Thursday, November 20, 2014

Genocidal crime isn’t natural. It isn’t heroic

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, two Arab terrorists walked into a Jewish synagogue in one of Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods and murdered five people and wounded at least eight. According to information that has now been made public, four of the victims were not only murdered while they prayed, but were killed while they prayed the ‘Amidah’ prayer, which is, arguably, the central focus of our daily prayers. It is the moment in our daily prayer when we get the chance to speak most directly to G-d.

These four Jews were murdered as they spoke to G-d.

The fifth murder victim was an Israeli Arab Druze policeman who was killed at the scene of the attack. We mourn with the victims’ families for their loss. We honour the Druze officer who fell serving the Jewish people. We pray for a complete recovery for the wounded.

Murder is an act of violence. Civilized societies consider it to be the most horrible of crimes, worthy of the harshest of punishment (Wikipedia). For most Western criminal law, murder is the unlawful killing of one human by another, with malice aforethought (Joshua Dressler, Understanding Criminal Law, 3rd ed, 2001).

‘Malice aforethought’ is typically defined as having four characteristics: an intent to kill; an intent to inflict grievous bodily harm; a reckless indifference to unjustifiably high risk to human life; and an intent to commit a dangerous felony (a ’felony’ is normally defined as ‘a serious crime’).

Murder: it’s vicious, it’s horrific, it’s wrong by its very nature. It’s evil.

But for some people, the murder of Jews is none of these (I emphasize key words below so you can track them through the news stories you’re about to see). For some people:

It isn’t horrific to murder a Jew. It’s a reason for joy.

It isn’t wrong to murder a Jew. It’s a source of community pride.

It isn’t unlawful to murder a Jew. It’s heroic.

It isn’t evil to murder a Jew. It’s normal. It’s natural.

The families of the terrorists celebrated with joy upon learning that their flesh and blood had committed the murders (“Terrorists' Families Celebrate, Pass out Candies in Jerusalem”, Arutz Sheva, November 18, 2014). They handed out candies. They “responded with shouts of joy” (ibid). A cousin told Israeli news that this attack was “a normal thing that can be expected from every man” (ibid). A resident in the Arab community from which the terrorists came, said, “we are proud of the two martyrs who carried out the attack” (ibid).

Politicians celebrated the attack (“Abbas's PA and Fatah Celebrate 'Heroic' Jerusalem Attack”, Arutz Sheva, November 19, 2014). They termed the attack ‘a heroic operation’ (ibid). Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas described this attack as "a natural reaction to Israel's practices against Palestinians” (“Five dead in attack on Jerusalem synagogue”, Al Jazeera, November 18, 2014).

From these news stories, we see that it appears normal, natural and joyous to murder a Jew. It appears heroic.

But murdering a Jew after a leader has called for an Intifada might also be called, committing a genocidal crime.

Genocidal crime is a crime against humanity.

Here’s the original definition of ‘genocide’, published in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin:

“By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing)…. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group” (see The Holocaust Encyclopedia, “Coining a Word and Championing a Cause: The Story of Raphael Lemkin”, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website).

The attack we saw this week against Jews in Israel was directed against individuals, not because they are individuals, but, apparently, because they are members of a specific national and religious group—Israel’s Jews. That makes these murders more than a crime. They are genocidal crimes.

In the world led by Mahmoud Abbas, these genocidal murders are called heroic, normal and natural. The news stories above show you that. But the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, passed by the UN in 1948, doesn’t see genocidal crime as normal, natural or heroic. It sees such acts as “a crime under international law” and “condemned by the civilized world” (ibid). They’re not praiseworthy. They’re “an odious scourge” (ibid). They are not political acts. They are punishable crimes.

Genocidal crime isn’t natural. It’s not heroic. It’s something the civilized world has been called upon to condemn.




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Abbas, rage, Rosh Hashannah prayer—and Israel

The Jewish Rosh Hashannah (The New Year) holiday is the moment each year when our fate for the upcoming year is determined. Our Rosh Hashannah prayers say it best: “…who is to live, who is to die…who is to be humbled, who is to be exalted”.

The nation-state of Israel is not exempt from these words. It, too, has a destiny to be fulfilled each year.

This year, 5775 on the Jewish calendar, began on September 25, 2014. Through the first 55 days of this new year, Israel’s destiny so far looks ugly.    

Since Rosh Hashannah, Israel has had either a ‘silent Intifada’, a real Intifada or, as some argue, war. Yes, most of the violence we’ve seen has been on TV or in news pictures. It appears limited to Arab neighbourhoods. In Jerusalem, for example, Arabs seem mostly to express their hate for Jews by trashing their own environment.

But there has also been a dramatic increase in serious violence against Jews, not only in Jerusalem, but all over Israel. For example, we’ve had a ‘car Intifada’ in which Arabs have used their vehicles to kill Jews. We’ve seen what some call a ‘knife Intifada’ against Jews. We’ve seen hundreds of other kinds of anti-Jew attacks (“Last Week in Israel: 240 Terror Attacks, 23 Wounded, and 2 Dead”, Jewish Press, November 16, 2014).

Since Rosh Hashannah, we’ve seen Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s so-called Arab ‘peace partner’ call for more violence, not peace or co-existence. He quoted the  Quran to incite violence (“Abbas quotes Quranic verse encouraging violent resistance in speech”, Palestinian Media Watch (pmw), September 28, 2014). He gave a speech that was replayed and replayed to suggest violence be brought to the Temple Mount (“PA TV broadcasts 19 times in 3 days Abbas' implicit call for violence in Jerusalem”, pmw, October 19, 2014). He authorized a ‘Day of Rage’ (“Abbas's Fatah Calls for 'Day of Rage' Terrorism”, Arutz Sheva, October 30, 2014). He glorified the shooter of a Jewish freedom-of-worship advocate (“Abbas glorifies shooter of Rabbi Glick”, pmw, November 3, 2014).   

