Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: BREISHEET; GUARDIAN OF EDEN


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

The ultimate challenge in life is in giving back, in repaying the Source of Life for the gifts which we have freely received. Paid forward, we have yet to earn them. Through giving back, whether by tzedaka (righteousliving), tefilah (self-judgment) or teshuva (turning to G*d), gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness) or learning Torah, we restore equilibrium both to ourselves and to the world.

Our parsha this week, B'reisheet, deals with the subject of taking. While our emphasis in life should properly belong to giving, it is important to understand some of the deeper meanings of taking. The very first act of "taking" (kicha) in the Torah, is when "G*d TOOK the man and placed him inthe Garden of Eden to work it and to guard it." (Gen 2:15). But then we were flawed and proved unworthy of remaining in our pristine surroundings until we could earn our way back to return with a greater maturity. Man was told to guard the Garden, but in just the next chapter (Gen 3:22):

"And G*d said, man has now become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now he must be prevented from putting forth his hand and also TAKING from the Tree of Life. He can eat it and live forever."

Ironically, man who was to guard the Garden is now himself to be guarded FROM the Garden by the cheruvim, the holy cherubs, at the east of Eden, along with the LAHAT HA-CHEREV HA-MIT'HAPECHET to guard the path of the Tree of Life. This LAHAT HA-CHEREV HA-MIT'HAPECHET is usually translated as "revolving sword blade." I would rather translate it as a "flaming sword which makes everything seem the opposite."

In otherwords, were we to pass through and gain entrance to the Garden, we would finally glimpse the world of truth (olam ha-emet), where everything is how it should be. In our world, the world of falsehood (olam ha-sheqer), the wicked often prosper and the good often suffer. The Sabbath (Shabbat) is that opportunity to transport ourselves back to the Garden, to catch but a fleeting glimpse of the olam ha-emeth. Indeed, the Sabbath is called me'eyn olam haba, "a taste (aspect) of the world to come." On the Sabbath, even the flaming swords of Eden have a day of rest, paralleling the fires of gehennom ("hades") which are said to also abate on this day.

Finally, though not chronologically, we have the TAKING of the man's bone, in the building of woman (Gen 2:21). The word bone in English comes from the Hebrew, because the woman was built from man's bone. VayiVeN means he built. The bones are the building blocks, the support scaffolding of the human body. Without bones we would be slithering on the ground like the snake.

Now if man is considered to be the crown of creation, then woman, appearing as she does on the proverbial scene after man, is therefore the CROWN of the CROWN of creation. That is, if every creature formed later than any other creature is said to be on a higher level, then how much more so, our tradition teaches, is woman on a higher spiritual level than man. That is why chazal, the sages of blessed memory, taught that the time-designated mitzvoth are especially helpful for men in order for them to attain that spiritual level already held by women. Women by their very nature are sensitive to time, and thus are more sensitive and more aware of the Master of Time- He who was, who is, and who always will be(YKVK).

Men, it is said, therefore need the time-bound mitzvoth to fill a lacking, to develop a higher awareness of the Creator of Time. If man is considered to have been created Beyn ha-Shemashot, on the proverbial twilight of the sixth day, moments before the first Sabbath, then woman, created last, is truly Beyn ha-Shemashot BEYN ha-Shemashot. She truly understands (binah) time.

When a woman kindles the two (or more) Sabbath lights, the shabbos licht, she is really on the deepest level recreating the two flaming swords of the cherubs. The woman is the guardian of the holiness of the Sabbath in the Jewish home, like the cherubs assigned to be the Guardians of Eden. The woman in a sense inherits the cherubic mandate.

When a man and a woman marry, there is also an act of kicha, of "taking." But this idea of "taking" should never be misunderstood in its crass sense. Rather, it is an allusion to that original taking with regard to woman that was first mentioned in the Torah. His taking now completes the circle, in that he is now taking that woman who had been first taken from him, from his bone.

The union of a man and a woman harkens back to the first union of Adam and Eve. They are symbolically (re) joined as one flesh, combining the male and female energies to continue humanity and to make a new beginning. The Sheva Brachos, the seven blessings of the wedding ceremony, richly alludes to this promise of new beginnings.

As the Holy Temple burned in the flames and came crashing down, cinder by cinder, fiery ember by fiery ember, the cherubs above the holy ark were locked in a loving embrace. Their swords of fire were now transformed into loving embraces, the true meaning of Lahat ha-Cherev ha-Mit'hapechet- the transforming sword of fire, where a CHeReV(sword/combatant) would be transformed into a CHaVeR (com-panion, i.e., sharing both pain and bread -see French "pain").

In our lives today, we see so much pain and so much fire in our relationships. Our challenge is to transform our feelings of deep pain into feelings of empathy for others and into good deeds and acts of kindness. Only when we take responsibility for our pain and for the pain of others and become holy embracers, we shall then find ourselves back in the Garden.

Shabbat Shalom! Good Shabbos!

© 2000 - 2011 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)

Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: BREISHEET; GUARDIAN OF EDEN



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: Gen. 12.1-17.27. Haftara Isaiah 40.27-41.16.

No spiritual seeker can fail to be thrilled by the challenge in G-d's words to Abraham with which this parshah begins: "Go to YOUR SELF.". G-d's challenge to Abraham is His challenge to every one of us: to go on the journey of destiny in search of the ultimate Source of the self and the soul. For G-d is the source and goal of all things.

All Abraham's descendants, the Children of Israel, and all the proselytes who have taken shelter under the wings of the Shechinah (Divine Presence) are justly proud of the founder of our faith and our nation. Abraham, "father of a multitude of nations", is revered not only in Judaism but also in Christianity and Islam, and evidence of his imprint on the culture and collective consciousness of mankind may be found in the religions of places as far afield as India, Japan and South America.

The Torah teaches us about the attributes of G-d by telling us stories of the outstanding Tzaddikim of all time, who emulated His ways. Study of the parshiyos recounting the lives of the founding fathers and mothers helps us attach ourselves to the very roots of our souls and to inculcate in ourselves the qualities through which we can come to know G-d. The Torah dwells more on the story of Abraham than of any of the earlier Tzaddikim (such as Adam and Noah) because the qualities embodied in Abraham, and particularly his CHESSED (expansive loving kindness) are the very key to finding G-d.

An originator and creative genius unique in human history, Abraham entered the world in the year 1948 after the creation (1812 B.C.E.), following twenty generations in which mankind had degenerated further and further into decadence. The Children of Adam had strayed far from the glorious role of benevolent kingship envisaged for Adam as ruler over creation and from Noah's New World vision of harmony among his three sons, each in their proper place. The world had fallen under the violent tyranny of Nimrod, son of Kush, firstborn of Ham. Ham was supposed to be the slave ministering to his brothers Shem and Yapheth. But the slave had rebelled: Nimrod had "stolen Adam's clothes" for himself, and was making himself into a world ruler who was determined to impose idolatry by force.

