Thursday, July 31, 2014

Who is reading America’s news?

A story popped up yesterday on (“ABC Goes Inside Gaza With an Israeli Armoured Unit”, July 30, 2014). It’s about an ABC crew embedded with Israeli soldiers. It seemed to be one of very few news items which showed Israeli forces in a positive light. That seemed unusual.

Reader comment to this story, however, wasn’t exactly ‘unusual’. It was stunning. Given the press’s intensely anti-Israel slant, the comments you are about to see seem totally out of place.

Is there a gap between US leadership and the media on the one hand, and the US public? I’m not in America. All I see is the anti-Israel bias of the press and the Administration. Are these comments below a true reflection of the US news audience—or not?

Reader Comment:

--Remember when Israel blockaded concrete because they claimed it was being used for terrorism? The Palestinians claimed they needed it for construction and jobs. Still sympathetic?   

-- CBS News (the news I usually watch) has devoted its news casts to covering Gaza. They show lots of pictures of children victims and some adults as victims. They DO NOT cover Israel--and do not mention that this whole thing started after several firings of rockets from Gaza.

--It’s interesting that all of the billions of funding that Hamas gets from its sponsors has been used to build tunnels to kidnap and murder Israelis instead of building schools, roads and businesses to improve the lives of ordinary citizens living in Gaza.

-- Looks like a lot of time and effort went into building those tunnels. Wonder how that time and effort could have been used to build schools and infrastructure instead.

-- It's hard to spin these tunnels. There is only one reason these terrorist would dig tunnels and it's not for defense!

--I'm looking at pictures on google and other videos of the tunnels and I can't help but think that Israel is right with the embargo... The cement, wood, electrical wire, nails, hammers, and all they need to rebuild Gaza is going to the underground network of tunnels. The citizens are not benefiting, but the militants sure are...

--Ok, I only have one question here. How in the world is it that they [Hamas] can build these tunnels (no small accomplishment) and yet not build infrastructure to support their citizens? I spent years in the construction industry and I can tell you right now these tunnels were not built over-night. These tunnels have rails, electricity, concrete, steel, and who knows how much labour was required to accomplish such a project(s). I am not trying to be a jerk here, but if you are trying pretend to be the victim in all this it would help if you wouldn't have put so many resources into building something that can only serve one purpose…

This is what Hamas has been doing with the funds it has received from the US and other countries. This is what Hamas has been doing with the cement and building supplies Israel has allowed into Gaza. The World criticizes Israel? Israel must face an enemy which chooses to fight from behind women and children. The world will record their inevitable deaths and condemn Israel. Hamas has only one purpose: Destroy Israel and kill Jews--PERIOD. There is no difference in the goals of Hamas or Fatah and Abbas. Only in the time frame in which it is to be done. Hamas continues to fire and store their missiles in UN schools and public buildings. They continue to fire on Israelis from the midst of their civilian populations, just like Hezbollah in Lebanon. These are rabid, heartless dogs whose purpose is NOT to make peace, but only to make war to achieve their ultimate end--the Destruction of the State of Israel and the removal Jews from the land. There will be no peace. Their goal is ONE PALESTINIAN STATE from River to Sea with Jerusalem as its undivided Capital--just as Arafat expounded till the day he died. NOTHING has changed. Israel is to make peace with an entity sworn to its destruction??

--The question of how many Palestinian women and children are going to die in Gaza is not going to be decided by the Israelis — it is going to be decided by Hamas. The Jews mean to live, Hamas means to exterminate them, and there will be war until Hamas and its allies either weary of it or win it and the last Israeli Jew is dead or exiled. It is Hamas, not the Israelis, that stashes rockets and soldiers in schools and hospitals, while hiding and fighting behind their children.

--The misinformation being distributed by the Palestinians and their supporters is staggering in its breadth and acrimony. I always thought that anti-Semitism was a minority opinion and that the vast majority of people actually didn't participate in that way of thinking. I was wrong. Most of the Christian world hates the Jews. There is no other explanation for the support being given to these subhuman vermin. Go Israel.  


Who are these commenting readers? Are they simply a fringe who do not represent the typical American reader? Of the comments I scanned (200 of 802), I saw only two or three that were pro-Arab. Is that representative of America’s news audience?

What’s going on here? Can you tell me?


War stories, Israel-style

In America, war stories usually focus on individual exploits. The main point of such stories is what had happened to the soldier.

In Israel, war stories are very different. Yes, they still involve the individual soldier. But the soldier is not the main point of an Israeli war story.

The main point of an Israeli’s war story is ‘miracle’.

Here are four stories I heard this week. The first three come from a friend who stopped me as we were both leaving our synagogue after morning prayers. The fourth is from one of my daughters who, upon hearing these stories, told me she had received a text message about another war story.

My friend told me that he had recently attended a meeting about a topic that had nothing to do with the current war with Gaza. A Rosh Yeshiva (Dean of a religious Seminary) was at the meeting. My friend told me the two following stories were from the Rosh Yeshiva.

First, some background about a ‘Rosh Yeshiva’. A Rosh Yeshiva is not just a Dean or a leader; he is also a man who has developed a reputation as a Torah scholar. Young men go to a Yeshiva (religious seminary) because of the reputation of the Rosh Yeshiva. When a young man leaves a Yeshiva, perhaps at age 20-24, he doesn’t just ‘leave’. He maintains contact with his teachers and most especially with his ‘Rosh Yeshiva’, who by then has usually become that young man’s spiritual mentor and life guide. The connections a young man makes with his Rosh Yeshiva will often be life-long.

This particular Rosh Yeshiva told those at the meeting that he had just received two calls from former students who have been IDF (Israel Defence Force) soldiers fighting in Gaza. One told him that, on one occasion, he (and other soldiers) had entered a building in Gaza to search for terrorists and weapons. Seconds after clearing one room, a shell crashed into that room. It had come, they later discovered, from an Israeli tank that had been aiming at a different house. The shell did not explode. None of the IDF soldiers was injured. It was, the soldier said, a miracle no one was killed.

