Saturday, 10 January 2009


Of course there are Jewish antisemites. There always have been, and there always will be, just like there will always be antisemites. Somebody should write a book about their sorry history some day.

Naomi Klein is a well-known intellectual of the loony Left, who writes books about the evils of many of the things mankind should rightfully be proud of; being against Israel is simply part of that turf. I don't think we're at the top of her list of things to hate, merely comfortably in the middle.

Today she has published a column calling for a boycott against Israel. (Published also at the Guardian, with a more dramatic title).

The vapidness of her thesis is stated clearly in the very first paragraph:

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

A huge coalition of Palestinian groups? Do you think anyone told Ms. Klein about the split between Hamas and Fatah? More interesting, this movement she tells of, has which goal? Putting an end to the occupation? And it was created when? July 2005? Wasn't that the month before the Israelis dismantled their settlements in Gaza, and pulled out all IDF troops?

So the first thing these boycotters, Ms. Klein among them, ought to work out for themselves is what their goal is. The boycotters of South Africa's Apartheid regime had a clear goal: an end to that regime. I suspect if one were to try to be calm and clearheaded and figure out what Israel's boycotters want, the bottom line would be either an end to Israel, or an end to Israel. It's clearly not about the settlements, as Ms. Klein has so helpfully explained.

A boycott against a country so that it ends itself is ridiculous. A yearning that a country disappear is despicable.

Ms. Klein admits she's a hypocrite:

Why single out Israel when the US, Britain and other western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

Nice, isn't it? She's a pragmatist. Israel's no worse than others, but it's more vulnerable so let's go for it. Yet there are other countries that also might be vulnerable: Sri Lanka, for example, repressing it's Tamils with what rather looks like brutality, assuming you're looking. Sudan. The the parties involved in the genocide in the Congo. Pakistanis and Indians in Kashmir (40,000 dead over the past decade or so). Ever ask yourself how these paragons of human rights put together their hate-lists? No connections with human rights, I assure you.

Finally, she offers us a bit of comic relief:

For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Huh? If Andalus is devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew, does this mean The Shock Doctrine was written in Arabic? Wow. I'm impressed. I didn't know she had it in her. Anyway, I've got a number of Hebrew books on my bookshelf that are translations from the Arabic, and they're all from mainstream Israeli publishers, who of course have no problem with publishing books by Arabs, assuming they're good books. (And if they're merely internal Arab propaganda, there's always MEMRI). Also, if doing business with Israeli firms while donating the proceeds back to the companies themselves counts as boycotting Israel, I've got a company of my own that would really welcome being boycotted! We're over here, folks! We're staunch Zionists! You've just gotta boycott us! It's a mitzva!
taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


"PEACE" ???

Israel Matzav: Video Hamas doesn't want you to see#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video Hamas doesn't want you to see#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: US abstention a warning to Israel?#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: US abstention a warning to Israel?#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Pro-'Palestinian' demonstrators: 'Long live Hitler, put Jews in ovens'#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Pro-'Palestinian' demonstrators: 'Long live Hitler, put Jews in ovens'#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: The best commentary I've seen on Gaza#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: The best commentary I've seen on Gaza#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: IAF destroys rocket launcher in Gaza schoolyard before it can fire#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: IAF destroys rocket launcher in Gaza schoolyard before it can fire#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Egyptian minister: 'It's all Hamas' fault'#links#links

Israel Matzav: Egyptian minister: 'It's all Hamas' fault'#links#links


Written by: admin

A little late, but really great - a nice Guest Post

The parashiot of Miketz and Vayigash feature some strange language and events that bear closer examination. The way I see things, it’s easier toread between the lines if we accept that the point of the parashiot is that “Kol Israel Arevim Ze LaZe” - all Israel are responsible for one another.Some of the [stronger] points in making this claim are Rashi’s or other commentator’s ideas. Any errors are mine, naturally.For those of you who may find it useful to know, I used The Sapirstein Edition of the Chumash.

The Irresponsible, Disunited Brothers
In Miketz, perek MB/chapter 32, pasouk G/verse 3 reads: “Joseph’s brothers - ten of them - went down to buy grain from Egypt.”
Rashi notes that a moment earlier the brothers had been referred to as Jacob’s sons. His explanation for the reference to them as Joseph’sbrothers is that they regretted his sale and were set on ransoming him. But at the same time, the reference to ‘ten of them’ alludes to their divisionamongst themselves as to how they felt towards Joseph personally - their love and hatred for him varied individually.
A moment later, we read that at surface level, the reference to ten brothers prepares us for Benjamin’s absence from the trip. Jacob’sexplanation is that he is concerned about a disaster occurring. Jacob tactfully avoids recalling the blame that the brothers bear for having his first sonkilled (or so he thinks). But it seems clear that Jacob mistrusts his own children to care for the sole remaining child of his favourite wife.
More interestingly, Jacob uses a weird phrasing to explain his worry, “Pen Ikraenu Ason.” The “nu” suffix suggests that he perhaps meant“lest a disaster befall us,” rather than “lest a disaster befall Benjamin.” The first person singular, “we,” often uses the “nu” suffixin conjugation. Jacob was trying to get the brothers to take responsibility for Benjamin.

