Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities

by Moshe Feiglin

I thought that, similar to the past, as soon as quiet in Israel would be restored, the piano on the Titanic would resume playing and nobody would bother thinking about Gaza anymore. But something good (and unusual) is happening. The day of rockets that we suffered on Tuesday continues to reverberate in Israel. Apparently, Israel is beginning to wake up from the Oslo stupor. Parts of Zehut’s solution are beginning to be voiced by Israel’s ministers. Our clear voice is beginning to penetrate even the most blocked of ears.

In all the interviews that I gave over the past days, I have emphasized a five-point plan:
  1. Eliminate Hamas heads.
  2. Nullify the Oslo Accords.
  3. Restore Israeli military control of Gaza (Pre-Oslo Gaza was paradise compared to what we have there today).
  4. Free the refugees of Gaza – in a staged and orderly process – from the hell that Israel’s Left has created there. Put them at the front of the line to all the most desired emigration destinations throughout the world. Israel can certainly do this, and there are many countries in the world that need immigrants in order to maintain their economies.
  5. Application of full Israeli sovereignty. Those who want to remain will be offered permanent residency status. The few who will desire to serve in the IDF and prove their loyalty over time, will embark on a vetted path to citizenship.
Gaza always was -and continues to be – an integral part of the Land of Israel. It has Jewish history going back 3000 years, from Samson to Rabbi Israel Najarh – the Chief Rabbi of Gaza, who wrote the famous Shabbat liturgical hymn, Kah Ribon – years before the Egyptian refugees who live there today reached Gaza’s shores. The Jewish community in Gaza was destroyed in the Arab riots between 1929-1936.

We must simply remember that this is our Land and dare to dream our dreams – and make them come true – instead of adopting the Left’s narrative and trying to somehow manage with their dreams of disengagement.

Zehut’s dream is for Gaza to be like Jaffa – just more developed. An Israeli tourism haven on the shores of the Mediterranean, full of life, well-being and prosperity.

The Only Target for the IDF

by Moshe Feiglin

There is only one real target for the IDF in Gaza. His name is Ismail Haniyeh, Chairman of the Hamas.

Managing Righteous Anger

by Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way; this is not easy. -Aristotle

Miriam, Moses’ older sister, gossips a bit with their brother Aaron about Moses. Right there in the text, the Torah tells us that Moses was the humblest of men. The minor gossip probably didn’t bother him. However, it bothered God. It bothered God a lot. It bothered God so much that he immediately struck Miriam with Tzaraat, an unusual discoloration of the skin, an instant and clearly visible punishment.

Moses steps in and begs God for mercy, praying to Him “Please heal her!” God responds as follows: “If her father had spat in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days and then let her be readmitted.” And that is what happens. Miriam is banished from the Israelite camp for seven days. At the end of the seven days she’s readmitted into the camp, presumably healed, and then the entire nation of Israel continues their desert journey.

Rabbeinu Bechaye on Numbers 12:14 (Behaalotcha) explains the circumstances. He states that there are different levels of reprimand, of lacking favor in someone’s eyes, and therefore different levels of commensurate exile from their sight.

For example, if one insults or otherwise distresses a Torah scholar, the offending person should take upon themselves a self-imposed exile from the scholar of one full day. However, if the person offended was a prophet or one of the “wise men” (apparently different than a Torah scholar), the self-imposed exile needs to be of seven days (like Miriam with Moses). However, if one offended the King or Prince then the exile needs to be of thirty days.

Though anger is considered one of the most dangerous and destructive of emotions, Rabbeinu Bechaye is explaining that God was correct to be “angry” and that it was appropriate for Miriam to be “out of His sight” for a specific and measured timeframe. In a fashion, it allows the offended party time to “cool down” and the offending party time to recover from the shame their actions caused. The Torah is demonstrating that there are times when one is justified in being angry. However, the anger needs to be limited, measured and constructive. The immediate result may be a “time out” for both parties which then allows them to be reunited in friendship and love.

May we beware of the dangers of anger, and if we need to harness it, may we do so carefully and wisely.

Shabbat Shalom.

Zehut's Five-Stage Plan for Gaza

Over the past day and a half, Moshe Feiglin has been interviewed on four different radio stations on the topic of Gaza. The following is a composite of those interviews.

What do you say about how the government conducted the recent violence from Gaza?

What would have happened if that mortar shell had landed inside the kindergarten, instead of in the yard? What would have happened if G-d forbid, some of those children would have been killed? Clearly, we would have now been in an all-out war. In other words, our policies are not dictated by a planned strategy, but rather, by emotions. The government and IDF are guided by the public’s containment threshold, and not by any defined goals that we have decided to achieve.

But that is how the government always works. The Oslo Accords were also in response to the public’s reaction to terror.

No, the Oslo Accords were a huge strategic shift. The Left has a strategy and it implements it. But the Right has no strategy at all. It just tries to figure out which way the wind is blowing and then reacts. It is pitiful. Now we are shooting missiles against mortar shells – and soon we will be shooting missiles against bullets – we are technological geniuses and strategic fools.

The Air Force attacks against Gaza on Tuesday night, in which we were bombing previously bombed targets, or sending a small explosive so that the terrorists would have time to flee before the real attack begins - were nothing more than a pyrotechnic show for public consumption. It was an unrivaled farce.

Our Sages say that it is not the mouse who steals, but rather, the hole. The Left is the mouse. It works according to a strategy, it has a goal. It wants to destroy Netiv Ha’avot in another two weeks, so it will be destroyed. It does not want settlements, it does not want the Land of Israel, it does not want a Jewish state. The Right is the hole. The greater the Right’s victory in the elections, the larger the hole. When Begin swept to victory in 1978, he went on to withdraw from Sinai and destroy all the settlements there. When Sharon triumphed over Ehud Barak, we got the destruction of Gush Katif. Now, Netanyahu is stronger than ever. And what is coming up over the horizon? The division of Jerusalem. Netanyahu and Elkin are already talking about it. We will have the US embassy in southern Jerusalem, and another US embassy will be opened in Abu Dis. That is the gaping hole that we are about to get from the Right.

The Right has never come up with an alternative to the Left’s worldview. The Zehut party in its various forms over the last 20 years has been saying, “This is our Land”. Gaza has 3000 years of Jewish history, like Jerusalem – all the way through to the 1930’s. But we have adopted the Left’s narrative. The Right is incapable of formulating its own strategy

What should Israel do with Gaza?
  1. Eliminate the Hamas leadership.
  2. Restore Israeli military and civil control of Gaza
  3. Nullify the Oslo Accords, extinguish the blaze that we ignited with those mad accords.
  4. After we have a military government in place, slowly but surely, free the Arabs that have been stuck in Gaza since Oslo. They want to go. Approximately a million and a half Arabs there dream of leaving. Israel would have no problem getting them at the front of the line for emigration, if it is done in an orderly and staged manner.
  5. Ultimately, we apply sovereignty there. Gaza should be like all the other predominantly Arab cities in Israel – like Jaffa, Acco or Nazareth. That should be the last frame in the movie. Israeli sovereignty in Gaza, a bustling, prosperous city on the shores of the Mediterranean.
That is what has to be done and that is what Zehut brings to the discourse. We do not surrender to the rationale of the Left, because we have our own rationale, our own strategy. In 2014, Oslo architect Ron Pundak admitted that Oslo was not meant to bring peace. Rather, it is a tool with which to make Israel a state of all its citizens instead of a Jewish state. We are saying, “No”. Israel is a Jewish state. This is our Land and we will not surrender even one grain of its earth. It is part of our identity. And we have a strategy to implement our goals.

If you are just a hole and you have no strategy you don’t only lose Gaza. You lose Jerusalem. Because you never had a strategy to make East Jerusalem a place where Jews live, work and shop. You never united the city. So the Right can continue to win the elections, but the Left continues to rule.

But Oslo is over. There are even voices on the Left that say that it was a mistake.

I am very sorry to say this, but Oslo is not over. It continues to control our way of thinking. What frightens our leadership more than anything else- more than possible harm to Israeli soldiers and citizens - is the danger of withdrawing from the Oslo Accords. Our leadership is petrified of reconquering Gaza and ruling there.