The world says he’s our ‘peace partner’. He isn’t. His words say he’s a cheerleader for Jew-hate.

Since Rosh Hashannah, Jews have sought to exercise their basic human right to worship on the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site. Abbas, on the other hand, has sought to provoke violence.

He’s been steadfast. He wants violence against Jews. He wants Israel humbled.

He wasn’t the only Palestinian Authority (PA) official to incite for or glorify violence. For example, one PA official glorified the Arab who used his car to murder a three-month old Jewish infant (“Abbas' advisor: Murderer of baby is "heroic Martyr", pmw, October 23, 2014).

After an Arab attempted to assassinate Rabbi Glick (above), another PA official praised the shooter (“Abbas' advisor: Shooter of Rabbi Glick is "the Martyr of Dawn in Jerusalem", pmw, October 30, 2014). Four days later, another official glorified the shooter again (“Abbas' advisor to shooter of Rabbi Glick: "Your bullets were a beacon”, pmw, November 3, 2014).

Since Rosh Hashannah, Israel’s near-term fate has looked horrible. Arab Jew-hate has increased. Riots increase.

It’s ugly.

Since Rosh Hashannah, No PA official has talked about how to create a new state. Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t discussed infrastructure, co-existence or the financial costs of ‘independence’. He hasn’t discussed economic cooperation. He hasn’t explored how ‘two states can in fact live side-by-side in peace and security’. 

What he’s talked about is glorifying Jew-killing; inciting against Jews; and demanding that Jews be banned from the freedom to worship at their Holy sites.

He’s talked about terrorism. He’s talked about rage. He’s talked about violence.

Europe supports Abbas. A recent report (November 17, 2014) reveals that, despite Abbas’s obsession with rage and violence, Europe stills sees Israel as the only and exclusive reason there is no peace (“Secret EU Document Reveals Israel Sanctions Policy”, Arutz Sheva). Abbas glorifies Jew-killers—and the EU distributes a report to its member states detailing ways (sanctions) to punish Israel should ‘peace’ fail.  

That says something ugly about the EU. It says something equally ugly about Abbas.

It also suggests trouble for a beleaguered Israel. It suggests that, on Rosh Hashannah, G-d may have determined that Israel should see many troubles this year.  

Yesterday, Israel saw much trouble: four Jews were murdered in their synagogue while praying. Today, we learn of more trouble: Spain’s Parliament becomes the fourth European Parliament (the others are Britain, Sweden and Ireland) to express support for a new Arab ‘Palestine’.

Jews know that ‘trouble’ is not ‘destiny’. We know we can--to a great extent--control our destiny. We know it from our Rosh Hashannah prayers.

Our year could start with trouble. But it could end with joy.
We must never forget that.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arabs kill praying Jews. Here’s the Arab message

During morning prayers today, November 18, 2014, two Arab terrorists entered a Jewish synagogue in West Jerusalem, the Jewish portion of Israel’s capital city. Early reports said the two were armed with a meat cleaver, an axe and at least one  gun (“Four killed in terror attack at Jerusalem synagogue”, Times of Israel, November 18, 2014).

The terrorists attacked the Jewish worshippers. They killed four and injured at least eight others. The terrorists were then killed at the site in gun battle with Israeli police [Update: a fifth murder victim has been identified--an Israeli Arab Druze police officer who has died from wounds received during the gun battle with the terrorists].

A synagogue is considered to be a holy site. It contains sacred texts, including Torah scrolls. It is a place of prayer, peace and contemplation.

It’s a place of holiness. It’s a sanctuary, not a war zone or a killing field.

To the Arabs who attack Jews, a Jewish synagogue has no sanctity. It has no holiness. It’s not a synagogue. It’s a killing zone.

During the last three weeks, Arabs have killed a total of 8 Israelis in outdoor public places—a train platform, an intersection, a bus stop. Most of the dead are Jews.

On the surface, this morning’s synagogue attack seems unusual. It doesn’t fit the recent pattern. But it suggests what is at the heart of this ‘third Intifada’: prayer, religion, Islam.

Let’s be honest here: the Arab attacks we’ve seen the last three weeks aren’t random. They aren’t accidental.

Some may call them ‘unofficial’ because there’s no paper trail. There are no written orders handed to attackers by an authority figure.

But the attacks are nonetheless part of a war. It is a war of hate driven by religion. It is a war against Jews, designed to kill Jews.

Today’s attack shows that Jews aren’t safe anywhere in Israel. It demonstrates that the Arab war against Israel isn’t about statehood. It’s about the supremacy of Islam. It’s about driving out the Jew so that the only prayers heard in Israel will be Muslim prayers.

That’s why this synagogue attack is significant. It speaks to the core of the Arab dream: an Islamic ‘Palestine’ to replace Israel.

If you doubt that, Read the Hamas Charter. Listen to recent speeches from Mahmoud Abbas. Look closely at the Fatah political Party logo.

Fatah and Hamas are unified. They fight Israel as one entity. Both sing the same song: the Jew must go. Their current rallying cry is, the Temple Mount must be defended for Islam.

This third Intifada—Israel is afraid to call it that—focuses on prayer. It focuses on an Arab call to protect the Temple Mount for exclusive Islamic prayer. Its design is to focus Muslim anger. Its aim is to incite Arab rage against the Jew. 

The Arab does this because he knows that he who controls the Temple Mount controls the land. He attacks the Temple Mount so he can begin the conquest of the land.

