Sunday, 9 October 2011

Love of the Land: Sherman - Into the Fray: Reassessing ‘root causes’ and ‘red herrings’

Sherman - Into the Fray: Reassessing ‘root causes’ and ‘red herrings’

Martin Sherman
Into the Fray
07 October '11

In the face of mounting international pressure, Israel cannot afford to lose sight of what the conflict is really about.

We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.

– Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, March 8, 1965

This chilling declaration of genocidal intent by the leader of the largest Arab nation, over two years before any Israeli presence in the “occupied territories,” was not an isolated aberration.

Quite the contrary, it was typical of a pervasive Judeo-phobic frenzy that prevailed throughout the Arab world, well before the notions of “occupation” and “settlements” — the current buzzwords for rallying anti-Israeli sentiment — had any meaning.

Recalling recalcitrant realities

Thus on May 18, 1967, following the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping forces in Sinai, in compliance with Egyptian demands, the Cairo-based radio station Voice of the Arabs blared:

“As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more.... The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.”

Two days later, Gen. Hafez Assad, then-Syrian minister of defense, and later president, boasted: “Our forces are now entirely ready.... The time has come to enter a battle of annihilation.”

On May 27, Nasser reiterated his murderous goal: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.”

And four days before the outbreak of war, on June 1, Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Ali — later assassinated by Saddam Hussein — threatened:

“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified... Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.”

The Jordanian factor and the Palestinian element

The mood on the Jordanian front and among the Palestinians, together with their Arab “patrons,” was strikingly similar.

Nasser on November 18, 1965: “Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.”

Jordan’s King Hussein, apparently impressed by this bluster, entered into a military pact with Egypt on May 30, 1967 — despite bitter acrimony between Nasser and himself. He declared:

“All of the Arab armies now surround Israel. The UAR [Egypt], Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Kuwait.... There is no difference between one Arab people and another, no difference between one Arab army and another.”

At the time, the entire “West Bank” and Gaza, territories now claimed for the establishment of a Palestinian state as the alleged sine non qua for peace — were under Arab control. Nasser ruled Gaza, Hussein the “West Bank.” Yet neither undertook the slightest initiative to initiate any self-governing Palestinian entity in these territories.

(What is even more astounding, as we shall see later, is that the Palestinians themselves eschewed any aspirations of sovereignty over the “West Bank” and Gaza, which seem to have been totally irrelevant to “full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people” in the eyes of both the Palestinians and of the wider Arab world — MS.)

The rhetoric from Palestinian leaders was no less bellicose.

On May 27, Ahmad Shukeiri, Yasser Arafat’s predecessor as chairman of the PLO, gloated:

“D Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation.”

And a few days later, on June 1, in a somewhat premature flush of triumph, he crowed:

“This is a fight for the homeland – it is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive.... We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors — if there are any — the boats are ready to deport them.”

As the Arab armies massed against it, Israel began to brace itself for the coming war — preparing mass graves in Tel Aviv and other cities in anticipation of heavy civilian causalities.

‘Liberation’ equals ‘annihilation’

Shukeiri’s use of the words “liberation” and “homeland” is revealing. They clearly did not apply to the “West Bank” or the Gaza Strip, since both were under Arab rule and certainly not considered the “homeland” towards which Palestinian “liberation” efforts were directed.

The true significance of these terms emerges with stark clarity from the text of the original version of the Palestinian National Charter — formulated in 1964.

Article 16 states: “The liberation of Palestine... [is] necessitated by the demands of selfdefense” and “the Palestinian people look forward to [international] support... in restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine... and enabling its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.”

But Article 24 stipulates precisely what is not included in the “homeland” of “Palestine” and where sovereignty is not to be exercised. Indeed, it unequivocally forswears Palestinian claims to “any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Gaza.”

It is difficult to imagine a more authoritative source for exposing as bogus the Palestinian claim that the “West Bank” and Gaza comprise their “ancient homeland.”

Indeed, even within the pre-1967 lines, long before the alleged “root causes of the conflict” — “occupation” and “settlements” — were part of the discourse, much less facts on the ground, Israel was condemned as a colonial, fascist, expansionist power.

According to Article 19: “Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of colonialism, is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East.”

The implication is clear. To remove enduring “tension and turmoil” in the region, their “source” — Israel — must be removed.

Accordingly, we must conclude that the only conceivable “plain-English” translation for the ‘liberation of the homeland” must be the “annihilation of Israel.”

Hatred frozen in time

The 1964 Palestinian National Covenant was replaced by a 1968 version, which in the guise of “the liberation of Palestine,” continued to advocate the destruction of Israel as a necessary precursor for Mideast peace — now in blatantly explicit terms.

Article 22 states that the “liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.”