Shameful to “Charge Legitimacy Batteries”

by Moshe Feiglin

This morning, one of the 27 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza landed in the yard of a nursery school. What would happen if a rocket had been shot instead over the British or American border and landed next to a nursery school there? Would their response be pointless shooting at empty targets?

How pathetic – shocking, actually – is our desperate wait for a rocket that actually will strike a nursery school in order “to charge our legitimacy batteries”.

How shameful is the new concept that we have invented: “to charge our legitimacy batteries”.

Why isn’t our sovereignty legitimate enough?

Why do we need piles of children’s bodies so that we can have the legitimacy to ultimately do exactly what I suggested in my previous post?

Why do we need all the horror in order to do what we will eventually be forced to do, anyway?

Click here for Zehut's solutions for Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

Rabbi Ari Kahn: Anticipation and Disappointment

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Too Many Rockets and Quail

Israel’s economy praised by the Economist Intelligence Unit

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

1. According to the May 24, 2018 issue of the London Economist Intelligence Unit:”…

The country [Israel] has several key advantages, particularly its high level of skills and technology and its favorable demographic profile. This should ensure that the economy continues to expand more rapidly than that of most developed countries….

“Offshore hydrocarbon discoveries will boost the economy and external accounts over the long-term…. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that the long-run trend rate of growth will average 3.5% a year in 2018-50 and 2.1% a year in per-capita terms, which should keep average incomes around those in wealthier developed countries….

“A $38,440 GDP [$40,140 at market exchange rate] in 2017, roughly on a par with South Korea and Italy…. [However, unlike all other developed countries], Israel does not have formal relations with most of the other countries in its region, limiting its ability to participate in regional trade or investment flows…. Israel has developed resilience to political uncertainty and security concerns, and has successfully forged markets further afield….

“The country has largely overcome relatively low rainfall owing to desalination and water recycling, and is now a major exporter of water technologies.

“Israel has invested heavily in education and technology and spends a higher proportion of its GDP on civilian research and development than any other country [in the world]. Moreover, Israel’s high spending on military research has had positive knock-on effects for the civilian technology sector. The local workforce is highly educated with more than 50% of the population enrolling in tertiary education….

“In contrast to many other developed economies, Israel’s labor force will continue growing over the long-term [due to high fertility rate and net-immigration]. The unemployment rate is low by historical standards, and the government is seeking to encourage greater labor force participation among previously excluded groups [e.g., a substantial expansion of ultra-orthodox workforce, including in high tech]. Population growth will remain faster than in most high-income countries….

“Israel will continue to develop trade ties with Japan and major emerging markets such as China and India and mid-size Asian economies. Israeli exports will continue to compete on quality and innovation rather than on price….

According to the London Economist Intelligence Unit, Israel’s population is projected to grow from 8.7MN in 2018 to 11MN in 2030 and 14MN in 2050;
GDP – from $350BN (2018) to $770BN (2030) and 2.3TN (2050);
GDP per head – from $40,140 (2018) to $71,710 (2030) and $167,310 (2050);
Export – from $101BN (2018) to $262BN (2030) and $924BN (2050);
Import – from $96BN (2018) to $192BN (2030) and $692BN (2050).

2. Israel’s defense industry exports surged, in 2017, to $9.2BN, a 40% increase (over 2016 - $6.5BN), mostly due to transactions concluded with India. The lead export items are missile defense, air defense, electronic warfare, avionic and other upgrades, ammunition, telecommunications, cyber technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, space satellites, etc.). The leading Israeli defense industry exporters are Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI), RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Elbit International Defense Electronics (which is about to acquire IMI). Israel’s defense industries employ 150,000 persons. Asia absorbed most of Israel’s defense exports, followed by Europe (e.g., upgraded combat planes to Croatia) which accounts to over 20% (Globes, May 3, 2018).

3. The NY-based International Flavors & Fragrances – a global leader in the market of taste, scent and nutrition - acquired Israel’s Frutarom for $7.1BN in a cash and stock transaction. Frutarom is focused on natural products, selling 70,000 products to customers in over 150 countries (Globes Daily Business, May 8).

4. Intel – which has operated in Israel since 1974, employing 11,000 persons in Israel - will invest $5BN in the expansion of one of its production facilities in Israel, while completing a previous investment of $6BN in its production facilities, mostly in the research & development area. Intel’s exports out of Israel totaled $3.6BN in 2017 and $50BN during the last 45 years. In March, 2017, Intel acquired Israel’s Mobileye for $15.3BN (Globes, May 16).

5. Amazon has rented a 130,000 square feet facility in Israel for its research & development, electronic trade and logistic activities (Globes, May 16).

6. Japan’s TDK, a multinational electronics employing 103,000 persons throughout the globe, which produced $11.6BN in revenues in 2017, is setting a second research & development center in Israel, expanding its production line there. TDK negotiates with a number of Israeli startups to develop products, to be distributed globally by TDK. TDK’s first R & D center in Israel employs 260 persons. Recently, TDK invested millions of dollars in Israel’s StoreDot startup, specializing in high-speed charging of lithium batteries (Globes, May 28).

7. Japan’s Canon, a digital imaging giant, is buying Israel’s BriefCam, a video-synopsis and machine-learning solutions company for $90MN.

8. Israel’s pharmaceutical company, Eloxx, raised $50MN on NASDAQ (Globes, April 27).

9. Israel’s Ormat, a $3BN geothermal global company, acquired the Idaho-based US Geothermal for $110MN (Globes, April 25). Ormat received a $125MN loan from OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corp.), in order to erect a geothermal power plant in Honduras (Globes, May 7).

10. Israel’s Delta Galil Industries signed an option agreement for the acquisition ofFrance’s Eminence for 125MN Euros (Globes may 7).

The Menorah: Symbol of Unity

by Rabbi Mordechai Willig


“When you kindle the lamps towards the face (the center, Rashi) of the menorah the seven lamps will shine” (Bamidbar 8:2). The conventional interpretation groups the middle phrase – “toward the face of the menorah” – together with the end of the passuk, placing a comma after the introductory phrase - “when you kindle the lamps.” The Seforno, however, disagrees. He combines these aforementioned first and second phrases and inserts two explanatory words, as follows: “When you kindle the (six) lamps toward the center of the menorah, (then) the seven lamps will shine.” The right candles represent those who deal with eternal life. i.e. learning Torah. The left candles represent those who deal with temporal life, i.e. earning a livelihood, who help those who learn Torah. Both must intend to fulfill Hashem’s desire and exalt His name together, just as they accepted, “The entire people responded together and said ‘Everything that Hashem said we shall do’” (Shemos 19:8), i.e. between all of us we will complete His intention.

The Seforno quotes the Gemara (Chulin 92a) that compares Am Yisrael to a grapevine. The branches are earners (ba’alei batim) who support the poor and the government so that their brothers can survive (Rashi). The clusters (grapes) are the Torah scholars, and the leaves are the masses (amei ha’aretz) who produce the food that Torah scholars eat (Rashi). Let the clusters pray for the leaves, for if not for the leaves the clusters would not survive. Even though the masses work for their own benefit, the Torah scholars should be grateful and pray for them (Be’er Yitzchak).

The status of earners who work in order to support Torah is much higher than that of the masses. “Rejoice, Zevulun, when you go out (for trade, Rashi) and Yissachar in your tents” (Devarim 33:18). Zevulun earned and supported Yissachar, who learned Torah. Zevulun precedes Yissachar since Yissachar’s Torah was made possible by Zevulun. The Seforno’s reference to the masses includes them in the unified Am Yisroel as well. The Seforno adds that the reason the menorah must be made from a single block of gold (8:4, see Rashi) is to teach that unity is the purpose of lighting the menorah.


Aharon felt badly that neither he nor his shevet (Levi) were with the nesi’im who brought korbanos to dedicate the mizbeach. Hashem said to him “Yours is greater than theirs, because you kindle the lamps” Why is Aharon’s role greater?

The Eim Habanim S’meicha (p. 497) explains that preservation is more important than construction. Preserving the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash depends on peaceful coexistence between all segments of Am Yisroel. Aharon, who loved and pursued peace (Avos 1:12), lit the lamps of the menorah, which, as Seforno explains, represents unity. Unity is especially critical when we face mortal danger (the sefer was written in Budapest in 1943). Torah Jews must maintain their religious observance but can unite with all Jews in Yishuv Eretz Yisrael (ibid p. 500).

