secular Tel Aviv went to sleep last night cautiously optimistic only to wake up this morning in a state of utter and absolute devastation.”
Tel Aviv is ground zero for any Iranian nuclear attack. Its population density makes it an obvious target and Iran threatened it just last month. A nuclear strike on Tel Aviv would not only kill a lot of Israelis, it would also wipe out the country’s left.
Haifa and Tel Aviv are the only major cities in Israel that the left won in this election. And it was a close thing in traditionally “Red Haifa” whose union dockworkers these days are Middle Eastern Jews who vote right. The left took a quarter of the vote in Haifa to a fifth for Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party.
In Tel Aviv however, the Labor coalition and Meretz, the two major leftist parties, took nearly half of the vote. Amos Oz’s daughter told Haaretz that everyone in the left had been upbeat because everyone they knew was voting for the left. Now the leftist elite is once again forced to come to terms with the tragedy that much of the country doesn’t want to hand over land to terrorists, live on a communal farm or turn over the country to Marc Rich’s lawyer and his American backers who make Slim-Fast and KIND bars.
There are however days when they think Israel might be better off without certain parts of Tel Aviv.
The left doesn’t want a country. It wants a Berkeley food co-op. It wants a city with some ugly modernist architecture. It wants a campus with courses on media studies and gender in geography. It wants an arcade where unwashed lefties can tunelessly strum John Lennon songs on their vintage guitars. It wants cafes with Russian Futurist prints on the walls. It wants to be about excited about political change. Its only use for Israel was as a utopian theme park.
Its allegiance was not to Jewish history or democracy, but to its crackpot leftist fantasies. Now its fantasies are dead and it wants to kill Israel.
The left spitefully alienated every immigrant group from Holocaust survivors to Middle Eastern Jews to Russian Jews. It also had slurs for each of them. The Holocaust survivors were ‘Sabon’ (soap) and the Middle Eastern Jewish refugees were ‘Chakhchakhim’. That particular slur at an election rally cost Peres and Labor the 1981 election. Another slur at an election rally now hurt the left and boosted Netanyahu. But if you ask the left why it lost, it will blame Israeli racism.
The Israeli left slurred Middle Eastern Jews as “primitives” and used them as cheap labor to maintain the Kibbutz collectivist lifestyle until they stood up for themselves and the experiment in ‘equality’ ended. It slurred Russian immigrants as “prostitutes”, Settlers in ’67 Israel as “bloodsuckers” and Ultra-Orthodox as “parasites”.
Netanyahu’s likely coalition will lean heavily on parties that draw their support from Middle Eastern Jews, Settlers, Russian Jews and the Ultra-Orthodox.
These groups are also known as the majority of the country. That’s why the left lost. Again.
The left wants its clubhouse back and it can’t get it back. Demographics and immigration turned the ideal Israeli leftist, a wealthy secular Ashkenazi urbanite from an important family, into a minority. The only reason the left still exists is because its phantom Apartheid State of media outlets, courts and academics still maintains a death grip on the system.
The other reason that the Israeli left exists is that its malicious oppression of new immigrants splintered them into warring groups, much as the Democratic Party’s Tammany Hall did in the United States. The left couldn’t own them, but it did set them against each other in order to maintain a dysfunctional political system in which the strongest form of central authority comes from an unelected judiciary.
The left hasn’t managed to conquer Israel, but it has succeeded in dividing it. Every new group of immigrants has been indoctrinated, not with allegiance to the left (that was a lost cause early on) but with resentment of each other. The Russian Jews are told that they live badly because of the Ultra-Orthodox Jews. The Middle Eastern Jews are told that they live badly because of the Russian Jews. The Ultra-Orthodox are told that they live badly because of the Settlers. There’s plenty of overlap between these groups, but the tactic still works well enough for the left to stay in the game.
The real Apartheid State in Israel is this Deep State of the left. It’s the one you see on display when former heads of the Mossad and Shabak denounce Israel and Netanyahu. It’s in the phony media polls and exit polls that were skewed in favor of the left. It’s in the candidacy of a cretin like Herzog with his high voice and his old guard last name promising to do whatever Obama and the left tell him to do. The left tried to sell Herzog, the errand boy for international leftist criminals like Marc Rich and Octav Botnar, as the future of Israel. The public never bought it.
The left has no leadership. It has nothing to offer. It has no reason to exist except malice and spite.
Since the left lost control of Israel, it has been hell-bent on destroying it. The PLO deal was one step in a process meant to destroy Israel and return to the bi-national state that Ahdut HaAvodah, the ancestor of the Labor Party, and Ben Gurion had been flirting with in the twenties and thirties. The Two-State Solution was always meant to end in a One-State Solution.
The Israeli left has despaired of turning the country into the utopia that it wanted. There are still plenty of bureaucrats and union monopolies, but children are raised by their parents and most of them are born to the types of Jews that they hate.
The more philosophical members of the left see the “peace process” that they illegally initiated and passed as a cleanup operation that removes the failed experiment of Israel to make way for the Muslim “decolonization/ethnic cleansing” of Israel. They usually have homes in France and tenure in the US.
And the rest of the Jewish population that doesn’t have homes in France is meant to become Sabon.
The remainder had decided that the only hope for the leftist dream is to unite with their Socialist comrades in the PLO and build a bi-national state using Muslim demographics to counter the demographic growth of Middle Eastern and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Israel will become Lebanon. The Jews will become the Lebanese Christian minority in this utopian experiment and it doesn’t matter if they get killed as long as some of them go on living in pricey neighborhoods and strumming guitars in Tel Aviv.
It would be nice to think that the Israeli left was transformed into this twisted thing by the loss of its utopian dreams, but it was always like this. It was never patriotic. It was forced to become patriotic by the Muslim rejection of all its efforts at co-existence. It was never Zionist. Zionism was forced on it by the anti-Semitism of its Russian Socialist colleagues. It never wanted to be Jewish. It was forced to be. Muslim hate turned the Israeli left into the unwilling caretaker of a Jewish State. G-d kept Israel alive despite the left’s incompetence, its treasons and its slavish instinct for appeasement.
Today the left can no longer even pretend that it has a vision. All it can do is howl about peace and justice and how the Middle Eastern Jewish Schorim (blacks) and the Ultra-Orthodox Schorim (also blacks, for their hats) and the Russians destroyed ‘their’ country. Then it can go back to its French villas and have its bi-national Muslim state there.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.