The second soldier told a similar story dealing with an Arab rocket. He and a number of IDF soldiers had entered another Arab house in Gaza. Carefully, they made their way through the house, looking for terrorists, weapons—and booby traps. They went slowly. They mounted a set of stairs to check out the second story. As the last soldier cleared the staircase, a rocket shot into the house and demolished the staircase. It was a miracle, the soldier said, that no soldier was killed.

The third story comes from my friend. He said his wife had received a picture of a soldier in a combat outfit ‘wearing’ (as soldiers do) a hand grenade on the front of his ‘jacket’. In the picture, the grenade clearly had a bullet piercing it. The grenade had not exploded.

To explain what this meant, my friend told me this story. There is a woman in Israel who, like too many others, had lost two sons in the IDF. Her two boys had been killed in action against the enemy. She travels around Israel speaking to audiences. She says, look at me. I have buried two of my children. I tell you I miss them every day. The pain I feel has never gone away. But I also stand here to tell you, never give up. Be strong. You must continue to fight. Fight with courage.

One of this woman’s sons had been killed, my friend said, because a grenade he had been ‘wearing’ had been struck by a bullet—and had exploded, killing him. There have been rumours, my friend said, that Israel had been trying to develop a grenade that would not explode if struck by shrapnel or a bullet. He said, I guess they succeeded.

My daughter told me the following story, from a soldier who helped to man one of the anti-missile stations called Iron Dome. It’s a story that has since appeared online. Perhaps you have seen it: recently, the Iron Dome system this soldier was working at spotted a missile heading to Tel Aviv. Their unit fired at the missile. It missed. This happened more than once. Such a thing had occurred only twice before in the entire Iron Dome network. Now, the missile seemed clearly headed not just to Tel Aviv, but to that section of Tel Aviv holding a cluster of high-rise apartment buildings.

At this point, time moved very quickly. The soldiers at the station watched, helplessly, as the missile pointed towards Tel Aviv.

The Iron Dome is a sophisticated system. It tracks missiles. But it also tracks wind direction and speed because the wind can play a role in a missile’s trajectory.

Someone at the station suddenly called out, we’ve got wind gusts. They’re really strong! Everyone watched in utter amazement as the incoming missile veered away from Tel Aviv’s high-rise buildings—and crash into the Mediterranean Sea.

Someone jumped up and cried out, ‘There is a G-d! There is a G-d! We have seen the hand of G-d push the missile away!’

Americans, including many American Jews, simply refuse to believe these stories. The stories seem too corny. That’s too bad—because the Arabs believe them.

The blog, EmunahSpeak, has posted a story many of us have heard. This post went up July 22, 2014. I have done limited editing:

Apparently, one of the top people in the Hamas leadership was interviewed by CNN. When asked by the interviewer why his missiles never seemed to hit anything of substance, he answered that all of their missiles are tested and that those who launch them are experts, but their G-d (our G-d) stops them.  Then he was asked the obvious question:

“If you understand that their G-d is protecting them why do you keep launching missiles?”

“We’re probing for a weak moment,” he answered, “when their G-d doesn’t favour them.”


These are the war stories Israel hears. They are not just stories of soldiers in combat. They are stories of the G-d of Israel.

Israel is a land of miracles. It is a holy land. On one level, that’s why the Arab fights for it. He wants that holiness.

That’s also why women who bury their children give speeches. They know that holiness. They don’t want us to forget it.
Happy is the nation that recognizes the G-d of Israel.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The path to Redemption: Rav Kook was right

Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook served as the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi for the British Mandate of Palestine (modern Israel) between 1921 and 1935. He is considered by many to be the founder of modern Religious Zionism in Israel.
As a Torah scholar and student of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), he wrote of Redemption. To oversimplify, he believed that Redemption was not a singular, unique event that would occur in a (probably) unexpected instant. Instead, he believed that Redemption was a process that unfolds in history.
He died in 1935 before he could realize how correct he was.
In his book, War and Peace, (Commentary by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman, Torah Eretz Yisroel Publications, Jerusalem, 1994), Rav Kook writes that G-d directs the world in a natural, historical fashion, achieving His aims through the vehicles of nations and kings (i.e., national leaders) (p.43). He believed that the prophesied return of the Jewish people to Israel would be an historical event sure to come true (ibid, p 42).
How would that happen? Through history.
For Rav Kook, Divine Providence works through history. In history, a process unfolds. This process is similar to what man experiences: just as man develops from infancy to adolescence to maturity, so, too, history evolves, stage after stage (ibid, p 39). This process, Rav Kook said, is the blueprint that HaShem has created for the world—for man, history and for the Jewish people (ibid).
Redemption is part of that process (ibid, p 40). Look at what our Sages teach: war, our Talmud says, is (besides being a period of destruction) also the beginning of Redemption (Megilla, 17b) (see ibid, p 40). The Talmud, Rav Kook says, tells us that our Redemption comes after a period of struggle and war.
Rav Kook wrote that, when there is war, then, in accordance to the magnitude of the conflict, the Redemption of Israel moves forward faster or slower. This is precisely what has happened.
For example, World War One brought us the Balfour letter, which set into motion the re-creation of the Jewish national homeland on Biblical land. World War Two brought us the founding of the modern state of Israel. The June, 1967, Six-Day War brought us the reunification of Judea-Samaria with Israel—and the recapture of the Temple Mount.
Now, Israel fights another war. This war is against Hamas in Gaza. So far, this war has moved Israel closer to its ‘destined perfection’ (ibid, p42) by bringing Israelis together in a unity not seen for decades (“Shimon Peres: I Have Never Seen the Nation So Unified”, Arutz Sheva, July 30, 2014).
Now we see the possible beginning of yet another step forward. In this unfolding story of Israel’s Redemption-in-the-making, we see a potential separation of Israel from its secular ‘master’, the United States.
The United States has always been a friend to Israel. But that friendship has always been bitter-sweet. For example, the birth of the modern Israel could not have happened without the support of the US. But then, at almost the same instant Israel was ‘born’, the US joined Britain in an arms blockade against the new Jewish state just as that state was simultaneously invaded by Arab armies.
The US has maintained such a love-hate relationship with Israel since. For many, the US has been the master and, too often, our leaders have been nothing more than American puppets. For some, Israel’s destiny will always be stalled when it replaces G-d with such an indifferent master.
That love-hate relationship may be ending. The current US President has never really liked our Prime Minister Netanyahu. Now, he appears to reveal that he can no longer even be civil to Netanyahu.  
A tape recording has emerged. That recording might never have seen the light of day but for a US assertion that Netanyahu had asked for a new cease-fire with Hamas ("Kerry: Netanyahu Asked Me to Help Broker Gaza Ceasefire", Arutz Sheva, July 29, 2014). The recording emerged because, it would seem, that assertion was a flat-out lie.
In the short-term, both sides have chosen to deny the authenticity of the tape. That’s okay. That’s called, international politics.
But the proverbial cat is now out of the bag. We have seen the emperor with no clothes on—and what we see is ugly.
Specifically, the recording presents the US President as demanding, with great force and hostility, that Israel not only accept a cease-fire, but make that cease-fire unilateral (see “In Leaked Tape, Hostile Obama Tries to Force PM to Accept Truce”, Arutz Sheva, July 29, 2014). It presents us with a shocking show of raw power applied with an intense hostility.
We will have to wait to see how this tape influences events—and leadership decisions. Already, one result is visible: Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have gone deeper into Gaza ("IDF Launches New Offensive into North, Central Gaza", Arutz Sheva, July 30, 2014).
Rav Kook has written that history progresses with the aim of bringing the Jewish people to its destined perfection. You may not believe in this process. But you cannot deny two things: (1) the world map has indeed been rearranged to create modern Israel (ibid, p 43); and, (2), war has brought us increasingly closer to the Jewish Redemption.
Rav Kook was right.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Jewish view of boycotts