The Rav zt”l expresses a similar idea (The Day - Jewish Journal November 12, 1954 pg. 6). Torah Jews may and must cooperate with all Jews to defend the Jewish people and land against outside forces (k’lapei chutz). But there may not be joint religious activities with groups that deny the fundamentals of Torah belief and practice (k’lapei p’nim).

Striking the proper balance between unity and separation involving various groups and sub-groups is difficult, and, itself, the subject of dispute. We must, like Aharon, love and pursue peace, love all creatures and bring them close to Torah (Avos 1:12) while simultaneously safeguarding our Torah heritage and transmitting it to our children. May we succeed in both endeavors and thereby hasten the day when the menorah will be lit in the rebuilt Beis Hamikdash.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Fire of Hashem Burned Against Them

by HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Nasi HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

In the previous parsha, Parshat Naso, we read about the sacrifice that a nazir who became defiled brings, "for having sinned regarding the soul." (Bamidbar 6:11) Rashi quotes in the name of R. Elazar Hakapar, "For having deprived himself of wine." The question arises, why was this reason written only regarding a nazir who became defiled -- every nazir deprives himself of wine?!

The Netziv explains that the Torah is teaching here when it is permissible and proper for a person to try and elevate himself through abstaining from the pleasures of life. There are some people who need wine, and the deprivation of wine causes them pain and suffering. For these kind of people self-denial is not allowed. The test is, if he succeeds in completing his nezirut -- it is a sign that he was fit for it, and it was done for the sake of Heaven. If he becomes defiled in the middle, and is forced to conclude his nezirut -- it is a sign from Heaven that he was not fit for it.

This criterion is applicable to every person in his service of G-d. It is forbidden to rise to level that is too high; one that is not in an appropriate and step-by-step manner. "Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge." (Shemot 19:12) The Kotzker Rebbe says that one should be wary of trying to ascend to the pinnacle of the mountain when standing at its foot and only touching its bottom edge.

Based on this, the Netziv explains in Parshat Korach the sin of those who offered the ketoret, who also aspired to come close and offer the ketoret when they were not worthy. Therefore, it says there, "the fire-pans of these sinners against their souls." (Bamidbar 17:3) Their intention was positive, to come close, but they did not act in an appropriate manner.

We find this same idea in the end of Parshat Mishpatim, "Against the great men of Bnei Yisrael, He did not stretch out His hand -- they gazed at G-d, yet they ate and drank." (Shemot 24:11) Rashi comments, based on Chazal, that the implication is that they were deserving of punishment. The Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim, that at first it says that Moshe hid his face, "for he was afraid to gaze toward G-d." (Shemot 3:6) At the end of his days, though, it says, "At the image of Hashem he does gaze." (Bamidbar 12:8), because he reached the level that for forty days he didn't eat bread and didn't drink water, and when he detached himself for the connection to the material, he could gaze. But the "great men of Bnei Yisrael" still needed food and drink, and while eating and drinking they gazed at G-d. In this state they were prohibited from climbing to such lofty heights, and therefore they were deserving of punishment. "When did he punish them? In Nadav and Avihu and the officers in the camp" -- since Nadav and Avihu also sinned with this sin.

Therefore, all these people suffered the same punishment: "A fire of Hashem burned against them, and it consumed at the edge of the camp" (Bamidbar 11:1) -- in the officers in the camp, the "great ones of Bnei Yisrael." Nadav and Avihu were burned in the same way as the officers in the camp, and, as well, the 250 leaders who offered the ketoret, where also a fire came out from G-d. Chazal explain this to be burning the soul while leaving the body intact. Not a punishment of burning, but a departure of the soul. Out of a desire for greatness and closeness to G-d not in its proper time and place, the soul flies from the body when it encounters G-d.

A manner of service slow and gradual service is what is required of every person of Yisrael, not one of leaps and shortcuts.

Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem Has Not Led to an Uptick in Violence

by Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 850

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many claim that President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there has increased violence and instability in the area. Four months after the decision, one can easily disprove this assertion.

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A Serpentine Deed

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

Our Sages, when they set out to explain to us who are Israel’s enemies and what is their goal, they compare them to wild animals:
“A man was once walking along and a wolf attacked him, but the man survived. Henceforth he would recount what happened with the wolf. A lion attacked him and he survived, and henceforth he would tell the story of the lion. A snake attacked him and he survived, and this made him forget the first two stories. Henceforth he would tell the story of the snake. It is the same with Israel. More recent troubles make us forget earlier troubles.” (Berachot 13)

The Maharsha explains that the Egyptian exile is compared to a wolf, the Babylonian exile to a lion and the War of Gog and Magog to a snake.

And why are Israel’s enemies of the last generation compared to a snake? Rav Kook explains that the nations’ opposition down through history has brought them personal benefit, whether, G-d forbid, by their becoming wealthy through Israel’s ruin, or by their jealousy, or in terms of their fearing lest their own power be weakened through Israel’s spiritual might.

Yet the War of Gog and Magog will be fought only out of a wish to do evil and to destroy. At the time of that war, Israel will already be sitting in their land, seeking peace with all their neighbors. Only the wish to do evil and the jealousy over G-d’s majesty being increased through Israel in their land will give them the desire to fight us. Thus, they will be like the snake that bites without deriving any pleasure from it. They will not be like the lion or wolf which attack to attain food. An attack like that of the snake is very dangerous, but precisely from there will spring forth Israel’s salvation, with G-d’s great and holy name being magnified and sanctified.

Today, Israel’s enemies who are fighting against us are acting like that snake. Their whole goal is to do harm to Israel, without gaining any benefit of their own. Their destiny will be like that of the serpent in the Garden of Eden: “Cursed are you more than all the livestock and all the wild beasts” (Genesis 3:14). Well know is the saying, “Even with the best of snakes, crush its head!” Amen! So may it be.

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

Zionism and the Wedge Between US and Israeli Jews

By Dr. Asaf Romirowsky

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 845

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A troubling side effect of the Zionist enterprise is that 70 years after the State of Israel came into being, a wedge has grown between Israelis and the Diaspora, driven by guilt and presumptions of moral superiority. The root of the problem is that too many American Jews are uncomfortable with power.

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Israel's Invisible Enemies

by Yaakov Lappin

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 846

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Radical sub-state actors are able to exercise full control of the territories they govern yet make themselves almost invisible when they choose to do so. As recent events in Gaza showed, this ability serves them not only on the military front but also in the arenas of diplomacy and public influence.

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Unity of Purpose and a common National Vision

by Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

The flames that emanated from the lamps that were to be lit as part of the menorah lighting ritual in the Mishkan and later in the Temple in Jerusalem were to be facing towards the center stem of the great menorah itself. There is a difference of opinion amongst the rabbis as to whether the lamps themselves could be removed from the menorah or whether they were permanently affixed therein. Be that as it may all opinions seemingly agree that the lamps had to be lit in such a ways that their wicks and hence the resultant flames faced inward towards the main stem of the menorah. The symbolism implicit in this detail of the ritual of lighting the lamps of the menorah is that all efforts of all different types of Jews are to be directed ultimately to one common cause and goal - the lighting of the menorah, which symbolizes the light of Torah and Godly wisdom. Many different people and groups may view this goal from different angles and traditions depending upon the place of their lamp in the menorah’s superstructure but all are required to look inward and to work together for this basic Jewish value of spreading the light of Torah in the world. This was also the idea implicit in the idea that the kruvim - the forms of the two angels on the cover of the Holy Ark - faced each other. They covered the Ark of the Law and were united face to face in protecting and disseminating Torah to Israel. The Talmud teaches us that when they did not face each other, when they operated so to speak at cross purposes, it was a disastrous sign for the Jewish people. There may be varying and differing ways to promote Torah and its value system but all these ways must converge face to face in a sense of unity of purpose. Looking away one from another only diminishes our chance of success in achieving this holy goal.

