Saturday, 26 September 2009

Love of the Land: The History Behind Netanyahu’s History

The History Behind Netanyahu’s History

Rick Richman
25 September 09

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations was steeped in history–history denied by some members of the UN, and lessons of history ignored by others. He ended by stating that peace would ultimately depend on whether the international community confronted, or accommodated, the forces led by Iran. His concluding paragraphs offered a quotation from Churchill:

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong.

There is a history behind the Churchill quotation, unspoken by Netanyahu, that is necessary to recount in order to appreciate its full import.

The quotation came from Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on May 2, 1935, on German rearmament, which had proceeded much more rapidly than the government’s intelligence had indicated and had already reached a stage that was beyond the power of “engagement” to reverse. It caused Churchill to ask why steps had not been taken two or three years before, when “alarm bells [had been] set ringing, and even jangling:”

It is possible that the dangers into which we are steadily advancing would never have arisen. . . . [But] when the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure.

Then Churchill provided his own answer to why England had allowed the situation to reach the point where the Germans, through rearmament, would shortly be able “if they chose — and why should they not choose? — to reverse the results of the Great War:”

There is nothing new to the story. It is as old as [Rome]. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.

Netanyahu left out Churchill’s references to “the fruitlessness of experience” and the “endless repetition of history.” The omission was undoubtedly intentional, reflecting Netanyahu’s concluding hope that the history he had recounted would be a teachable moment, not another instance of the “unteachability of mankind,” and that the world would not be condemned to repeat that history.

His history lesson was reinforced by the speech from the same podium by the president of Iran–who has repeatedly expressed intentions at least as clear as those Churchill discerned in 1935 and who presides over an armament program even clearer and more dangerous than Germany’s at that time.

But Netanyahu was also preceded by the president of the United States, who delivered an extraordinarily self-referential speech, with no sense of either history or the storm gathering before him. Obama’s speech may someday stun historians–except, perhaps, for those aware he began his term by packing up the bust of Churchill and writing on it “Return to Sender.”

Love of the Land: The History Behind Netanyahu’s History

Love of the Land: Are the Iranians Worried About That New Deadline?

Are the Iranians Worried About That New Deadline?

Jonathan Tobin
25 September 09

Along with the leaders of Britain and France, President Obama was forced today to take time out of the G-8 Summit to react to the announcement that Iran has been building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel. What followed was the announcement that Iran had a deadline of two months to comply with international demands to halt its nuclear program or it would face sanctions. This makes it sound as if real pressure is about to be ratcheted up on Tehran. Supposedly, this means that unless the Iranians allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct an immediate inspection of the facility, the West will press for new, tougher sanctions on Iran. Obama hopes that his recent appeasement of Russia by breaking faith with Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense will mean that the Putin/Medvedev regime will finally play along on sanctions and drag the Chinese with them.

It’s a nice theory, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fresh off another vile Holocaust-denying speech at the United Nations, may not exactly be shaking in his boots about the prospect of Western resolve. Years of feckless Western diplomacy (outsourced by the Bush administration to France and Germany) did nothing but convince the Iranians that no one outside of Israel was serious about stopping them. And after months of outreach from the Obama administration, including an astonishingly weak response to their brazen theft of a presidential election and brutal crackdown on dissidents, it’s not clear that the threat of sanctions is one the Iranians take seriously.

As for what would happen after the two months if the deadline is not adhered to, Tehran understands all too well that the negotiations between the United States, its Western allies, and Iran’s erstwhile friends in Moscow and Beijing would be long, tedious, and likely to produce something short of the draconian measures necessary to produce significant leverage.

Just as important is that the two-month deadline, though seemingly indicative of some spine on behalf of the West, is hardly the sort of ultimatum likely to spur panic among the leaders of the Islamist regime. It is, in fact, not the first multi-month deadline Iran has recently received. When U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Israel over the summer, he attempted to placate his anxious hosts by saying that America had given Tehran only until the United Nations General Assembly to respond to Obama’s overtures before the clock would start on stronger sanctions. So, far from being the harbinger of a new era of resolve on the issue, the new two-month deadline is in effect an extension on the previous demand placed on Iran. This must lead Ahmadinejad to reason that no matter what his government does or doesn’t do between now and the end of November, it may be a reasonable bet that this date will be merely the beginning of a new period during which Washington will say diplomacy must be given just one more chance.

We may hope that Obama’s rhetoric today is the beginning of a new era of American seriousness about the threat from Iranian nukes. But when seen in the context of what has recently preceded it, and the clear preference on the part of the president and our allies for “engagement” rather than action on the issue, optimism in Tehran about their chances of further successful defiance of international opinion may well be justified.

Love of the Land: Are the Iranians Worried About That New Deadline?

Love of the Land: An Enfeebled Obama

An Enfeebled Obama

Caroline Glick
25 September 09

If Zbigniew Brzezinski had his way, the US would go to war against Israel to defend Iran's nuclear installations.

In an interview with the Daily Beast Web site last weekend, the man who served as former US president Jimmy Carter's national security adviser said, "They [IAF fighter jets] have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? We have to be serious about denying them that right. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not."

Brzezinski has long distinguished himself as one of the most outspoken Israel-haters in polite circles in Washington. Under normal circumstances, his remarks could be laughed off as the ravings of a garden variety anti-Semite. But these are not normal circumstances. Brzezinski served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, and his views are not terribly out of place among Obama's senior advisers in the White House. In an interview in 2002, Samantha Powers, who serves as a senior member of Obama's national security council, effectively called for the US to invade Israel in support of the Palestinians.

The fact of the matter is that Brzezinski's view is in line with the general disposition of Obama's foreign policy. Since entering office, Obama has struck a hard-line position against Israel while adopting a soft, even apologetic line toward Iran and its allies.

For eight months, Obama has sought to force Israel to the wall. He has loudly and repeatedly ordered the Netanyahu government to prevent all private and public construction for Jews in Israel's capital city and its heartland in order to facilitate the eventual mass expulsion of Jews from both areas, which he believes ought to become part of a Jew-free Palestinian state.

