Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Palestine, economics and Israel: theatre of the absurd

At the Israel International Model United Nations, guest speaker Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, spoke on August 20, 2012 about Palestinian economic stability and statehood. Israel media reported that Mr Serry spoke of considerable economic growth in the Palestinian territories, and described the Palestinian world as ‘relatively stable’; however, while he saw Palestinians doing well economically, he stated that this economic story was unsustainable unless a Palestinian state was created.

These statements are noteworthy because they suggest that economic unsustainability is no longer a reason to question the viability of a Palestinian state, but is rather a motivation to create that state. The argument is simple: without statehood, the Palestinian economy will collapse.

As you will see, this argument places no responsibility upon Palestinians. Instead, the burden for the survival of the Palestinian economy lies exclusively with Israel. Specifically, Israel must remove an economic blockade; Israel must end all settlements; and Israel must open its borders (see, July 31,2012), so that non-Israelis—some of whom are killers--will have unobstructed access to its population.

Only then will a Palestinian economy survive.

We’ll look at this approach to statehood in a moment. But first, it is absurd to believe that the only imperative the UN can identify as necessary for a prosperous and successful ‘Palestine’ are actions by Israel. Second, it is absurd to suggest that a PA with ‘considerable economic growth’ means a PA ready for statehood; for the truth is, the PA is nearly bankrupt, it lives as a beggar on donor aid and its corruption is so dangerous to economic sustainability that the UN should shout at every opportunity, ‘corruption is the Number One enemy for PA survival, not Israel!’

It is also absurd to for the UN to believe that Israeli ‘oppression’ is the only barrier the PA must overcome to build an economically survivable nation-state. Nevertheless, documents prepared by Mr Serry’s UN suggest that an economic case for a Palestinian State is in fact being built upon three principles of Israeli responsibility: (1) the economic blockade of Gaza must be lifted (UN report, December 7, 2011); (2) Israel’s ‘prolonged occupation’ suppresses PA economic welfare (report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, July 13, 2012);  (3) ‘settler’ activity is ‘the main cause of the failure of Palestinian economic efforts’ (ibid).

Let’s look at these responsibilities. First, Israel does not use a blockade against Gaza because Jews are Nazis (a favourite accusation); the blockade exists because Hamas is at war against Israel and a blockade is a legitimate war-time defense. Gazan politicians, clergy, schoolbooks—and TV—make clear that Hamas wars against the Jews. The Gazan economy does not suffer because of  Jewish ‘oppression’; it suffers because Gazan leaders uses donor aid to buy rockets instead of industrial machinery, and its officials use donor aid for personal luxuries instead of work programs for the unemployed. Building an economic case for statehood on the ‘woes of the Gazan people’ doesn’t pass the smell test, at least not now, when aid dollars go to weapons and bureaucrats build McMansions for themselves. Blaming Jews while Gazan authorities behave this way is absurd.

The second claim-- that ‘prolonged occupation’ brings economic woe to the PA--grows more absurd every day. Israel does not ‘occupy’ anything. Israel is not a hostile force with ‘boots on the ground’ who stifle daily Arab economic activity. Israel allows workers and goods to enter Israel. She leaves large sections of PA territory in the hands of the PA itself. There well could be fewer IDF in parts of the PA than there are police in Harlem, New York.

If we don’t call Harlem ‘occupied’, we shouldn’t call Ramallah ‘occupied.’

The third claim--that ‘settlers’ are obstacles to economic development--is equally absurd. In November 2011, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared that,  ‘the settlements cover only 1.1 per cent of the West bank’ (Evelyn Gordon, Commentary and calevbenyefuneh).  Please explain how Jews building on 1.1 per cent of land causes ‘PA economic efforts to fail’.

If by ‘settlers’ the UN mean Jews living in outposts, well, have you seen those outposts? They are tiny enclaves on naked hilltops in the middle of nothing, surrounded by wind and open land. They inhibit no one. They interfere with nothing. Most are barren and isolated. To suggest that their presence halts economic activity is absurd.

If not challenged, the UN (and PA) will continue to build their case that Israel alone causes Arab woe. That’s a shame, because their claims cannot survive scrutiny. Our media should demand that if Palestinians want peace and prosperity, they should prove they’re peace-makers and businessmen, not war-mongers and bomb-makers.