Any thoughts that the reference was now to the post-1967 “occupied territories” is quickly dispelled by Article 19, which declares: “The partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time...”

Article 20 delves even further back into history — to 1917 — to deny the validity of Jewish statehood in any portion of the Holy Land:

“The Balfour Declaration, the Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void. The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history and the conception of what constitutes statehood.”

This implacable repudiation cannot be ascribed to wrath induced by post-1967 Israeli occupation. They echo — almost verbatim — those articulated in Articles 17 and 18 of the pre-occupation 1964 Covenant, underscoring the unbroken persistence of the Palestinians enmity towards Israel — regardless of any temporal or territorial parameters.

From Shukeiri to Abbas

This provides the conceptual context for the indefatigable refusal of the allegedly moderate Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to acknowledge that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews. After all, he is merely being faithful to his National Covenant (both original and current) according to which “Jews do not constitute a single nation with an identity of their own,” and the establishment of Israel comprises a “violation of the basic principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.”

Both versions of the Covenant are posted on the Palestinian Permanent UN Observer website. This is an outrage of epic proportions, for despite a promise to president Bill Clinton and a vague letter that certain — unspecified — articles have been abrogated, the Covenant has not been formally changed or redrafted. Indeed, to fulfill the pledge to Clinton, 28 of the 33 articles would have to be annulled or amended.

It is therefore brazen gall on the part of the Palestinians to aspire to UN membership while flaunting documents that denounce the 60- year-old membership of another nation as a “violation of the basic principles... of the United Nations — and scandalous misrepresentation on the part of Clinton to charge, as he recently did, that it was Binyamin Netanyahu who “... killed the peace process.”

Thus, Israel would be sadly remiss not to perceive Abbas, the current chairman of the PLO, as adhering to the principles laid down by Shukeiri, the first chairman of the PLO, who drafted the original National Covenant.

This was rather starkly illustrated at the recent UN General Assembly session when Abbas, theatrically, exclaimed: “After 63 years of suffering: enough, enough, enough.”

How reminiscent this was of Shukeiri’s 1964 declaration, 47 years earlier at the first session of Palestinian National Council, that “Palestinians had experienced 16 years’ misery.”

Hmmm. 16 + 47 = 63 years! Thus both past and present PLO chairmen steadfastly condemn the birth of Israel — not the “occupation” – as the “original sin” that is exclusively to blame for Palestinian “suffering”/”misery.” Certainly can’t fault them for inconsistency!

“The Arabs are the same Arabs...”

So one might be forgiven for conceding that Yitzhak Shamir might just have had a point when he cautioned that “the Arabs are the same Arabs, and the sea is the same sea.”

Indeed there are those who might see corroboration for this abrasive assessment in the fact that the allegedly “pragmatic” Fatah movement (established in 1959) found no need to amend its constitution (also formulated in 1964 but not to be confused with the Palestinian National Covenant) at its 2009 Convention in Bethlehem.

This constitution specifies the “goal” of the organization as: “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

It goes on to stipulate the “method” by which this “eradication” is to be effected, i.e., “armed struggle,” and emphasizes that this “is a strategy and not a tactic. [T]he Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

The Fatah emblem shows “Palestine” as extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Separating ‘red herrings’ from ‘root causes’

Israel has allowed itself to be manipulated into a perilous and potentially tragic situation. To have any hope of extricating itself from this unenviable position, it must be very clear as to what this conflict is really about — and what it is not about.

It must separate the “root causes” from the “red herrings.” Mistaken diagnosis will result in mistaken policies choices which are liable to precipitate “terminal” consequences.

It is time to acknowledge the unpalatable fact that the enmity of Arabs towards the Jews and the Jewish state is:
– not about borders but about existence;
– not about what the Jewish people do but about what the Jewish people are;
– not about the Jewish state’s policies but about the Jewish state per se; and
– not about Jewish military “occupation” of Arab land but about Jewish political existence on any land.

Israel must internalize these truths and undertake a policy to convey them – with conviction and vigor — to the world. Otherwise it may well be “liberated.”

Love of the Land: Sherman - Into the Fray: Reassessing ‘root causes’ and ‘red herrings’

Love of the Land: (Video) Why not support a Palestinian state? Top 3 reasons.

(Video) Why not support a Palestinian state? Top 3 reasons.

Sep 20, 2011
H/T Daphne Anson

A countdown of the top three reasons why anyone (in their right mind) should not support a Palestinian state. A humorous, yet frightening look at Palestinian society.

If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Love of the Land: (Video) Why not support a Palestinian state? Top 3 reasons.

Love of the Land: Yana - We had no choice but to win

Yana - We had no choice but to win

Elad Yana
Israel Hayom
07 October '11

On first day of the war, most senior officers of a reserve battalion in 679 Armored Brigade fell • 38 years later, Ori Or, 679 commander, meets batallion commanders to recall the fighting and 75 soldiers who sacrificed their lives.