Repetitions, Repetitions
The next verse makes things even more unusual. We already know from several psoukim in the preceding perek that Joseph was “the ruler over the land,he was the provider to all the people of the land.” After Joseph had succesfully interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he’d been made the country’s administratorwith repeated remarks by Pharaoh to the vastness and fullness of Joseph’s power and responsibility for the country’s welfare.
Why does the Torah repeat itself here?
I’d say that the timing explains things. The repetition comes immediately after the preceding distrustful talk. Where Jacob could not trust his ownchildren to take responsibility for their sibling, Pharaoh trusted Joseph enough to entrust him with his country!
The verse concludes with Joseph’s brother bowing to him. At a superficial level, they recognized his political superiority, but perhapsthey were also acknowledging that he was worthy of their respect as a role model. Here was a man of their own approximate age and he was caring for anation.
For simplicity I’ll just quote the following few verses verbatim. “Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, but he acted like a strangertoward them and spoke with them harshly. He said to them, ‘From where have you come?’ And they said, ‘From the land of Canaan to buy food.’ Josephrecognized his brothers but they did not recognize him.
When someone doesn’t recognize their child, we say they’ve disowned them and absolved themselves of responsibility for them.A midrash suggests that Joseph was ready to take care of his brothers, but the reverse wasn’t true.
My take is that Joseph acted coldly to to see whether they had changed since the time they’d sold him into slavery. He wanted to avoid tipping them offand risking getting an answer that aimed to please, but wasn’t 100% true. When they said that they came down to buy food - and ommitted to mentionthat they were looking to ransom their brother - he concluded that they still didn’t take responsibility for their earlier actions.
Spies, Bloody Spies!
Feeling perhaps that his brothers haven’t caught the thrust of where he’s going, and hoping to see that they were ready to take responsibility for him,Joseph then charges his brothers with being spies.
They deny it, and repeat that they’re just in town to buy food. They add that “we are all the sons of one man,” are truthful and have never been spies.Rashi interprets that as them including Joseph in the “we” and now recognizing him as a brother, from a flicker of G-dly inspiration.
Unimpressed, Joseph repeats the charge, to which they answer and highlight that their full brotherhood counts 12 members, “one of which is withour father today and one is gone.”
So they acknowledge that Joseph was once a part of their group but no longer, and they also phrase things to avoid taking personal responsibilityfor his absence. He’s just gone, like he’d gotten into a bad mood one day and run away from home.
Joseph, still not getting through, angrily repeats, “That’s what I’ve been saying to you. You’re spies!”
Rashi here cites a midrash that suggests that the real meaning of the conversation regards the brothers’ ransoming intent. Would they pay an exorbitantprice? Yes, they would. What if he wasn’t for sale? They came to kill or be killed, they said.
At this, we might expect Joseph to be pleased to hear the extent to which his brothers were prepared to go for him. Instead, he pressed home his pointabout the spies and threw his brothers in prison for three days.
As I understand things, the point of the accusation was that spies are fundamentally ungrateful people. They mix with their hosts, who take care of them,then repay them poorly with betrayal. Instead of taking care of those who’ve taken care of them, they forgo responsibility to instead cause harm.This may be a bit far-fetched, but we’ll see that on the whole it’s a tenable argument.
When he released his brothers from jail, Joseph challenged them to bring their youngest brother down to Egypt. The guilt that had been eating at themboiled to the surface and they recognized their responsibility finally, with Reuben says, “I told you so.” You would think he’d learned the lesson.
Just a short stretch later, Jacob is apprised of the situation whereby Benjamin must return to Egypt with his brothers if they are to buy foodagain - Joseph would not see them, otherwise. Reuben offers to be the surety for Benjamin, and should he fail to return his little brother,Jacob can kill Reuben’s two sons. Which offer Jacob promptly dismisses, per Rashi, as irresponsible rashness.
The leader - by age of the brothers - having thus been rebuffed, Judah offers to guarantee Benjamin’s safe passage. His words are interesting:
“Send the lad with me and let us arise and go, so we will live and we will not die, neither we nor you nor our children. I will guarantee him; of myown hand you can demand him. If I do not bring him back to you and stand him before you, then I will have sinned to you for all time. For had we notdelayed, by now we could have returned twice.”
The appeal is to the benefit of the collective. This Jacob accepts and sends Benjamin with his brothers.
Back in Joseph’s court, upon seeing that his brothers had brought their youngest sibling down to Egypt without harming him, Joseph welcomes his guestswith feasts. But he’s not entirely convinced that they’ve learned their lesson.
So he has his staff plant his goblet in Benjamin’s baggage before the brothers are set to leave. As they begin their trip, Joseph’s staff catches upand finds the goblet in Benjamin’s bag. Like spies, they are placed in a situation of doing wrong to people who have done them right (by selling themfood). It is time to take put up or shut up, as they say. Joseph asks that Benjamin remain as his slave.
Fortunately, Judah takes responsibility in Miketz, saying amongst other things, “How can I go up to my father without the youth, lest I see theevil that will befall my father?!” Between Judah assuming responsibility for his brother, thus showing that he and the brothers had changed for thebetter, and the appeal to his father’s welfare, Joseph gets through and succeeds. Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers and the rest,as they say, is history.
So these parashiot teach us that Kol Israel Arevim Ze Lazeh - All Israel Are Responsible For One Another. With terrorists attacking Israel, thismessage is particularly timely. Aish has an interesting piece, of which was addressed at last night’s rally here in Montreal. (The Florida Jewish site also has a good article
When addressing the media, we need to not only criticize them, but praise those who do a good job writing accurately and fairly. I need to commendCNN (link) for example, for their coverage Tuesday night that showed an Israeli city’s police station storing all the exploded rockets that hit the town.Anderson Cooper showed the jagged metal placed around the explosive charge to maximize shrapnel (e.g. exploding junk) injuries.
But that’s not all. Pharaoh didn’t just trusting Joseph with the country - but with a wife and prize possessions etc. There are personal benefitsto demonstrating trustworthiness. Of course, if personal benefit is the only motivation for doing the right thing, chances are you won’t earn thattrust in the first place. But it’s great to know that helping others leaves us with more than just happy feelings.
Gab Goldenberg is an internet marketing expert who writes an SEO blog and provides link building services .
taken from :