The popular image of Abraham as a placid, smiling white-haired Sheik amidst his tents and camels belies much of his very essence. From earliest childhood and throughout his life, Abraham was a revolutionary and a rebel against the complex, sophisticated yet often barbaric culture of the ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and Canaanites among whom he traveled extensively. Priests, mathematicians, astronomers, logicians and philosophers were to be found in plenty, but none of them could satisfy Abraham's unquenchable passion to discover the mystery of G-d's unity. The Midrash states that, without a teacher, Abraham's own kidneys flowed with inspiration and understanding, bringing him to supreme heights of attachment to the ultimate powers of creation. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his very life to sanctify the Name of G-d. His methods and teachings are inscribed in his Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), the earliest known text of the Kabbalah.

* * *

The rectification of slavery

Abraham was unable to keep G-d for himself: he had to give Him to the whole world. By the time we meet Abraham when our parshah of LECH LECHA opens, he is already 75 years old. By the time he received G-d's prophesy to go on his journey of destiny -- which was to bring him eventually to the spot where Adam was formed, the place of the future House of Prayer for all the Nations -- Abraham was already well established. He was travelling with his wife, his orphaned nephew, their possessions, and a company of "souls they had made" during their sojourn in Haran. Who were these souls?

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov tells us that when Abraham would come to a town, he would stand up in the town square and start calling everyone to come and listen to him. He would ask them what was the point of squandering their lives on the pursuit of worldly vanity, telling them to think about the purpose of life in this world -- to find G-d. Abraham set the young people on fire with his revolutionary ideas, and they would come running after him.

The Midrash states that Abraham's chief slave, Eliezer, was none other than the son of Nimrod, who had cast Abraham into the fiery furnace in Ur Kasdim. When Abraham escaped, Eliezer was so overwhelmed by the miracle that he abandoned his defeated father and became Abraham's slave and chief convert. Another prominent figure who was willing to become Abraham's slave for the sake of having a connection with this charismatic man was Hagar, daughter of Pharaoh.

Both Eliezer and Hagar were descended from Ham, the son of Noah, who aroused his father's ire when he saw his nakedness and was cursed to be slave to his brothers. Abraham's journey to the land of Canaan (Ham's son) was in fulfilment of Noah's blessing to Shem that G-d would "dwell in the tents of Shem", who would be served by Canaan. The Canaanite slave had rebelled: the Canaanites were occupying the land destined for the descendants of Shem. Abraham's mission was to return to the source -- the land from whose earth Adam's body was formed -- and to settle in the Land of Canaan.

The society that Abraham's descendants were to build there was to be one in which the concept of slavery was to be transmuted. The details of the Covenant of Sinai begin with the laws regulating slavery (Exodus ch. 21). In the power-crazy world of Nimrod, the slave was the lowest of the low, one held captive in the physical power of others. Historically, slaves have been subjected to every kind of abuse, physical and psychological. In contrast, the Siniatic Covenant gives the slave his dignity. Even the Canaanite slave must keep many of the commandments, including circumcision (as we find at the end of our parshah.) In due course the Canaanite slave may even be freed and become a member of the assembly of the Children of Israel.

Abraham rectified the concept of slavery by turning it into a way of understanding our relationship with G-d. Abraham was the first to call himself "Your servant" (Gen. 18:3). In his humility, Abraham knew that before G-d he was but "dust and ashes". Adam was created to be free and to rule the world, but he abused his freedom and fell slave to his lusts. Man pays the price of his sins by serving -- man has to work. Those who are slaves to other men may pay a bitter price for their sins, but those who are willing to serve G-d become free. The more they serve G-d, the more they are freed from servitude to the cycle of lust, sin and degradation. Through serving G-d, man reaches his greatest heights -- and once again he becomes His beloved son.

By the time we meet Abraham in our parshah, he was already the epitome of humility, and he was therefore capable of becoming a master. Abraham rectified the concept of slavery by having slaves like Eliezer and Hagar, who were capable of serving their master in his mission of bringing G-d to all the world. In this way the power of Ham becomes harnessed in the service of the G-d of Shem. In order to completely rectify the concept of slavery, Abraham's own descendants, the Children of Israel, also had to descend to the level of slaves in Egypt until they were freed by G-d in order to serve Him (see in our parshah Genesis 15:13-14).

Very shortly after Abraham entered Canaan, famine forced him to go down to Egypt in the archetypal pattern of descent and ascent that would be repeated by his descendants. Egypt was the land of Ham's second son, and accordingly it was a place of rampant immorality, as exemplified in the story of the capture of Sarah by Pharaoh's officers. Things were only set right again when Sarah was released and Pharaoh's daughter Hagar became her maidservant.

* * *

Conflict and conflict management

Abraham was childless, and it flew in the face of nature that an old man like him could have children. Yet his mission in Canaan was to take possession of the land that was occupied by the descendants of Ham, who had been cursed, and to settle it with his own descendants, the Children of Shem, who had been blessed. Having no children of his own, Abraham had taken in his orphaned nephew Lot.

As the man of CHESSED -- kindness -- Abraham displays his love of peace in his dealings with his nephew Lot, as when he suggests that since they are both expanding, they should avoid conflict by going their separate ways. However, Abraham's love of peace does not prevent him from going to war when the necessity arises, as when Lot was captured by the Four Kings and Abraham went out in hot pursuit.

In geopolitical terms, the war of the Four Kings against the Five (Genesis ch. 14) was a war for control over the blessed strip of land on the East Coast of the Mediterranean that is G-d's chosen, Promised Land. "Amraphel King of Shin'ar" is Nimrod -- Ham's grandson and Abraham's implacable adversary. Ham is fighting Shem. What spurs Abraham into action is the capture of Lot -- a mortal threat to Lot's destined progeny, including Ruth the Moabite, grandmother of Mashiach. Abraham rouses his followers -- those he has educated -- namely Eliezer, Nimrod's own son, the rectified slave (Genesis 14:14, see Rashi there), and miraculously rescues Lot. In this way Noah's prophesy is fulfilled and Eliezer, the descendant of Ham, serves Abraham, descendant of Shem, in helping pave the way to Mashiach.

* * *

Hagar and Yishmael

In many places in the story of Abraham, he is depicted as praying to G-d -- because prayer is one of the main pillars in the path of service of G-d which Abraham established. The simple, direct language of Abraham's prayers are a lesson for all, Israelites and gentiles alike, in how to approach G-d with words.

Faith in the power of prayer is the message of the name that Hagar gave to Abraham's son, Yishmael -- "G-d will hear". Yishmael's service is the service of prayer. It is an historical fact that Yishmael and his descendants brought knowledge of the G-d of Abraham and the service of prayer to many parts of the world, including many of the Children of Ham. As noted earlier, Hagar herself was a descendant of Ham. In this way, the families of the earth are being prepared for the House of Prayer for All Nations, when "Yapheth will dwell in the tents of Shem and Canaan will be servant to them".