Until this week, Obama conditioned the resumption of negotiations toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians on such a prohibition of Jewish building and so encouraged Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to further radicalize his positions toward Israel. Until Obama came around, Abbas had no problem negotiating with Israeli leaders while Jews were building homes and schools and other structures in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. But with Obama requiring a freeze of all such construction, Abbas made clear in an interview with The Washington Post in May that he couldn't talk to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu without looking like a sellout.

Obama made no equivalent demands of the Palestinians. He did not precondition talks on freezing illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem, or on dismantling the Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group, or even simply on setting aside the Palestinian demand that Israel release convicted terrorists from its prisons. To the contrary, he has energetically supported the establishment of a Palestinian unity government between Fatah and Hamas - which the US State Department has since 1995 designated as a foreign terrorist organization to which US citizens, including the US president, are required by law to give no quarter.

As for Iran, during his meeting with Netanyahu in May, Obama gave the clear impression that the Iranian regime had until September to accept his offer to negotiate the disposition of its nuclear installations. But it is now September, and in its belated response to Obama's generous offer of engagement, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime rejected the terms of Obama's engagement out of hand. Obama did not retaliate by taking his offer to negotiate off the table or - perish the thought - working to implement the sanctions he had pledged would follow an Iranian rejection of his open hand.

Instead, Obama announced that he is sending a senior US official to meet with the Iranians on October 1. And with that announcement, any residual doubt that Obama is willing to live in a world in which Iran is armed with nuclear weaponry dissipated completely.

In the meantime, in his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday and in his remarks at his meeting with Netanyahu and Abbas on Tuesday, Obama made clear that, in the words of former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, he has "put Israel on the chopping block." He referred to Israeli communities located beyond the 1949 armistice lines as "illegitimate."

Moreover, Obama explained that Israel can no longer expect US support for its security if it doesn't bow to his demand that it surrender all of the land it has controlled since 1967.

Apparently it is immaterial to the US leader that if Israel fulfilled his demand, the Jewish state would render itself defenseless against enemy attack and so embolden its neighbors to invade. That is, it matters not to Obama that were Israel to fulfill his demand, the prospect of an Arab war against Israel would rise steeply. The fact that Obama made these deeply antagonistic statements about Israel at the UN in itself exposes his hostility toward the country. The UN's institutional hostility toward Israel is surpassed only by that of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

So given Obama's positions toward Israel on the one hand and Iran and its allies on the other, it seems clear enough that the logical endpoint of Obama's policies would look something like Brzezinski's recommended course of action. Moreover, Obama's foreign policy as a whole makes it fairly easy to imagine him ordering the US military to open hostilities against a US ally to defend a US adversary - even as that adversary goes out of its way to humiliate Obama personally and the US in general.

Love of the Land: An Enfeebled Obama

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Friendly Little Green Men

Another Tack: Friendly Little Green Men

Sarah Honig
24 September 09

It's hunky-dory to kick off another year with comforting reassurances of stability. There are no unsettling changes in the wings. What was is what will be, albeit with slight superficial variations. For instance, Yossi Beilin will keep on tinkering with our existential interests as he did so assiduously hitherto. Although he announced his retirement, indefatigable Beilin is still out there avidly looking for E.T., still trying to broker that intergalactic encounter between alien life-forms, the one that will bless us with universal bliss.

Seeking peace in our time and in our land has often been likened to seeking friendly little green men in the outermost cosmos. The probability of finding what you're looking for is infinitesimally negligible in both cases. Yet Yossi won't let disheartening odds dampen his enthusiasm. Same goes for stunning past failures.

So what if the Oslo he concocted behind the backs of Israel's elected government unequivocally manifested itself as a gargantuan flop, as have his Geneva Initiative and his political aspirations (the Meretz he led until recently was trounced in the last elections). Beilin won't let staggering setbacks get in the way of grand designs.

IN THE 1950s prominent social psychologist Leon Festinger, progenitor of the Cognitive Dissonance theory, focused on the obsessive rejection of tangible reality by fanatic followers of fantasy. He studied a small cult that awaited the imminent arrival of aliens from another galaxy. They calculated dates and prepared meticulously for the great event - which never materialized. Yet members of the flying saucer cult didn't relinquish their faith in "Guardians" from outer space and their promises for a new universe.

This led Festinger to observe in his ground-breaking 1956 book When Prophecy Fails that the collapse of prophecies disseminated by cults "often has the opposite effect from what the average person might expect. The cult following gets stronger and the members even more convinced of the truth of their actions and beliefs."

Israel's homegrown peace cult is proof positive.

Buoyed by his blunders, fearless Beilin hasn't given up on the Geneva washout. Valiantly insisting it's still a viable option, he last week ceremoniously announced the publication of a 400-page, most-detailed-yet version of the "grassroots" recipe for peace he first inflicted upon us in 2003. Shimon Peres, Yossi's patron of old, received an advance copy of the updated Geneva Initiative. So has Hillary Clinton (in the hope she'd get Washington to impose it on the vast majority of Israelis who clearly rejected the original) and all EU's movers and shakers (in the hope they'd egg Hillary to do their bidding).

The fact that nobody authorized him to represent Israel, haggle on its behalf and determine its future is of no hindrance to Beilin. He's done it previously. In August 1993 the then-deputy foreign minister pulled off a similar stunt in the Norwegian capital. He later pitched the Osloite concoction to his boss, Peres, who proceeded to convince then-PM Yitzhak Rabin that the Palestinians had undergone a strategic metamorphosis.

With much fanfare and self-congratulation the clandestine deal was unveiled to the citizenry as a glorious fait accompli. The intelligence community didn't raise a ruckus, the intellectual elites celebrated and the obstinate opponents were lumped with Hamas as "enemies of peace."

Eventually, however, Nobel prizes notwithstanding, the strategic metamorphosis was revealed as nothing but a marketable version of the old Arab phased plan for Israel's destruction, rendered feasible via the invaluable complicity of duped Israelis.

This is what comes of lack of accountability and failure to demand reckoning. We're now in the midst of our annual neurotic Yom Kippur self-flagellation orgy, wherein we commemorate the 1973 war. This faultfinding frenzy, however, only accentuates the dearth of probes into Beilin's Oslo fiasco.