The Arabs calling themselves ‘Palestinians’ want you to boycott Israel. They want you to do that as a way to pressure Israel. They want 'justice' from Israel. That justice requires Israel to stop calling itself a Jewish state, allow 4 million Jew-hating Arabs to flood into Israel and to surrender Jerusalem to them.

That means, of course, that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement isn’t really about helping the ‘Palestinians’ create a state; it’s about destroying Israel. Norman Finkelstein, one of the movement’s leading Jewish advocates, has concluded that this is the real goal of BDS.

Now, Jews have begun to think about this BDS concept. It’s beginning to sound good. Some Jews are thinking about boycotting Palestinians. They’ve come up with a new slogan. Perhaps you've seen it:

We want to boycott the Palestinians. But they don’t actually make anything.



Joan Rivers: politics as Jewish Judo

Jews are not known for their athletic prowess. They aren’t known for pugilistic perfection. Jews, you know, can’t fight.
But Joan Rivers can. Have you seen the video of her?
In a Youtube video, a reporter catches up to her as she was about to enter an airport. The reporter told her he was looking to collect celebrity reactions to the Gaza-Israel war. Her first response was, “Look, if New Jersey would fire rockets into New York, we’d wipe ‘em out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from Jersey into New York, we’d get rid of Jersey”.
The reporter asked, what about the civilian casualties in Gaza. She responded, “then don’t put your g-damn things into private homes! I’m sorry, but don’t you dare put weapon stashes into private homes”.
The report asked, where are civilians supposed to go? She replied immediately, “I don’t care. They started it. You [the media] are all insane: they started it! Israel didn’t fire rockets into Gaza. They started it! The BBC should be ashamed of itself. CNN should be ashamed of itself!”
Seems like Joan Rivers knows a thing or two about reality. Too bad CNN, the BBC and the rest of the anti-Israel media don’t.
Good for you, Joan Rivers.
(If you find the video, take a look at it. It's less than two minutes. But it's worth the time.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

What war is like in Israel

When America goes to war, you don’t really notice it. You don’t notice soldiers are dying. If you miss the evening news, you may not see the funeral notices.

When the bodies of soldiers return home, you don’t see the coffins. That would be too disturbing. You hear about those deaths mostly when someone in your own community has been killed-in-action.

In America, your everyday life is not affected. There are no air raid sirens, no incoming rocket alerts on the radio. The war is far away.

It’s not like that in Israel. In Israel, the war is right here, in your own city, your own location. I don’t know what previous wars were like here—I wasn’t here—but I can tell you what this war is like. I believe that every citizen in Israel south of Modiin (perhaps 80 per cent of our population) has heard an air raid siren go off. The population south of Tel Aviv has been under constant barrage for the last three weeks. This morning, I saw an acquaintance who lives near Gaza. He was in my own town visiting family. I asked him what it was like for him and his family. He said (in Hebrew), ‘many impact booms’.

You do not hear those words in America.

Israel is different from America in another way: we actively support our soldiers in a way most Americans do not—perhaps cannot—understand. For example, we constantly hear about what our soldiers need: wipes, food, underwear, socks, water. We shop for soldiers we do not know. We bake cookies and make sandwiches to deliver to them.

The highways south to Gaza are jammed with cars. They all head to our soldiers. They carry the gifts we have gathered for them.

You do not do that in America.

In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, we read that, when Israel faced the Philistines on the battlefield, David was not a soldier on the battlefield that day. He was not part of King Shaul’s Israel army. He was only there because, like many today, he was bringing food to his brothers, who were in Shaul’s army. He only got on to the battlefield, to confront the giant Goliath, because of what was happening when he arrived.

We do the same thing here today. We deliver necessities to the battlefield. Young reservists who have not been called up also travel to the battlefield. They go there to demand that they join their units.