The honor and duty of lighting the menorah was reserved for the High Priest of Israel, the descendant of Aaron. Aaron himself was distinguished by the sense of harmony and unity he brought to Jewish life and society. He was able to take all of the different talents and traditions of twelve vastly different tribes of Israel and focus them together towards a common goal of national unity and Torah holiness. Therefore his direct descendants were charged with accomplishing this very same goal and this was symbolized for them in the daily lighting ritual of the menorah. The concept of Jewish leadership was to foster a unity of purpose and a common national vision. It was never meant to divide and fracture Jewish society into squabbling groups. There are those in the Jewish world whose face is only turned towards the past, away from the realities and the issues that so desperately confront us. There are those in the Jewish world who only face the present and have no connection any longer with the Jewish past thus depriving themselves of necessary perspective and historical experience. Only when all groups in the Jewish world face each other and combine their strengths in a positive fashion will light the lamps of the menorah again be lit in brightness and warmth.

Democrats Discover Culture is Downstream of Economics

by Daniel Greenfield

"It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life," President Bill Clinton once declared.

But switch on CNN or flip through the Washington Post and you will find the non-stop politics of personal destruction accompanied by Fortune 500 ads. Clinton supporters in the media aren’t just obsessed with Stormy Daniels or Russia conspiracy theories, but with destroying the lives of Trump supporters, from cabinet members to a random New York lawyer who once donated $500 to Trump.

Bill Clinton may have popularized the politics of personal destruction, but practicing its politics cost Hillary Clinton the ’16 election. Hillary’s message was that her opponent was a deplorable bigot who would move the White House to Moscow. Millions of Americans left behind by the crony socialism of the Obama economy and looking to change the change were not impressed with her hateful message.

And now the Democrats are making the same mistake all over again.

While the Republicans talked about the economy, the Democrats turned over their messaging to CNN, the Washington Post and the rest of the #resistance. While the media tethered its news cycle to Stormy Daniels and her lawyer, the economy boomed and tax cuts delivered. The Democrats went into spring with a solid advantage on the midterm ballot. Then the GOP broke even and has now taken the lead.

CNN thinks that the Stormy Daniels sleazefest matters, but even a majority of Democrats disagree.

The politics of personal destruction are deeply compelling to people who already believe that their opponents are utterly deplorable and must be destroyed. These days that’s the entire media and most of the beautiful people in the blue states who have the cultural influence and the real power. That’s why the media is a non-stop roll of interviews with Stormy’s lawyer, flowcharts of Russian conspiracy theories and breaking news reports claiming that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt eats stale bagels.

The #resistance demographic of yuppie urban elites made old media properties like the Washington Post and the New York Times profitable. CNN temporarily experienced a boom. #Resistance yuppies and hipsters weren’t very electorally significant as voters (except when they donated to obscure candidates in red state special elections), but they had lots of money to spare. That’s why media advertisers were willing to pay big bucks to reach them. And why the media kept feeding them anti-Trump clickbait.

In ’16, the media made the unwise decision to ignore everything except the big blue urban and suburban bubble. In ’18, it’s back to pandering to its bubble and ignoring the rest of the country.

Because the rest of the country doesn’t share its obsession with destroying President Trump.

The Democrats were hollowed out by the left. The big tent was deflated. Pro-gun, pro-natsec and pro-life politicians were shoved toward the exits. But the hollowing out of the left also meant that the party came to orbit around the tastes, obsessions and attitudes of a tiny percentage of the country.

It’s why the Democrats can’t stop shouting about impeachment and Russian conspiracies.

Efforts by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other top Dems to shift messaging always runs into a ditch because Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Ted Lieu and other #resistance pols know that support from the most engaged portion of the base will pour in for any politicians who talks impeachment. If you threaten impeachment, CNN will give you 5 minutes. If you want to talk about the economy, you get 5 seconds.

The politics of personal destruction can entertain and influence most Americans, but it doesn’t drive them. Trump’s insults succeeded as entertainment because they were tactical stratagems that didn’t define a political worldview. However the left doesn’t just toss around insults. It believes that its abuse is reflective of a higher truth about the relative humanity of Democrats and Republicans.

And that’s why their politics of personal destruction keeps flopping against President Trump.

The difference between humor and malice lies in how seriously it’s meant. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver tried to get under the fence by being self-deprecating. But it’s not the deprecation of the self that matters. It’s the deprecation of the worldview of the joke. Liberating humor treats the entire world as a joke. Totalitarian humor is a contemptuous lecture, a bray of consensus, disguised as a gag.

To most Americans, personal attacks are a joke. But the left is entirely serious about them.

The cult of the left truly believes in its own moral authority. It expects Americans to vote based on its personal attacks. But most Americans are independent. They’re driven by self-interest, not ideology.

Both Middle America and the Blues are voting their economic interests. Trump is delivering more manufacturing jobs. The Dems promise more employment for sociology majors. But the Blues insist on cloaking their economic opportunism in moral preening. The politics of personal destruction and virtue signaling allows them to avoid any discussion about their own financial interests in politics.

Instead political campaigns are reduced to a struggle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. And the triumph of ‘good’ will, incidentally, unleash a torrent of grant money for bad art, green energy and ethnic studies.

Follow the money.

Hillary Clinton ran on a negative message because it diverted attention from her corruption and lack of ideas. Her party is stupidly repeating the same trick in ’18 for the same sad reasons.

The Democrats are corrupt and have no new ideas. Their media megaphone allows them to shout at the rest of the country even as they have lost the ability to actually speak to ordinary Americans.

Doubling down on hating Trump has won a few special elections and created a constitutional crisis, but the midterm trend is moving toward Republicans because bigger tax refunds beat Saturday Night Live skits.

Politics may be downstream of culture, but they’re both downstream of economics.

There’s a reason that ‘Follow the Money’ is the timeless truth of politics. Individuals may vote contrary to their apparent economic interests, but groups rarely do. (Not never, there are always aberrations.) When it comes to politics, the ‘wisdom of crowds’ has a distinct dollars and cents bottom line.

The left bet everything on culture trumping economics in the midterm elections.

It assumed that it could override the economic self-interest of millions of Americans with conspiracy theories, Stormy Daniels and a thousand personal attacks. It failed in ’16. And it’s about to fail in ’18.

The left bet everything on hating Trump. And that’s about to cost it a second election.

Everything in this world has a substitute

Parashat Be’ha’alotcha 5778
by HaRav Nachman Kahana

Eight times in his commentary on Chumash, Rashi asks, “lama nisma’cha” (“why did the Torah choose this particular sequence of verses?”). Meaning: since the episodes of the Torah do not always appear in their chronically historical sequence, nor is there always a logical human explanation for mitzva B to follow mitzva A, it is important to investigate the sequence of the Torah text.

Even though this question of lama nismacha could be posed almost everywhere in the Torah, Rashi does so in only eight places. The conclusion is that the lessons to be learned from the sequence of these eight places are of a special nature. One of these places is the link between the final episode of our parasha, Be’ha’alotcha, where Miriam questions Moshe’s decision to leave the family unit and next week’s parasha, Sh’lach which opens with the sin of the Meraglim (the scouts) who spoke disparagingly of Eretz Yisrael.

Rashi explains the sequence on the background of the shared sin of lashon hara in both episodes — Miriam speaks inappropriately against her brother, as do the Meraglim against Eretz Yisrael.

Rashi is certainly correct in pointing out what is common between Miriam and the spies, but what remains difficult is the unusual harshness with which Hashem treated these sinners: Miriam was smitten with tzara’at, and the Meraglim died a horrendous death.

I suggest:

Parashat Be’ha’alotcha is replete with many diverse themes:
  • The menorah, hewn out of a solid block of gold
  • Consecration of the Le’vi’im
  • Pesach Sheni on the 14th of Iyar
  • The clouds over the Israelite camp
  • The silver bugles (chatzotzrot)
  • The manna
  • Choosing 70 members for the Sanhedrin (Moshe was the 71st)
At first glance, it is difficult to find a reason for these diverse subjects to appear in the same Parasha. However, they indeed share a common denominator — each one is either a substitute for something, or can be substituted by something else:
  • The golden menorah, which was fashioned from one solid block of gold, may be substituted by any other metal, which may be welded or pieced together in any fashion and need not be made from a solid block of that metal.
  • The Le’vi’im are substitutes for the first born (bechorot), who forfeited their privilege to perform the sacrificial duties.
  • Pesach Sheni on the 14th of Iyar is a second opportunity for anyone who was halachically unable to bring a korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan.
  • The clouds, which protected and guided the camp, changed from a cloud during the daylight hours to a cloud of fire during the hours of darkness.
  • The original silver chatzotzrot were set aside until future times and replaced with a second set.
  • The manna would change in taste according to the preference of the eater.
  • A total of 72 names were selected (6 from every tribe), from whom only 70 were to be chosen by a random lottery, making each one a potential substitute for another.
The parasha concludes with the Miriam episode, followed by next week’s parasha of the scouts — both receiving severe heavenly punishments.