There are no academic studies, investigative reports or exposés about how our national leadership was bamboozled into crowning Arafat the prince of peace, importing him and 50,000 henchmen from Tunis and arming them. This gratuitous debacle is of unprecedented proportions. It's still ongoing, unresolved and with no happy end in sight. It's far from being behind us.

NONETHELESS, ACADEMICIANS and media hotshots refrain from pointing fingers at the enlightened bunglers who brought us Oslo, because they're all chums in the same progressive fraternity of radical postmodernist flying-saucer devotees.

A decade after Oslo literally bombed, an undeterred Beilin promoted its Geneva spin-off to demonstrate that, contrary to overwhelming empirical evidence, we do have interlocutors with whom to chew the fat. Substantiating Festinger's conclusions, Beilin went on the offensive to redeem his incontrovertible flop, to show Israel's benighted masses how right he is - even if it kills them.

He is still at it. In the coming year, the resurrected Geneva's boosters plan seminars on each of the 13 intractable irritations which keep peace away, among them Jerusalem, security, water, the PA economy and refugees. A cult convocation is already scheduled this October in Prague to palaver there about our H2O-shortage here. A much-ballyhooed junket to pleasing faraway climes never hurt any space cadet.

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Friendly Little Green Men

Love of the Land: The Mufti of Berlin

The Mufti of Berlin

Arab-Nazi collaboration is a taboo topic in the West.

Daniel Schwamenthal
Wall St. Journal
25 September 09


One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany's sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the "second victims" of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators' German apologists.

Karl Rössel's exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the "Werkstatt der Kulturen," a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin's heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition's small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn't want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader "was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites," as Mr. Rössel put it to me.

The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding—as did Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood—for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler's personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel's defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans.

Associated Press

Hezbollah terrorists practicing a familiar salute in 2008.

After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a "non-white" person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn't have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, "white," Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs.

Berlin's integration commissioner, Günter Piening, initially seemed to defend her. "We need, in a community like Neukölln, a differentiated presentation of the involvement of the Arabic world in the Second World War," Der Tagesspiegel quoted him as saying. He later said he was misquoted and following media criticism allowed a smaller version of the exhibit to be shown.


Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini inspecting a Muslim SS parade in 1944.

Mr. Rössel says this episode is typical of how German historians, Arabists and Islam scholars deny or downplay Arab-Nazi collaboration. What Mr. Rössel says about Germany applies to most of the Western world, where it is often claimed that the mufti's Hitler alliance later discredited him in the region. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Mideast, Nazis were not only popular during but also after the war—scores of them found refuge in the Arab world, including Eichman's deputy, Alois Brunner, who escaped to Damascus. The German war criminals became trusted military and security advisers in the region, particularly of Nazi sympathizer Gamal Nasser, then Egypt's president. The mufti himself escaped to Egypt in 1946. Far from being shunned for his Nazi past, he was elected president of the National Palestinian Council. The mufti was at the forefront of pushing the Arabs to reject the 1948 United Nations partition plan and to wage a "war of destruction" against the fledgling Jewish state. His great admirer, Yasser Arafat, would later succeed him as Palestinian leader.

The other line of defense is that Arab collaboration with the Nazis supposedly wasn't ideological but pragmatic, following the old dictum that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This "excuse" not only fails to consider what would have happened to the Jews and British in the Mideast had the Arabs' German friends won. It also overlooks the mufti's and his followers' virulent anti-Semitism, which continues to poison the minds of many Muslims even today.

The mufti "invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mold," according to German scholar Matthias Küntzel. The mufti's fusion of European anti-Semtism—particularly the genocidal variety—with Koranic views of Jewish wickedness has become the hallmark of Islamists world-wide, from al Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. During his time in Berlin, the mufti ran the Nazis' Arab-language propaganda radio program, which incited Muslims in the Mideast to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." Among the many listeners was also the man later known as Ayatollah Khomeini, who used to tune in to Radio Berlin every evening, according to Amir Taheri's biography of the Iranian leader. Khomeini's disciple Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still spews the same venom pioneered by the mufti as do Islamic hate preachers around the world.

Muslim Judeophobia is not—as is commonly claimed—a reaction to the Mideast conflict but one of its main "root causes." It has been fueling Arab rejection of a Jewish state long before Israel's creation.

"I am not a Mideast expert," Mr. Rössel told me, but "I wonder why the people who so one-sidedly regard Israel as the region's main problem never consider how the Mideast conflict would have developed had it not been influenced by fascists, anti-Semites and people who had just returned from their Nazi exile."

Mr. Rössel may not be a "Mideast expert" but he raises much more pertinent questions about the conflict than many of those who claim that title.

Mr. Schwammenthal is an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.

Love of the Land: The Mufti of Berlin

Love of the Land: Chol HaMoed Hevron

Chol HaMoed Hevron

Click on Poster to Enlarge

Love of the Land: Chol HaMoed Hevron

Love of the Land: Weekly Commentary: Lessons from the stand off on settlement freeze

Weekly Commentary: Lessons from the stand off on settlement freeze

Dr. Aaron Lerner
24 September 09

It wasn't too long ago that President Obama's team and the various radical Israeli Leftists advising them were convinced that they could force Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into an open ended all encompassing settlement freeze.

They were convinced that they had a winning combination: an issue that American Jews didn't relate to, deceptively designed published partial Israeli polling data indicating support and a prime minister viewed by his detractors as having serious orthopedic problems (spineless).

But that's not how it played out.

Once again we see that when Israel makes it clear what its red lines are - and sticks to them - even the President of the United States of America has to back down.

What happens now?

Despite his best efforts, President Shimon Peres' anarchistic proposal to create a sovereign Palestinian state before we reach an agreement appears thankfully to be dead in the water.

And while the Palestinian plan to get their act together over the course of the next two years so that they would appear ready for a state has been cited by some Israeli Leftists as reason enough for cutting whatever deal the Palestinians might accept already today, most elements of the program can be seen as framework for autonomous as much as sovereign state building.

Will there be a crippling stalemate?