During Shabbat services two days ago, our Rabbi made an announcement. He said, our soldiers in combat send their thanks to all of us for the gifts we have sent to them. Actually, the Hebrew word for ‘gifts’ he used (t’rumot) is not the normal word for gift (‘mahtahnah). The word he used comes from the Bible. It does mean ‘gift’, all right. But its reference has a religious-spiritual meaning.

We have a deep tie to our precious young soldiers. They risk their lives to protect us. They are not cipher-soldiers. We see them every day. We care for them.

Our Rabbi continued, saying, our soldiers thank all of us. But there is now a new need. Our soldiers need a place to sleep, rest and eat. They have a place to go away from the front line so they can sleep for one or two days. But they also need hot meals. We are asked to give cash, so food can be purchased for the purpose of cooking those meals. Please bring cash donations to ___ after Shabbat (we do not handle cash on our Shabbat).

In America, we never hear such an announcement. The war is never that close.

Israel may have the best army in the world, possibly because it’s gotten so much practice. But that war experience is expensive. For example, the anti-missile protection system we have, called the Iron Dome, is not cheap. Every shell fired at an incoming rocket is said to cost $50,000USD.

In the last three weeks, the Dome has fired hundreds of these shells. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to figure out how expensive such protection is.

In Israel, the government pays for those shells. But that means that the rest of us pitch in to pay for socks, underwear and wipes.

We do not complain. We are at war. We understand what losing means. Buying underwear and tampons for our soldiers is the least we can do.

Last week, another call made the rounds. A request was circulating for money to purchase 500 pairs of combat boots. Earlier in the week, another call went out: female soldiers needed ‘feminine stuff’.

Shopping lists changed with each call. People in the supermarket loaded carts with extras. Boxes and bags were filled, cars loaded.

You do not do that in America. In America, war is always far, far away.

Here now is a letter from a soldier. The letter tells you something about the nature of the people who live in Israel, who send their precious youth to face our enemies. It also tells you something about our soldiers.

The letter was written in Hebrew, then translated. It appeared on the blog entitled, The Muqata. It was posted on July 24, 2014. A reader sent it to me:

What's happening here in the staging area [area where soldiers prepare to enter Gaza] is beyond comprehension, not rationally, not emotionally and beggars the imagination.

 Almost every hour cars show up overflowing with food, snacks, cold drinks, socks, underwear, undershirts, hygiene supplies, wipes, cigarettes, backgammon and more. They're coming from the North and the Center, from manufacturers, from companies and private businesses, from prisons, Chareidim [the ultra-religious, who are often accused of being ‘anti-Israel’] and Settlers, from Tel Aviv and even Saviyon [I do not know where this is].

 Every intersection on the way down here we get stopped, not by police, but be residents giving out food. What is amazing is that the entire situation wasn't organized and everyone is coming on their own without coordination between the folks coming.

 They're writing letters and blessings, how they're thinking of us all the time. There are those who spent hours making sandwiches, and they're [the sandwiches] [are] as perfect and comforting as possible.

 Of course, representatives of Chabad are here to help soldiers put on Tefillin and distributing Cha'Ta'Ts (Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya [religious texts]) for every troop transport, and Breslov are showing up to the border and dancing with the soldiers with great joy [not at the prospect of going to war, but as a way—the dancing—to serve G-d in a simple manner which all can understand—that’s the Breslov way].

 The Chareidim are coming from their yeshivot to ask the names of the soldiers with their mothers' names so that the whole yeshiva can pray for them. It should be mentioned that all of this is done under the threat of the terrorist tunnels and rockets in the area.

 Soroka Hospital (in Be'er Sheva) today looks like a 5 star hotel. A wounded friend who was recently discharged told us how the MasterChef truck is parked outside and is preparing food for the wounded.

 It goes without saying the amount of prayer services that are going on [is great]. On the religious front as well, there are lectures and Torah classes, all the food is obviously Kosher. Shachrit, Mincha, and Maariv [regular prayer sessions] with Sifrei Torah. They're giving out tzitzit [a religious garb worn like an undershirt] and Tehilim [Psalms] by the hundreds. It's become the new fashion! The Rabbi of Maglan [Special Forces unit] told me that almost the entire unit has started wearing them, because the Army Rabbinate has been giving out tzitzit that wick away sweat. They're gaining both a Mitzva and a high quality undershirt. We've started calling them "Shachpatzitzti" (a portmanteau of the Hebrew term for body armor and tzitzit). We're having deep conversations late into the night without arguments, without fights and we find ourselves agreeing on most stuff.

 We're making lots of jokes at Hamas's expensive and without politics. There's lots more to add but my battery is running low and the staff has been requesting someone give a class on Likutei MoharaN (Breslov).

 How happy is the nation that is like this.
May the G-d of Israel protect our precious youth, who put their lives on the line to protect us. We live because of their courage.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beware: Hamas isn’t what you think it is

Hamas is not what you think it is. It is not a ‘freedom’ movement. It is not a movement to establish a ‘state for Palestine’. 

There is no way to sugar-coat Hamas. It is, according to the United States, Canada, Jordan, Egypt and the European Union, a terror organization.

If you want to understand what Hamas is all about, you need go no further than its name. The word Hamas has three meanings. You should make sure you understand those three meaning before you condemn Israel and ennoble Hamas or the Hamas-Fatah unity government.

First, the word, ‘Hamas’, is an acronym. It means, Islamic Resistance Movement. Its second meaning, as a word in Arabic, is more revealing: ‘devotion and zeal in the path of Allah’ (Esther Webman, “Anti-Semitic Motifs in the Ideology of Hizballah and Hamas”, Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism, 1994. ISBN 978-965-222-592-4).

The word, ‘Hamas’, also reveals a third meaning: it is part of a Movement (see below).

Notice that, in all three meanings, something is missing. What’s missing is what you support. What’s missing is what you believe about this conflict. Specifically, what’s missing is all reference to political self-determination, freedom for the so-called ‘Palestinian people’ or the creation of a state called ‘Palestine’.

Hamas focuses on none of those things. Hamas has only one focus: Islam.