* * *

The Covenant

".which G-d created to DO" (Genesis 2:3): Man was created incomplete in order that he should acquire merit through DOING, serving G-d by completing and perfecting himself. The form of the male ADAM is incomplete as long as the crown of the organ of creation remains covered by the impure ORLAH, the foreskin, a pleasure-center that keeps those from whom it has not been removed uncontrollably attached to the material. The genitals are vital to the whole body and whole person (cf. Deut. 25:12) and the presence of the ORLAH influences the person's mind and outlook, preventing him from becoming being perfectly attached to G-d.

It is said that Abraham agonized long when he began to understand that circumcision was to be the sign of his bond to G-d and the mark of his slave-like attachment to the Master of the Universe. Abraham feared that by cutting his flesh in this way, he would be setting himself apart from the rest of humanity, making it more difficult to bring them to the knowledge of the True G-d. In the end, however, Abraham accepted G-d's commandment, because the purity which the circumcision bestowed upon him him enabled him to serve as Priest of all mankind in bringing man to G-d. The sign of G-d's Covenant with Abraham is inscribed upon the very organ with which we procreate, signifying that the foundation of the Covenant is that we submit our powers of procreation to G-d's service.

The commandment of circumcision is not one of the universal commandments of the Torah, but rather the exclusive mark and sign of the Children of Israel. The descendants of Yishmael consider themselves bound by the commandment of circumcision, but they do not perform the P'RIYAH (peeling of the membrane) as practiced by the descendants of Jacob.

Christianity presents itself as a "new stage" in the revelation that began with Abraham, in which the original covenant or "old testament" with Abraham and his biological descendants, marked by the circumcision, was "superseded" by a "new covenant" or "new testament" with all humanity which did not require circumcision. It was the abandonment of circumcision that put the seal on Christianity's break with the Torah of Moses, which states that "an uncircumcised male who will not circumcise the flesh of his forskin, that soul will be cut off from her people, he has broken My covenant" (Genesis 17:14).

Nothing can change these words, for "G-d is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that He should change His mind. He spoke -- will He not do it? He pronounced -- will He not fulfill it?" (Numbers 23:19). "For I am G-d, I have not changed." (Malachi 3:6). "Go and let us ascend to the Mountain of G-d, to the House of the G-d of Jacob." (Isaiah 2:3).

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel

Sunday, 23 October 2011

RubinReports: Is the Obama Administration Betraying the Syrian Democratic Revolution?

Is the Obama Administration Betraying the Syrian Democratic Revolution?

This article appeared in the Daily Caller.
By Barry Rubin
Let’s assume that it’s the middle of the Cold War. In an Asian country there’s a revolt against a dictator. The opposition wants international recognition so it seeks U.S. help. And the American government turns over direct management of this process to…Communist China! The resulting coalition is largely dominated by Communists, China’s allies, far exceeding their proportional role in the revolution. Some anti-Communist activists walk out in protest but it makes no difference.
Wouldn’t you be shocked that a U.S. government has done something so stupid, indeed, disastrous for U.S. interests? Treason or gross incompetence? After all, that means U.S. aid is going to be funneled into a largely Communist-led movement and it becomes more likely that Communists would run the country if the revolution wins.
Oh, and not a single mass media organ pointed out the above situation even though it was a matter of public record.
Well, that’s just what’s happened with Syria.   
The names of nineteen of twenty-nine members of the Syrian National Council has just been announced and as I explained in this article
10 of the 19—a majority—are identifiably Islamist. At least 4 of them are members of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Moreover two-thirds of the 15 Sunni Muslim Arabs are Islamists. Note that the Sunni Muslim Arabs are only 60 percent of the population. Making the reasonable assumption that no more than 20 percent of the Sunnis are Islamists that means Islamists are overrepresented by 500 percent. You can challenge that assumption but I believe that you’d end up with at least a 400 percent overrepresentation.
Let's remember that the U.S. goal should be to push down Islamist representation even below a level that would be proportionate with its base of support within the country. That is how effective diplomacy would work. 
At most, only 4 of the Sunni Muslim representatives—just one-quarter—are liberals or leftists! And the non-Sunni Muslim Arabs are underrepresented by 300 percent.
Remember, this is not some spontaneous choice made by the Syrian masses or even by external opposition groups. This was stage-managed by the Turks on behalf of the American government.  
It should be well known by this point that the current Turkish regime is an enemy of the United States. That government not only rejected sanctions against Iran last year but tried to sabotage them. It has consistently supported Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, and—until recently—the Syrian regime. And the Turkish regime has also become so hostile to Israel that some observers in Turkey think it is going to the verge of war with the Jewish state.
But that’s not all. Wikileaks show that the U.S. Embassy in Turkey has repeatedly warned about that regime’s radicalism, anti-Americanism, and Islamism. Yet despite this, the Obama Administration continues to treat the Turkish government has a valued ally. For example, the Obama Administration chose Turkey of all the world’s countries on September 11 to be co-founder of an international counter-terrorist group described as the main U.S. initiative in that field marking the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington DC!
Now the U.S. government and its Turkish Islamist friends have produced a largely Islamist council to represent the Syrian people, manage incoming aid, and perhaps to be the future government.
There are two issues here. First, why is the Obama Administration so in love with the pro-Islamist, anti-American Turkish regime? Because despite State Department warnings the White House refuses to comprehend what’s going on here to a point that has gone far beyond stubborn blindness into the realm of willful self-sabotage.
The “Turkish model” that it is trying to spread is a design for disaster. It means installing anti-American, anti-Western regimes that are allies of some or all the following list: Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. They will move their domestic societies toward Islamism. Their only virtue is that they aren’t al-Qaida. And in Afghanistan the administration is even willing to work with the Taliban.
Second, why has the administration just empowered a largely Islamist Syrian leadership when Syria a country where Islamism is relatively weak in regional terms? Why didn’t it insist on more Kurdish, Druze, Christian, and Alawite representation? Why are there only two (one might argue there are three or four) moderate Sunni Arab Muslims on the list?
Again, the administration is oblivious to the fact that the great threat to the Middle East today and to U.S. interests (perhaps globally) is revolutionary Islamism. Until this situation changes, the world, the Middle East, and the United States are going to be heading toward increasingly dangerous trouble.

RubinReports: Is the Obama Administration Betraying the Syrian Democratic Revolution?

RubinReports: SCOOP: Obama Administration Does it Again!: Empowers Largely Islamist Leadership for Syrian Revolution

SCOOP: Obama Administration Does it Again!: Empowers Largely Islamist Leadership for Syrian Revolution

By Barry Rubin

The leadership of the Syrian revolution, or at least those who are recognized as such by the United States and the European Union, has released the names of 19 of the 29 members of the General Secretariat and five members of the Presidential Council. A lot of research should be one done on the individuals but let’s do a quick ethnic and political analysis based on this information.

