Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Love of the Land: Journalists From The West Always Collaborate With Me

Journalists From The West Always Collaborate With Me

Tuvia Tenenbom
Hudson New York
29 March '10

Mahmoud Darwish, heard of him? His books are sold here at the “Yafa: Book Store & Coffee Shop,” where you sip your sweet and bitter coffee at about quadruple the cost other cafés in the area charge, but you get the chance to entertain your mind with the loftiest of issues.

Haven’t heard of him? Don’t feel bad. Mahmoud Darwish, who passed away in August of 2008, is the most celebrated Palestinian writer of our time. Many of the books sold here are in Arabic, and nine out of ten Israeli intellectuals who come by don’t read Arabic to start with.

Relax. Sip your hot coffee a while longer, drink a cold soda in between. You certainly won’t be bored here. There are a few books in Hebrew as well, for those Jews who insist on reading, but no pressure to buy.

Drinks are more expensive than paper in this establishment and the owner will be thankful to you no matter how you spend your time. Some folks, those who don’t like to read or to drink, come here to listen. This is a place for peace, anti-war; everyone in sight is peaceful and accommodating.

Most who enter -- surely you won’t be surprised by this -- are left-wing Israelis for whom the Coffee Shops is a Mecca. Some Jews come here to give a speech and sell their wares. Like Prof. Shlomo Sand. Heard of him? If you didn’t, maybe you should. Michel, the Coffee Shop’s owner, for example, is an admirer. “Usually,” Michel tells me as he pours his expensive coffee for me, “I give people one hour to talk. But to Prof. Sand I gave three hours.” Michel is an Arab, Prof. Sand is a Jew, and the love between them crosses borders of national identities. “He has an exceptionally good mind,” Michel says to me. “Did you read his recent book?”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Journalists From The West Always Collaborate With Me

Israel Matzav: A J Street Passover

A J Street Passover

Lenny Ben David rips J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami's false Passover message (Hat Tip: My Right Word).

I don’t recall seeing in Ben-Ami’s bio any reference to his ordination as a rabbi. Maybe it was from some Deconstructionist divinity school, but it certainly wasn’t from the ancient schools of Moses, the sages Rabbi Gamliel or Rabbi Akiva, or from modern day rabbinical seminaries.

Oh, yes, I remember: Six months ago, the religious authority Ben-Ami presented to the New York Times his different and unique vision of how Judaism and Israel can survive and how to observe Passover:

“The average age of the dozen or so [J Street] staff members is about 30,” the Times profile reported. “Ben-Ami speaks for, and to, this post-Holocaust generation. ‘They’re all intermarried,’ he says. ‘They’re all doing Buddhist seders.’ They are, he adds, baffled by the notion of ‘Israel as the place you can always count on when they come to get you.’ Living in a world of blogs, they’re similarly skeptical of the premise that ‘we’re still on too-shaky ground’ to permit public disagreement.”

Ben-Ami sent out and posted on J Street’s website his “Four Questions for the Seder” handout. His distortions of Judaism and his attacks on the pro-Israel community and the Israeli coalition government cross the line – whatever line you chose, it’s crossed.


As I’ve written elsewhere, Ben-Ami is the shaliach tzibbur (prayer leader) for "Newest Testament" Jews: Jews who have embraced the new American Jewish religion of tikkun olam [fix the world] liberalism. Tikkun olam is the new overarching mitzva that guides them, even though it was never one of the 613 precepts of the Torah. The founding of Israel and the creation of Palestinian refugees may not have been the Original Sin in their theology as it is to others on the Left, but the settling of the West Bank following Israel's victory in 1967 is definitely viewed by them as Israel's Golden Calf.

The universalism of tikkun olam is a direct challenge to the exclusive “chosenness” of the core traditional Shma prayer. Shma Yisrael – Hear O’ Israel (why only Israel?), Hashem Elokeinu --the Lord is God (isn’t God dead or maybe She’s retired?), Hashem Echad –the Lord is One (doesn’t declaring the Oneness of God exclude the believers in Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Wiccan gods, or Elvis?)

I’m sure Ben-Ami’s intermarried Buddhists are wonderful people, but in 25 years they and their children will not be filling the synagogues, temples, and day schools in the United States, nor will be they sitting in the classrooms of Hebrew University or Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne, nor guarding the borders or flying the aircraft over the State of Israel. To them, Passover Seder will be a quaint custom observed by their grandparents.

Israel Matzav: A J Street Passover

Israel Matzav: Jonathan Tobin on Obama's 'Passover seder'

Jonathan Tobin on Obama's 'Passover seder'

Jonathan Tobin nails it on Obama's 'Passover seder.'

The vast majority of American Jews are not only liberals; they are, as they say in Texas, “yellow dog Democrats,” meaning they would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the Democratic ticket. But surely a sycophantic article like the Times feature must grate on even their sensibilities. Can any Jew with a smidgeon of self-respect or affection for Israel think that having a president say “Next year in Jerusalem!” while sitting at a table with matzo and macaroons makes up for policies that treat the 200,000 Jews living in the post-1967 Jewish neighborhoods of their own ancient capital as illegal settlers on stolen land?

Perhaps Obama and his coterie of Jewish advisers think they are entitled to expropriate the symbols of Judaism to lend legitimacy to their anti-Israel policies. Of course, if Obama had any real sympathy for the people of Israel or the Jewish people, he might instead spend Monday night reevaluating a policy that appears to concede nuclear weapons to the rabid Jew-haters of Islamist Iran and reinforces the intransigence of the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority and its allies across the Muslim world.