He starts with a religious premise: Jews don‘t belong on the Temple Mount. Jews have no right to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews who set foot on the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest place on earth—desecrate Islam.

When Arabs clash with Israeli police on the Temple Mount, they accuse Israel of a ‘barbarism’ that will destroy interreligious dialogue around the world (“Erdogan calls Israel’s methods on Temple Mount ‘barbaric’”, Times of Israel, November 7, 2014). That’s nonsense. The barbarism is the Arab attack against a holy site.

Arabs have no shame. They say Jerusalem cannot be monopolized by one religion—Judaism—(ibid) when it is they who seek to Islamicize both Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (“Mufti: Jerusalem is 'Islamic'”, Arutz Sheva, November 12, 2013;  “Palestinian Authority Denies Jewish Right to Western Wall”, Arutz Sheva, August 12, 2013; “Discrimination Against Jews Continues at the Temple Mount”, Arutz Sheva, October 28. 2013).

The attack on that synagogue this morning was an Arab act of war. It demonstrates what some in Israel already know: if Jews cannot pray safely on the Temple Mount, Jews cannot pray safely anywhere (MK Moshe Feiglin, Likud).

The Arab sends a message. Jews should be afraid to go to their synagogues.

The Arab sends a message: our terrorists can enter your house of worship. Our terrorists can walk in, call out to our allah in your holy place (as these two terrorists did)--and kill you.  

The Arab sends a message: the Jew should fear. He should fear to pray. He should fear to ascend to the Temple Mount.

He should be afraid.

The Arab sends a message: if you retreat before me, I will kill you. If you appease me, I will kill you. If you fear me, I will kill you. If you pray to your G-d, I will kill you.




Monday, November 17, 2014

The Temple Mount: an American betrayal

On July 28, 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at a US State Department briefing in Washington, DC. His subject was the release of the State Department’s newest Report (dated for year 2013) on International Religious Freedom (“Remarks at the Rollout of the 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom”, US State Department Homepage, July 28, 2014).

Secretary Kerry said that Freedom of Religion isn’t just for Americans. It’s a ‘universal value’. It’s for everyone. It is, he said, ingrained in every human heart.

Secretary Kerry went beyond the ‘human heart’. He declared that the freedom to profess and practice one’s faith is the birth-right of every human being. It is, he stated, a right that’s part of International law. He then added, “The promotion of international religious freedom is a priority for President Obama.”

That seems to be true. Obama has himself said that Religious Freedom is important to America. For example, in August, 2010, he said, “This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable” (“America's True History of Religious Tolerance”, Smithsonian Magazine, October 2010). 

The point of these remarks is to demonstrate that Religious Freedom isn’t an after-thought at the US State Department.  It’s a core objective of U.S. foreign policy (“Religious Freedom”, US State Department Homepage).

The US claims it actively promotes religious freedom as part of its Foreign policy strategy (ibid). That’s why the State Department of the United States publishes this annual report: to monitor the status of Religious Freedom across the world. It does this because America believes that no ruling authority can “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” (“How America defines religious freedom”, The Economist Explains, March 24, 2014).  The US dedicates this report to that proposition.

The US is so serious about Freedom of Religion that it uses this monitoring Report in order to identify and then denounce any regime that persecutes on the basis of religious belief (ibid). It claims that if it finds such persecution, it reserves for itself the right to take diplomatic action against those violators.

For the United States, Freedom of Religion is a serious business. The State Department’s website says so.

But when it comes to Jews in Israel, that US commitment to religious freedom simply isn’t there. When Jews are forbidden the freedom to practice their religion upon Judaism’s holiest site—the Temple Mount--the US has not  denounced (see above) the anti-Jewish Muslim authorities who violate Jews’ rights. When a Muslim politician recently declared that Jews have no right to pray on the Temple Mount (“MK Tibi: 'Jews Have No Right To Pray on Temple Mount'”, Arutz Sheva, October 31, 2014),  America didn’t stand up for those Jews. It didn’t seek to protect the Jews’ ‘birth-right’ (see Kerry’s comments, above) to practice their own religion.

Instead, the US demanded the opposite--that the Temple Mount be open to Muslims, not Jews (“US Told Israel Temple Mount ’Must Be Opened to Muslims’”, Jewish Express, October 31, 2014). It remained silent about protecting Jewish freedom of worship. That silence meant that, so far as the US was concerned, Jews had no freedom of worship on their own Temple Mount.

Contrary to its stated mission to promote Religious Freedom and to denounce those who deny it to others, the US has completely ignored those who deny Jews in Israel that freedom. It denounces no one—except Jews who ask for the right to exercise their religious beliefs.

The US pressured Israel to ban Jews from the Temple Mount (ibid).

Go to the US Statement Department Homepage for ‘Religious Freedom’. It’s all there (at least, as of November 16, 2014): the US is committed to freedom of religion; it is committed to “international covenants that guarantee it [freedom of religion] as the inalienable right of every human being [emphasis mine]”; it holds international religious freedom as a core objective of US foreign policy.

Why won’t the US stand up to defend the inalienable rights of Jews to worship at their own Temple Mount? Where is the US commitment to Jews’ freedom of religion?

The US fails to defend Jews’ religious rights at the Temple Mount. It fails to protect the sanctity of Religious Freedom. It fails to stand up for those ‘International covenants’ that guarantee religious freedom to everyone. It fails to denounce those Muslims who demand that the Jewish right to freedom of worship be denied.