But first let me give you my analysis: I believe that the Turkish Islamist regime deliberately helped produce a Syrian leadership that is more Islamist and more Muslim Brotherhood controlled than was necessary. Since Turkey's government was empowered to do this by the Obama Administration, the White House is responsible for this extremely dangerous situation.  It is a blunder or a betrayal--in effect, the motive and cause don't matter--of the greatest dimensions. The Obama Administration may "only" have paved the way for the triumph of Islamist regimes in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia--we don't yet know the final result--but it has been actively involved in helping promote an (avoidable) Islamist revolution in Syria.

Of the 19 members of the committee whose names have been published, 4 are identified as Muslim Brotherhood and 6 more as independent Islamists. That means 10 of the 19—a majority—and hence 10 of the 15 Sunni Muslim Arabs (two-thirds) are Islamists!

Of the non-Islamist Sunni Arabs, two are leftists, two are liberals, and one represents the tribes.

Thanks, Obama Administration, for putting Islamist Turkey in charge of the negotiations!

It could have very easily done otherwise.

Read it all:

RubinReports: SCOOP: Obama Administration Does it Again!: Empowers Largely Islamist Leadership for Syrian Revolution

RubinReports: My Interview on Qadhafi's Death and Libya's Future

My Interview on Qadhafi's Death and Libya's Future

Interview with National Review on the end of Qadhafi.

--What is his legacy?

A horrible dictator who combined repression at home with terrorist sponsorship and subversion abroad. Qadhafi's weakness was that he never had a secure superpower patron which combined with Libya's small size made him the most vulnerable Middle East dictator. Nevertheless, the West almost always let him get away with his aggressive behavior against it. Even the Lockerbie story which began with a "tough" demand to turn over those responsible ended with the scapegoat intelligence official (so Qadhafi could pretend it was a rogue operation) released by the British (with American approval) in exchange for oil agreements. Message: the  West is weak, stupid, and corrupt.

--How should Americans remember him?

See above paragraph.

--Is this a huge victory for the Obama administration? Who deserves credit, assuming this is a good thing?

Obviously the NATO forces--Europe, and especially Italy, pushed for this and the Obama Administration enthusiastically went along, bypassing Congress and the War Powers Act. Since Qadhafi was unpopular, of course, the administration got away with ignoring U.S. law and procedures. But credit will depend on what comes next.

--Is it a good thing?

Well, it is good to see a ferocious and murderous dictator overthrown but what comes next? I see a bunch of politicians in nice suits who know how to talk to the West and win its support and a bunch of guys with guns who don't care what the West thinks, have no gratitude for the NATO help, and a lot of whom are Islamists or aspiring future dictators. Moreover, the energy wealth of Libya makes it a tempting target for political looting and whoever has it doesn't have to worry about what the West thinks. Not to mention the real problems of regionalism, hatred of black Africans, and potential Arab-Berber conflict.

Reminds me of the 1943 anti-fascist film, "Hangmen Also Die."

--Is this a warning to Assad?

Yeah, a warning that he better be willing to kill people without end or face the end for himself.

--Is this important for the myth or reality of an “Arab Spring?”

Simple answer: governments only get overthrown by Western intervention (Iraq, Libya) or their own armed forces (Egypt, Tunisia). Everything else is mythology or failed revolts put down with bloodshed.

--What happens now?
The battle for power within Libya begins.

RubinReports: My Interview on Qadhafi's Death and Libya's Future

RubinReports: What Qadhafi's Death Teaches the Middle East...And Should Teach the West

What Qadhafi's Death Teaches the Middle East...And Should Teach the West

 By Barry Rubin

 What can we learn from the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi? First, we should note that he is the second Arab dictator to die in the last decade, the first being the Iraqi Saddam Hussein. Both met their demise due to direct Western intervention.

There are three lessons for the region:

 1. To get rid of a dictator, you need either Western intervention or the support of the armed forces....

2. The events of the last year have reinforced this worldview—repress or die....

3. (Ironically) You Can’t Trust the West So Be Tough and Defend Yourself

 Read it all:

RubinReports: What Qadhafi's Death Teaches the Middle East...And Should Teach the West

Israel Matzav: The ten most notorious terrorists?

The ten most notorious terrorists?

Foreign Policy has a list of the top 10 terrorists released as part of the terrorists for Gilad exchange. I'm not sure I agree with their list. In any event, what they don't list is how many of the top 10 (and how many of the others) have threatened (or worse) to return to their previous activities. They only mention two terrorists saying or hinting that they will return to terrorism (Yehya Sinwar and Ahlam Tamimi) and we know that many more have said the same thing. If you see any reliable statements from terrorists released last week that say that they have or are planning to return to terrorism, please send them to me. A hat tip could await you.

Israel Matzav: The ten most notorious terrorists?

Israel Matzav: Freeze would be ethnic cleansing

Freeze would be ethnic cleansing

Remember how angry Prime Minister Netanyahu was when Deputy Prime Minister Moshe "Boogie" Yaalon aligned himself with Moshe Feiglin? Well, it may be on its way to happening again.
Speaking to a packed audience at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue, Ya’alon referred indirectly to a Haaretz report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is willing to freeze all construction on government land in West Bank settlements if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resumes direct diplomatic negotiations.

“The demand for territory without Jews anywhere else would be called ethnic cleansing,” Ya’alon said. “We cannot accept a demand for ethnic cleansing in the land of Israel.”

Ya’alon said that Israel was under pressure from people who incorrectly believe the cause of the Middle East conflict is the building of homes in Judea and Samaria. He denounced that theory as “a corrupt way of thinking” and explained why the true cause of Middle East instability was the Islamic fundamentalism emanating from Iran.
He spoke about other topics too - read the whole thing. Finally an honest politician? I hope to hear soon what Feiglin thinks.

Israel Matzav: Freeze would be ethnic cleansing

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu is in great company now

Netanyahu is in great company now

Prime Minister Netanyahu has gotten himself into some great company. Guess who else thinks trading 1,027 terrorists for one kidnapped soldier is a great idea? Of course, Jimmy Carter.
In a telephone interview with Haaretz, Carter said that national leaders must act according to the individual circumstances of each case, and he believes he would have acted as Netanyahu did in the Shalit case.

The former American president said that as far as he knew from following negotiations in the case closely, Netanyahu could have reached a similar deal on Shalit's release two years ago. He said he was not being critical of the Israeli prime minister, however, explaining that it was in the nature of negotiations.

Carter is very familiar with the Shalit case. He attempted to assist in efforts to free him, and convinced Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal to allow an exchange of letters between Shalit and his family.

In a letter from Gilad Shalit that the former U.S. president sent to the Shalit family in June 2008, the captive soldier begged for his life. Carter said at the time that Hamas officials told him that Shalit was being held under better conditions than Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Aren't you all glad he was a one-term President?

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu is in great company now

Israel Matzav: Incredible: Obama pulling all training material used by law enforcement and national security to remove references to Muslims

Incredible: Obama pulling all training material used by law enforcement and national security to remove references to Muslims

This is incredible.

The Obama administration is withdrawing all training material used by US law enforcement and national security agencies to purge all references to Muslims.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole confirmed on Wednesday that the Obama administration was pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive.