On the one hand, Mahmoud Abbas, with his eyes on elections in 2010, may be hard pressed to avoid being seen as engaging in final status talks with Israel in the absence of the encompassing freeze the Obama team originally demanded. But while such negotiations might be counterproductive for Abbas and Fatah at the Palestinian polls, the ongoing improvement in the quality of life in the West Bank - a development that requires continuous Palestinian-Israeli contacts at all levels - could help bring him and his party a victory.

And then what?

Take note of Prime Minister Netanyahu's phrase: "The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel."

State? Perhaps under certain conditions.

A sovereign state?

".all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel."

You can spell that A U T O N O M Y.

Love of the Land: Weekly Commentary: Lessons from the stand off on settlement freeze

Love of the Land: Yom Kippur 5770 (2009)

Yom Kippur 5770 (2009)

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement 2009: Dry Bones cartoon.

The Day of Atonement is upon us again. The next Dry Bones cartoon will appear next Wednesday, October 30 ...along with a very special notice!

Tsom Kal, have an easy fast.

Love of the Land: Yom Kippur 5770 (2009)

Love of the Land: The Only Feasible Basis for Arab-Israeli Peace

The Only Feasible Basis for Arab-Israeli Peace

Daniel Mandel
24 September 09

One of the responses I sometimes receive after publishing articles and delivering speeches pouring cold water on the prospects of current diplomatic efforts to achieve an Arab-Israeli peace is: ‘What should Israel/the West be doing instead?’

As it happens, there is an alternative, but it will convince no one unless the prohibitive costs of the present policy of diplomatic engagement with and funding of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are understood – which, largely, they are not. For even among those not deluded about peace prospects, there are some who believe that diplomatic shadow-boxing brings benefits.

Accordingly, what are these alleged benefits?

· Politicians buy time claiming to be working for peace, even if it never arrives. Yet deception via dissemination of spurious good news simply lulls the public to sleep. That might suit incumbents, who often manage to leave office before the consequences of their temporizing boomerang on their countrymen: Britain’s Stanley Baldwin, retiring in 1937, two years before the consequences of his appeasement policy and lack of rearmament helped to produce a long and bitter World War Two; or Bill Clinton’s inertia in dealing with Al Qaeda, leading to 9/11 early on his successor’s watch, come to mind.

· Negotiations defuse tensions and prevent full-scale hostilities. The absence of hostilities is often meaningless if aggressors patiently utilize truces to prepare for war. Just consider Yasser Arafat’s resort to war in 2000, after seven years of diplomatic “progress”; or Hizballah using the illusory calm of 2000-06 to dig in and plot further aggressions from southern Lebanon, leading to a costly, inconclusive war for Israel.

· Negotiations benefit Israel by warding off even stronger pressures. The Oslo negotiations tell otherwise: where Palestinians prove unwilling, the only remaining room for maneuver lies in pressuring Israel, which Bill Clinton duly did. He even threatened Israel with negative UN votes if Israel didn’t deliver concessions. Under both Clinton and Bush, the State Department refused declaring Palestinian violations by promoting terrorism and incitement to hatred. Chief U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross told me personally that “we … became so preoccupied with this process that the process took on a life of its own …Every time there was a [Palestinian] behavior, or an incident or an event that was inconsistent with the process … the impulse was to rationalize it, finesse it, find a way around it and not allow it to break the process.”

Is anything different today?

Fatah, which controls the PA, can hold a conference reasserting its refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state while glorifying terrorists and rejecting an end of claims in any future peace agreement with Israel and yet the Obama Administration acts as though the key to the problem is to stop Jews moving into eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. This is how shadow-boxing and process takes on a life of its own.

(Full Article)

Love of the Land: The Only Feasible Basis for Arab-Israeli Peace

The Torah Revolution: Politicians, keep your hands off our G-d given time!

The Torah Revolution: Politicians, keep your hands off our G-d given time!

The Torah Revolution: What the UN wants is irrelevant

The Torah Revolution: What the UN wants is irrelevant

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

We went down to Tel Aviv (well, technically it was Ramat Gan) last night, and joined some 45,000 other people in a Leonard Cohen concert.

He never had a magnificant voice, but at 75 he still has the same reflective and resonant voice he always had - quite an achievement, that. He sang all his greaties, and we sang along. At the end he wished us peace, using the blessing of the Cohanim, in Hebrew.

For me, the top moment was when he sang Who By Fire, an interesting adaptation of Netane Tokef. Netane Tokef has been the climatic moment of the Rosh Hashana services for more than a thousand years, and we said it twice this week; we'll say it again early next week on Yom Kippur - so his timing was impecable.
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Torat HaRav Aviner - Amount of sacrifices when the Temple is rebuilt