The US undercuts its mission. It betrays that mission. It betrays the Jews of Israel.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The 21st Century: Civilization recedes. Chaos expands

For perhaps a hundred and fifty years—since the end of the American Civil War--Western Man has grown rich because of freedom, technology and the growth of consumer-driven economies. Western Man has created a civilization based on materialism. It works. That civilization has expanded exponentially.

All across Westernized nations, mechanization, science and electronics brought a TV to every living room and a car to practically every garage. The wealth of the West has reduced individual poverty, increased life expectancy and decreased infant mortality.

For this expanding civilization, literacy is up, deadly childhood diseases are down and high school graduation became the norm, not the exception. Western man has become better fed, better educated, better dressed and better entertained than any of his ancestors.

But the expansion of civilization may have peaked. Since the 9/11/2001 Jihadi terror attacks against America, individual wealth has declined. Both unemployment and underemployment have skyrocketed in Western nations. National debts rise. Per capita income drops. Political dissatisfaction increases.

All this has happened as Muslim immigrants have poured into Western nations.

Since 2001, global freedom has declined. Freedom has been important to Western man. It’s been linked repeatedly to national wealth, a growing sense of personal safety and the spread of human rights.

But freedom has eroded in each of the last eight years—a record string of annual declines (Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House).  Increasingly, national leaders are developing their own form of ‘modern authoritarianism’ (ibid). With this style of governing, shrewd leaders cripple political opposition without annihilating it. They flout the rule of law—but maintain a veneer of order, legitimacy, and prosperity (ibid).

More and more, these modern dictators control political and social institutions. They dominate the government. They gain control of the media, judiciary and security forces (ibid).  Not coincidentally, democracy falters (ibid).

When global democracy erodes, two things happen. Civilization retreats. Chaos expands.

Concurrent with the retreat of freedom, there is an unravelling of social order and personal safety. One expression of this unravelling is The Failed States Index (for more info on this Index, see the website for The Fund for Peace). The Index has just been renamed. It’s now called, The Fragile State Index.

The title has been changed because there is a growing realization that all states, to different degrees, face conditions that threaten the livelihoods of their citizens, thereby increasing a state’s ‘fragility’ (“Fragile States Index,” Foreign Policy Magazine, 2013). According to the latest index, 77% (138) of the 178 countries studied are less than ‘stable’. Many qualify to be called, ‘Fragile States’ (“As the World Turns: Will the West Prevail?”, Middle East Forum, September/October 2014).

Instead of an expanding civilization zone—which we saw for almost a century and-a-half-- the world now sees greater ‘fragility’. It sees a growing number of states that have descended into chaos, with a number of other countries threatening to follow them (ibid). These fallen and failing states turn their political geography into a ‘chaos zone’ (ibid).

The worst part of this ‘chaos zone’ starts in Africa and spreads up through the Arab Middle East. The ‘Arab Spring’, fighting in Syria, Somalia, Eretria, South Sudan, the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic all combine with the Islamic State to form a toxic ‘chaos zone’. In this zone, states cease to exist as functioning governments. In the place of ‘government’, tribal factionalism and/or religious terrorism replace all hope of order, law and civilization.

Most of the top ten on the Fragile State Index are disintegrating—or close to it (“The Fragile State Index”, ibid). Some argue that we can’t afford to dismiss these disintegrating states (“As the world turns”, ibid). We can’t look at them as disconnected from civilization (ibid) because they connect to civilization.

The predatory rulers of the ‘chaos zone’ often use civilization for ruthless ends. They buy weapons, computers and medicine from civilization (ibid). In exchange, they sell  diamonds, precious stones, human trafficking, drugs, stolen oil and money laundering opportunities (ibid). In 2009, they collected some $870 billion in revenues from these sales (ibid).

Some of that revenue is used to spread chaos.

For example, the Islamic State (ISIS) has recently published a series of strategic and operation ‘tips’ for Jihadi operatives in Egypt (“ISIS’s public support for the Egyptian jihadi organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, encouraging it to escalate the campaign of terror against the Egyptian regime. In turn, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”, The Meir Amit Terrorism and Information Center, November 12, 2014). At some level, ISIS joins with Al Qaeda and other Jihadi groups to peddle its chaos (ibid).

ISIS is the richest terror organization in the world. It has $2 billion in assets. It can earn $3 million a day (“Wealthy Terrorists Don’t Need Foreign Aid”, Commentary, November 13, 2014). It has money to spend to spread its chaos.

The spreading ‘chaos zone’ is not passive. Much of it serves an active world-wide Jihadi ideology. That ideology aims to destroy Western civilization. That ideology expands. It expands in the Middle East. It secures beachheads among Muslim immigrant communities in Europe and North America (“As the world turns…”, ibid). It expands at civilization’s expense.

The chaos zone versus civilization: it’s what’s new for the 21st Century.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The US votes: throw Israel under the bus

Democrats and Republicans in America are still taking about recent US elections (November 4, 2014).  As a result of those mid-term elections, Democrats are reeling. Republicans are smiling.

Republicans now control both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. The key word here is, ‘control’.

Republican control of Congress doesn’t bode well for the current (Democratic) President. A US President usually has trouble governing when the Party that opposes him has such power.

Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that talk opposing the President’s policies should pop up as soon as elections results were clear. What might surprise some is that much of that talk has used the word, ‘impeachment’.  

It’s been only ten days since that election. But we’ve already seen at least ten news stories about ‘impeachment’.

That’s what happens to losers. They get thrown under the proverbial bus—sometimes, by their erstwhile friends.

It’s too early to tell if that ‘bus’ will run over the US president. But those of us who live in Israel know what it’s like to get thrown under a bus by a so-called friend. We know because there’s been another ‘election’. This ‘election’ was about Israel, not the US Congress.