“I recently directed all components of the Department of Justice to re-evaluate their training efforts in a range of areas, from community outreach to national security,” Cole told a panel at the George Washington University law school.

The move comes after complaints from advocacy organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising trial.

In a Wednesday Los Angeles Times op-ed, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) president Salam al-Marayati threatened the FBI with a total cutoff of cooperation between American Muslims and law enforcement if the agency failed to revise its law enforcement training materials.

Maintaining the training materials in their current state “will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community,” al-Marayati wrote.

Multiple online sources detail MPAC’s close alignment with CAIR.


Some believe the Obama administration’s Justice Department will go even further.

“The Attorney General has announced what sounds like reprogramming if they find people who have actually received training” that Islamist groups find objectionable, Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney told The Daily Caller. Gaffney is co-author of a report, published by the Center, titled “Sharia: The Threat to America.”

Dwight C. Holton, the U.S. Attorney in Oregon said he had spoken with Holder directly about the issue of the terror training materials. Holton is the federal prosecutor who announced the arrest of so-called “Christmas tree bomber” Mohamed Osman Mohamud in 2010. That announcement made no mention of Mohamud’s Muslim faith.

“I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for,” Holton said Wednesday. “They will not be tolerated.”

Such training materials “pose a significant threat to national security, because they play into the false narrative propagated by terrorists that the United States is at war with Islam,” he added.
What could go wrong?

By the way, I was assured this evening by someone in the know that Obama is definitely not a Muslim. He's just a fool with a naive view of Islam based upon his childhood in Indonesia.

Israel Matzav: Incredible: Obama pulling all training material used by law enforcement and national security to remove references to Muslims

Israel Matzav: Your tax dollars at work: Abu Mazen pays grants to released terrorists

Your tax dollars at work: Abu Mazen pays grants to released terrorists

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's 'Palestinian Authority,' which is almost entirely financed by Western aid money, has decided to pay grants to 'Palestinian' terrorists released by Israel in the terrorists for Gilad exchange.
[PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs Issa] Qaraqi said that all prisoners would benefit from the grants, including those who were deported to the Gaza Strip and a number of Arab countries and Turkey.

He said that the PA governors and some "national institutions" have begun distributing the money to the released prisoners In accordance with PA regulations and laws.

Qaraqi did not say how much each prisoner would get from the PA government.

Abbas's decision follows a similar move by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who granted each prisoner a sum of $2,000.

The prisoners who were deported to the Gaza Strip are now staying at a five-star hotel at the expense of the Hamas government.
In other news, Hamas has announced that it will kidnap more IDF soldiers and officers, because this kidnapping has proven so successful. Meanwhile, David Meidan, who was Prime Minister Netanyahu's last negotiator for Gilad Shalit's freedom, will meet with the Shamgar Commission, which after three years may finally issue recommendations about how many terrorists we will release in exchange for soldiers kidnapped in the future. As if anyone expects those guidelines to be followed.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Your tax dollars at work: Abu Mazen pays grants to released terrorists

Failed Femaile Crotch Bomber Wants to Try Again Blogging from Israel on Guns, Security, Defense by DoubleTapper

Failed Femaile Crotch Bomber Wants to Try Again

Her target, Israel says, was a hospital where Wafa al Bis had been given permission to seek treatment for burns she sustained in a gas tank explosion. She never got there. Stopped by suspicious Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on Gaza’s border, she was discovered with 22lb of explosives sewn inside her underwear. Wafa al Bis tried to blow herself up but the detonator malfunctioned.

Speaking in her bedroom, the shelves of which were lined with soft toys, Bis yesterday maintained that the six years she spent in an Israeli prison cell had left her with no regrets other than her failure to kill herself and her captors, although she insisted that her target was only ever going to be a military one.

“I wanted to be the first female martyr from Gaza to kill Israeli soldiers and I wanted to kill as many as I could,” she said. “I had wanted to be a martyr since I was a kid. I regard what I did as an honourable thing. It was my dream to be a martyr but God didn’t let me.”

If given the opportunity, she added, she would fulfill her destiny to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces. “As long as there is going to be occupation... martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers,” she said. “This is an honourable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could.”

Bis’s mother Salma said she had no idea of her daughter’s mission — but added that she felt she had no choice but to encourage her in her chosen course of life. “This is Jihad, it is an honourable thing and I am proud of her,” she said.

More at Telegraph

Failed Femaile Crotch Bomber Wants to Try Again Blogging from Israel on Guns, Security, Defense by DoubleTapper



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: Noah: Gen. 6.9-11.32

Parshas BEREISHIS told the story of the first Ten Generations of the Children of Adam, establishing fundamental facts about the world and man's existential situation within it. The Parshah of NOAH spans the second Ten Generations, from Noah to Abraham. The Parshah teaches profound lessons about "the generations of Noah", the families of the earth -- the Seventy Nations, their fundamental characteristics, how they interact and are destined to interact until the successful conclusion of human history as we know it in accordance with G-d's plan.

"G-d will beautify Yafet, and he will dwell in the tents of Shem." (Genesis 9:27). The genius of human civilization as expressed in Yafet's art and technology will eventually be devoted to the service of G-d in and through the "Tents of Shem", houses of prayer and worship of the One G-d -- especially in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the House of Prayer for All Nations.

Human history is that of the rise and fall of civilizations. One after the other, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome. reached the heights of power and arrogance, only to enter into decline -- just as we see contemporary "civilization" in its decline, with the widespread breakdown of security, social order and moral integrity. The parshah of NOAH teaches us about the global, ecological disaster that comes about in the wake of human arrogance, excess and immorality. When man breaks down the boundaries of restraint, the natural order also breaks down in response. This is expressed in the "bursting forth of the springs of the depth and opening of the windows of heaven" that brought the Waters of the Flood upon a corrupt civilization. The breakdown of ecological harmony is caused by the corruption of civilization. [In our times, the breakdown of the natural order in response to chaos in the human social order also finds expression in the widespread incidence of cancer and similar diseases, which are caused when cell growth exceeds the proper boundaries.]

At the core of the disease of "civilization" in the time of Noah were sexual immorality and violent robbery, both flagrant affronts to the dignity of man, ADAM, created in the image of G-d. "And the land was corrupted and the land was filled with violent robbery. All flesh corrupted his path on the land" (Genesis 6:11-12). The Midrash teaches that the latter sin was that of the spilling of seed -- sexual immorality. When man abuses his sexual urge for self-gratification alone rather than elevating it to breed future generations who will glorify G-d, the entire earth is corrupted. The violation of the proper boundaries of personal moral conduct leads to a mentality in which everything is permitted, including violent robbery -- HAMAS.

Noah was one who was fighting against the tide of his entire generation: a lone surviving torch-bearer of the religious truths handed down from Adam: belief in the One G-d, HaShem, the Supreme Power -- and obedience to His law. Noah alone in his generation saw its corruption. However, Noah lacked the power to rectify it -- Noah "went with" G-d, but unlike Abraham, he did not go on ahead "before" Him. Instead, Noah salvaged a remnant: his own family, together with choice representatives of the various species of animals and birds. After the corrupt world was washed clean by the purifying waters of the flood, Noah would build a new world on sound foundations that could endure.

