Archive for October, 2012


Decades ago, the sociographer Milton Himmelfarb coined the aphorism that “American Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” And his words ring as true today as ever. Surveys show that roughly 70 percent of American Jews intend to cast their ballots for President Barack Obama’s reelection next month.  Himmelfarb’s quip indicated that American Jews abjure their economic interests in favor of their liberal values. Certainly it is true that for American Jews to vote for Obama next month they must act against their economic interests. Obama’s economic policies have taken a huge toll on the economic fortunes of American Jews who invest disproportionately in the stock market. His nationalization of the college loan business has given universities impetus to raise tuition rates still further, thus dooming more young American Jews to start their adult lives under a mountain of debt. And it isn’t at all clear how they will be able to pay off this debt since under Obama half of recent college graduates cannot find jobs. Obama’s gutting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare has harmed the medical choices for older Jewish Americans. His war on tax deductions for charitable contributions has placed synagogues, Jewish schools and nursing homes in financial jeopardy. So with economics ruled out as a reason to support Obama we are left with American-Jewish values.
But is Obama really advancing those values? What are those values anyway? Well, there’s civil liberties. American Jews like those. But Obama doesn’t. Take freedom of speech. Obama is the most hostile president to freedom of speech in recent memory. He has advocated implementing the so-called “fairness doctrine” for radio to stifle the free speech of his political opponents on talk radio. He has sought to undermine the freedom of the Internet through federal regulations and intimidation of Internet companies such as Google. He has made repeated and outspoken attempts to intimidate individuals, groups and businesses including Google to bar freedom of speech as relates to criticism of Islam. He has purged the lexicon of the federal government of all terms necessary to describe jihad, Islamic radicalism and terrorism, and so made it impossible for federal employees to examine, investigate, discuss or understand the nature of the greatest national security threat facing the US.  Then there are women’s rights. American Jews like those. True, Obama has distinguished himself as the greatest ally of abortion-on-demand ever. He even supported infanticide of babies who survived abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature. But, we women are a bit more than reproductive machines. We also work and raise families. And Obama’s economic programs hurt women as much if not more than they hurt men. Aside from that, there are females who live outside of the US. American Jews have long been outspoken champions of women’s rights around the world. But here Obama’s record is arguably worse than any president in US history.  Obama has abandoned the women most at risk of gender-based discrimination, rape and murder – the women and girls of the Muslim world. Whereas the Bush administration liberated the women and girls of Afghanistan from the maniacally misogynist Taliban regime, the Obama administration is negotiating with the Taliban and setting the conditions for its return to power. If the signature image of the Bush administration’s war in Afghanistan was that of women voting, the signature image of Obama’s war in Afghanistan is the photo of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai. This week Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her defense of the right of girls to go to school.
Then there is the cause of good governance. American Jews like that. But here, too, Obama fails to live up to liberal values of clean politics. Every day seems to bring with it another scandal related to the Obama administration. This week we learned that the Obama campaign is illegally soliciting funds from foreigners. According to a report published by the Government Accountability Institute, some 20% of visitors to the Obama campaign’s fund-raising site “my.barackobama.com” are foreigners, barred by US law from contributing to political campaigns. So, too, the Obama.com website was registered by Robert Roche, a US businessman living in Shanghai with ties to Chinese state-owned companies. Roche is an Obama campaign bundler. Sixty-eight percent of the traffic on the site comes from foreign users. Obama.com is currently managed by a Palestinian rights activist in Maine.
Finally, there is the cause of Israel and US-Israel relations that American Jews are assumed to care about. After the fiasco at the Democratic National Convention when the widespread antipathy for Israel raging in the Democratic Party was broadcast on primetime television, the Obama administration has stopped even trying to hide its contempt for the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters. Whereas the US refused to walk out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s obscene address to the UN General Assembly last month, US Ambassador Susan Rice chose to absent herself entirely from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address before the body.
Adding insult to injury, last week Obama appointed Salam al-Marayati to represent the US at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe‘s annual 10-day human rights conference. Marayati is the founder and executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. As Robert Spencer recalled this week, on September 11, 2001, Marayati gave an interview to a Los Angeles radio station accusing Israel of being responsible for the jihadist attacks on the US. He is an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. And Obama appointed him to represent America at a major human rights conference.