Amount of sacrifices when the Temple is rebuilt


Q: How many sacrifices will we need to bring for our transgressions when the Temple is rebuilt?
A: Immediately after the destruction of the Temple, it was thought that the Temple may soon be rebuilt and so each person would put the money aside for a sacrifice when he transgressed. The money then became mixed up with other money and was used for other purposes, and so people ceased putting the money aside. Therefore, when the Temple is rebuilt, we will be required to bring many Sin Offerings for our accidental transgressions.
In Shut Torah Lishma (#120), the Ben Ish Chai discussed the ruling of the Rama in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 334:26) that if one desecrates Shabbat by accident, he should gives 18 "shekels" to Tzedakah in place of the "Korban Chatat" (Sin Offering). He was asked: If some gives the Tzedakah, will he still have to bring a Korban Chatat when the Temple is rebuilt? The Ben Ish Chai answered that the Gemara in Shabbat (12b) rules that it is forbidden to read by candle light on Shabbat lest one come to tilt the candle so that the oil flows to the wick and ignite the flame even more. Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha said: I will read but I will not tilt it. He was once reading, and was about to tilt it - he said, how great are the words of the Sages, who forbade to read by a lamp! Rabbi Natan said that he actually did tilt the lamp and wrote in his diary: "'I, Yishmael ben Elisha, read by a lamp and tilted the Shabbat light, and when the Temple is rebuilt, I will bring a fat Korban Chatat." The Ben Ish Chai says that if it is enough to give Tzedakah in place of a Korban Chatat, why did Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha wrote that he was obligated to bring a sacrifice in his diary?!
Our Sages also say (see Menachot 110a): Anyone who reads the section in the Torah about the Korban Chatat is considered as if he sacrificed it. The Ben Ish Chai says that it is considered as if he brought the sacrifice, not that he actually did so; and when the Temple is rebuilt, he will be obligated to bring it. See introduction to the book "Likutei Halachot" of the Chafetz Chaim who discussed this issue.
But we also need to understand that there are many conditions as to which transgressions require a Korban Chatat. Not every transgression requires a Korban Chatat. See the Rambam in Hilchot Shogagim for all of the conditions.
There will therefore be a lot of sacrifices, as it says: "Like the flock of sacrifices, like the flock of Jerusalem, in her holidays, so shall the destroyed cities be filled with flocks of men, and they will know that I am Hashem" (Yechezkel 36:38) – there are many Jews and many sacrifices. How will we solve all of the technical problems of having so many people and so many animals at the Temple? I do not know but we will solve them, but that is not the issue. The problem is: how do we reach the conditions for rebuilding the Temple: the Nation of Israel’s complete repentance?
In this context, it is worth mentioning what our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, related about the book "Likutei Halachot" of the Chafetz Chaim which is like the "Mishnah Berurah" for sacrifices in the Temple. The Chafetz Chaim asked his close friend Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Te'omim, Ha-Aderet – the Rav of Ponovezh and Maran Ha-Rav Kook's father-in-law – to write an approbation for the book. Ha-Aderet said to Maran Ha-Rav Kook: "I received a letter from Reb Yisrael Meir, the Chafetz Chaim, and he informed me that he is preparing to publish a sort of 'Mishnah Berurah' on sacrifices, and he asked me to write a letter of support and an approbation. I want to honor his request immediately, without delay. But you see that it is impossible, because of the great Rabbinic demands of a big city which leaves me absolutely no time to rest. I am therefore asking you do me this favor: You write it. What you write will be in my spirit, and it will be as if I wrote it." Maran Ha-Rav Kook prepared the letter for him and gave it to him to sign. Within the lengthy letter, full of feelings of holiness for the expectation of Salvation, preparations for the Temple and the sacrifices, he brought a teaching of our Sages: "Rabbi Yochanan said: The Torah scholars who engaged in the Laws of the Temple Service are considered as if they build the Temple in their days." But we must understand what being "engaged" in the Laws of the Temple Service means. It is not simply reciting it, as printed in the Siddurim. Our Sages used the word "engaged in," i.e. to learn the subject with depth and toil in the manner of Torah scholar to elucidate the Halachah. Ha-Aderet said to Maran Ha-Rav Kook: How can I sign when you added your own teaching? How can I be a thief? Ha-Aderet therefore added before the innovative explanation: "And his honor, the well-known Gaon, who is praised, our teacher Ha-Rav Avraham Ha-Cohain, may his light illuminate, the Av Beit Din of Boisk, pointed out to me..." The Aderet then signed the letter but it was written by Maran Ha-Rav Kook. And with Hashem's help, the "Mishnah Berurah" of sacrifices will be used as a halachic guide when the Temple is rebuilt and we bring all the required sacrifices.

Torat HaRav Aviner - Amount of sacrifices when the Temple is rebuilt



by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

The Messianic Age represents the fulfillment of that "going beyond." The Pagan Idea represented the eternal cyclicity of life. The Judaic Revolution realigned human consciousness to synchronize with the DNA blueprint, substituting the two dimensional pagan circle theory which has no sense of progression, with the three dimensional Hebraic spiral theory - G*d, Torah and Israel, which combines cyclicity with growth.

The maftir reading which we read on Yom Kippur, taken from Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 29:7, says "u'be'asur lachodesh hash'viee hazeh mikra kodesh yih'yeh lachem VI'INITEM et nafshoteychem kawl melacha lo ta'asu." To wit: "the tenth day of this seventh month shall be a sacred holy day to you and: TYPICAL TRANSLATION: you shall afflict your souls and not do any manner of work."

Talmud Yoma (77a) dissects its meaning and comes to include all the prohibited behaviors of the day, noting that it especially means to fast. Hence we use the term TAANIT for connoting a fast day, such as Taanit Esther, which shares the same root. But perhaps an an alternative translation can offer a new insight: you shall ANSWER your souls! The infinitive verb form of the word LA'ANOT means "to answer." Note that the verb form is written in the PIEL construct-VI'INITEM- which would serve to accentuate and emphasize its impact. REALLY ANSWER YOUR SOUL.

In Parshat Sh'mot, Exodus 1:12, we have the same verb- "vecha'asher y'ANU oto, ken yirbeh v'chen yifrotz... But the more they (the Egyptians) oppressed them, the more they (Israel) proliferated and spread."

So here it makes sense from the plain, peshat, meaning that it means "oppress," or "afflict." Now this is very deep. Usually when we answer someone we indeed end up afflicting them in some way. We often have some underlying need to dump on someone who genuinely needs help. As we have been dumped on all our lives by others, we sometimes have the urge to pass on the negativity of our own experiences onto others. Inquiry is seen as weakness, a seeming invitation for further oppression. Dialogue as weakness. Peculiar, yet the reigning motif of political conflict, especially in the MidEast.

In Exodus, the Israelites had just enjoyed generations of basking in the Egyptian goodwill stemming from Joseph's economic intervention which saved the country from utter ruin. Now they suddenly found themselves as slaves (ibid:8-11). Suddenly they were on the wrong side. Indeed overnight their whole world was turned upside down! They asked,"why?" and so "they answered them (read: oppressed them)..."What was the negativity of Egypt that the new king felt needed to be passed on? A reverse Stockholm syndrome! Ruling a nation of serfs who had sold all their lands and possessions to a prior Pharaoh for their very survival, he absorbed and identified with their pain. When one places suffering within a context of meaning it can be dealt with and tolerated. Many generations having lapsed, the new generation of Egypt lost the context for their suffering; their hardship became too much to bear. Meanwhile a prosperous Israel thrived among them in neighboring Goshen. The disparity aroused jealousy, another source of great psychic pain. Israel felt betrayed by the king and the society they had placed all their hopes in, indeed had staked their future upon. In whom should our trust really be placed?