This week, Alan Dershowitz, who still counts himself among Obama’s supporters, warned the president that if he failed on Iran, his legacy would be indistinguishable from that of Neville Chamberlain, who appeased Hitler. He’s right, but it looks as though Chamberlain is becoming Obama’s model because, in addition to employing appeasement strategies, the president’s diktat on Jerusalem and the West Bank is faintly reminiscent of the British White Paper of 1939, which forbade the entrance of more Jewish immigrants into Palestine as the Holocaust loomed and sought to restrict the Jewish presence in most of the country.

But like the elder George Bush, at least Neville Chamberlain had the good manners not to try to portray himself as a friend of the Jews by having a Passover Seder at Number Ten Downing Street while simultaneously pursuing such policies.

And you thought it was only Muslims who expropriated other religions' holy sites and rituals as their own. Hmmm.

By the way, last night at the Seder (we only have one here in Israel), I made very clear to the family that when we said "Next Year in Jerusalem," it means next year bringing the Passover sacrifice in a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

Israel Matzav: Jonathan Tobin on Obama's 'Passover seder'

Israel Matzav: Eight years since the Seder Night Massacre

Eight years since the Seder Night Massacre

Moadim l'Simcha, a happy holiday to everyone.

A reminder that I am allowed to be online because we only have one night of holiday in Israel rather than two. We are now in the intermediate days.

Eight years ago last night was the Seder Night Massacre (pictured). Here's the story from Naomi Ragen:

Sitting in the lobby of the Park Hotel with my young daughter in-law and aging mother in -law, I watched as the lobby slowly filled with hundreds of people. I kept my eyes on the security guard. To my shock and dismay, I saw him leave his place by the door and walk back into the hotel dining room, leaving the door completely unmanned. I considered walking up to him, complaining loudly, but just then my husband, sons, and father-in-law came out of synagogue. We kissed, exchanged holiday greetings, and I tried to quell my fears.

After all, what were the chances that a suicide bomber would find his way davka to this hotel, of all the hotels in Israel? I tried to think back to the years when a hotel lobby filled with excited voices was a pleasant and cheering experience, something boding conviviality and holiday cheer. I tried not to see the gathering crowd with the eyes of an enemy bent on an opportunity for maximum human slaughter, which is what we Israelis have been doing naturally for the last eighteen months every time we leave our homes.

My husband and I sat together with our loved ones, enjoying each other’s company. It was seven p.m. The dining room was scheduled to begin seating people at seven-thirty.

For no reason, I was suddenly filled with a sudden sense of horror. I envisioned my kitchen, and imagined the smoke rising, blackening the walls, billowing through the house.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked, watching my face change.

“I think I might have left the fire burning under the kitchen kettle, ” I told him.

“Are you sure?”

“No. I don’t know.”

He looked concerned for a moment, then looked over my shoulder. “People are going into the dining room already.” I stood up. “Let’s go,” I said. It was seven fifteen.

My father in law waved an envelope in front of us. “I know how Alex hates cantors, so I arranged a private seder for us upstairs.” He and my mother-in-law were going to stop in the bathroom first, and they’d join us in a few minutes.

The dining room upstairs was a far cry from the joyful, packed, and noisy crowd in the lobby we’d just left. Only two or three tables were set, and less than a handful of people were seated. We found a table set for seven and sat down. It was seven twenty.

I looked around at the table to see if it had all the things we needed to begin the ceremony when my in-laws arrived.

And then I heard it: A sound, like a roar, rolling through the room, making the floor rumble. I looked up from the table, thinking: “What…?” Then suddenly, there was a deafening crash of sound like no other I had ever heard in my life, a sound that was like an emphatic statement in a language all its own, whose meaning was impossible to mistake for any other, impossible to misunderstand. The wall of windows facing us suddenly blew inwards, crashing, sending slivers of glass flying past our cheeks and legs, littering the floor. I heard my daughter in-law screaming. Screams rose from downstairs. It gave me the idea that I too should scream. And I did, the way I had once screamed in the labor room, giving birth.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me!” my daughter in-law repeated hysterically, held close in my son’s arms.” “Get down!” my husband shouted. As we did, I saw Akiva picking glass from his hand, and I wondered if he’d scratched himself. Someone from another table shouted: “I hear firing!”

We froze. This had been a terrorist modus operandi in previous attacks. First the bombing, and then machine gun fire to finish off anyone who survived. For one moment, my heart, which had previously been filled with the knowledge that I, my family, had survived, felt its first moment of real fear.

“Wait here,” my husband told us. “I’m going to find my parents.”

It was only then I thought of them, downstairs. I knew that they must both be dead. And I thought: I have to get out of here with my children, alive. We took an impromptu vote, those in favor of waiting for my husband to return versus those who wanted to flee. The women, flee-ers all, won.

I went towards the staircase we’d come up from, looking down. Acrid, black smoke and twisted metal filled the space for as far as I could see. I hurried back to my family gathered at the other end of the room. The two young boys who had been seated near us shouted that there was another staircase, and pointed out to the adjoining patio. Just then, two waitresses suddenly walked in from the staircase we’d originally used. One was drenched in red blood, her long dark hair and pretty face staring at her upraised bloody hands.

“Let’s go!” I told my children, heading down the emergency exit. It emerged into the hotel’s outdoor pool area. A high fence kept us from leaving. We, and others, milled around desperate for a way out. Suddenly, we caught a glimpse of the blown out glass doors of the main dining room. For a moment, I just stared.

Read the whole thing. It's chilling. And if the 'Palestinians' could do it again, they would do it in a minute. Peace? You must be joking.

Israel Matzav: Eight years since the Seder Night Massacre
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