The Torah is teaching us that everything in the world — the menorah, the firstborn, etc. — has a substitute (the cemetery is filled with people the world cannot exist without). Everything, that is, except for two things which are above any possibility of substitution – the Torah and Eretz Yisrael. Moshe is the personification of Torah in this world. To speak disparagingly of Moshe, as Miriam did, is to defile the Torah. Miriam knew that her brother was the wisest and holiest of men, but in her eyes, Moshe was still a man prone to mistakes as everyone else. But she was mistaken. Moshe was outwardly a “man,” but inwardly he was now different than anyone else in the world. Miriam was not cautious in her criticism, and for this she was harshly punished.

To speak disparagingly of Eretz Yisrael in any way is a Chilul Hashem — and for this the Meraglim were so harshly punished, because they made the same mistake as Miriam. They saw Eretz Yisrael as one views any other place on earth — water, hills, vegetation — a beautiful land, but no different than most places on earth. They saw the exterior of the land; but they did not comprehend that just as Moshe was “different” from any person who ever lived, so too is Eretz Yisrael different than any place on this planet — and for this they were punished.

Just as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism can never replace the Torah and Judaism, so too no place on this planet or in the created universe can replace the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael.

The towns of Satmar, Belz, Lubavitch and Lakewood can never attain the kedusha of the most remote piece of desert in Eretz Yisrael.

All the yeshivot and synagogues in the USA put together do not contain the kedusha of a football field in Eretz Yisrael.

If I live a thousand years, I will never understand how a religious Jew can willingly choose to remain outside the Holy Land when the gates to Eretz Yisrael are open wide and our mother Rachel calls out to her children to return home (Yirmiyahu chapter 31).

But perhaps the answer lies in the following story:

A man was climbing a high mountain, when night fell and the pouring rain created zero visibility. He slipped and began falling to certain death. Suddenly he put out his hand and grabbed a branch jutting out of the mountain side and found himself suspended between heaven and earth.

He began to pray. A thunderous voice emerged from nowhere. “Do you believe in Me?” the voice asked. The poor fellow cried out, “With all my heart and soul, I believe in You.”

“Do you believe I can save you?” HaShem asked. “I believe with every sinew in my body that You can save me.”

“In that case,” thundered the voice, “LET GO!”

The following morning, they found the man hanging on to the branch and dead of hypothermia, when between him and solid ground was a distance of 10 centimeters.

The lesson to be gleaned from this story: some people can’t LET GO, even when HaShem comes to save their physical and spiritual lives.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5778/2018 Nachman Kahana

When You Light.....

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

Speak to Aharon and tell him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps must cast their light toward the face of the Menorah.” (Bamidbar 8:2)

THE LAST PART of the previous parsha was consumed with the gifts presented by the leaders of each tribe as part of the inauguration ceremony of the Mishkan. As explained in the past, the weight of the gifts, 130 shekels, had great significance. They are connected to the “damaged” souls Adam HaRishon “created” during his 130 years of teshuvah, and which eventually reincarnated into the Erev Rav. It was the Erev Rav who made the golden calf for which the Mishkan was a “tikun.”

We have also spoken in the past about how the Torah presents each prince’s gift as if it is unique, when in fact it was an exact replica of the first one. It is one of the easier sections for a “Ba’al Koreh” to read on Shabbos, because the duplication of paragraphs results in a certain rhythm when read.

If someone were to present that section of the Torah to an audience, they would probably just say, “And all of the leaders of the tribes brought the same thing: one silver bowl weighing 130 [shekels], one silver sprinkling basin [weighing] 70 shekels, etc.” They might mention the individual names of the princes, because that did vary from gift to gift.

So, why did the Torah do the opposite, and “drag” us through all the details? To make sure the Torah had a certain amount of words and letters? They could have been made up elsewhere, and in a more interesting way.

Rather, the Torah is making a very IMPORTANT but subtle point. It is sharing with us HEAVEN’S perspective on our service of God. It is reminding us of how personalized service of God does not have to mean using your OWN or different words each time, but infusing the SAME words or act with a PERSONAL perspective.

Every prince was different. They had different souls, and that automatically varied their experiences of life. They came from different families, had different upbringings. They married women who were different from each other for the same reason, impacting their husbands’ view on life. Who knows how many other factors made one prince different from another?

When it came time to offer their gifts for the Mishkan, no two moments were the same. Nachshon ben Aminadov was first, so he did not have someone before him to learn from. Nesanel ben Tzu’ar, who was second, did. But the actual moment he brought his gift was different, because time does not stand still. History had changed by the time his turn was up, and it changed the nature of the same gift of his predecessor. The same was true about each subsequent prince and gift.

The same can also be said about every individual, especially when it comes praying the same Shemonah Esrai, three times a day, six days a week. It’s the EXACT same words, phrased the EXACT same way EACH time. For people for whom the phrase, “familiarity breeds contempt” is a natural instinct, how is one supposed to put “umph” into their tefillah time-after-time-after-time?

That’s where THIS week’s parsha picks up. The first section returns to a discussion about the Menorah, which the Ramban sees as an allusion to Chanukah. But, the basic mitzvah discusses how to the light the Menorah:

Speak to Aharon and tell him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps must cast their light toward the face of the Menorah.” (Bamidbar 8:2)

When you light: Literally, when you cause to ascend. Since the flame rises, the Torah describes kindling in terms of ascending. He is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by itself. (Rashi)

All societies survive because of traditions that are passed down from one generation to the next, but Torah society DEPENDS upon it. It depends not just upon the accurate transmission of the material that is meant to technically guide us through life. It depends upon the accurate transmission of the “soul” meant to inspire each new generation to sincerely and energetically serve God.

Therefore, the education job of one generation is not complete until the light of the next generation is able to stand on its own. If the inspiration that first “sold” our ancestors on Torah is not successfully passed on from one generation to the next, then most Jews will be unable to maintain much of a connection to Torah in general.

What is the best way to measure the Torah inspiration level of a generation? By the way people perform their mitzvos, but primarily, by the way they pray.

Learning Torah is enjoyable, and it can even become competitive. Everyone wants to become a talmid chacham, and maybe even a Rosh Yeshivah one day. There is plenty to be excited about when learning Torah even without the kind of inspiration we are talking about. You can find people who zealously learn Torah, but who also unzealously perform their other mitzvos, ESPECIALLY prayer.

Tefillah is something that you cannot become inspired about, unless you are generally inspired in your service of God. Not only does such a person pursue a close and intimate relationship with God, they usually already have one. They are real with God as their benefactor, and they use prayer to both show their appreciation for what they have, and to ask God for what they need. They know that when they “show up” to prayer, God does as well.

What does this mean? Of course God is ALREADY everywhere at ALL times. But, for a person to SENSE this, which changes the entire nature of the way they perform mitzvos, and especially the way they pray, they have to be both INTELLECTUALLY and EMOTIONALLY involved. This is what it means to “show up” for anything.

Being somewhere intellectually is the less difficult of the two. Just being there already makes that easier, and focusing on what is being done adds to it. A person who comes to shul to pray, does what is expected of him, and even thinks about what he is doing is, for the most part, is intellectually “there.”

The question is, where is their heart? Where are they emotionally? Back at home, or the office, still thinking about what they were doing before they went to shul, or worrying about something they have to do once they leave? There are countless things that can distract a person’s heart from one moment to the next, and will continue to do so, if what the person is currently doing is not their activity of choice.

Every person works differently, but every person is like the kohen who lights the Menorah. A person’s inspiration will not kindle on its own, and if not ignited properly, the flame will go out. The question is the same for everyone: How do I kindle my soul so that it burns brightly and strongly towards God? How a person answers that question is their own personal service of God while down here on earth.

Rav Kook on Parashat Beha'alotecha: Praying 'Against' God

Defending the People

The newly-freed slaves found it difficult to adjust to the harsh realities of life in the wilderness:

“The people began to complain.... When God heard, He displayed His anger; God’s fire flared out, consuming the edge of the camp” (Num. 11:1).