This so-called ‘election’ wasn’t advertised. There were no ballot boxes. There were no announcements. But the results of this ‘election’ are as real as those US elections.

Israel lost. It’s now been thrown under the bus.

This ‘election’ is the choice that the current White House has  made to support terror over democracy.

We are reminded of this ‘election’ by a comment Jonathan S. Tobin has just made about Hamas (“Wealthy Terrorists Don’t Need Foreign Aid”, Commentary, November 13, 2014). It seems that Hamas is the world’s second richest terrorist organization, second only to ISIS (what we call, ‘The Islamic State’) (“Forbes Israel: ISIS is World's Richest Terrorist Organisation in History”, International Business Times, November 12, 2014).

ISIS has perhaps $2 billion in assets. Hamas has $1 billion. By contrast, the Taliban rank fifth. They have a paltry $400 million. Al Qaeda seems downright poor. It has only $150 million.

Remember AL Qaeda and the Taliban? America went to war against them. American spilt its blood fighting them.

They’re pikers compared to Hamas.

Now, the wealth spread between Hamas and Al Qaeda/Taliban is going to get even bigger—much bigger.  You see, the international community has just committed to donate $5.4 billion to Hamas (Tobin, ibid).

The last time the world gave money to Hamas was to rebuild Gaza after the November 2012 war that Hamas had started with Israel. Hamas used much of that money to rearm and to build massive terror tunnels for the next war with Israel, which just ended in August, 2014.

Now, Hamas will receive even more money to 'rebuild'.  It’s going to get $5.4 billion.

Hamas has already announced that it isn’t done with its tunnels--which, you may note, have only one use: to cross into Israel in order to kill and kidnap Jews. Hamas needs money to rebuild what Israel has just destroyed.

Hamas will receive $5.4 billion.

According to this report (International Business Times, ibid), terror groups fund their operations from theft, drugs and extortion. ISIS’s main source of revenue comes from oil stolen from captured oil-fields in Iraq and Syria. It earns perhaps $3 million a day from this oil.

Hamas earns its revenue from ‘Gaza’. The report says that “the group's takeover of Gaza in 2007 was the point when it entered ‘the big league’” (ibid).

This means that Hamas doesn’t run Gaza as a state, community or civil municipality for the benefit of its population. It runs Gaza as a criminal enterprise. It uses the proceeds of that enterprise to wage terror war against Israel. Now, it will have another $5.4 billion.

Read the Hamas Charter. The Hamas raison d’etra is not to help Gazans. Its Charter states that its purpose is to destroy the Jewish state. It declares that there is no political solution to the ‘Palestinian question’. The only solution is Jihad—holy war against the Jews in Israel.

In writing about the $5.4 billion commitment to Gaza, Tobin observes that “the most curious thing about this exercise in international philanthropy was that no one thought to ask Hamas to pay for at least some of the damage they caused by igniting a bloody war” (ibid).

He needn’t have been so curious. The nations have already answered that question: they have already voted to support terror over democracy. We saw that in the 50-day war just past—when the greatest leader (Barack Obama) of the greatest nation (America) openly sided with Hamas against Israel.  

Last week, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a New York audience that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilians casualties” in Gaza (see Jonathan Tobin, “Dempsey debunks US attacks on Israel”, Commentary, November 7, 2014). This is an extraordinary statement, given how the US behaved during that war.

During this war, the US cast its vote for terror. It led a stampede against Israel. It accused Israel of killing ‘too many’ civilians. It told the world that Israel was killing civilians in an 'overly disproportionate' manner (ibid).

Those American anti-Israel accusations didn’t go unnoticed.

The UN noticed. It called for a war crimes investigation of Israel.

Meanwhile, the criminal, brutal and cynical Hamas ruthlessly used civilians as human shields (a war crime). Hamas did this publicly. It boasted about doing it. Yet the US was at the front of the ‘Israel is killing Gazans’ attack.

That didn’t go unnoticed.

Hamas and Fatah saw how its crimes were ignored. Now, as a result of that US support, they bring their war to destroy the Jewish state right into the heart of Jerusalem, the nation’s capital. They bring their war directly to the heart of Zion, the Temple Mount.

The US continues to support them against Israel.

The US has voted. Like the rest of the world, it will throw Israel under the bus.





Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Car Intifada

Today, I share an essay with you. It’s called, “The Car Intifada”, by Joseph Klein. It comes from the website, Frontpage Mag. It’s dated November 12, 2014. It gives a clear summary of recent terror attacks in Israel. It gives a clearer view of what has driven these attacks.

Here’s the essay. I have edited it:

Hamas leaders have been urging their followers to use cars and knives to spill as much Jewish blood as possible.  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Palestinians to stop Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism, by using “all means” necessary.

These calls for violence by top Palestinian authorities have been enthusiastically answered by thugs in the street.  Six Israelis have been killed in terror attacks in the last three weeks – not by rockets, but by cars and knives wielded as murder weapons against Israelis, including women and children.

On October 22nd, a member of Hamas rammed his car into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old girl.

Last week, a Palestinian Jerusalem resident also turned his vehicle into a killing machine. He killed an Israeli and wounded 13 others when he drove into a group of people waiting at a light rail station. On the same day, yet another Palestinian ran into and wounded three Israeli soldiers near Jerusalem.

Leaders of both Abbas’s party, Fatah, and Hamas, shrugged and said the attacks were perfectly “natural” or “normal” responses to Israeli policies.  They call the killers national heroes.

Palestinians have flocked to social media to celebrate what they’re calling the “Car Intifada.” A video of a new song with that catchy title appears on the MoslimMan.Rok Facebook page. It’s become a hit that has Palestinians happily singing along to lyrics such as “Run over the two-month-old baby – that is how we get them.”