Now in our parsha, Ha'azinu, we ask: what is the question and what is the answer? What pain has been inflicted on me, and how do I refrain from consciously or unconsciously passing it on to others? In this season of deepest reflection and self-accounting (cheshbon hanefesh), as we stand figuratively before the King of Kings, we ask, "why are we here? What is the ultimate purpose of our lives? What is the point of my life? What is the point of being Jewish?"

Not "why are we the eternal people," for that is a given, being that it is a Divine oath, but "what are we to do with this eternality?" Will we be IN the garden or OUT of the garden? In the Torah blessing we intone: "vechayey olam nata betochenu- and eternal life you hath planted in our midst." Will we seek shelter amidst the branches under the protective shade of the TREE of LIFE, which is Torah? Or will we we spurn this gift- the Torah, whose mitzvoth and teachings are literally the keys to our soul's eternal life?"

Ha'azinu hashamayim- Give ear O Heavens...vetishma ha'aretz- and Hear O Earth..."Heaven and Earth were the first born in Creation, partnering with G*d in the Creation of all that was to follow. Being the first of Creation they represent all that is potential. Humankind, being the last of Creation, represents the fulfillment of that potential. The Torah, the Sinaitic Revelation, takes us one step further and asks us to go BEYOND our potential.

And finally, the Messianic Age represents the fulfillment of that "going beyond." The Pagan Idea represented the eternal cyclicity of life. The Judaic Revolution realigned human consciousness to synchronize with the DNA blueprint, substituting the two dimensional pagan circle theory which has no sense of progression, with the three dimensional Hebraic spiral theory - G*d, Torah and Israel, which combines cyclicity with growth.

Forty represents transformation. The forty day period from Elul through Yom Kippur represents in miniature mankind's sojourn from Creation through Revelation and on to the Ultimate Redemption. The trumpets we blow on Rosh Hashanah symbolize the same trumpets we heard at Sinai, while the release from the obsessive burden of all bodily cares on Yom Kippur offers us a glimpse into the state of perfection of the Future World, when the soul and the body finally act in harmony instead of at cross purposes, when peace and justice is achieved for all. As such it is our day of greatest joy and celebration.

Shabbat Shuvah is the breather, the shabbat resting point, from which we symbolically catch our collective breath before we ascend to the peak of the Sabbath of Sabbaths, the Shabbat Shabbaton, which is Yom Kippur. The timeliness and concurrence of Haazinu with the Sabbath of Return- Shabbat Shuvah, is uncanny. We so often despair of our journey and grow weary of the effort just when the end is almost in sight. It's always darkest just before the dawn!

When we lose the connection to Sinai, we lose the compass pointing us to our ultimate destination. We are bidden by Moses for ALL generations to contemplate how and why we became prosperous in our land."Pay close attention to all the words through whichI warn you this day, so that you will be able to instruct your CHILDREN to keep all the words of this Torah carefully."

When Israel seeks to throw off the yoke of the Torah she is bending and distorting the spiral paradigm."Answer your souls' deepest yearnings- v'initem et nafshoteychem," and return to Hashem.If we make the Torah central to our lives we are indeed answering our soul's deepest desire, and INITEM is then translated as "answering our soul." But if we lose our center and allow centripetal forces to spin us around and bear down on us, thus losing the Torah as the guiding central moral force in our lives, then INITEM becomes translated as "afflict your souls."

But as our haftarah reassures us in the end (2 Samuel 22: 49-51), King David declares, "He brings me out from my enemies. You lift me above my adversaries; you deliver me from the violent man (literally "Hamas!"). Therefore I will give thanks to You, O G*d, among the nations, and sing praises to your name...

...He is a Tower of Salvation to His king; and shows mercy to His annointed, to David and his descendants forever."


A most hopeful note indeed.Shabbat Shalom. Good Shabbos. Shana Tovah. Ketivah vechatimah tovah.

© 2000 - 2009 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: HAAZINU; SHABBAT SHUVAH- ANSWER YOUR SOUL - Parshat Ha’azinu: Eretz Yisrael

Parshat Ha’azinu: Eretz Yisrael

At the end of this week’s parshah, the Torah describes the last moments of Moshe’s life:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe on that very day, saying, “Ascend to this mountain…and see the Land of Canaan that I give to the Children of Israel as an inheritance, and die on the mountain where you will ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people” [Deuteronomy: 32: 48-50]

After commanding Moshe the process by which he is to die, God reminds Moshe of the reason why Moshe was not permitted to enter the land (see Numbers 20:12 and 27:12-14 for more details):

“Because you trespassed against Me among the Children of Israel at the waters of Merivat-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Tzin; because you did not sanctify Me among the Children of Israel” [Deuteronomy: 32: 51]

Up until this point, this paragraph seems to be in order; it would’ve been very suitable for Hashem to end His conversation with Moshe at this point. However, Hashem decides to squeeze in one more verse:

“For from a distance shall you see the Land, but you shall not enter there, into the Land that I give to the Children of Israel” [Deuteronomy: 32: 52]

Why was this necessary!? God has already clearly articulated to Moshe in verses 49-50 that he shall see Israel from the mountain he was commanded to ascend! What is the reason God returns to the topic of “Moshe seeing the land” and relate it once again?

In truth, this final verse was crucial. If Hashem would have only commanded Moshe verses 49-50, Moshe could’ve posed the following question: “Hashem, I understand that because of my sin You have prohibited me from leading the nation into the land Israel. But, if You are already permitting me to view the land, why can’t I have a closer look? Why can’t I actually enter the land, by myself, for a short while and see the land from inside? Afterwards, I shall surely return to this mountain and I will die here as You have commanded me.” Seemingly, this is a very valid request. But it is to this request that Hashem had to repeat Himself with the emphasis that “from a distance shall you see the Land, you shall not enter there.”

Now that we have obtained a possible solution to this apparent redundancy, we are left with an obvious question: Why in fact couldn’t Moshe enter the land? Was it not enough that he was not permitted to lead the nation of Israel into it? The very same nation he took out of Egypt, and guided in the desert for 40 years! What message was God trying to convey to Moshe by not even letting him enter the land on his own?