The people cried out to Moses for help, and Moses defended them before God: “Moses prayed to God, and the fire died down.”

The Torah does not record Moses’ prayers. But the Sages wrote that Moses spoke out forcefully in defense of the people. In fact, the Talmud suggests that Moses’ prayers were valiant, even bold. Moses didn’t pray to God - he prayed “against God” (Berachot 32a).

Praying Against God?

Rav Kook noted that the Torah rarely uses the expression “to pray to God.” Often, the Torah simply states that a person “prayed.” It is understood that prayer is directed towards God.

Yet there is an additional reason why the phrase “to pray to God” is surprising. The Hebrew verb lehitpaleil (“to pray”) is in the reflexive tense. This grammatical form emphasizes the emotional impact of prayer back on the soul. The introspective nature of prayer brings out an outpouring of enlightened emotion within the soul.

It is fitting to speak of praying lifnei Hashem - a prayer which is “before God” or “facing God.” This phrase indicates that we have directed our heart and mind to contemplate God in prayer. As the Sages taught: “Know before Whom you are standing in prayer.”

However, it is unrealistic to speak about praying “to God.” The clarity of enlightenment attainable by intellectual inquiry and contemplation goes far beyond the emotional inspiration experienced in prayer. To “pray to God” would indicate that one attained a heightened awareness of the Creator, and through concentrated prayer was somehow able to achieve an emotional uplifting of the soul at this lofty cognitive level.

Moses’ Remarkable Prayer

Therefore the Sages emphasized the tremendous struggle in Moses’ extraordinary prayer. It was as if he had prayed “against God.” Moses defied the natural limitations of prayer. This explanation is reinforced by a literal reading of the Midrash, which says that Moses “hurled words towards Heaven.” This projects the imagery of a person who forcefully heaves an object upwards, fighting against the laws of gravity, as he throws an object higher than he can reach.

What enabled Moses to attain such a remarkable level of prayer? His lofty soul flowed with such passionate yearning to perfection that his prayer was able to surpass his intellectual grasp of God’s providence of the universe. This unusual phenomenon sometimes occurs with spiritual giants - a testimony to the purity of their inner longings for good and perfection.

(Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 140)

Canada: A "Different" Kind of Antisemitism?

by Philip Carl Salzman
  • "I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish... I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the [Somali civil] war which took my father from me for so long... When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap. ... If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil powers and you used them to evil ends. Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult." — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, quoted in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, by Andrew G. Bostom.
  • In Canada, Wael al-Ghitawi, the imam of Al-Andalous Islamic Centre, and Sayed al-Ghitawi "both called for the death of Jews. The sermons came to public attention in February 2017, when YouTube videos of the talks were translated into English."
  • Let us be frank: as is all too clear from the recent European experience, importing large numbers of Muslims means importing Islamic antisemitism. Hate crimes against Canadian Jews are already on an upward trajectory. Is it the Canadian Government's policy to encourage an increase in antisemitic hate crimes?

At McMaster University in Canada, numerous incidents have been documented of students writing antisemitic social media posts. (Image source: Mathew Ingram/Wikimedia Commons)

In Berlin, on evening of the May 17, 2018, two men wearing Jewish skull caps were attacked by three Arabic speaking men, who repeatedly cursed at them and called them "yahudi," Jew, in Arabic. One of the Arabs knifed one of the men, Adam Armoush, with his belt. The attack was recorded, and the video widely seen.

Ironically, Adam is not a Jew. He is an Israeli Arab, who was wearing the skull cap to test whether it was unsafe to show oneself as a Jew in Berlin. He was skeptical; he has now reconsidered.

One of the assailants, a 19 year old refugee, claiming he was from Syria, later turned himself into the police.

Continue Reading Article

Thomas Friedman is a Peddler of Racist Fiction and Adolescent Fantasy


Thomas Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for Middle East reporting seems to never be shy at demonstrating his complete ignorance, his willful naivete, and racist views on the region.

Friedman wrote an op-ed on May 22, 2018 that he “appreciate[s] the Gazans’ sense of injustice. Why should they pay with their ancestral homes for Jewish refugees who lost theirs in Germany or Iraq?” I am perhaps slightly glad he laid out that the basis for his sympathies was on a completely flawed view of reality.

Complete Ignorance

The international community made a declaration that the Jewish state should be reestablished in the Jewish holy land decades before the Holocaust. The San Remo Conference in 1920 and the Mandate of Palestine of 1922 made it clear in international law that the Jews had a long history throughout the holy land, not just in the western part of the holy land.

More specifically, to correct Freidman:
1. Jews came back to reestablish themselves in their holy land. They did not come as interlopers into someone else’s homes.

2. The movement of Jews to Palestine was established in international law. This was not a Jewish invasion or act of Britain alone.

3. The international laws were passed decades before World War II and the Holocaust. Israel was not created as a reaction to the Holocaust.

4. Jews did not seek to evict Arabs. It was the Arabs that went to war with the Jews to keep them from moving back into their Jewish holy land. The state of Israel welcomed all Arabs to become citizens of the state and help in its development. The 160,000 that stayed (18% of the population in 1948) have grown to 25% of the population in 2017. The Arabs that left in 1948 went to war to destroy Israel and continue to threaten it generations later.

5. The Jews that left homes in Germany and Iraq were hunted and persecuted by their governments. The Arabs that left homes in Israel were those that opted to launch a civil war to destroy a new country at its rebirth.

6. More Arabs than Jews moved to Palestine under the British between 1924 and 1948. Why deceptively call out Arabs’ “ancestral homes?” Because the New York Times wants to constantly pretend that Jews are not native to Israel, only Arabs are?
Friedman inverted plain facts. He proclaimed his sympathies with the Palestinians on the basis of lies.

Further, his prescription for a solution was packed with both falsehoods and racist ideas.

Willful Naivete

7. Hamas is not just “the Palestinian Islamist organization that rules the Gaza Strip.” It is recognized as a terrorist group by the US, Israel and many countries. And it was voted into a majority of parliament by Palestinians with full knowledge of these facts including having the most anti-Semitic charter in the world.

8. To state that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is “secular, more moderate” than Hamas is to compare the fifth and ninth rings of Hell. Abbas is way more radical and extreme than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who Friedman paints as being just like Hamas). Abbas is a Holocaust denier, denies the history of Jews in the holy land, calls for a country to be Jew-free, has laws that call for the death sentence for any Arab selling land to a Jew, pays for people to kill Israeli Jews, and names tournaments and squares after terrorists. How does this man and the PA remotely resemble anything moderate?
Racist Views

Friedman added to his fiction with jaundiced views about Jews and Arabs.

9. Why is Gaza Israel’s responsibility? Israel left the region in 2005 for the local Palestinian Arabs to rule themselves (for the first time in their history). Is the US responsible for Mexico’s welfare? Why isn’t Egypt called upon to handle the derelict region at its border? Does Friedman believe that Jews are uniquely responsible for neighbors?

10. “Two states for two people” as Friedman suggests means either that Jews can become a minority in Palestine the same way that Arabs are a minority in Israel, or it means that each country must be “pure.” Is Friedman suggesting that Israel expel its 2 million Arabs or is he suggesting 1.5 states for Arabs and 0.5 for Jews because Jews should be banned from the eastern part of the holy land, but not the Arabs in Israel? Either way, it sounds pretty racist to either expel non-Jews or ban Jews.


Friedman has not internalized that the Palestinians are no closer to welcoming their Jewish neighbors today than they were 100 years ago. He posits that the most antisemitic peopleshould approach the border “with an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other, saying, “Two states for two peoples: We, the Palestinian people of Gaza, want to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish people — a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed adjustments.” What a moron.

Maybe the US special forces should have shown up at Osama bin Laden’s house with girl scout cookies and asked him nicely to stop killing thousands of people. Maybe he could propose that the Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria should drop cotton candy on his people rather than chemical weapons. Friedman’s recommendations could have been written by a second grader with no comprehension of the world.

But Friedman knows the facts. He deliberately lifted from the deceased former leader of the PLO Yasser Arafat’s (fungus be upon him) 1974 speech at the United Nations: “I come to you bearing an olive branch in one hand and a freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.” Friedman chose to ignore the plain and consistent fact that the Palestinians have chosen violence over coexistence with the Jewish State as he put forward a non-solution that fails to address the situation.