It’s a shame that Israel’s media isn’t more aggressive with UN and PA absurdities. Their ‘political correctness’ cheats Israel.

Will our media defend us?

Don’t be absurd.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Facts: the leading cause of Jewish death

We Jews think we’re smart. We believe we can use facts to defend ourselves. We think facts will protect us. The more accurate the fact, we believe, the better off we will be.

But we’re wrong. Facts do not protect Jews. Facts kill.

Think about your world: when anti-Zionists declare, ‘For world peace, destroy Israel,’ do you think that a reply of, ‘the League of Nations made us legal!’ will make them change their tune? When a Jew-hater shows you a map of a new ‘Palestine’ in place of Israel, do you think they’ll destroy that map when you point out, ‘that map is factually wrong’?

Of course not. If anything, your ‘facts’ will probably just enrage them.

Facts have never been kind to Jews. Remember Eve? How was she seduced? With ‘facts’.

We should have learned something from her story. But we didn’t. We’re stupid. After we had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt, how did we show our gratitude?  We cried to G-d that He had taken us out of Egypt to let us die in the desert. What facts did we give Him? Cucumbers. That’s right—cucumbers. Look it up. G-d redeemed us and we complained we no longer had cucumbers to eat.

Obviously, there’s more to this story. But the fact is (pardon the pun) our ancestors missed their veggies. They complained. They collected their facts like stones and used those stones against G-d.

How did the Biblical spies get us into trouble with G-d? Facts (aliyah into Israel was too difficult).

Our Sages teach that G-d had wanted the return to Israel during the time of Ezra to be the Final Redemption, but that didn’t work out. Why? Facts (living in Babylonia was easier; the Torah there was better than in Israel).

Ze’ev Jabotinsky practically begged Jews in Eastern Europe--before World War Two began—to come to Israel because, as he put it, there were super-pogroms coming. He failed. Why? Facts (our world is stable; no one harms us).

Jewish history is littered with dead Jews because we love fact. We live our lives being analytical—which means, of course, we are so obsessed with the tree, we ignore what’s happening to the forest. For us, only the tree counts.

The Arab, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in trees—or facts. He understands that facts will get him nowhere in his quest to replace Israel with ‘Palestine’.  So how did he come so close at the UN to pulling off his request for statehood? He ignored fact; and by doing that, he almost succeeded (and he isn’t finished trying).

Look at it this way: Yishmael the Arab is our cousin. He has received great merit because of that relationship. Indeed, the land of Israel is so precious to G-d, He will reward greatly anyone who desires this land with a passion. Yishmael desires this land with that passion. Yishmael wants this land more then we—and he certainly wants it more than the anti-religious and ultra-religious among us. Perhaps because of that passion Yishmael’s star—not ours-- rises before the nations.

G-d tells us repeatedly that He loves the land of Israel. Read, Eretz Yisrael in the Parasha, Moshe D. Lichtman, Devorah publishing, Jerusalem, 2006. Our texts teach that G-d loves Israel and the children of Israel; but mostly, He loves the children of Israel in the land of Israel, obeying His Torah. It’s a package deal, like (in some cases) buying a factory-installed GPS system for your new car: you can’t get the GPS unless you order leather seats.  You cannot split up the GPS-seats package just as you cannot split up the Torah observance-land package. But in their own ways, both the anti-religious and the ultra-religious may be rejecting their G-d by rejecting all or part of that package.

Torah is not optional; neither is the land. Free will might mean we have the option to choose as we please. But it does not mean we are right whatever we choose. When Jews make a wrong decision, we do not become introspective. We do not question our decision. Instead, we work extremely hard to collect facts to prove we are right. This is why Jews listened to the Biblical spies--and why they did not listen to Jabotinsky: their precious facts.

Today, we know they were wrong to replace faith with fact.

We must also know that we continue their mistake because we continue to use fact to justify turning against G-d. We use ‘fact’ to avoid aliyah [Torah-learning in Israel is poor]; and ‘fact’ to reject religion [religion will destroy our democracy]. Unfortunately, our life is not about fact. Our survival is not about fact. It’s about belief—in G-d and the land.

 Yishmael knows that. That may be why he’s so strong.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

A vote at the United Church of Canada: the tip of a Jewish iceberg?