So what is it that drives over two-thirds of American Jews to support Obama? The only issues that come easily to mind are social issues – particularly the two flagship causes of American Jews these days – abortion and homosexual marriage. While it is true that Obama shares their positions on these issues, it is hard to believe that these two issues have become the cri du coeur of more than two-thirds of American Jews. It isn’t that it is wrong for people to support abortions on demand and homosexual marriage. And it isn’t wrong for people to oppose them. There are reasonable, Jewish arguments to be made for a woman’s right to abort her unborn children. But there are also reasonable Jewish arguments for constraining that right. There are Jewish arguments in favor of permitting homosexuals to wed. And there are Jewish arguments opposing such unions.
Then there is the relative urgency of the issues. With the US economy in a rut and American national security increasingly imperiled, are abortion rights and gay marriage really the American Jewish community’s top priorities? True, there are some American Jewish fanatics who are propelled to near violence when faced with opponents of their beliefs. And they are capable of intimidating a large proportion of their fellow Jews into toeing their extremist lines. Their intolerance has been on display in all of its ugliness at synagogues around the US since the start of the election campaign. In one recent, outrageous incident, one gay marriage partisan managed to intimidate his congregation on Erev Yom Kippur.
On the most sacred evening on the Jewish calendar, at Anshe Emet synagogue in Chicago, congregant Gary Sircus led other congregants in walking out of services when, in keeping with synagogue protocol (and common courtesy), Rabbi Michael Siegel acknowledged the presence of US Rep. Michele Bachmann in the audience. After staging the walkout, Sircus went home and began an online assault on Bachmann and on his synagogue for extending the outspoken and stalwart supporter of Israel the courtesy of acknowledging her presence at services. Sircus wrote a letter of support to Jim Graves, Bachmann’s deep-pocketed Democratic opponent in her reelection campaign. In it, he referred to Bachmann as “this evil woman.” Rabbi Siegel did not decry Sircus for his shocking behavior. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune Siegel said, “I am aware of the fact that our congregation’s policy in regards to [welcoming public officials to the community and honoring their presence] clearly caused pain to some members of our community on the most precious day of reconciliation on the Jewish calendar. That we regret deeply.” In a letter of explanation to synagogue board members, Siegel spoke of the need to welcome visitors even if they don’t share the community’s “values.”  But when did the members of Anshe Emet take a vote to determine that support for gay marriage is their shared value? Undoubtedly, Sircus’s success in embarrassing his entire community owed in part to his willingness to intimidate his fellow congregants with his moralistic sanctimony on Erev Yom Kippur. But it isn’t only gay marriage champions who use intimidation tactics to silence their communities into conforming with their views. American Jewish Democratic partisans have taken a leading role in blocking dissenting voices from their midst. For instance, this past May B’nai Emet Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, invited Amb. Susan Rice to address the congregation. Synagogue officials not only rejected offers to have Rice debate opponents of Obama’s treatment of Israel. They barred community members known for their opposition to Obama from attending the speech. For these synagogue officials, the idea that their partisan prejudice might be challenged was simply unacceptable.
To be fair, there are some American Jews who have been willing to approach politics with an open mind. For instance, Susan Crown, of the Chicago-based Henry Crown business empire, has transferred her support from Obama to Mitt Romney. In an interview with Chicago Magazine Crown explained that she switched candidates last May when Obama gave his speech calling on Israel to withdraw from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and contract to within the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. Crown said that her switch was due as well to economic and foreign policy considerations. Crown’s arguments for transferring her support from Obama to Romney are all rational. On the other hand, the positions taken by the likes of Sircus and the management of B’nai Emet are emotional and unthinking. Unfortunately, the polls indicate that more than two-thirds of American Jews are with the synagogue bullies at B’nai Emet and with Sircus, not with Crown.
For 70% of American Jews, party loyalty trumps all of their conceivable rational interests. For them, partisan loyalty is more important than facts. They do not want to use independent judgment. They just want to be Democrats. The most disturbing aspect of the surveys of American Jewish voters is not that they are willing to vote for the most hostile US president Israel has ever experienced in order to remain true to their party. The most disturbing aspect of the American Jewish community’s devotion to Obama and the Democrats is that it indicates that the vast majority of American Jews have abandoned their faculties for independent thought and judgment in favor of conformism and slavish partisanship. They have rendered themselves unreachable.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