There are many answers to this question; perhaps we can offer one. By prohibiting Moshe from even setting foot in the land, God was trying to communicate a very important lesson regarding the nature of the land of Israel. Yes, the physical land itself contains an inherent quality of tremendous holiness of which no other piece of land in the world can compare. Upon entering the land of Israel one can instantaneously feel his soul being lifted up to higher levels, eager to bring itself closer to God. But, despite its lofty state of holiness, the land of Israel is meaningless if it lacks a nation to dwell within it. Perhaps, God was trying to illustrate to Moshe that being alone in the land of Israel would not serve any purpose. Only within the collective whole of Am Yisrael can the function of the land of Israel be truly recognized.

Hopefully, most of us honestly realize the significance of the land of Israel and have cultivated within ourselves some level of yearning and attachment to it. But at the same time, how many of us actually focus, not only on the beauty and holiness of the land itself, but on our brethren that inhabits it? Living in Israel loses its luster if we constantly complain about the taxi drivers, airport attendants, or waitresses that unfortunately seem to have a talent of getting on our nerves daily! Only once we strengthen ourselves to develop a deeper love for our fellow Jews that live in (and out) of Israel, can the land of Israel truly reach its purpose.

Good Shabbos,


Parshat Ha’azinu: Eretz Yisrael

Posted using ShareThis

RubinReports: A Slice of Life: There's Reality and Then There's NPR

A Slice of Life: There's Reality and Then There's NPR

By Barry Rubin

The American media fascinates me, says a European colleague visiting Washington. In Europe, he continues, there’s a wide range of views from left to right in the media. In America, with some obvious exceptions, everyone says the same thing.

So I get into the car and click [radio on] its National Public Radio in mid-sentence. The announcer (reporter? host?) is saying [slight paraphrasing]:

“Now that the United States isn’t putting missiles in Eastern Europe the Obama Administration has added Russia as a friend. Can the Obama Administration claim a success in getting Russia to support higher sanctions against Iran?”

The expert replies:

“They would say so,” going on to talk about how President Barack Obama stood with the leaders of Britain and France and “has now widened out the alliance beyond traditional allies.”

Hello? What is this, Pravda? The Russians have not yet agreed to raise sanctions. The most said is that they would “consider” it, but generally Moscow has said it opposes more sanctions on Iran. Moreover, the idea of reducing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin—whose policy is systematically anti-American—to being a “friend” is pretty startling.

[Since writing this I have heard about additional statements made by high-ranking Russian
officials off the record which confirm that they don't think sanctions will work and don't believe this is the time to increase them. All reporters must be aware that this is the kind of thing the Russians have been saying. It is also on the record that Russian leaders have expressed disdain for Obama, that his public opinion poll ratings are not so high, and that Russian policy has not been helpful to the United States on a number of issues. So why pretend Obama has scored a big success with the Russians?]

Just yesterday the Chinese government says it opposes higher sanctions. The Chinese, by the way, are building a huge refinery in Iran that would help the Tehran regime circumvent sanctions on refined petroleum products. Speaking of which, the French foreign minister had said a few hours ago that he thought that particular restriction would be “dangerous.”

For those of us who haven’t been in this environment for years, it is startling to see the systematic misrepresentation of the most basic and publicly available facts in the media’s tireless effort to make Obama look good and his policies seem successful. No matter how often you’ve read about it doesn’t prepare you for the experience.

A few hours earlier when I dared turn on the radio, I caught a program being broadcast on NPR in which a panel was explaining that while “right-wing” commentators in the media were simultaneously very irresponsible and had tremendous influence on the Republican Party, fortunately there were no left-wing commentators like that in being either irresponsible or influential. (To be fair, one of the four panel members dissented the tiniest bit possible--the left-wingers, he said, were far better than the right-wingers but a tiny number might have gone too far but fortunately had no influence--though generally agreeing with the other three.

I honestly don’t want to exaggerate but at times it seems like living within some kind of demented Monty Python skit populated with people insisting the emperor has clothes, the parrot is alive, and the five-year plan is being successfully fulfilled.

PS: For a good update on the current situation regarding Iran's nuclear program and sanctions see The Economist Intelligence Unit report.

RubinReports: A Slice of Life: There's Reality and Then There's NPR

RubinReports: Where’s America? Where are the Americans? Life in a Fourth-Grade Public School

Where’s America? Where are the Americans? Life in a Fourth-Grade Public School

By Barry Rubin

My son who is 10 years old is going to the Montgomery County school system in Maryland this year to give him some wider experience after having all of his previous education in either Israeli or Jewish community schools. It certainly is an experience!

In some ways, it seems like a parody of multiculturalism. My children are tough, well-informed and have strong characters, largely informed by an Israeli world view. But they also have a very American persona, though one that may be becoming increasingly rare among upper middle class elite counterparts.

Here are some highlights of fourth-grade life in Montgomery County for my son:

--He wrote a fantasy genre story in which there was violence (quite a good story by the way). The teacher refused to let him read it because it included violence and said that this was not permitted. He received another warning after his second such story.

--Two units on man-made global warming as a fact with no indication that it is still an unproven and controversial issue. Children are told that unless carbon emissions are vastly reduced the oceans will rise, large parts of the land will be flooded, catastrophe will ensue.

--But there was no commemoration for the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed around 3,000 Americans (including a number of local people). When my son brought it up and complained, he was allowed to speak two minutes at which point the teacher interrupted him and said that now they would discuss some happier subject.

--Another student in his class, a Nigerian Christian, on finding out that he was from Israel said in private conversation between them that she’d heard Israel “was one of the worst countries in the world.” (My daughter had a parallel experience while attending a summer course at an elite Washington private school.)

--They had a session in which they were told that the “Golden Rule” is observed by people all over the world. This is an ironic example of multiculturalism as provincialism since of course it is a specifically (in the version they were being taught) Christian concept. In addition, while “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” can be a good social and ethical guideline (though don’t try it with con-men, sociopaths, etc) it is a very bad concept for international relations.