Perhaps Friedman’s fourth Pulitzer will be for young adult fiction.

How the Liberal Jewish Establishment Failed to See Left-Wing Anti-Semitism Coming

by Daniel Greenfield

The ADL has been irrelevant for 50 years.

Its full organizational name, the Anti-Defamation League, like that of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is rarely used because that identity and mission lie in another era.

The ADL was founded in 1913 to promote the acceptance of Jews in mainstream society. Its founding charter was concerned with "the caricaturing and defaming of Jews on the stage, in moving pictures". Its original plan was to fight anti-Semitic prejudice by lobbying theater managers and newspaper editors.

Jews won acceptance in mainstream society over 50 years ago. Hollywood has more Jewish caricatures than ever. The revival of Murphy Brown means that CBS now will have three sitcoms featuring grotesque caricatures that play every negative Jewish stereotype for laughs. But that’s okay.

The ADL long ceased fighting that battle. And all the others. It’s an irrelevant organization on its last legs.

Its original mission became irrelevant when Jews won mainstream acceptance. Jews are the best liked (or perhaps least disliked) religious group in America. Yet anti-Semitic hate crimes dominate the roster.

How can both be true?

As anti-Semitism declined nationally, it receded to the racial and political margins. Instead of a lukewarm prejudice of many, it became the passionate creed of political extremists. The ADL shifted to combating anti-Semitism on the margins instead of in the mainstream. Instead of critiquing movies, it monitored hate groups. But, unlike mainstream lobbying, its monitoring of the margins was ineffectual.

Neo-Nazis wouldn’t be dissuaded by the ADL. Neither would any other fringe group. The ADL’s monitoring only fed into their anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and gave them an enemy to fight. But the ADL also needed an enemy to fight, a reason to exist and an incentive to keep the donations coming.

Meanwhile it was ignoring the threat of a breakout from the margins becoming mainstream.

The far right had been growing less relevant for most of the ADL’s existence. The Klan had gone from marching in the tens of thousands and dominating entire cities to being unable to fill a small room. But the far left had been steadily growing in influence. And its takeover would change everything.

By the sixties, anti-Semitism in America was profoundly changing. But the ADL didn’t change.

Anti-Semitic violence was now largely a feature of urban life. The new Jewish middle class, many of them Holocaust survivors and accented immigrants who had worked tirelessly in sweatshops to put their kids through college, was driven out of its comfortable urban enclaves by racial violence.

Jewish neighborhoods and businesses built by the immigrant generation vanished in riots, firebombs, muggings and stabbings. The second act of the civil rights movement was an anti-civil rights movement that, had it been directed at blacks, would have been met with protests and outrage. Instead the left defended the perpetrators and condemned the victims. Black leadership jettisoned Martin Luther King’s calls for equality and co-existence, replacing them with nationalism and racial supremacism.

And the left cheered.

That’s how Al Sharpton went from leading anti-Semitic pogroms to addressing the DNC. It’s why Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus met with Farrakhan. It’s why Bernie Sanders backed Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson despite his anti-Semitism. It’s why anti-Semitic black literature is celebrated.

That is how Tamika Mallory ended up in the audience at a Farrakhan speech. And that’s how Eric Holder likely contrived to help Mallory boot the ADL from Starbucks for calling out her anti-Semitism. When two black men were kicked out of Starbucks, there was outrage. When a Jewish organization was kicked out of Starbucks at the behest of the fan of a black supremacist who admires Hitler, there were shrugs.

The left has been dismissing concerns about black nationalist anti-Semitism for 50 years.

Defenders and condemners of this phenomenon will blame the unique issue of race in America. But that doesn’t hold up. The left did the same exact thing with pogroms in Russia. Whether it was Russian peasants or urban thugs, the left defended the violence as the outcry of an oppressed class or race against the privileged Jewish bourgeoisie, even though the targets were inevitably the Jewish poor.

American Jews, whose ancestors largely arrived from Russia before the Communist violence, were under the impression that anti-Semitic violence was a feature of Czarist life being combatted by the left. This distorted view of what was really going on was encouraged by lefty propaganda rags like The Forward.

Both sides opportunistically encouraged anti-Semitic violence (while occasionally condemning it) when it served their political interests. One mob would shout, “Death to the Jews and the Commissars!” The other mob would shout, “Smash the Jews and the bourgeoisie!” And often, they were the same mob.

Few American Jews have ever heard of the Glukhov pogrom by the Red Army in which leftists massacred 450 Jews, including children, to shouts of, "We are going to slaughter all the bourgeoisie and the Yids." The Communist Pravda described this anti-Semitic massacre as a victory over the “counter-revolution.”

Soviet anti-Semitism was not a break from its revolutionary principles, as some liberals liked to think. It was the execution of those principles. The Bolsheviks had repeatedly hounded their Menshevik rivals as the “yids” or “kikes”. As they consolidated power, they discouraged pogroms by individual bands and instead implemented a national Jewish pogrom of gulags, torture, execution and religious repression.

The attacks on Jewish neighborhoods and stores by black nationalists like Sharpton were a carbon copy of the pogroms that had been organized in Russia and Ukraine, by the same leftist ideology. A decade after the Glukhov pogrom, the Young Communist League and the Young Liberators were already working Harlem trying to stir up riots against Jewish storeowners.

The glamorization of Hitler in the black community did not begin with Farrakhan. Back in the thirties, Sufi Abdul Hamid, now known as a “pioneering labor leader”, but then dubbed the Black Hitler, was vowing, "an open bloody war against the Jews who are much worse than all other whites."

Neither Tamika Mallory, nor Sharpton, are a break with a mythological past dominated by a black-Jewish civil rights alliance that the ADL and its base are obsessed with, instead they are the fulfillment of a the long, ugly alliance between the left and anti-Semitic black nationalists that grew on the ADL’s watch.

The left’s anti-Semitic tactics have been consistent across countries and cultures. When its regimes rise, they persecute the Jews, whether it’s in the USSR, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela or the United States.

But the ADL’s liberalism was its undoing. Like most American Jews, it viewed the rise of the left as a progressive phenomenon. It did not matter that the same mistake had been made countless times with the same outcome. There could be no harm in the Democrats leaning further and further to the left.

Except maybe to Israel.

The debate about lefty anti-Semitism centers largely on Israel. And that’s how the left wants it.

Unlike nationalist anti-Semitism, transnationalist anti-Semitism is cloaked in in abstractions. The Red Army pogromists were fighting the bourgeoisie. Sharpton was fighting racism. BDS is battling Zionism.

Leftist anti-Semitism identifies Jews with an ideological abstraction and then attacks the actual people.

The Red Army thugs, Sharpton’s thugs and BDS thugs are anti-Semitic. Capitalism, racism and Zionism are excuses. Lefty anti-Semitism neither began with Zionism nor will it end there. The Jews who were murdered by the Soviet Union, who fled Nicaragua and Brownsville, had nothing to do with Israel.

The ADL wants to be a lefty organization fighting anti-Semitism. Replacing Abe Foxman with Jonathan Greenblatt was meant to adapt it to the new landscape. But the left doesn’t want to fight anti-Semitism.

There is no future for an organization fighting anti-Semitism on the left.

The left has built its own Soros lobby coalition of anti-Jewish organization staffed by activists with Jewish last names. Like their counterparts in the Soviet Union, the Yevsektsiya or Jewish Section, they redefine anti-Semitism as a ‘bourgeois’ phenomenon that the left is immune to. These activist groups seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish community because they interfere with their task of mobilizing Jews as lefty activist cannon fodder. They defend lefty anti-Semitism and accuse the right of anti-Semitism.

Despite the ADL agreeing with 99% of their agenda, the left is determined to destroy or control it. And the ADL still refuses to confront the left because, like most liberals, it believes that it is on the left.

The leftward drift of the people who were once liberals had left them incapable of confronting lefty illiberalism. They know that they agree with the left’s causes, they only question some of its tactics. They talk a great deal about extremism, but they only whisper about the extremism on their own side.

And when the argument becomes about tactics, instead of worldview, the left wins.

The left’s tactical illiberalism isn’t impatience or passion; it’s the product of an illiberal worldview. Anti-Semitism isn’t an aberration on the left. It’s inevitable. A fundamental difference between liberalism and the illiberal left is that the latter defines solutions to social problems through destroying groups.