Written by: Nathan Light

This week marks the conclusion of the book of Genesis, the first of five books of the Torah. In brief, the parshah speaks of the final words that our forefather Jacob shares with his children and grand-children before his death, and it describes what occurs after his death, and the death of Joseph.

Normally, between weekly portions the Torah includes a paragraph break between the last sentence of the previous week’s portion and the first sentence of the present week’s portion. However, this week is an exception and begins the portion in the middle of the same line that last week’s portion ended. So, why is this a “sealed” (and not open, i.e. no paragraph break) parshah?

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, 10401105, famed as the author of the first comprehensive commentaries on the Torah) offers two answers; the first is as follows:

“Once Jacob died the eyes and hearts of his descendants were “sealed” due to the suffering of the enslavement, for the Egyptians began to enslave them.”

According to this translation of Rashi, it would imply that immediately following the death of Jacob the Jews were put into slavery by the Egyptians. However, the Torah explicitly states [Exodus: 1: 6-7] that the enslavement only occurred after all of Jacob’s children died! So, what was Rashi really saying!?

Rabbi Uziel Milevsky (an exceptional Torah scholar who passed away about 15 years ago) explained that Rashi’s intention wasn’t that the eyes and hearts of the Jewish people became sealed due to the hardships of the subjugation, rather that they became sealed to the hardships of the subjugation. Meaning: Once Jacob died and consequently ceased influencing his children, they began to enjoy life in exile and eventually succumbed to the spiritual enslavement brought upon them by the Egyptians.

As mentioned above, Rashi also offered a second answer to why the paragraph is sealed:

“Jacob wished to reveal the end to his sons, but it was “sealed” off from him.”

This means that Jacob, through divine knowledge, wanted to tell his sons when the ultimate end of all Jewish exiles would occur, but was somehow prevented (“closed off”) from telling it over to them.

One may suggest that the two answers given by Rashi are not coincidental, but that they are deliberately placed together and linked to one another.

As explained in Answer#2, Jacob wanted to reveal the “end of days” to his offspring but it was “sealed off” from him. But why!? What caused it to be sealed off from him? This is where Answer#1 steps in: It is because the children of Israel “sealed” their eyes and hearts to the Egyptian immorality and chose to immerse themselves in spiritual exile that they were refused to receive the revelation of when our final redemption would occur.

The longing for the “end of days” that was crucial for its arrival, would inevitably diminish from within the children of Israel during their stay in Egypt, and this would ultimately prevent its coming altogether. Therefore, we learn that the first prerequisite in bringing the final redemption is to actually want it to come!

We often express our wishes that Mashiach (the Messiah) should come speedily in our days, but do we really mean it!? This final redemption will bring about an end to all our strife and put a stop to all the ongoing wars amongst mankind, and it will usher in a universal recognition of the Jewish people as a light unto the universe. Of course we want peace, nevertheless we must ask ourselves: Are we truly willing to give up our material pursuits and take upon ourselves all the necessary responsibilities in our devotion to God in order to serve as a model unto all the nations of the world? May we be blessed to make it our priority to ask ourselves this question everyday of our lives, and eventually honestly come to the right answer.

Good Shabbos

taken from :
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