On Friday, August 17, 2012, the United Church of Canada passed an anti-Israel boycott resolution at its triennial General Council Conference.  After failing to get a boycott vote passed at the 2006 and 2009 Conferences, Church leaders have finally succeeded. Unlike previous efforts, however, this  vote does not require a complete boycott; it focuses only on products made in ‘West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements’.
 Already, the Church stands accused of developing its case against Israel by distorting fact ( August 17, 2012). For example, the Church blames Israel exclusively for ‘violence’ in the Middle East and identifies Israel as an ‘occupier’ because it ‘captured territories’ in the 1967 six-day war (National Post, August 17, 2012). The resolution ignores the facts that much of this ‘territory’ had been granted to Israel by the United Nations in 1947, had been conquered and occupied by Jordan in a 1947-48 war of Arab aggression against Israel, and was then finally liberated by Israel in 1967 during a war of self-defense. The Church singles out Israel as the only party in the Middle East solely responsible for peace.
There is no question this vote will be attacked. It is, after all, exclusively one-sided in identifying who should be punished for holding up peace. Someone will certainly call this boycott Church-inspired  anti-Semitism (JTA, August 17, 2012). For those who believe in interfaith dialogue, this vote could be a death-blow to Canadian interfaith relations (see The Globe and Mail, August 17-18, 2012).
But there is another way to look at this conversion of Religious moral authority into anti-Semitic  politics-in-the-name-of-religion. The Jewish Tanach (our Bible) describes what will happen when the Destiny of the Jewish people is fulfilled; one of the ‘finalizing events’ is to be a universal recognition that the G-d of Israel is, alone, One and Supreme.
Have you ever wondered how that could happen? Why would non-Jews become motivated to call the G-d of Israel the only true G-d? Other religions have their own gods and religious narrative. What would cause people to turn against their gods?
While we do not have answers to those questions, we might be able to intuit how that scenario might unfold because we can sense a stage being set today for a non-Jewish religious upheaval.
The United Church of Canada (UCC) is a case in point—but not the only case. The UCC may be the largest Protestant denomination in Canada, but its membership has been declining, its finances are in crisis—and its vote against Israel may suggest a potentially disastrous disconnect with rank-and-file membership. It has been reported that less than five per cent of Church membership believe that Israel is the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East (Jerusalem Post), and yet the leadership not only passed its boycott plan, but also another resolution that expresses regret for previously asking Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state (The Globe and Mail, August 17-18, 2012). The UCC has been pursuing a Leftist political agenda since perhaps the 1960s, and that activism has been credited with sparking a membership loss than continues today (The Globe and Mail, ibid).  According to two students of Church activity, Church membership could reach zero by 2040—an assessment that is probably more suggestive than correct, but is nonetheless a significant comment about the Church’s future potential (National Post, August 16, 2012;, ibid). As the Church turns against Israel, it also turns increasingly to social and political agendas that eclipse its core theological beliefs (The National Post, ibid). In other words, its votes against Israel may be just one more step towards a bankruptcy that could be more than financial.
One month before the UCC vote, An Anglican Church of England Synod endorsed a ‘Programme in Palestine and Israel’ that used language which, at least according to one observer, ‘evoked nothing but simple anti-Semitic themes from history’ (, July 12, 2012).
In October 2010, a Synod of the Catholic Church attacked Israel in a more serious manner. Not only did it use similar ‘occupation’ language to characterize Israel, it went further: the Bishop who led the Synod declared that Jews are no longer G-d’s Chosen, and Israel is no longer connected to Jews (CBN News, October 25, 2010).
These events suggest that the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church have successfully created a major Christian offensive against Israel and, indirectly, Jews. Even if their individual attacks are purely coincidental, they still, taken together, represent a Christian attack endorsed by Church leadership.
But while this is indeed unfortunate, what will the world’s Christians say when the G-d of Israel works open miracles for Israel? How will they respond to their Church’s openly anti-Jewish/anti-Israel pronouncements? What will happen when they compare the visible actions of the G-d of Israel against the official anti-Israel positions of their Church?
Is it possible that this official behaviour of these Christian denominations is unwittingly  paving the way to a religious upheaval that will in turn lead to a universal recognition that the G-d of Israel is indeed the One True Supreme—and that His Israel is truly His beloved?
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How a boycott can link a Christian Church to Arab Jew-hate

Part Two

Today, August 14, 2012, the General Council of the United Church of Canada—the largest legislative body of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination—is scheduled to debate a resolution to boycott Israeli product from ‘Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank’. The Church argues that a boycott is necessary because Israel is solely responsible for on-going violence in the Palestinian-Jewish conflict; plus, Palestinian Christians themselves have reached out to the UCC, saying that Israel oppresses them and occupies their land; Palestinian Christians have therefore asked that Christian communities around the world help them—and the UCC is responding to that call.