They were called to war on the first day of fighting, rushing to take up their posts in the tanks that comprised the reservist battalion in the 679 Armored Brigade. Their mission was to make contact with the 188 Brigade, which was almost wiped out completely during the course of the fighting, and to help in the bitter battles against the Syrians on the Golan Heights. On the first day of the war, most of the senior officer corps was lost. Eight days later, however, it pushed back the Syrians and determined the line that is today Israel’s northeastern border. Thirty-eight years later, the then-commander of the brigade, Uri Or, met up with battalion commanders Yehuda Wagman and Haim Danon to recall the fierce fighting and to remember the 75 brigade soldiers who sacrificed their lives.

“I sit in the turret and I know who sits in each tank that is hit. But now we don’t think about them. We don’t even think about ourselves. Now we are just looking for targets and we shoot. We are at war … I focus my eyes. ‘Got one!’ I call out, and shoot. Suddenly Gidi shouts at me: ‘They’re shooting at us.’ ‘Gunner, ready, aim, fire! Driver, go back quickly. Gunner, pray!’ I barely heard his voice in the crackling noise on the radio. I fired a shell and yelled: ‘You pray, Gidi!’ He yelled: ‘But I don’t know how to!’ I prayed from the walls of my heart, and shouted: ‘Please, God, save us!’
- From the book “Adjusting Sights” by Rabbi Haim Sabato

It is 38 years later. Like Rabbi Haim Sabato, who was a gunner in one of the battalions in the Armored Corps’ 679 Brigade, Maj. Gen. (res.) Uri Or, the commander of the brigade during that difficult war, still cannot shake free from the events of those days.

“To this day, the Yom Kippur War is the most traumatic period of my life,” Or said. “Entering the war, and the surprise that came with entering the war, from the time I reported for duty at the emergency equipment caches to the moment when we were 45 kilometers from Damascus … It is without a doubt the most difficult period that I ever endured.”

Or was tapped to command the brigade just two months before the outbreak of the war. This was the Armored Corps reservist brigade that was formed in 1970. It was a young brigade, most of whose soldiers were 25-year-olds, many of whom were either university students or graduates of the hesder yeshivas that combine Torah study with army preparation courses (like Sabato). The most senior commanders in the brigade – the brigade and battalion commanders – were also veterans of the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition.

The troops took to the battlefields on Saturday evening, just a few hours after the fighting broke out. They assumed an integral part in stopping Syrian penetration on the Golan Heights, particularly in the Nafah region and the area southeast of Nafah. They helped in holding the Syrians until a counteroffensive punched a hole through the enemy lines, resulting in a favorable outcome eight days later, when what is today Israel’s eastern border was won on the battlefield.

“The first day was the most difficult,” Or said. “There wasn’t a moment in which I didn’t think we would win the war, but this day was particularly difficult. There were just a few crews that got together. They were barely prepared for war, hardly prepared for battle. They were coming together alongside one another during this awful war, and they were stopping the Syrians at Nafah. By the evening, the situation gradually got a bit better.”

Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Haim Danon, who was named commander of one of the brigade’s battalions during the war and who today heads the brigade’s memorial foundation, breaks into the conversation. “I should emphasize that most of the brigade’s senior high command (the battalion commanders and their deputies) were killed or wounded by the middle of that same day.”

During the course of that day, which essentially began on Saturday night, the brigade’s first contingent of tanks set out for the Golan Heights. Their mission was to touch base with Brigade 188, which at the time waged bitter battles against advancing Syrian forces in the central Golan Heights, and to aid in beating back the enemy onslaught. By Sunday morning, the brigade high command managed to convene and enlist a force of 18 tanks at the chief customs house. But it was not until the end of the day that the high command succeeded in putting together an armored force of 60 tanks that could mount an organized, effective attack in the Nafah region.

“My mission was to form a battalion on Sunday evening at Camp Alka,” Danon said. “I organized the force that I had at my disposal, some 24 tanks, some of them which were not from my brigade, and which I stopped as they were headed to Petroleum Road. I stopped them along the way, and added them to my brigade. I appointed company and division commanders, and our mission was to defend Nafah and the road that leads to the Bnot Ya’akov Bridge. From my point of view, this was the first day that the brigade stopped the advancing forces.”

During the next few days, Danon’s battalion would become a central component in the bloody battles that took place south of Nafah in the area that stretches from the Yosifon and Shifon hills toward the Syrian village of Hoshniya, where the battalion successfully formed a defense line that proved to be impenetrable.