 

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Shira’s note: I am going to try something different here. With the profundity of this essay and the means to understand and grasp the implications of the messages, I will give you my impression and/or perspectives to the most valuable message being said by Ms. Glick, and that will be through definitions with extrapolation throughout the article. The italics in parenthesis are definitions to keep on track as her essays are regularly lengthy. The bold in parenthesis and italics will be my perspectives.  As always, please comment on how you feel or what you think…S.Posted: 04 Oct 2012 07:27 PM PDT

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s legal term in office expired nearly four years ago. But his supporters don’t care. In Israel, Washington and throughout the world, Abbas’s supporters extol (to praise highly: glorify) the authoritarian leader as a great moderate. In 2002, desperately searching for a face for the Palestinians that wasn’t Yasser Arafat’s face, the Left pushed Abbas out from behind Arafat’s shadow. Abbas, who served as Arafat’s deputy for 39 years (in point, remember the policies of Arafat’s crazy thinking to always destroy Israel), was upheld as a great moderate and placed in the invented position of Palestinian prime minister. The fact that Abbas was an inveterate Jew-hater who spent four decades in the senior leadership of a terrorist organization and whose doctoral dissertation was a long denial of the Holocaust, was brushed aside. His leftist supporters don’t care that he says Israel has no right to exist. They are untroubled by his 2008 rejection of then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s unprecedentedly generous offer of peace and Palestinian statehood (“they” not recognizing through ignorance or just not keeping up to date with the latest). They don’t mind that Abbas has refused to negotiate peace with Israel for the past four years (ibid). They don’t care that he has signed two unity government deals with Hamas or that he seeks to gain sovereignty for a Palestinian state through the UN and so establish a Palestinian state in a formal state of war with Israel.

They don’t care. But most Israelis do. Due to their recognition of his hatred for Israel and due to the terrorism Abbas has condoned and financed for decades, the vast majority of Israelis do not consider him a potential partner for peace. They do not believe that either Abbas or the Palestinians as a whole are remotely interested in being appeased by Israel. As a consequence, most Israelis greeted Abbas’s speech at the UN General Assembly last week with indifference. In that speech, Abbas made clear – yet again – that he remains Arafat’s loyal deputy. The majority of Abbas’s speech involved a litany of libels against Israel, which he accused of everything from terrorism to apartheid, colonialism, racism, murder, theft, etc., etc., etc. (which to me is yelling out projection). Then he moved on to his demands. In addition to reinstating his demand that Israel agree to every Palestinian demand as a precondition for negotiations, Abbas demanded that Israel release all Palestinian terrorists from its prisons. No, none of Abbas’s attacks had an iota of truth to them.