Palestinian Media Watch reports on a cartoon appearing on one of Fatah’s official Facebook pages (“Fatah-The Main Page”), which carried the label “the run over organization”. It urges people to “Hit the gas at 199 [km/h] for Al-Aqsa.”

On another Facebook page, “The National Liberation Movement – Fatah,” a cartoon appears showing a car going after three fleeing stereotyped Jews wearing hats with the Star of David.

The car may be the Palestinians’ murder weapon of choice these days, but anything they can use to kill Jews will suffice. After all, they are just following the directions of their leaders. One of Hamas’s leaders said just last week, during a television interview, that even a Palestinian “who owns nothing but his faith has a kitchen in his house in which he has a knife.” It is his duty to “grab his knife and confront the Zionist enemy.”

Is it any surprise that in separate knifing incidents on November 10th, an Israeli soldier and a woman were stabbed to death by Palestinians practicing their “faith”? The soldier was killed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian. The woman was killed at a traffic circle in the West Bank; a Palestinian driver had tried and failed to run over people waiting at a bus station; he got out of his car and stabbed the woman to death.

The Obama administration and European Union issued the most tepid of condemnations of the killings. “It is absolutely critical that the parties take every possible measure to protect civilians and de-escalate tensions,” said US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on November 11th saying he was “deeply concerned about the upsurge in violence and killings”.

As usual, the UN at its highest levels refused to lay the blame for the latest spate of violence where it belongs: on the Palestinians and their leadership. The spokesperson’s office for the Secretary General, despite several requests for comment, has refused to condemn the incendiary remarks of Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders.  There has also been no UN condemnation of the Palestinians’ demand, which they have backed up with violence, that Jews and other non-Muslims be barred from worshipping anywhere on the Temple Mount. Instead, the UN, as well as the Obama administration, appear to support this demand (in order to reduce tensions,  they say) even though the forcible exclusion of Jews and other non-Muslims from worship at a site sacred to them is contrary to the basic human right of free exercise of religion.

Symbolic of the UN’s unconditional support for the Palestinians, no matter how badly they act, the United Nations hosted a fashion show to recognize the UN’s international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The event was held on November 10th, the same day of two murders of Israelis committed by Palestinians who had been incited to their acts of violence by their leaders. As Israeli UN Ambassador Prosor asked rhetorically, “Solidarity with incitement? Solidarity with terror and extremism?” Apparently so.

Remember the name, The Car Intifada. It’s how Arabs express their Jew-hate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Modest Proposal to end Jewish oppression

Readers of world news are bombarded with anti-Israel stories. It’s difficult to find two days in a row that are free of Israel-bashing. Mostly, it’s damn the Jews for this and damn them for that.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement works to build that road to damnation. Its assault against two Israeli companies--SodaStream and Teva—illustrates how this road-building works. But the attacks against these two  companies also suggest something else. They suggest a way to end the damnation.

SodaStream is an Israeli company. It manufactures the ‘SodaStream Drinksmaker’. This device carbonates water. It’s popular. It sells.

BDS targeted SodaStream because, BDS claimed, the company’s principal factory was built on ‘land stolen from ‘Palestinians’ (‘The Case against SodaStream”, The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, August 12, 2014). This anti-Israel accusation recalls the first Rashi (1040-1105) Commentary on the very first word of the Torah. In that opening commentary, Rashi speaks of a time when the “nations of the world will say to Israel, you are bandits” (Rashi: Bereisheis, The ArtScroll Series, 2003, p. 2): Israel will be accused of ‘stealing’ land.

BDS did exactly that. It accused SodaStream of building a factory upon ‘stolen’ land.

The factory in question had been built just outside the city of Maale Adumim. That city is over the ‘Green Line’, which means that it sits on land Arabs claim Jews ‘stole’.

How did the Jews ‘steal’ this land? In 1967, Jordan attacked Israel as part of a larger war to destroy Israel. It lost. That’s how Israel ‘stole’ the land.

BDS now attacked SodaStream because of that ‘crime’. But SodaStream claimed its factory helped Arabs. It was a major employer of Arabs. It employed 500 of them. It paid them Israeli wages and benefits. Those wages and benefits were considerably higher than anything those Arab could have earned from Arab employers.

The factory was a good deal for Arabs. But BDS didn’t care. It held SodaStream accountable for Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies (“SodaStream to close illegal settlement factory in response growing boycott campaign”, BDS, October 30, 2014). 

Apparently, those higher wages and better benefits were clearly the true face of the ‘apartheid’ Israel. Just as clearly, those Arab workers were oppressed. BDS came to their rescue.

In the end, SodaStream did the right thing. It removed the factory from the ‘stolen’ land. It closed the factory. It laid off the 500 Arabs. BDS celebrated (“SodaStream to close…”, above, ibid).

Nevertheless, BDS was vigilant. It didn’t drop its damnation of SodaStream. A BDS spokesman explained that SodaStream’s decision to shut the one factory and build another one elsewhere will nevertheless keep the company implicated “in the displacement of Palestinians” even in its new location (“SodaStream to Remain Target of BDS Boycott”, The Tablet, November 11, 2014).

Why? Because the new factory that SodaStream is opening (to replace the one shut down) stands too close to a town Israel is developing for Bedouins. The town is controversial. Some—but not all--claim that Bedouins are being forcefully transferred to the new town against their will.

The accusation focuses on Rahat, a Bedouin city near Be’ersheva. It’s an existing city that Israel wants to develop to improve life for the Bedouin. Unlike illegal Bedouin villages, where most Bedouin live, this town provides access to water, electricity and services. The problem is, it’s a city. Bedouin don’t like living in cities. They’re desert people.