It sounds noble. But will this Church vote against Israel promote peace? In Part One of this report, we discussed the observation that such a vote will not help the Palestinian Christians—but Hamas, whose goals, we saw in Part One, are not peaceful. Today, we will explore the Church’s contention that they simply respond to a call for help from co-religionists, Christians from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The first question is, who are PA Christians? They are those who live under Palestinian Authority (PA) control; and who are the Palestinian Authority? They are Arabs who, if they do not support Hamas, belong to some form of the PLO (including Fatah).

Have you read the PLO founding document? Here are some quotes to consider before we discuss the PA Christian call for help against Israel:

“ -Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people.

- ‘Palestine’ is a place ‘with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate’. [those boundaries are modern Israel; the Charter claims all of modern Israel as its ‘Palestine’].

-the Arab Palestinian people have the right to liberate their country Palestine.

-Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international  imperialism…It is racist, aggressive, expansionist and colonialist in its aims, and fascist in its methods.

-Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement and [the] geographical base for world imperialism.

-Israel is a constant source of threat vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world.

-Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.

-The liberation of Palestine…aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.

-The struggle for liberation is an ‘armed Palestinian revolution’…against Zionism and imperialism.

-The establishment of the state of Israel is illegal.

-The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based upon them [i.e, international approval to create a Jewish homeland at the San Remo Conference, the League of Nations and the United Nations], are deemed null and void.

-Jews are not a single nation with an identity of their own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.

-The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the liberation of Palestine. [the PLO rejects any solution or proposal that does not allow for the total take-over of modern Israel].

-Zionism should be labelled as an illegitimate movement whose existence should be outlawed and banned in order that friendly relations among peoples may be preserved.

-Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support  [emphasis mine].”

Just as the PLO Charter declares, Palestinian people [in this instance, Palestinian Christians] have reached out to ask for support-- from the UCC. But as perhaps you can see above, the real goal of that call for support is not freedom, but to help ‘destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence’—Israel.

It is this last expression that is most troubling. The Church says it is answering a call for Christian help. But as we see above, the true goal of that call is the elimination of Israel.

 In the face of language that so clearly calls for the destruction of a sovereign state, the UCC’s claim  that Israel is the primary cause for on-going violence in the region seems at best laughably naïve; at worst, it suggests collusion with Jew-hate. Make no mistake here: by turning against Israel, the UCC supports anti-Semitism of the worst kind. These two Charters are not just political or organizational documents; they are calls for the destruction of a modern nation that, in practical terms, will be coupled with ethnic cleansing. Contemporary Arab TV confirms this. These documents can be read as two halves of the same coin because Hamas and the PLO (along with its modern followers, primarily Fatah) have indicated that they stand together as brothers so far as Israel is concerned—and the two Charters share that common goal;  the Hamas document simply spells out more clearly what the PLO document only suggests.

The UCC will, by its vote to boycott Israeli product from Judea-Samaria, give aid and comfort to the Jew-hate that spews from both these groups. It may be disturbing to suggest that UCC support of these people identifies the Church as anti-Semitic. But when you consider that the UCC General Council will also entertain a proposal to deny officially that Israel is a Jewish state (see Part One), the impression they create is that UCC support for Arab Jew-hate may not be just an accidental side-effect of a good intention.

Perhaps the UCC wants to promote peace. That’s a fine goal. But their boycott vote will not promote peace. Instead, it supports those who promote war. Their boycott proposal makes one wonder: if Hamas and the PLO hate Jews and the UCC wants to vote to strengthen them, what does that make the UCC?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How a boycott can link a Christian Church to Arab Jew-hate