If you support Hamas because you believe it ‘yearns for ‘Palestinians’ to be free’, you’d be making a mistake. Hamas doesn’t yearn for freedom. There is nothing within Hamas that even hints of ‘freedom’.

Freedom is a Western concept. Perhaps that’s why you may support Hamas against Israel—because you believe in freedom and want the same for Hamas (and you believe Israel denies that freedom).

If that’s what you think, you’re wrong. Hamas rejects your thinking. It rejects ‘freedom’. It rejects the West’s approach to political conflict (compromise). In fact, its Charter says explicitly that compromise will not solve the ‘Palestinian problem’ (ibid).

Hamas has its own solution for the ‘Palestinian problem’. That solution has nothing to do with freedom or compromise or political dialogue (all Western ideals). Consistent with the meaning of its name, Hamas calls its singular solution, Jihad—holy war.

Is that what you want to see happen in the Middle East? You may support Hamas without knowing this, but Hamas does not yearn for what the West calls ‘two states living side-by-side in peace and security’.

Hamas yearns for only one thing. It yearns for Islamic rule.

It is not a peace organization. That’s why so many term it, ‘terrorist.’ Its Charter reveals a hate-filled political-religious intention: it demonizes Jews and quotes Islamic religious texts to justify killing the Jews of Israel (ibid).

Its goal is to destroy Israel for Islam (the Hamas Charter). Specifically, it “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine [Israel]" (ibid, Article Six). It seeks to achieve that goal through ‘resistance’, which is the refusal to accept any end except its own—a complete Islamic rule over a ‘Palestine’ it sees replacing Israel.

But Hamas isn’t just a local organization. It doesn’t just think about Israel. Its name tells you that it’s also a ‘Movement’. That is, it is part of something larger than itself. It is part of the Muslim Brotherhood (ibid).

The Muslim Brotherhood supports terror. Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates consider this Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood’s goal is to destroy the West. It seeks to create a world-wide Islamic Caliphate.

This Brotherhood is a model for Islamic political rule. It combines political ‘activism’ with Islamic law. Its stated goal is to instil the Qur'an and Sharia law as the ‘sole reference point for ...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state’ (Steven Kull, 2011. Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America, Brookings Institute Press. p. 167). Put another way, its goal it to control every aspect of both public and private life in every country everywhere, using Islamic law.

Like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood is a ‘Movement’ that seeks complete Islamic rule. According to the BBC, the Brotherhood's most frequently used slogan is "Islam is the Solution".  Another well-known slogan is "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope ”(ibid).

The focus in these Movements is always the same: Islamic rule. Freedom, self-determination, justice, morality or a ‘Palestinian’ state are nowhere to be found.

You might want to think twice about what and who you support. If you support Hamas and the Hamas-Fatah unity government against Israel, be careful. You might get something you really don’t want. You might get world-wide Islamic law.

Are you going to like that?



Friday, July 25, 2014

The end of liberal Western democracies?

A reader has sent me an essay written by an Arab. It’s about Calgary, Canada. Perhaps you know someone who lives in Calgary (some of you do).
The author is Aboud Dandachi. He writes a blog entitled, From Homs to Istanbul: the life and times of a displaced Syrian. As you might imagine from the title, Mr. Dandachi writes about Syria, the Syrian conflict—and what’s it like to be a Syrian living in a foreign country—Turkey.
In this essay, he doesn’t write about Syria. He writes about Jews.       
Did the event he writes about below really happen? I don't know. But if it did, you might want to read what he has to say.