* * *

The Ark -- The Word: Prayer and Mystical Wisdom

In order to survive the waters of the flood, Noah was commanded to built an ark. The Hebrew word for the "ark" is TEIVAH [not to be confused with TEVA, which means "nature"]. TEIVAH also means a "word": a word is a vessel that sails the airwaves between my mouth and your ear, bearing a cargo of meaning: the message.

Noah was commanded to bring his wife, his children, their spouses, birds, animals, food, fodder -- everything needed to survive -- into his "Ark", the TEIVAH. This teaches us that to survive the stormy waters of life in this world, we too must bring our lives and all our affairs -- down to the smallest details -- into HA-TEIVAH, "the word", i.e. the words of our prayers. In order to connect our alienated world back to G-d, we have to bring everything into our words of prayer. We should speak to G-d about everything.

The Holy Zohar, repository of the mystical wisdom of the Torah, teaches that the TEIVAH of Noah also alludes to the mystical teachings of the Kabbalah, which are a vital lifeboat for those seeking to the survive the chaos of the end of time (see RaMChaL, Adir BaMarom). The Kabbalah (which includes Chassidus) reveals the mysteries of the Unity of G-d, teaching us the meaning, purpose and end-goal of the misery-filled, conflict-torn world in which we live. As we navigate the dark, stormy seas of life, the Kabbalah gives guidance, comfort and light: the light of the TSOHAR (=Zohar), the "window" of the Ark (Genesis 6:16).

The theme of words, language and communication is apparent towards the end of the Parshah, in the story of the building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). As the population of the world expanded in the generations after Noah, man set himself a new goal: to unite in rebellion against G-d. "Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower with its head in the heavens and let us make for ourselves a NAME." (ibid. 4). Man wanted the "name" for himself -- for his own glory -- instead of giving all the glory to G-d. However, G-d confounded man -- by sowing confusion through the very faculty that is uniquely man's: speech. Instead of helping people to communicate with each other, the torrents of words they directed at one another simply led to incomprehension, misunderstanding, hatred and violence.

In order to overcome hatred and war, man must develop a new language and a new way of speaking. This will be a feature of the messianic period in the future. "Then I will turn the language of the nations into a pure language so that all of them will call on the Name of G-d to serve Him with one accord" (Zephaniah 3:9). Then all mankind will unite in prayer to the One G-d in the "House of Prayer for all the Nations" in Jerusalem (Isaiah 56:15). This House of Prayer is the Tent of Shem in which Yafet will dwell.

* * *

Noah's Sacrifices

Underlying the present parshah of Noah and the ensuing parshiyos, which tell the story of the patriarchs, is the quest for the Holy Mountain of G-d, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Adam's body had been created from the dust and earth of the Temple Mount. And "to dust you will return!" -- mankind must return to this spot and bring sacrifices in order to attain complete atonement for the "sin of Adam", which is man's intrinsic selfishness.

Noah set off on his quest having no idea where he was going. He was commanded to take seven each of all the pure species of animals into the ark. However, it was only after the flood waters subsided that Noah understood through his own powers of reasoning what G-d wanted him to do with them.

"And Noah built an altar to G-d, and he took from all the pure animals and from all the pure birds and offered elevation offerings on the altar" (Genesis 8:20). G-d in His bountiful mercy gave man command over all of nature, allowing him to take what he wants for his needs and desires. What G-d wants of man is to learn and understand Who is the source of this bounty -- by restraining himself from taking everything, and offering part of the bounty back to G-d, in acknowledgement. "And G-d smelled the sweet savor." (ibid. v. 21).

The essence of the concept of KORBAN, a "sacrifice", is that the offered animal -- symbol of our earthly, animal side -- is "brought near" (KAROV) and elevated by being brought into the service of G-d in the form of the sacrifice. The sacrifice of a representative of the species elevates the entire species and brings it divine blessing. Noah's offering after the flood established an archetype for the whole of mankind, his descendants. The ultimate fulfillment of what Noah began will be expressed in the sacrifices in the Future Temple in Jerusalem as prophesied by Ezekiel (ch's 40ff.).

When man carries out the will of G-d, the purpose of creation is fulfilled and G-d maintains and protects the creation in accordance with His Covenant. In response to Noah's willingness to fulfill his mission, G-d established His Covenant with him (Genesis 9: 11). The establishment of the Covenant was accompanied by a "Giving of the Law" to Noah and his children, restating their mission in the world and the laws according to which they must conduct their lives. Prominent among these laws are the prohibition of murder (as discussed in BEREISHIS) and the prohibition of the consumption of a limb from a living animal. The sign of G-d's Covenant with Noah and his offspring is the rainbow, symbolic of how all the different powers of creation -- the "colors" -- are actually refractions of the unitary "white light" of G-d.

* * *

Man's side of the Covenant

Another of the fundamental laws of G-d's Covenant with Noah is the prohibition of sexual immorality, which was one of the prime causes of the flood. Allusions to the rectification of sexual immorality are found throughout the Parshah. In order to correct the excesses of the generation of the flood, it was necessary for Noah and his family to practice complete abstinence during the flood itself (Rashi on Genesis 6:18). This is in accordance with Rambam's teaching (Hilchos De'os, Laws of Attitudes and Personal Conduct 2:2): "If a person was at a far extreme, he has to distance himself from his previous behavior to the opposite extreme and conduct himself this way for a long time until he can return to the good path, which is the middle way."

"These are the generations of Noah."The names of Noah's three sons are repeated several times in the course of the Parshah, indicating that Noah understood that the true purpose of the sexual urge is to create new life and breed children to glorify the name of G-d.

However, Noah himself was unable to rectify the entire world, and after the flood, he himself fell -- he planted a vineyard, became drunk from the wine, and was uncovered in his tent. The theme of sexual immorality is uppermost in the story of how Ham "saw his father's nakedness". Rashi comments: "Some say he castrated him, some say he had relations with him." Ham is the archetype of the unbridled sexual heat and passion, which brings man to the depths of degradation. Sexuality has its necessary place in the life of man, but its holiness is preserved only when it is appropriately covered with a cloak of modesty and dignity. This is expressed in Shem and Yafes entering backwards into Noah's tent, averting their eyes, and covering his nakedness without looking, earning them Noah's eternal blessing.