 Part One

 Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada (UCC), serves as many as three million Canadians. Among Canadian Christians, only the Roman Catholic Church attracts more followers. The UCC’s General Council –its highest Legislative Court--meets every three years to vote on Church policy, and during the last two Councils, in 2006 and 2009, boycott-Israel resolutions were debated and then defeated. This year, another boycott resolution is scheduled for a vote during the newest General Council Convention, being held this week in Ottawa, Canada.  According to the Toronto Star, a United Church working group has written a report that labels Israel as ‘the primary source of on-going violence’ in its region, and because of that conclusion has recommended the boycott of Israeli products made “in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”. The debate for this resolution is set for Tuesday, August 14.  In addition, a separate proposal from Vancouver representatives to the General Council proposes that the UCC remove from future communications and policy statements all wording that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
Commenting only on the boycott recommendation, David Ha’ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison office, asks the Church, ‘Do you realize what you are doing?’ (see Arutz Sheva, ‘Boycott of Samaria products will harm PA Arabs, says Ha’ivri’, August 9, 2012). Ha’ivri explains that a successful boycott will harm the Palestinian Arab community—the very people the Church says it wants to help. To illustrate his point, Ha’ivri refers to an Industrial Park in Judea-Samaria that is home to 140 factories which employ 6,000 workers, approximately half of whom are PA Arabs. Ha’ivri says that PA Arabs who work at the Industrial Park earn almost triple what they could earn in PA-controlled areas. Arab workers who lose their Jobs because of a boycott against their factories run the risk of becoming destitute. The PA cannot help these laid-off workers financially (the PA itself is destitute) and these workers would therefore turn to Hamas social programs because Hamas—not the PA-- actively helps poor Arabs in PA areas who have no income sources. As UCC efforts force these Arab workers to lose their income, Ha’ivri could be correct—the unemployed will turn to Hamas for help and Hamas, not the PA, will win as a consequence of this boycott.
Perhaps the Church does not understand how a boycott could help Hamas. Perhaps the Church does not understand Hamas. Hamas will not talk peace with Israel. Hamas is not interested in peace. It is an organization dedicated to war against Jews. Their war is not political. It is religious. If you have never read the Hamas Charter, take a look at some relevant quotes: “…Israel exists until Islam abolishes it…our battle against the Jews [not Israel or Zion] is great… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad [Holy War]… The Jews’ Nazism includes brutal behaviour towards Palestinian women…The Jews, by means of their money, have taken over the international communications media: the news agencies, newspapers, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, etc…they use their money to incite revolutions…for their own interests…they use their money to found secret organizations and scattered them all over the globe to destroy other societies and realise the interests of Zionism. Such organizations include Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and the Lion’s club…they are destructive espionage organizations…[the Jews] were behind the First World War…they were also behind the Second World War…they [the Jews] ordered the establishment of the United Nations…No war takes place anywhere in the world without the Jews behind the scenes having a hand in it…the problem of Palestine is religious…The Christian conquest is evil…it [the evil Christian conquest] relies heavily on the secret organizations it gave birth to, such as the Freemasons, Rotary and Lion’s Club and similar espionage groups [Yes, Hamas blames first the Jews and then the Christians of creating these 'conspiratorial' and 'secret espionage' organizations  although, after accusing the Christians of giving birth to these groups, the Charter then says these groups are nonetheless directed by ‘the Zionists’]…They [the Jews] are behind trafficking in drugs and alcohol, to make it easier for them to take over the world…The Zionist plan has no limit. After Palestine they aspire to expand to the Nile and the Euphrates…Their plan [or, plot] appears in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Anyone who has studied the political use of language understands the hate within--and the historic Anti-Semitism of--these words. These words have been used for hundreds of years to demonize Jews as part of orchestrated incitement against Jewish populations. If you wish to see how language has demonized Jews, do a google-search for  ‘traditional anti-Semitic literature’, ’Russian anti-Semitic literature’, and ‘Polish anti-Semitic literature’. It’s all there:  the Hamas Charter uses exactly the same accusations and even the same language found in traditional Western Jew-hate literature; the Charter even relies on what has become  the most widely-used  (and viciously false) anti-Jewish propaganda tool, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Charter is classic Jew-hate literature.
When such hate-language permeates the founding documents of a political organization, you can be sure that the central goal of that organization is hate—and, in this instance, the destruction of the Jewish state.
Why would a Christian church support those who want to destroy? The short answer is, this is not the UCC’s goal. The Church has explained that they propose a boycott because of a request made to them by Palestinian Christians.
Of course, it is possible that Hamas will not benefit from a Church boycott. Perhaps the Church vote wouldn’t involve them at all. Raising Hamas-related fears might just be fear-mongering by David Ha’ivri.
 Is the Church correct to suggest that its wish to help Palestinian Christians is benign?
We’ll talk about that in Part Two.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Iran: what we believe

Iran presents a problem: does she really seek an atomic bomb?  If she gets one, will she really use it against Israel?