The essay is dated, July 23, 2014. I have made some editing changes to the text.
“ISIS May Not Have Reached Canada, but the ISIS Mentality Has; Extremism in the West” [ISIS is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is an ultra-violent Jihadist group more extreme, some say, than Al-Qaeda]
The Middle-East is a depressing place. Today the Levant serves as a cautionary tale in how quickly societies can tear themselves to pieces when the only dominant ideologies are extremist ones. [This is] a lesson, apparently, which many Western societies seem to be losing sight of.
Against the backdrop of the current conflict in Gaza, the past few weeks have seen synagogues attacked in Paris, and openly anti-Semitic demonstrations in Germany. And in Calgary, Canada, we have seen an attempted lynching of Jews [I don’t know if this is a metaphor, or a fact].
Yes, Canada. When Syrians [in Syria] went out to demonstrate for change in 2011, everyone had their own idea of the kind of society they wanted Syria to emulate. For me personally, that society was Canada.
But on Friday 18th of July, Canadian values were blatantly and contemptuously disregarded as a demonstration of a thousand “pro-Gaza” demonstrators turned into a brutal and vicious assault on a group of ten pro-Israel Calgarians, who at the time were holding a token counter-protest.
The account of the violence inflicted on the small group is sickening. A middle-aged woman who had been recovering from surgery was repeatedly punched. A young man had the Israeli flag he was holding tied around his neck noose-like, and dragged along the streets. A young woman was set upon by no less than six thugs and beaten unconscious. Another young man had the shirt ripped off his back, was bitten and beaten into a concussion.
These beatings happened because the mob of “pro-Gaza” rioters found the open expression of an opposing view deeply offensive. Apparently, the only answer they had to such “offense” was to physically and barbarically [sic] assault those deemed to have inflicted the offense. Their goal was, clearly, to treat the Jews in Calgary like [they] would treat a Jew in Gaza.
[The virulent anti-Jew Jihadi] ISIS may not be in Canada yet, but their mind-set is very much alive there.
Let’s be very clear about what happened in Calgary that day; a small group of Jewish and non-Jewish activists got together to express their opinion on an issue, and were in no way interfering with the much larger “pro-Palestine” demonstration expressing an opposing view. But Calgary amply demonstrated that one doesn’t have to wave the ISIS flag or pledge bai’a to its Caliphate to share the group’s vicious and extremist mentality. On that day, it wasn’t just a small group of Jews who were assaulted; it was the very core and definition of the values of Canadian society that were blatantly and viciously violated.
That ‘Pro-Gaza group violated the values that define society. They violated the values that separate a country that everyone wants to live in from countries that fall into crap-holes—like the countries that make up much of the Middle East, from which people cannot flee fast enough.
There is a reason why Europe and North America are the favoured destinations for most Arab expats and asylum seekers. [They want to get away from the crap-holes they come from.]
The apathy of Calgary’s police was just as shocking as the assaults themselves. No arrests were made in the aftermath of the brutal violence. Indeed, one of the Jewish victims of the barbaric violence was admonished by a Calgary police officer, who told him “when you’re wearing that [the Israeli flag] what do you expect is going to happen here?”
And so it begins. The capitulation of every liberal society has always begun by justifying the actions of extremists. What did the young Calgarian expect to happen?
What do Copts in Egypt expect to happen when they openly pray in their churches in a predominantly Muslim country? Why are they surprised when their churches are attacked and burned?
What does a woman living in Raqqa expect to happen when she doesn’t wear the burqa? Why is she surprised when ISIS thugs whip her in public?
What does a KFC franchise in the Lebanese city of Tripoli expect to happen in such an anti-American atmosphere? Why are they surprised when the place is burned down?
Worst of all, it is morally reprehensible to justify the violence of that day by pointing to events in Gaza. At any given time, there is always a war or strife going on someplace on this miserable planet, and exploiting world events to justify thuggery is to give any extremist group carte blanche to act with complete impunity.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is probably the most pro-Israel politician in the Western world, but that will be of little comfort to Canada’s Jewish population, who have seen brazen violence against them go unpunished and unaddressed. Likewise, the response of Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s colorful liberal Muslim Mayor, has been anything but forceful.
So what is a vulnerable community to do when those whose job it is to uphold the safety of a society’s individuals fail to do the task entrusted to them?
Enter Ezra Levant; lawyer, author and conservative media personality. I seriously do not like the guy. Everything in his punditry comes down to Arabs, or oil, or Arab oil. But Levant has stepped in where Calgary’s authorities and politicians are too timid to go.
While one may not like Levant’s politics or style, the victims of the Calgary violence could not have found a more tenacious person to champion their cause or shine the spotlight on the barbarity of the “pro-Palestine” thugs.
When society fails to uphold its values, it is the Ezra Levants of this world who step in. Levant is currently putting together a legal defense fund to seek redress for the brutality inflicted on the Jewish demonstrators and their supporters, and to collect signatures for a petition expressing outrage on the events of that day.
As a Syrian who has witnessed his own country fall apart, and seen the region in general continue its inexorable descent into extremist madness, I have some heartfelt advice for Canada. At one point, we hoped to emulate you. Please do not end up emulating us, through apathy, complacency, or appeasement.
It [all] begins with a few Jews being beaten up.
In North America, Jews feel safe. But are they? All Liberal societies have, ultimately, sown the seeds of their own destruction—through permissive rules, ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’.
Are Jews really safe in the world’s Liberal havens? Look at this question this way: is a Calgary-style attack heading to your city?
Aboud Dandachi worries that the answer to that question is, yes. What do you think?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disproportionality, Israel, Counterfeit Humanitarianism

The West reinvents Humanitarianism to war against Israel. It turns international law on its head. It perverts legal definitions in order to demonize Israel.

All of this is done in the name of a Humanitarianism that is fake—a counterfeit. It is a Humanitarianism that seduces the UN. It leads the UN to embrace International Immorality.

Despite evidence that Hamas uses human shields, the West continues to blame Israel for ‘too many civilian deaths’ in Gaza. To the West’s Counterfeit Humanitarians, Israel’s military behaves inhumanely. They see Israel as the brutal bully whose cruelty appears to know no limit.

Therefore, the Counterfeit Humanitarianism declares, Israel must be ‘restrained’ (“International flights to and from Israel suspended over security concerns”, The Guardian, July 23, 2014).

To see this fake Humanitarianism in action, consider the entertainer Jon Stewart. This comedian has enormous influence on young adult political opinions (“How Jon Stewart Made It Okay to Care About Palestinian Suffering”, The Daily Beast, July 21, 2014). In comic routines, he identifies Israel as brutal. He identifies Gazans as victims (ibid). As a result, many of Stewart’s viewers now feel that Israel has sole responsibility for Gazan suffering. As another entertainment celebrity has already twitted, “It’s about humanity—Pray for Gaza” (ibid).

That twitter hit the mark. It received more than 605,000 ‘likes’ (ibid). It captured the essence of Counterfeit Humanitarianism. It’s all about body count. It’s about TV pictures.  

But the truth is, Counterfeit Humanitarianism confuses effect with cause. Look at Hamas. It doesn’t care about humanity. It doesn’t care about its own civilians. It uses its civilians to shield military targets. When those civilians die, true Humanitarianism does not turn on Israel. It understands (because it’s based on international law) that when Hamas uses those civilians as human shields, it—not Israel--becomes liable for those deaths.

But the West doesn’t understand Humanitarian law. It only looks at pictures. It only looks at numbers. As a result, the West has created a Counterfeit Humanitarianism that fails to protect anyone. It certainly doen’t protect Gazans. Instead, it validates the hate of those who, with cruelty and cynicism, kill their own people.

This Humanitarianism is a fake for a second reason: it perverts law.

Western Humanitarians (including UN personnel) are deeply concerned about Israel’s ‘disproportionality’ in Gaza. That’s what drives their criticism of Israel. They look at the ‘raw’ (unanalysed) daily ‘body-count’ numbers and jump to tell Israel ‘to stop the bloodshed’.

But Western Humanitarians jumps at the wrong Party. They focus only on the number of civilian deaths caused by Israeli bombs. They say those bombs create a ‘disproportional’ body-count (“As Gaza deaths mount, UK media leads world trend to criticize Israel”, Times of Israel, July 13, 2014, and “Abbas Asks for 'Protection for Palestine'”, Arutz Sheva, July 14, 2014). But such disproportionality is counterfeit. It is not the true definition of disproportionality.