The city is poor. It has social and economic problems. BDS claims that SodaStream will benefit from those poor Bedouins. Doing that, BDS claims, will make SodaStream complicit in what BDS calls the “violation of [Arab] human rights”.

The main rights violation would be to bring jobs to a depressed population. It would bring economic opportunity. It would bring desperately needed money to poor Arabs.

BDS doesn’t care about that. It sees Israel as too evil to benefit Arabs. Israel is apartheid, don’t you know? It oppresses the Arab through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation (BDS Homepage)--and manufacturing companies participate in this oppression (ibid).

BDS sees SodaStream as one of those human rights violators. It doesn’t matter where it goes. It keeps on oppressing Arabs. It keeps on hiring them.

The ever-vigilant BDS sees the apartheid game SodaStream is playing. It won’t be fooled by the company’s factory tricks.

Teva, the Israeli pharmaceutical company, is another exploiter. It, too, supports the ‘apartheid’ Israel. But in a way, Teva is worse than SodaStream: it gains profit from Israeli apartheid policies that create a captive Palestinian market for Israeli medicine (ibid).

These are serious accusations. But Israel can ease this oppression. There is a road away from damnation.

Here’s a Modest Proposal. It’s really quite simple. First, it aims to remove Arabs from being ‘captive’ to Israel’s medical marketplace. Teva, which makes and sells generic drugs, is one of Israel’s most profitable companies. BDS’s Homepage suggests that Teva oppresses Arabs by making those Arabs reliant on Teva’s drugs (ibid, “Who should I boycott?”).

To eradicate this oppression, the State of Israel should release Arabs from Teva’s (and Israel’s) medical captivity.

After all, if no generic drugs are sold to Arabs, and no Arabs are ‘in captivity’ inside Israeli hospitals, Israel can’t violate their ‘medical’ human rights. They’ll be free from captivity.


Next, Israel can address the economic oppression Arabs feel when they work for Jews. This is one important lesson from those 500 Arabs who were laid off from their SodaStream jobs: they’re no longer oppressed by the Jewish SodaStream.

To bring such freedom to all Arabs, Israeli companies employing/oppressing Arabs in Jewish-owned factories should henceforth free all Arabs from their factory-related ‘captivity’. That way, they’ll no longer be oppressed by their Jewish bosses.

Perhaps BDS is right. Arabs should be free.

This Modest Proposal should help.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran’s Day 2014—in Israel

Last updated: November 12, 2014
Today is November 11, 2014. In America, all post offices and federal offices are closed. The Bond Market is closed. Banks are closed.

Today in America is Veterans Day. It’s the day America honours those who have served in the U.S. military.

It’s a day for parades. It’s a day for speeches.

Israel is different. In Israel, November 11 isn’t Veterans Day. It isn’t a day to honour those who served.

This year in Israel, November 11 is the day Arabs honour the memory of Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004. Yasser Arafat had one goal in his life: to destroy Israel.

Arabs want to celebrate that.

Israeli Jews are interested in this celebration. They want to know if it will provoke more attacks on Jews.

In Israel, attacking Jews has become an Arab sport. During the last three weeks, Arabs have created a new version of this sport. It’s called, ‘car Intifada’.

Yesterday, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) posted a new bulletin entitled, “Palestinian song encourages more terror” (November 10, 2014). The song celebrates the ‘car Intifada’.

As Arabs celebrate their Yasser Arafat Day, some may be tapping their toes to this new song. Its lyrics are catchy. Here’s a sample:

                              “Run [them] over, destroy,

                               annihilate, blow them up;

                         Don’t let the Zionist live long                         

                              O Al-Aqsa, we’re your defenders

                              O son of Jerusalem, cry 'Allah is great!'"

                       “Wait for them at the intersection

                             Let the settler drown in red blood

                             Terrorize them”

We know that Arabs will be tapping their toes to this ditty because PMW reports that one version of the song has already gotten 385,000 hits on social media. The song is less than ten days old. A youtube version has received another 71,000 hits (ibid).

The song appears in the wake of multiple terror attacks carried out by Arabs using a car as a weapon--to run over Israelis.  Since this ‘car Intifada’ started on October 22, 2014, Arabs have killed four people and injured dozens.

The song celebrates the terrorists who committed these crimes. It also celebrates the terrorist who attempted to murder Rabbi Yehuda Glick (on October 29, 2014).

These terrorists attacked Jews because of anger over so-called ‘crimes’ committed by Jews on the Temple Mount (hence the reference in the lyrics above to ‘al-aqsa’, the Arabic name for the Temple Mount).

Yes, Arabs say Jews commit crimes on the Temple Mount. What crimes? They visit the Mount. They advocate to worship on the Mount.

The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth for Jews. But to the Arab, any Jew who dares set foot on the Mount commits a desecration, a defilement.

To Arabs, those visits are crimes. The Jews who visit there are criminals.

Rabbi Glick has worked to secure the freedom for Jews to worship on the Mount. On October 29, 2014, he was shot because of that advocacy.

This new Arab song dedicates one stanza to each of the four terrorists who have recently killed Jews—or tried to. Three of these terrorists died using their car to kill and maim Jews. One of them didn’t use his car. He used a gun.

The song blesses them all. It honours them. It celebrates them.

For example, about two of the four killers, the song sings,

            “The whole Arab nation is telling you:

           Al-Akari [one of the killers], bless your [soul]

              Run over the settler!

              Run over the settler!

              Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi [one of the killers]

              ran over a Jewish settler

              He did it for his country

              with his limited means

             Today, the entire people deem [him] a hero


This song gives you a glimpse into how popular Arab culture focuses on Jew-hate. It’s a culture that's really very simple. It doesn’t promote peace. It doesn’t promote a ‘two-state solution’.

It promotes Jew-hate.

This might be Veteran’s Day in America. But in our neighbourhood, it’s more like ‘kill a Jew Day’.

Mahmoud Abbas is the cheerleader. At a speech for Yasser Arafat Day, he accused Israel of igniting a ‘religious war’ by allowing Jewish worshippers to visit the holy site in Jerusalem (“Abbas says Israel igniting 'religious war'”, Al Jazeera, November 11, 2014). He was also quoted as saying that Israel seeks to ignite a “dangerous Holy war throughout the region” (“Palestine News Network, November 11, 2014).

As a result, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that Israel is about to see more violence, not less (“Ya’alon: Israel Must Prepare for an Escalation”, Arutz Sheva, November 11, 2014).

Today, Americans remember those who served in its military. Today, Mahmoud Abbas talks of Holy war.

Arabs riot. They attack Jews.

Guess where Abbas is leading his people.




Monday, November 10, 2014

Benjamin Netanyahu’s akeidah: a lesson in extortion

On November 8, 2014, Jews around the world read the weekly Torah Portion, Vayeira (B’Reisheet 18:1-22:24). In that Portion, we read about the akeidah, the binding of Isaac.

The akeidah begins with the words, “And it happened after these things that G-d tested Abraham” (ArtScroll translation, ibid, 22:1). The test was, would Abraham agree to take his son Isaac to ‘Har HaMoriah’ (Mount Moriah) and sacrifice him there.

This story may well be the most well-known of the Tanach. For those who see it for the first time, it’s extraordinary. For those who read it anew each year at this time, it remains extraordinary.

Many Jews read it in its entirety every day as part of their morning prayers. All of us read it every year as part of our liturgy for Rosh HaShannah, when we begin a New Year.

Our Sages have discussed this test in detail. For example, Rashi (1040-1105) explains (B’Reisheet 22:2) that we learn  from  Divrei HaYamim 2, 3:1 (Chronicles) that Mount Moriah is the Temple Mount. The Ramban (1194-1270) is more emphatic. He says that that same source identifies Mount Moriah explicitly as the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz (1550-1619), meanwhile, says that the Temple Mount is where the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people was complete (Klei Yakar, Bereishis, Vol 1, Menucha Publishers, Brooklyn, NY, 2013, p. 262).

Abraham passed his test on what was destined to become The Temple Mount. His obedience completed the marriage between G-d and Israel.  

Through his test, Abraham demonstrated at least two realities which could never be denied. First, he trusted G-d. Even as G-d appeared to order him to kill his own son, he showed that his trust in G-d was complete.

Second, he demonstrated his commitment to G-d. Through his test, he proved that his loyalty and allegiance to G-d had no limit.

As a reward for such behaviour, he received G-d’s blessings.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces his own akeidah, his own test. He faces this test on Mount Moriah—the Temple Mount. His test is on the very same spot as Abraham’s test.

Netanyahu’s test is similar to that of Abraham—but very different. It’s similar because it’s about commitment. It’s about loyalty. It’s about obedience.

But it’s different. The one who directly tests Netanyahu isn’t the Creator of the world. It’s the most powerful man in the world—the President of the United States. It’s also different because the reward for passing his test won’t be positive blessings. It’ll be more tests.

At the United Nations (UN), Israel has only one ally who has used its veto power to protect Israel.  That veto-endowed ally is the United States (US). In a UN environment that is openly hostile to Israel, that veto-protection is important. For some, it guarantees Israel’s existence (“Obama threatens Netanyahu with US veto”, Middle East Monitor, November 3, 2014).

But now, as Arabs who would destroy Israel rise up violently in riot, incitement and murder against Jews, the US suggests that its UN veto-protection may evaporate  (“US veto at Security Council may no longer be a given,” Times of Israel, November 4, 2014).

This is a threat to withhold protection. Without the protection of the US veto, Israel could be sanctioned, criminalized or otherwise ‘excommunicated’ from the family of Man. It suggests extortion—providing protection in exchange for some kind of compliance.

Benjamin Netanyahu is being pressured. He’s being tested. The US wants Netanyahu to do its will. The US tests Netanyahu’s obedience with the Temple Mount (“US Told Israel Temple Mount ’Must Be Opened to Muslims’”, Jewish Express, October 31, 2014). In a practical sense, the US is, essentially, demanding that Muslims be allowed to reign supreme on the Temple Mount. With its veto threat, the US appears to push Netanyahu to do Mr Obama’s will. It is an exercise in raw power.

The test is, is Netanyahu obedient enough to comply?

Right now, he’s obedient enough to ban Jewish worship on the Mount (“PM: Temple Mount is our holiest site, but we won’t allow Jewish prayer there”, Times of Israel, November 2, 2014).  He’s also obedient enough to make a public promise to Jordan’s King that Jews won’t be allowed to worship on the Mount (“Netanyahu Promises Abdullah: No Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount”, Arutz Sheva, November 6, 2014).

To preserve the protection of the US veto, what else will Netanyahu promise?

This is Netanyahu’s akeidah. His loyalty and obedience are being tested. But instead of going to the Temple Mount to prove his loyalty to G-d, he is being asked to go to the Temple Mount to prove his disloyalty to G-d.

When Abraham passed his test, he received blessings. What will Netanyahu get after passing this test? We know what he’ll get.  

We know how extortion works. It never gets better. It only gets worse.