Destroy the bourgeoisie, smash the deniers, eliminate religion, crush whiteness and wipe out the Jews.

The left needs an “other” to personalize its abstract hatreds. Jews fill the traditional role of the “other” as scapegoat. And anti-Semitism serves the same function on the left as it did throughout history.

It’s no accident that the star of 1984’s Two Minutes Hate was Emmanuel Goldstein.

Multiculturalism doesn’t mean that there is no “other”. It means that there are a plethora of “others”. And when there are a thousand “others”, an “other” that everyone can agree on is urgently needed.

The left can make Jews embody capitalism, whiteness, nationalism, war crimes, exploitation and every evil. The Jews control the weather, a lefty councilman claims, and the left rushes to defend him. The Jews are killing Palestinian babies, stealing organs, training police to shoot black people and controlling the world’s wealth. It’s the same old bigotry in a keffiyah. And it serves the same tawdry function.

Anti-Semitism is the sewer, sausage factory and the boiler room of the leftist soul.

The ADL has tried to find common ground with the left. But the left is not in the common ground business. Where the left takes institutional power, in a country, a state, a college or a profession, ideological diversity quickly vanishes leaving behind its ruling activists and a silent majority.

As a liberal consensus vanishes, the ADL is becoming an organization with no base. The ADL is too pro-Jewish for the left and not pro-Jewish enough for the right. The left has its own collection of organizations that it wants to impose on the Jewish community. The Soros lobby’s JFREJ, Bend the Arc and If Not Now were hurled into action against the ADL. Eventually they will cannibalize the ADL.

The ADL failed to stand up the left. And like other liberal collaborators, it will be replaced with a leftist Yevsektsiya that will divide its time between condemning Israel and denouncing Jews as bigots who need to be reeducated about their privilege and their complicity in whiteness. And then it will get ugly.

When the ADL was founded, there was a mainstream consensus for it to influence. The consensus has been replaced by political and racial tribalism. The margins are becoming mainstream. And it’s dying.

The ADL may choose to shut down. Or like HIAS, it may jettison its Jewish identity and join the anti-Jewish left. Or it can do what it should have done all along. It tried colluding. It promoted Black Lives Matter and signaled softness on BDS. But its efforts to collude with intersectional anti-Semitism failed.

Now an irrelevant organization in its final years has one last chance to stand up to the left.

UK: You're Not Allowed to Talk about It. About What? Don't Ask.

by Bruce Bawer
  • "I am in a country that is not free... I feel jealous as hell of you guys in America. You don't know how lucky you are." — Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad), YouTuber with around a million subscribers.
  • "I am trying to recall a legal case where someone was convicted of a 'crime' which cannot be reported on." — Gerald Batten, UKIP member of the European Parliament.
  • "UKIP Peer Malcolm Lord Pearson has written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid today saying: if Tommy is murdered or injured in prison he and others will mount a private prosecution against Mr Javid as an accessory, or for misconduct in public office." — Gerald Batten.
  • Good on Lord Pearson.

Hull Prison, in Kingston upon Hull, England, where Tommy Robinson was taken to serve a 13-month prison sentence just hours after his arrest on Friday, May 25.

On Friday, British free-speech activist and Islam critic Tommy Robinson was acting as a responsible citizen journalist -- reporting live on camera from outside a Leeds courtroom where several Muslims were being tried for child rape -- when he was set upon by several police officers. In the space of the next few hours, a judge tried, convicted, and sentenced him to 13 months in jail -- and also issued a gag order, demanding a total news blackout on the case in the British news media. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was immediately taken to Hull Prison.

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Summing Up the “March of Return”

by Professor Hillel Frisch

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 847

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Hamas did not achieve the goals it had in mind when it organized and set in motion the “March of Return” campaign. The organization would be wise to cut a deal with Gaza business community leaders and the civil bureaucracy that they administer the Strip while Hamas continues to police it, provided it refrains from fighting Israel. Maybe then Gaza could begin to tread a path towards a Singaporean vision.

It is now time for the hundreds in Hamas whose job is to create and spread violence against Israel, and the hundreds of Israelis in the political and security establishment whose business is to avoid or quell that violence, to assess the results of the “March of Return” campaign (at least until the next campaign, which will likely begin after a temporary lull during the fast month of Ramadan).

The scoresheet is heavily set against Hamas, which spent a great deal of blood and treasure on the campaign.

The organization’s biggest failure was its inability to ignite the Arab residents of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is well aware that the evocative power of the Palestinian problem lies (ironically) in the names and places found in Jewish and Christian scriptures – Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron; not Gaza, Khan Yunis, or Rafah.

To the despair of Hamas, the six weeks from the beginning of the campaign in late March through Nakba Day on May 15 were relatively quiet in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The evidence for the passivity of that population is as varied as it is conclusive.

First, there were no major terrorist attacks in either Israel or the West Bank that ended lethally. There were 15 murders in the four months preceding the campaign.

The scorecard of major attacks that ended in bodily harm or substantial material loss yields the same results – two per month on average for the three months before the campaign versus one such attack in the six weeks of the campaign.

The number of news items over time relating to confrontations between Palestinian youth and the Israeli army presents the same picture. A major media site, al-Quds, archives all news items related to “confrontations” (muwajahat in Arabic). In the three weeks preceding the campaign, there were 17 such items. This slid to eight in the first three weeks of the campaign and declined further to five in the final 24 days.

The headline in al-Quds on the second Friday into the campaign summarized this point: “Gaza is preparing for demonstrations this Friday”. In other words, Gaza was preparing – not the West Bank.

Rather than recreating the unity that existed between the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank in the first and second intifadas, when residents of both areas took part in the violence, the “March of Return” campaign deepened the divide that has existed between the two populations ever since Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 2007. The divide is not only within the Palestinian political elite (Hamas leadership and the PA) but on the popular level as well.

This divide is a major boon to Israel. Violence is much easier to control when it takes place on either the Gaza front or the West Bank front rather than on both fronts simultaneously, as occurred in the past.

One of the major objectives of the weaker side in any conflict (as Hamas clearly is compared to Israel) is to stir political division within the stronger side. This is the famous lesson of the French-Algerian struggle in which the FLN and its army were militarily defeated, but succeeded in bringing about deep divisions within the French public. That popular divide ended in complete political victory for the FLN.

The Palestinians did much the same in the first intifada, when the Israeli public was sharply divided between left and right. That split facilitated the Oslo process, the creation of the PA, and the move of the PLO leadership to the West Bank from Tunis and elsewhere in the Arab world.

In contrast, a march focused on the 1949 armistice line that demanded the return of refugees to Ashkelon (Majdal), Beersheva, and Jaffa clearly had the opposite effect on the Israeli public. Instead of being divided, Israeli hearts rallied together behind the IDF’s tough policy of zero tolerance for breaching the fence.

Hamas might have also antagonized its own hard core. By its own estimation, the campaign cost the organization $10 million. For the past four years, Hamas has been paying its 50,000 employees only 40% of their salaries – roughly $500 a month. This hard core will likely question Hamas’s spending a great deal of money to wage the “return” campaign rather than distribute that money to these employees and their hard-pressed families.

Fallout from the violence among the general population is also probable. If the number of casualties is anywhere near true (the figures are probably exaggerated), the vast majority of Gaza inhabitants – most of whom did not go anywhere near the fence – will likely question such bloodshed now that they are facing exactly the same fence and the same reality that existed before the campaign. Those who did participate, too, might have second thoughts about their sacrifices, which brought about no change whatsoever.

The headlines in The Times, the Guardian, and other British and European outlets criticizing Israel, the musty condemnations dredged up from the recesses of UN and foreign ministry archives, and the rantings of the Turkish president were small consolation to a beleaguered Hamas.

The campaign was clearly a failure, and this could be the beginning of a welcome change.

Hamas might be sensible enough to cut a deal with Gaza business community leaders and the civil bureaucracy in which they agree to administer Gaza while Hamas continues to police it, provided it refrains from fighting Israel.

Gaza’s attributes, including a strong workforce, access to the sea, and proximity to Europe are tremendous assets that can be used once common sense prevails over fanaticism.

Maybe then, Gaza can begin to tread a path towards a Singaporean vision and turn the woes of human density into considerable economic, cultural, and ecological benefits.