The rules of ethical war require ‘proportionality’ (Laurie Blank and Gregory Gordon, “Goldstone, Gaza and (Dis)Proportionality: Three Strikes”, University of Pittsburgh Law School, November 4, 2009). Proportionality focuses on military personnel, not civilian deaths. It requires military personnel to take precautions when targeting the enemy to ensure that the expected civilian losses are not excessive compared to the anticipated military advantage (ibid). Unanalysed body count numbers are not part of the legal definition. Instead, the legal definition focuses on the commander's perspective at the time of the attack (ibid). The law assesses whether his actions were reasonable given the information he had access to--taking into account the ‘fog of war’ (ibid).

Within this true legal definition of proportionality, there is no after-the-fact judgment. That is to say, proportionality is not measured after the fact by looking at unanalysed civilian casualty numbers or actual military advantages (ibid).

Yet this is exactly what the West does. It is the body-count in Gaza that has provoked, ‘it’s the humanity, damnit. Stop Israel! Save Gaza!’ 

Legal Humanitarianism recognizes a nation’s right to defend itself. Legal Humanitarianism recognizes a nation’s right to use military force to kill. Legal Humanitarianism dictates that if Gazan civilians die because Hamas uses them as human shields, Israel is not guilty of those deaths.

Only Counterfeit Humanitarians forbid Israel to use force if civilians die. Only Counterfeit Humanitarians suggest that, for example, it is illegal for Israel to kill children who were used as human shields (“UN's Navi Pillay warns of Israel Gaza war crimes”, BBC News, July 23, 2014). Only Counterfeit Humanitarians pervert the legal definition of ‘proportionality’.

As Ms Blank and Mr Gordon point out, if disproportionality was based on body-count, ‘no military could ever engage in any operations’ (above). Nevertheless, that is precisely what Counterfeit Humanitarians do with Israel. They create counterfeit rules. Those rules allow the West to ignore Hamas war crimes--and to demonize Israel.

The G-d of Israel watches these Counterfeit Humanitarians.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tomorrow’s headline today

Humanitarians around the world are up in arms. Israel-the-brutal kills civilians. Israel-the-brutal kills children. The UN Human Rights’ Commissioner, Navi Pillay, has already announced that there is a ‘strong possibility’ that Israel has been committing war crimes in its attacks against Gaza (“UN's Navi Pillay warns of Israel Gaza war crimes”, BBC News, July 23, 2014). The BBC report says of her that, “Ms Pillay clearly views Israel's actions in Gaza as disproportionate” (ibid).
She has said nothing about Hamas war crimes.

Now, it appears that Ms Pillay could have something very, very disproportionate to write about tomorrow or in the next few days. Will you soon see the following headlines?
‘Israel attacks hospital. Many women and children dead…Israel commits major war crime’
Israel news media has been reporting today that Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops in Gaza have come under heavy fire for a local hospital in Gaza called, the Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital in an area called, Shejaiya (“IDF targets hospital used as Hamas command center”, Times of Israel, July 23, 2014). Gazan gunmen have used the hospital as a staging ground for small-arms fire against the IDF. IDF spokesmen have also said that anti-tank weapons have also been fired at IDF troops from this structure and/or its grounds. What is noteworthy about this story is that news reports in Israel have stated that the IDF has repeatedly notified international agencies, hospital administrators and Palestinian officials that the hospital is being used by gunmen in this manner, and that the IDF will act accordingly. The IDF says it has also notified civilians to evacuate the premises.
Despite these efforts, nothing changed. Well, that’s not quite correct. Something did change: the intensity of attacks from the hospital increased (“IDF Returns Fire After Terrorists Attack From Gaza Hospital”, Arutz Sheva, July 23, 2014).
Given the anti-Israel bias in the UN, most particularly from Ms Pillay, do not be shocked if you see a headline in the near future accusing Israel of the ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of this hospital. Or, alternatively, you might see reference to ‘Israel’s continuing and disproportionate’ killing of women and children.
The EU, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and the US State Department (or White House) might join her on the 'disproportionate'  bandwagon. Israel could be condemned at a special session of the Security Council, called precisely over this hospital incident.
Bombing a hospital could be the last straw for counterfeit Humanitarians. That means it could become the first brick in a UN diplomatic wall to cut Israel off from the rest of the world.
Then again, we might see a miracle. We might see either (1) no headline at all; or, (2), a spirited defense of Israel’s right to defend itself; or, biggest miracle of all, (3), expressions of outrage at Hamas’ cynical use of its own citizens as human shields.
Stay tuned.


The savagery of the Arab propaganda war

The Arab wants the West to believe in the ‘Palestinian’ cause. The Arab claims he has a right to the land of Israel. He claims his cause is just.

He asks you to support his cause. He wants you to affirm that you will help him get ‘justice’.

Many Jews believe him. Many Jews join his ‘cause’.

In the Jewish tradition, the ends do not justify the means. That is to say, you have no right to lie, cheat, steal or kill in order to achieve your goals. It doesn’t matter what goals you pursue. The Jewish rule is clear:  the ends do not justify the means.

Indeed, Commentaries tell you that this is not just an ethical rule. It is a rule that affects justice itself.

I assume that Jews who support the Arab cause believe in their Jewish Tradition. I assume these Jews believe that the ends do not justify the means.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Jews don’t believe in their Jewish Tradition.

Maybe these Jews prefer a tradition the Arab seems to follow: the ends do justify the means.

How can I say the Arab believes this? I look at how he behaves.

Take, for example, how Arabs use fake pictures in order to ‘prove’ the brutality of the Jew. In this current Gaza-Israel war, pictures taken in Syria (of Arab-on-Arab fighting) have been passed to the West as evidence of Israeli-on-Arab brutality. Is that moral?

For the Jew, that’s immoral. Clearly, for the Arab, it’s moral enough. It helps him win you over.

Who wants to support brutal Jews?