No one knows. We believe evidence exists to show that Iran aggressively enriches uranium to make a bomb. But we don’t know what to believe when Iran president Ahmadinejad says Israel should be annihilated. What does that mean, exactly? Is it just more Middle East bluster, or is it a Hitler-style ‘I’m-telling-you-in-advance-what-I-will-do’?

No one knows. Many at the UN seem to believe that it doesn’t matter. They believe that if Israel has ‘the bomb’, why can’t Iran? The US seems to believe that Iran does actively pursue a bomb. But the US also believes that immediate action isn’t necessary. The US believes that sanctions against Iran will convince her to stop its nuclear pursuits. Is this belief correct?

No one knows.

The Israelis, meanwhile, seem to believe that Iran is serious: she wants a bomb--and she'll use it. The Israelis just don’t know what to do about it. In the past—with Syria and Iraq—Israel attacked nuclear sites and destroyed not only nuclear facilities, but also future nuclear ambitions. Iran, however, is different. Her nuclear sites are spread across different locations—some far away from Israel’s reach—and buried deep beneath ground, in bunkers everyone believes to be impenetrable. Everyone believes that Iran has turned its land-mass into a kind of nation-wide nuclear production facility. Everyone also believes that Israel does not have the weaponry or the aircraft to attack. Are all these beliefs correct?

No one knows.

Within Israel, there is no consensus on Iran. Some believe that an attack is necessary--the sooner the better. Even if an attack succeeds only in delaying the production of a bomb, these voices suggest, a short delay is better than no delay. Others believe that the ‘cure’ will be worse than the ‘disease’; an imperfect attack will cause Israel more harm than good—and it won’t stop Iran; it will just make her angrier.  Still others believe that Iran cannot achieve her goal soon enough to harm Israel; an attack would be stupid.

Which of these beliefs are correct? No one knows.

When it comes to Iran, it seems that the only thing we read about is what nations believe.

Isn’t it odd that, for the first time in memory, the nations of the world spend so much time discussing belief rather than fact? Even with the case against Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, the United States went to great length to showcase ‘facts’ sufficient to convince the West that action was necessary. With Iran, no such successful case has been made—or if it has, not enough believe it. Fact seems irrelevant. The question about Iran should be, what actions do fact—or our inability to verify fact-- suggest we take?  But the focus on Iran is not action or fact. Instead, the focus is belief; specifically, the belief that action can be avoided.

The world believes Iran will listen to reason. In this case of belief versus reason, what do you believe: will sanctions convince her to change direction? Will she attack Israel?  Will a nuclear Iran seek peace?

On top of all this, the president of the United States apparently believes that an Israeli attack against Iran before the 2012 US presidential elections will hurt his election chances; he is rumoured to have threatened Israel to delay an attack until after the elections. Is this belief correct?

No one knows.

How strange that, at this point in world history, we so eagerly put aside reason and focus instead on belief. Why is it that the world's greatest threat since the atomic war scare of the 1950’s doesn’t involve reason or reality, but belief?

Make no mistake: the future of Israel does not depend upon fact. With this Iran business, it will depend upon belief: if Israel’s leadership believes Israel’s survivability requires an attack, she will attack; if that leadership believes  we are safe, she won’t. Israel’s focus on Iran focuses on belief.

You may have missed this, but some believe that belief itself is the key to surviving Iran. They say that if Israel’s leadership accepts G-d, our survival is assured. But if their belief is misplaced, our future could be ‘misplaced’. It’s all in our Tanach.  Belief and Israel, they say, should go together. Unfortunately, since the founding of the modern State of Israel, Israel’s Jewish leadership has rejected belief. They so prefer non-belief, they wouldn’t even include G-d in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Now, with Iran, their language becomes, ‘Well, we believe that…”?

Of course, there could be no connection between G-d and the Iran problem. All this talk about belief could be a coincidence. Then again, it could also be G-d’s way of saying, ‘hello, remember Me’?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 2012 Olympics: Israel disappears!