* * *

The tyranny of Nimrod

After the fall of Noah, the ensuing generations again degenerated. The subtle allusions contained within the Biblical text are discussed and elaborated in the Midrash, which provides many details of the world in the period between Noah and Abraham. This was dominated by Nimrod, the archetype of the G-d-denying tyrant. With the world again falling deeper and deeper into chaos, the Parshah concludes by tracing the lineage of a new prophet. This was one of Noah's progeny who WAS able to accomplish the rectification of the world, albeit not by himself, but with the help of his progeny, Isaac, Jacob and Jacob's children. Abraham did not fall. At the end of Parshas NOAH we see Abraham (or Abram as he then was) setting off on HIS journey of destiny -- to the Land of Canaan, and eventually to "the Place", the Mountain of G-d in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Israel Matzav: It's better to be alone than in bad company

It's better to be alone than in bad company

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, says that it's better to be alone than in bad company. Nevertheless, he denies recent claims on the New York Times' editorial page that Israel is alone.
Israel, in fact, is significantly less isolated than at many times in its history. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel faced a belligerent Egypt and Jordan and a hostile Soviet bloc, Greece, India and China — all without strategic ties with the United States. Today, Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan; excellent relations with the nations of Eastern Europe as well as Greece, India and China; and an unbreakable alliance with America. Many democracies, including Canada, Italy and the Czech Republic, stand staunchly with us. Israel has more legations abroad than ever before and recently joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which comprises the most globally integrated countries. Indeed, Egypt and Germany mediated the upcoming release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for five years.

Israel is not responsible for the upheavals in the Arab world or for the lack of freedom that triggered them. Israelis did not elect Turkey’s Islamic-minded government or urge Syria’s army to fire on its citizens. Conversely, no change in Israeli policies can alter the historic processes transforming the region. Still, some commentators claim that, by refusing to freeze settlement construction on the West Bank and insisting on defensible borders and security guarantees, Israel isolates itself.

The settlements are not the core of the conflict. Arabs attacked us for 50 years before the first settlements were built. Netanyahu froze new construction in the settlements for an unprecedented 10 months, and still the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Settlements are not the reason that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity pact with Hamas in May, or why, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly last month, Abbas denied the Jews’ 4,000-year connection to our homeland. As Abbas wrote in the New York Times in May, the Palestinian attempt to declare a state without making peace with Israel was about “internationalization of the conflict . . . to pursue claims against Israel” in the United Nations, not about settlements.

As for borders and security, Israel’s position reflects the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. After uprooting all our settlements, we received not peace but thousands of Hamas rockets fired at our civilians. In Lebanon, a U.N. peace force watched while Hezbollah amassed an arsenal of 50,000 missiles. Israel’s need for defensible borders and for a long-term Israeli army presence to prevent arms smuggling into any Palestinian state is, for us, a life-and-death issue. Moreover, in a rapidly changing Middle East, we need assurances of our ability to defend ourselves if the Palestinians who support peace are overthrown by those opposed to it.
Well, yeah.

Israel Matzav: It's better to be alone than in bad company

Israel Matzav: Look who wants to unite the World's religions against atheism

Look who wants to unite the World's religions against atheism

Hypocrisy, thy name is Abdullah.

By the way, they won't even let me in to Saudi Arabia.

I wonder what he said to the Pope.

Israel Matzav: Look who wants to unite the World's religions against atheism

Israel Matzav: Turks rally against NATO

Turks rally against NATO

No, you didn't misread the headline. Iran's Press TV is reporting that there was a rally against NATO in Turkey on Saturday (and no, that is not a picture from it) (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
Activists from different political parties are going to participate in Trabzon rally scheduled for 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

The organizers of the protest say that the implementation of the planned project will not only be harmful to Turkey, but also to the whole Middle East.

Turkish newspaper Aydinlik published interviews with some of the political officials that will participate at the rally.

Yavuz Karan, the provincial head of the Republican People's Party (CHP) told the newspaper that “we don't want our country to be a shield for other countries. This is why we will join the demonstration.”

Zekeriya Vural, the provincial head of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) said that the “missile system project will harm Turkey. That is why we will participate at the demonstration and fully support it.”

Sabri Dilber, the provincial head of Turkey's Workers' Party, said that “our plan is to make all the Trabzon people aware about the plan. We invite all people in the region to join the rally.”

The missile system is reportedly planned to be stationed at Kurecik district of Malatya province in eastern Turkey.
I think it would be great if Turkey withdrew from NATO. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Turks rally against NATO

Israel Matzav: Planner of Seder Night massacre among those to be released (including the entire list)

Planner of Seder Night massacre among those to be released (including the entire list)

Somebody find Naomi Ragen (she was at the Park Hotel that night) quickly and tell her about this.
The list contains includes Walid Anajas, who was convicted for his involvement in the bombing of the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem in 2002. Twelve civilians were murdered and 54 injured in the attack.

Also on the list is Nasser Yataima, convicted of planning the 2002 Passover Seder suicide-bomb attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya, in which 30 civilians were killed and 140 were wounded.

Also included is Chris al-Bandak, the only known Christian member of the Fatah Tanzim terror group, convicted of several shooting attacks which claimed the lives of two Israelis and seriously injured a third in 2002.

Musab Hashlemon, of Hebron, sentenced to 17 life sentences for dispatching two suicide bombers to Beersheba, will be released. Sixteen civilians were murdered when the bombers detonated themselves on two buses in central Beersheba in 2004.

Hashlemon was released in the previous prisoner exchange deal for Elhanan Tenenbaum, when Hashlemon was a minor Hamas operative, according to Maariv. He will be deported to Gaza.

Ibrahim Jundiya, sentenced to 12 life sentences for dispatching a suicide bomber to a Jerusalem bus in 2002, will also be deported to Gaza. Eleven bus passengers were murdered in the bombing which occurred in Jerusalem's Kiryat Menahem neighborhood.
I'm posting an Excel sheet with the full list of those to be released below. Concentrate on the ones marked LS (for Life Sentence). The numbers in front of LS are the numbers of 'life sentences' to which they were originally sentenced.

List of Terrorists to Be Traded for Gilad 161011
Israel Matzav: Planner of Seder Night massacre among those to be released (including the entire list)

Love of the Land: IMRA - Observation: Realistically Thinking About Post Shalit Deal - Blood and Revenge

IMRA - Observation: Realistically Thinking About Post Shalit Deal - Blood and Revenge

Dr. Aaron Lerner
16 October '11

If there are terror attacks after the Shalit deal is completed those who pushed for the deal won’t have remorse. They will either say that terror is inevitable regardless of the deal or that the only way to end terror is to give the Arabs what they want (or both). Some might even criticize the security services for failing to thwart the attacks. And if the attack takes place beyond the Green Line then the victims will be to blame for being there in the first place.

And If there are kidnappings then unless the parents of the hostages scream for the heads of the terrorists rather than for PM Netanyahu to release another thousand, there is every reason in the world to expect, once again, a full press by the media for Israel to once again open the prison gates.

Is it possible to actually change any of this?

Are we locked into a perpetual spiral of concessions?

How can Israel respond differently to a post-Shalit terror attack that will give the nation the feeling that we are not in some terrible free fall?

How can the next kidnapping be handled so that we are not demoralized?

Blood and revenge.

Yes. It sounds primitive.

But it is the lingua franca of the neighborhood.

And, In truth. Not just the neighborhood.

Blood isn’t shelling empty buildings in an ever growing target bank.