Today, a reader contacted me to describe a picture he had seen on someone’s ‘Facebook’ site. The reader told me that he was absolutely certain that that picture came from the March, 2011 murder-scene at the home of Ehud and Ruth Fogel, in Israel. At that time, two Arabs broke into the Fogel home on a Friday night. The two Arabs slaughtered both parents and the three children who were with them in the house. The youngest, just three months old, was reported by multiple sources to have been decapitated. Pictures of the inside of that home were horrific. They were the kind of pictures you don’t forget.

My reader tells me he has now seen those pictures again—on that ‘Facebook’ page. The caption, however, is arresting: ‘this is what the medical personnel saw after the Israeli army left this house in Gaza.’

There is also the tag-line: ‘Free Palestine’.

Who wouldn’t want to see a free ‘Palestine’ when Jews kill like this!

I cannot confirm that these pictures are of the Fogel residence murder-scene. I cannot confirm that these pictures fake a Jewish murder site in order to demonize Israel. But I can tell you this. Not only do the pictures look exactly like the murder-scene at the Fogel house, one picture contains a stunning image: a large Mezuzah on a door post, a dead blood-splattered child lying on the floor inside the room beyond the door-post, with the Mezuzah clearly visible.

A Mezuzah is a Jewish icon. It’s on every door-post of every Jewish home (except the bathroom). It marks a residence as ‘Jewish’.

Arabs do not live in homes having Mezuzot. Only Jews live in such homes.

These pictures are not of an Arab house. They are pictures of a Jewish house.

These pictures are despicable. They suggest savagery—not only by those who killed those people in the picture, but also by those who would take such a picture and attempt to pass it off as evidence of Jewish savagery.

We have seen enough of this kind of pathetic and horrific misrepresentation before, to ask a simple question: do people who are moral and just use this kind of tactic to achieve a moral and just goal? If you have even a moderate amount of life experience, you know the answer to that question. People who are moral and just do not use immoral means to achieve anything in life. Only those who are immoral use such tactics.

What does that tell you about the Arab cause?

What does that tell you about Jews who support such a cause?

You tell me.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Regarding Israel’s friends who criticize Israel

I don’t normally re-print someone else’s work. There’s enough happening here in Israel for everyone to write something fresh without bumping into each other. But today is an exception.

A reader has sent an essay to me that speaks for itself. It’s worth your time.

It comes from a website called, The essay is dated July 12, 2014. It was written by David A. Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee.


To Israel's Critics

Speak up now while literally millions of Israelis live from one alarm to another, or remain forever silent.

Want to be taken seriously by Israel and its friends? Here's your moment to demonstrate your bona fides.

If you really mean what you say about criticizing Israeli policies but not questioning Israel's inherent right to live in peace and security, then raise your voice right now. Not tomorrow, not the day after, but today.

Speak up and say that the scores, if not hundreds, of rockets being fired from Gaza at Israel are an abomination. Say there can be no justification for such acts of terror. Say that that this assault is a brazen violation of fundamental human rights.

Say that Israeli women, men, and children have the right to live in peace in their homes, and not be on permanent, 24/7 alert. Say you empathize with Israelis, as they have no more than 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter, and to make sure that their young children and elderly relatives also find protection.

Say that Hamas is a terrorist organization, precisely what the United States and European Union declared it to be years ago. Say you've read the Hamas Charter and understand the group's goal is not to end Israel's settlement policy, but Israel, period. Say you're aware that Hamas uses civilians in Gaza, including children, as human shields.

Say you know that Hamas is linked to Iran, from which it gets funding, weapons, and training. Say you see a clear moral distinction between the arsonist, Hamas, and the firefighter, Israel.

Say there's a fundamental difference between a despotic regime, Hamas-ruled Gaza, and a democracy, Israel. Say you know that Hamas trains children to glorify death and "martyrdom," while Israel educates children to affirm life and advance the frontiers of human knowledge.

Say you know that Hamas opposes any Palestinian effort to reach peace with Israel, and will do everything possible to sabotage efforts in that direction.

Say you know that no country, neither America nor the European nations nor anyone else, would tolerate volleys of deadly rockets fired at them with the aim of causing murder and mayhem. Say you know that Israeli hospitals, in response to more than 12,000 rockets over the past 14 years alone, continue to provide life-saving medical care for residents of the Gaza Strip.

Say you know that Israel not only has a right, but an obligation, to defend itself, which means going after the terrorist infrastructure and its leadership.

Say you hope that the world will understand and support Israel at this precise time, when half the Israeli population lives within range of Hamas weaponry.

Say you know how to prioritize your concerns, and, whatever your other issues with Israel might be, its ability to end the deadly attacks now tops the list.

Say you'll avoid the temptation to invoke mealy-mouthed and misplaced comments about "restraint" and "moral equivalence" and "cycles of violence," as if you were playing both sides off against the middle.

Say you know that Israel left Gaza, lock, stock, and barrel, in 2005, giving this strip of land the first chance in its history to govern itself. Say you know that no one before Israel, not Egypt, not the British, not the Ottomans, no one, offered Gaza the opportunity that Israel did to chart its own destiny.

Say you know that, in 2005, Gaza had the chance to choose whether it would seek to emulate Singapore or Somalia, and chose the latter. Say you know that Hamas took over power in Gaza by ousting the Palestinian Authority, killing many in the process.

Say you know that there is no way peace can be advanced for the Palestinians – or the Israelis – if this very same Hamas is allowed to share governance with the Palestinian Authority.

There are moments in life that define us. We don't always get to pick and choose them. They come, often unexpectedly, linger for a time, and then move on.

This is one such moment.

Speak up now – unambiguously, credibly – while literally millions of Israelis live from one alarm to another. Don't worry. There will be other occasions to voice your ongoing concerns about, and criticisms of, Israel.

But if you choose to remain silent or resort to ambiguity, please don't expect to be taken seriously the next time you preface your critique of Israel with those familiar words, "As a friend of Israel..."