The Arab-Muslim effort to take Israel off the world map can celebrate some major successes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England even before the Games have ended. The most public of their Olympic successes—but not their most significant--was the absolute refusal of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge to grant a minute of silence at the opening ceremonies to memorialize the loss of eleven Israeli Olympic athletes murdered by Arab Muslims during the 1972 Munich Games. This is the fortieth anniversary of those murders, and several nations, including the US, had requested such a commemoration. As others have already noted, it is a sign of how little respect the United States receives these days that her effort to request a minute of silence for Israelis was so easily rejected.

The request for this minute was not a pro-forma exercise. One of the widows of those murdered athletes, Ankie Spitzer, is reported to have hand-carried (with other widows) a petition containing 105,000 signatures requesting the minute. When Jacques Rogge refused that request, he did so stating explicitly (according to Israeli reports) that the opening ceremonies were not a fit place to remember the Munich massacre. At that interview, Ms Spitzer asked Rogge point-blank, ‘is it because the athletes are Israeli?’ Mr Rogge remained stone silent. He would not answer the question.

In Jewish tradition, such silence in such a situation is the same as affirmation. Ms Spitzer called his refusal, ‘pure discrimination’. But for many, it was not a ‘smoking gun’ proof of outright anti-Semitism.

That proof was reserved for Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month, Av—a day of national mourning for national tragedies that stretch back almost 2,500 years--a day for Jewish tragedy.

The ninth day of Av, this year, fell on Friday night-Saturday, July 27-28, 2012, beginning in London at about the same time Olympic opening ceremonies began.

  Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary Magazine (and appearing also on calevbenyefuneh.blogspot), tells us about the killing of perhaps 52 people on July 7, 2005, in England just 24 hours after the British had announced that the 2012 Olympics would be held in London. According to Tobin, there appears to be no direct connection between those killings and the Olympics; but the British appear to associate them with their Games; as Tobin comments, ‘fair enough.’

The 52 who died had been killed by bombs set by Islamists and, as Tobin describes it, may play a role in the IOC’s refusal to offer a minute of silence for the Israeli athletes killed during the 1972 Olympic Games. You see, while the IOC had no time for one minute to remember actual Olympic athletes murdered by Islamists, it did have time for a six-minute choreographed commemoration for those 52 deaths ‘associated’ with the Games. That six minute commemoration took place during the opening ceremony.

Is that a ‘smoking gun’ of anti-Semitism?

Naturally, that six-minute commemoration caused an outcry. But the outcry was not prompted because the IOC had allowed a memorial for a lesser case (British murders) while rejecting a stronger case (Olympic murders). The outcry occurred because NBC TV, the American broadcast network carrying the Olympics to the USA, had cut away from the six-minute commemoration to show something else; this insult was compounded because the NBC host, Bob Costas, had the gall to discuss the murders and then, even worse, chose perhaps unilaterally to grant a five-second on-air commemorative silence as the Israeli team entered the stadium.

How dare NBC allow such insult to the Olympic spirit?

As if to remind us that outright discrimination aimed at Israel was not exceptional, but was rather part of the Olympic fabric, we learned several hours before the opening ceremonies that members of the Lebanese judo team were outraged that day because they had found themselves unable to practice--Israelis were sharing a mat with them! They complained immediately. Olympic officials put up a wall so that the Israelis would be hidden.  

So far, however, the greatest success of the Arab effort to use the Olympics to remove Israel from the family of Man did not take place on a training mat or during an opening ceremony. It took place before the Games began.  

On your search engine (I used Google), type  ‘2012 Olympics Homepage’. On the toolbar above the day’s main Homepage picture-of-the-day, click on ‘countries’. Then, underneath that same toolbar, you’ll see a list of regions; click on ‘Asia.’ As of Tuesday, July 31, 2012, Israel’s flag is nowhere to be found. Israel is not on the list of its region’s participating countries. Palestine is.

According to the official Olympics Homepage, Palestine exists as an Olympic participating country in the Middle East. Israel doesn’t. It has disappeared. Yes, you can find Israel—but only under ‘Europe’, which is a fiction.  The Arabs don’t care about fiction in Europe.  They care about what’s real in the Middle East. They want Israel to disappear. The IOC enables their wicked dream because now, thanks to the IOC, the Middle East is Judenrein (Jew-free), just as the Arabs wish. Perhaps that’s why the IOC couldn’t remember the 1972 Israelis: you can’t commemorate what you say doesn’t exist.