Those trying to defeat you in war or conquer you or get the advantage of you in a trade deal (hundreds of examples could be offered) don’t want you to treat them in the same way they treat you.

Under Islamic Sharia law, there are very different treatments of the two genders, for example. This law is based not on individual preferences or reason but on what is believed to be divine legislation.

--But the apex of his indoctrination so far is the “Schedule of Book Projects, October 2009." No, I’m not making this up. Here’s the entire plan:

“October 22 (Thurs.) Fiction book about an Hispanic American OR Native American (American Indians).

Jan. 14 (Thurs.) Non-fiction OR Fiction about an African-American or a book with the setting in Africa

March 18 (Thurs) Non-fiction book on the topic of your choice

May 27 (Thurs) Fiction novel placed in Asia or about Asian Americans.”

Where to begin?

Learning to know about and respect minority groups is certainly worthwhile but it should never be the center of the educational process. First, establish your own identity and understand your own society as a whole, then go into details, sub-cultures (a word which expresses an outdated view of a pluralist rather than multiculturalist society!) and only after you do that phase should you go on to compare it to other societies.

Note that this is not defined as a unit on international literature or learning about other countries and cultures (which would be more understandable and quite reasonable in a balanced context) but as their main interaction with literature, at least for the first half of the year.

There’s nothing whatsoever on the majority of Americans (70 percent or so?) who don’t’ fall into any of these groups and are now reduced to being their own “other.” Perhaps more important, there’s nothing about Americans as such. Americans don’t exist as a category; there is no overall experience or culture in this concept. (The school, of course, could pretend that this is to be covered in the one out of four book of choice but there is no indication that this is intended).

Yet perhaps the most egregious problem is this one: these aren't defined as novels with a range of characters—including Native American or Hispanic or Asian or African-American ones—mixing together in American society but take each group as if it is in a separate (dare we say, “segregated”) world of their own. Yes, in a sense—I don’t want to exaggerate here—it’s a return to the pre-civil rights days. What is multi-culturalism, after all, but a revised version of “separate but equal” societies?

There are tremendous political and psychological implications to such an approach that I will let you fill in for yourselves. But it is worth noting that America succeeded brilliantly as a melting pot, as a country with a unified worldview but freedom for groups to maintain their own organizations, customs (within reason), and beliefs.

Recently, I engaged a graduate student in a discussion about Judaism. She only had one question that interested her (and it was not based on personal interest, which would have been understandable): That life must have been difficult for homosexuals in past centuries.

Now there is nothing wrong with raising this as one issue to discuss, but I realize that in her education only that which is more marginal and minority is paramount. The majority experience or mainstream ideas was of little interest. And of course on such secondary issues any system could be made to seem illegitimate and oppressive.

Has America provided wonderful lives, tremendous freedom, high living standards?

Yes, many students are being taught today but that's not important. What's important is that it discriminated against African-, Hispanic-, and Asian-Americans.

But didn't it work hard to correct these problems? Didn't hundreds of thousands die in a Civil War to abolish slavery? Didn't the system fix itself in response to--in all honesty--rather low-level pressure and a call to conscience by the civil rights movement? Hasn't it leaned over backwards to provide equality?

Yes, many students are being taught today but that's not important. What's important is that only the left worked to change things and there's still racism today. (Even the smallest, most marginal is made to assume tremendous proportions.)

Wasn't America a unique society where people from many backgrounds could blend together to create a common culture, worldview and polity through what was called a "melting pot"?

Huh, many students can say after being taught. What's a melting pot?

In the same way, all America’s achievements could be invalidated by the situation of various sub-groups. Even the fact that it had allowed for the recognition of all of these problems and the solution of many of them did not count if any “oppression” could be found (or invented) to still exist.

For example, the fact that racism in America has probably declined by 90 percent over the last half-century (the number cannot be proven but the proportion seems reasonable) did not say anything great about the United States. Even the election of an African-American president might only be the occasion for acting as if racism had greatly increased.

In addition to all that, however, something else struck me on hearing all of this, as well as from my son’s cross-cultural observations. Aside from the subtle indoctrination to the left and the quite open indoctrination to multiculturalism, there is a kind of naïve-making process. These children are not being prepared for the world as it is but rather a cocoon in which they are taught to harbor unreal expectations and unworkable methods.

So the bottom line is this: the structure of the world view and skills being taught is similar to what went on in the 1950s, albeit without the patriotic aspects and confidence in their own civilization.

The destruction of the commonality of experience, the very concept of mainstream, is terrible. The dissolution of the concept of America is terrible. The creation of a foundation on which college professors can later add a superstructure of saying that America stinks, Western civilization stinks, capitalism stinks, is terrible. The creation of a generation of naifs unable to deal with a tough real world and an even tougher global world is terrible.

No wonder Bill Ayres, former but unrepentant Weatherman terrorist, close friend and apparently key political patron of Barak Obama’s early career is now putting his efforts as a professor into designing the public school curriculum.

Of course, things are much more complex and mixed than these generalizations indicate. It is easy to exaggerate. There will be a U.S. history unit later in the year, though such a thing should come before the current reading project. When we get there I’ll tell you about that one. I’ll just mention for now that a correspondent whose kids go to a school in the western United States told me they covered 1492 to 1789 in one week.

Yet there are worrisome trends and a lack of consciousness about what is being done and why it’s wrong that may grow even worse in time.

When asked about the main goals of their educational effort, the principal at another local school said that the most important was to teach children self-esteem. Yet what about social, civilizational, and national self-esteem?

Of course, they won’t even know what their civilization is, why it has been great, and how to sustain it. That is extraordinarily dangerous and troubling. This is an area, and an era, in which parents—especially the educated and affluent--take a tremendous interest in their children’s schooling. They want them to be advanced in everything, to get into good colleges, and they often arrange extra courses for them.

But how about the values and self-image they are being taught?

PS: A non-American colleague who is currently in his local Massachusetts public school and has no political ax to grind, tells me that during the election campaign students were openly intimidated if they said they supported McCain. He said: "You see such things on Fox and think they are marginal phenomena, but there's a huge amount like this going on."

RubinReports: Where’s America? Where are the Americans? Life in a Fourth-Grade Public School
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...