But who cares? Abbas certainly doesn’t. And neither do his supporters. Their support for Abbas has nothing to do with what he says or does. It has to do with who they are and what they want. Abbas is their prop, not their partner. Abbas’s Israeli supporters are the core of far-leftists who brought us the phony peace process with the PLO. Two thousand dead Israelis later (that’s two thousand lives!), and with no peace in sight, their camp is much smaller today than it was in 1993. But it is still dedicated. And it is overpopulated by members of the media. TIPPING HIS hat to this group, this week Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced in a media interview that he thinks that Israel should unilaterally withdraw from much of Judea and Samaria. For most Israelis, Barak’s plan is self-evidently insane. We left Gaza and see the consequences of that unilateral withdrawal every day as southern Israel is bombarded with missiles and rockets (not to mention, the destruction of precious, fertile land which produced food that would’ve given them the means for food). We left and Gaza was transformed into a hub for global jihad, increasingly indistinguishable from Sinai. The very notion that our defense chief could suggest adopting an identical strategy for Judea and Samaria is both obscene and frightening. What can he be thinking? Barak is thinking about elections, which are apparently about to be called (which is sick…how can anyone think this way? His decisions will kill people). Barak thinks his best bet politically is to try to win the support of Abbas’s ever shrinking support base.

Barak lost his political base when he left the Labor Party and formed his own Independence faction with other breakaway Labor politicians at the beginning of 2011. He needs Abbas’s Israeli supporters to vote for him if he is to get elected to the next Knesset. Even more crucially, Barak needs Abbas’s supporters in the Israeli media. So to win their support, he opted to run on a platform of expelling Jews from their homes. Barak’s move doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about him. He remains the political opportunist he has always been. His move is interesting because of what it reveals about the nature of Israel’s Left.

There is no rational way to argue that Israel can gain any advantage by surrendering Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians. If Israel departs, either Abbas will gobble up the territory and demand more, or he will swallow the concession and get swallowed by Hamas, which will demand more – as happened in Gaza. Either way, Israel loses. But that doesn’t matter for the Left. The Left continues to support Israeli withdrawals because its members know that the biggest loser of such an action won’t be Israel as a whole. It will be the Israeli Right. And that is all the Left cares about. The only enemy they are interested in fighting, the only adversary they wish to defeat, is their fellow Israelis. And in a bid to win their support at the ballot box – and on the evening news – Barak has decided to embrace their cause. He will fight their fight against their Israeli enemies for them (I’m appalled by the notion that politics are more important than even one life lost through decisions like these. It does not make sense and how can one man’s ego trump one, just one Israeli?).