Then again, blood can very much be the mysterious disappearance and or death of terrorist commanders and leaders.

A lot of blood.

After all, literally within walking distance there are hundreds – if not thousands – of legitimate candidates.

Blood certainly doesn’t necessarily require an official press release from the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.

As for kidnapping, we should be prepared to actively seek out the whereabouts of the victim by bringing in the terrorist leadership associated with the kidnappers. Of course, if these leaders resist while being taken into custody their deaths will be on their own heads.

As for “revenge”, there is today one clear and indisputable form a “revenge”: Jewish settlement construction.

Blood and revenge.

Certainly preferable to surrender.

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Love of the Land: IMRA - Observation: Realistically Thinking About Post Shalit Deal - Blood and Revenge

Love of the Land: Tobin - FDR Didn’t Try to Save Middle East Jews

Tobin - FDR Didn’t Try to Save Middle East Jews

Jonathan Tobin
12 October '11

One of the staples of American Jewish history is the periodic surfacing of books or articles dedicated to reviving the tarnished reputation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The one-way love affair that characterized the relationship between FDR and Jews has never quite recovered from the publication of Arthur D. Morse’s seminal 1967 book, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy, and it was pretty much destroyed by David S. Wyman’s more scholarly and equally important 1984 work ,The Abandonment of the Jews: American and the Holocaust 1941-1945. Both books and the subsequent scholarship they inspired constructed an ironclad case pointing to FDR’s indifference and the impact of his failure to act on the fate of European Jewry.

Yet that hasn’t stopped FDR’s defenders from sallying forth every now and then to restore a bit of the luster to his legacy with varying success. But as wrongheaded as some entries in this genre may be, you’d have to go far to find one as foolish and patently disingenuous as the piece that appeared in the most recent issue of the Forward by former Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau and New York University Law Professor Frank Tuerkheimer. They claim Roosevelt’s “Germany first” war policy saved the Jews of the Middle East. But the notion the fate of the Jews had even the tiniest impact on his decision is not only unproven; it is absurd.

It is true that had the United States decided to concentrate its forces for a counter-attack on Japan in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor that may well have prolonged the war in Europe. It is also conceivable though not likely such a decision would have led to a complete British collapse in North Africa. If that had happened, it might have led, as Morgenthau and Tuerkheimer assert, to the fulfillment of the dreams of Haj Amin Husseini, Germany’s Palestinian Arab ally, who wished to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Had Germany held North Africa longer, it might also have led to the complete destruction of the Jewish communities of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

But before we begin the hosannas to FDR’s choice that saved the Jews, it should be understood that the documentary evidence shows Jewish considerations played no role whatsoever in this decision. “Germany first” was based on military and political criteria that centered on the survival of Britain and the realization that Hitler’s Germany was a far greater threat to the United States than Imperial Japan. This did go against the grain of American public opinion in December 1941, which thirsted for revenge against the Japanese. But FDR had settled on this policy even before America entered the war. Neither at that time nor in the early months of the American war effort was there any interest in Washington in the life or death of Jews in the Middle East or those already in the clutches of the Nazis for that matter.

As for Husseini’s Holocaust fantasy, though the documents about his plot that have recently been uncovered give proof positive of Palestinian Arab complicity with the Nazis, the chances of their fulfillment were minimal. Though Rommel’s victories scared the Allies, the inability of the Germans to maintain a secure supply line to his forces via an Allied-dominated Mediterranean Sea doomed his chances of ever entering Cairo, let alone Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Germany’s priority during this period was the invasion of the Soviet Union, where their conquests led directly to the slaughter of two million Jews.

When faced with specific requests to act to save Jews, the United States consistently failed to act until early 1944 when Morgenthau’s father secured FDR’s reluctant approval for funding of a War Refugee Board that dissident Jewish activists had clamored for. Despite little support from the administration and scarce funding, that Board did wind up helping to save hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last year of the war. But rather than serve as evidence of Roosevelt’s good will, the efforts of the War Refugee Board only illustrate that had the U.S. acted decisively earlier in the conflict, far more Jews would have been spared.

American involvement in the war in North Africa was decisive in the rout of the Axis on that continent, and thus saved many Jewish and non-Jewish lives. One can similarly argue had the United States not fought in Europe at all, many Jews who survived the Holocaust would have perished. But though Americans can be said to have helped save civilization during World War II, the impact of this victory on the Jews was purely incidental.

Given the political and strategic choices facing the United States in December 1941, any decision other than “Germany First” was unlikely. Franklin Roosevelt deserves great credit for his leadership in defeating the Axis. But his goal was to help save Britain (though not its empire) in order to achieve that victory. Helping the Jews or limiting the impact of the Holocaust played no role whatsoever in his thinking. To imply anything else or to assert that this decision makes him some sort of hero to the Jews is an absurd distortion of the historical record.

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Love of the Land: Tobin - FDR Didn’t Try to Save Middle East Jews

RubinReports: The Middle East Today: Ha, Ha, Ha! Stop! It’s Too Funny! I Can’t Take It Any More!

The Middle East Today: Ha, Ha, Ha! Stop! It’s Too Funny! I Can’t Take It Any More!

By Barry Rubin

There’s a saying that goes something like this: When things are bad, a Jew cries. When they get even worse, a Jew cries more. And when they even get worse, a Jew laughs. As indelicate as this may seem, the current situation makes me want to laugh.

That’s so because things are more ridiculous than they are scary. As the advice and claims of others get increasingly absurd, you have no desire to listen to them. You just have to do what you know is right and stop having any doubts about it precisely because the arguments on the other side are just so historically inaccurate, factually false,.and illogical.

Rea it all:

RubinReports: The Middle East Today: Ha, Ha, Ha! Stop! It’s Too Funny! I Can’t Take It Any More!

RubinReports: Syria: A Tragedy; Afghanistan: Blindness; Obama's Moment of Truth; Iran's Opposition

Syria: A Tragedy; Afghanistan: Blindness; Obama's Moment of Truth; Iran's Opposition

By Barry Rubin

1. Syria: A Tragedy

By far the best source of news on the Syrian revolution is Syria Revolution Digest  by the heroically tireless Ammar Abdulhamid. Every day he puts in a little summary of the situation. Here is what he wrote for October 11:

"As [the dictatorship of the] Assads take back Syria, one neighborhood and one town at a time, opposition groups continue to wrangle over seats in a stillborn [leadership] council, as the world considers options that have no bearing on reality.

"Several thousand people have been murdered yet despite all the fine words, there has been little serious international action as the violence has continued for months.

"As [the] Assads take back Syria, one neighborhood and one town at a time, opposition groups continue to wrangle over seats in a stillborn council, as the world considers options that have no bearing on reality....

2. Obama Administration Seeks Political Arrangement with Anti-American Terrorists
3. The Iran-Mexico Affair
4. Remember the Iranian Opposition?

Read it all:

RubinReports: Syria: A Tragedy; Afghanistan: Blindness; Obama's Moment of Truth; Iran's Opposition
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