The Israeli Left is not alone in its belief that its number one priority is to destroy its domestic political opposition (Not working in unity will topple Israel. I don’t understand why this party wants to ‘destroy’ their own people, or for that matter, any party, being left or right). Throughout the Western world, the political Left is increasingly rallying around positions that are in fundamental conflict with their nation’s interests as well as with the specific ideological commitments of the Left, for the sole purpose of gaining and maintaining power (Again, power will destroy us as a people). In recent weeks, the Left in the US has exposed its motivations and purpose in profoundly troubling ways. If Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel is the core of the Zionist revolution, freedom of speech is the foundation of America. Without Jewish settlement, there is no Israel. Without freedom of speech, there is no America. IN RECENT weeks, US President Barack Obama and all of his senior aides and supporters have launched an assault on freedom of speech. They have attacked previously unknown figures because they dared to exercise their freedom of speech to produce an anti-Islamic film and broadcast it on YouTube. The White House pressured Google (which owns YouTube) to take the movie down. Obama’s media supporters have gone along with this shocking assault on bedrock American principles. The Left’s support for Obama’s bid to repress freedom of speech in relation to the movie was not an isolated incident. Today the enlightened leftists of New York and Washington are apoplectic (meaning, enraged, furious, irate, etc.) because a federal judge required New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to post paid advertisements by the Stop the Islamization of America human rights group calling for Americans to support Israel against jihad. The content of the ads is self-evidently reasonable. They read, “In any war between the savage and the civilized man, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” SIOA’s founder Pamela Geller submitted the ads to the MTA last year in response to a rash of anti-Israel ads calling for the US to end its support for the Jewish state. Those ads were published on New York buses and subways and on public transportation around the US. The MTA rejected SIOA’s ad but the group sued. Citing the US Constitution, the court required the MTA to post them. When after a year’s delay the ads were finally posted last week, the US Left in the media and beyond had a collective fit. From The New York Times to radical rabbis to pro-Islamic Christian pastors to The Washington Post, everyone is wringing their hands. In a televised debate with Geller, the anti-Israel evangelical pastor Rev. Jim Wallis condemned the ads, told Geller she was going to get Christians killed, (by what or whom, he never said), and demanded that Geller silence herself. As he put it, “Stop talking.”It is important to be clear. The American Left doesn’t have a problem with free speech, per se. And they aren’t concerned – as Wallis would have you believe – that calling jihad savagery is going to get people killed, (by not-at-all savage jihadists). The problem with messages like Geller’s is that talk about jihad distracts people from what the Left wants them to be thinking about (this is where we need to inform ourselves and use the resources available to stem our ignorance. If not, we become part of some principles that we don’t want to be a part of. These people cannot think for us. They actually would prefer our ignorance, as most media outlets would have it. It is their strength and our demise). Like the Israeli Left, the American Left doesn’t want Americans to think about the actual threats to the US emanating from the Islamic world. They want the public to think about what for them is the only real threat to their values and their ability to win and wield power. That threat doesn’t emanate from the Islamic world where women are treated worse than farm animals, homosexuals are hanged in public squares, Christians are forcibly converted and assaulted, churches are burned to the ground, the annihilation of the Jewish people throughout the world is an ardent desire, and “Death to America” is a political program. For the American Left, the primary threat to their way of life comes from people who oppose abortions and gay marriage and gun control. It comes from people who oppose unionization of government workers and nationalization of healthcare. And it comes from people like Geller who state the obvious about jihad.

The reason that Islam is supposed to be immune from criticism is that for American leftists as for Israeli leftists, the only important battle is the one against domestic foes (seriously, it’s about power and ego’s and where are our voices to make a difference. Complacency is evil working its way into good). And just as the abysmal results of leftist policies have left the Israeli Left with no choice but to shoot the messengers, so too the American Left must deal with policy failure by silencing the opposition. In Israel, leftist appeasement of Palestinian terrorists has led to a horrific death toll and the obvious absence of peace. So the Left must silence those who have the temerity (boldness: reckless confidence that might be offensive) to oppose that failed policy. The Right’s most visible members are the religious Zionists, who are disproportionately situated beyond the 1949 armistice lines, and so the Left must destroy them through expulsions, no matter what the cost to Israel.

In America, the Left’s most conspicuous failure is its claim to promote women’s rights, equality and civil liberties in the culture war, even as it defends the Islamic world’s addiction to female genital mutilation, forced marriages, honor killings and executions of homosexuals for the “crime” of being gay. So the Left must silence critics of jihad and Islamism, and hope no one will notice its hypocrisy (To me, a very sad state of affairs. How long will this go on?). The upshot of all of this is that the Left must be denied its ability to dominate national discourses. Because Abbas and the pathologically Jew-hating society he leads is a threat to the Jewish state, while religious Zionists are not. And the assaults on American embassies throughout the Islamic world are not due to Internet movies, but to the savagery inherent in jihadist Islam. In these perilous times we cannot permit ourselves to be led astray by those who insist we are our worst enemies (and with that means being educated in government policies and educating our children, older of course, to recognize that education will defeat ignorance whatever its form it takes and uphold our truths and liberties).

Originally published   in the Jerusalem Post. 

Shira’s note: This is a must see video. It is approximately 20 minutes. Please share it as much as you can so as to underscore the importance of Israel’s existantialism in the Middle East. It’s scary but we must be strong for Israel and the Western world.

Obama has Israel”s back….right in front of his dagger. On the other hand, Israel does have America”s back.