“We haven’t even found the time to think about the battle that we just endured, and a new instruction has come: to begin moving toward Hoshniya. We followed Danon. Rami said that we are 10 tanks, a serious force. Danon is moving at the head, very quickly. We moved slowly. The gears have once again stalled. Danon tried to reach us by radio constantly. He was really begging us to join him. ‘What is going on with you?’ he asked. ‘I’ve run into a much larger Syrian force. I’m fighting on my own. Get over here already!’

(Adjusting Sights, by Rabbi Haim Sabato)

In the book written by Sabato, who recalled his experiences during the war, he tells of the second day of fighting, a day on which Danon spearheaded the forces that managed to hold off the Syrians far from the Nafah camp, which had been reconquered by the Israelis after they unleashed a deluge of tank fire. For all intents and purposes, it was only on that evening that the IDF began to recapture control of the Golan Heights. A last-ditch attempt by the Syrians to once again take control of Nafah was pushed back all the way toward Hoshniya by a force commanded by Danon.

“The main Syrian effort, which was full throttle, was geared toward the central and southern parts of the Golan Heights,” said Or. “The moment I saw the T-62 tanks in the Nafah area, I understood that the reserves were being deployed. It was simple. Every soldier in the Armored Corps knew this. That was how a reserve battalion which was formed on the fly during the fighting found itself faced with this thing.”

“From the moment that I assumed command over the central Golan Heights (taking over from Brigade 188, which was nearly wiped out during those days of fighting) until the last day of the war, the Syrians had no idea, we just simply pushed them from one line to the other,” Danon said.

How do you explain this achievement?

Or recalled a correspondence he shared with a soldier from the brigade. “A religious soldier from the brigade wrote to me after reading my book about the war (Ele ha’ahim sheli, “These are my brothers”) and he described to me his experiences without knowing what transpired in the brigade high command during those days,” Or said. “He summed it up in this sentence: ‘What wonderful miracles happened there!’ I wrote back to him: ‘I’m a secular Jew, I don’t believe in miracles. The people who won here are the soldiers and commanders that had faith in one another.’ It was during the war that this spirit began to coalesce within the brigade.”

“Somebody signaled for the tank to stop. We stopped. A strapping man with a wide face and soft voice boarded the turret. He asked us to sit. We sat on the turret. We were exhausted. Most of all, we were shocked. This is not how we imagined the war would look. With the palm of his hand, he gently caressed each crew member quietly and said: ‘Hello to you, I am the brigade commander.’ We looked at him in amazement. A brigade commander has never talked to us like that. He took out a pack of chocolates and handed them out to us. ‘I know,’ he said. ‘It’s very hard for you. You’re young. It’s also hard for me. But I’m sure that we will win. Whoever withstands longer will win. We will win, we have no choice. We all trust you.’

(Adjusting Sights, Rabbi Haim Sabato)

Sabato reveals what took place behind the scenes of the awful sights that were produced during those first days of fighting on the Golan Heights. But it also seems like an example of the exemplary command of forces that led to this blood-drenched victory. It is the same command that also led forces in overcoming the difficult battles and heavy casualties sustained in the initial battles that were meant to stave off the oncoming Syrians (from the first to the fourth day). This allowed the situation to turn about in Israel’s favor, resulting in the conquering of the Syrian positions on the eighth day of fighting. One of the leaders was Yehuda Wagman, who was then a deputy battalion commander who headed the successful counterattacks.

“I think that in the grand scheme of things, what we have here is what is really known as ‘the spirit of the IDF’,” said Wagman. “This IDF spirit, with all due respect, is not just a poster on a wall, but it is also a message of growing up in an army in which there is no way that we do not win. I think that this is the main thing. In the Six-Day War, Uri [Or] paid a heavy price with his company (he was the commander of a patrol company in the Sinai front that suffered heavy losses). There is no way that we don’t defeat the Syrians! It’s easy to say now, but you have to remember that this was the spirit of the time and the commanders were very professional.”

“As for the sense of urgency that we felt, we heard the 188 Brigade’s radio,” said Danon. “We had a jeep near the brigade headquarters that had a radio and we heard the screams and cries for help and the plans for reinforcements. This was frustrating, because at 4:00 P.M. (on Saturday before entering battle) most of the commanders sat down at Yiftah, and we waited for the crew to get there from their homes. This, too, contributed to the victory at the end.”

This was how the picture shifted from defense to offense. The 679 Brigade led the counterassault against the Syrian positions, going through Kuneitra and Tel Sha’ar in the southeastern Golan. On its way, it encountered Syrian armored forces armed with anti-tank weaponry. The Syrians mount a courageous, fierce defense of their territory until they are subdued by the brigade, which managed to form a new defense line in the Tel Sha’ar and Tel El-Mal areas (some 15 kilometers inside Syria). Finally, on Friday, after almost a week of fighting, the brigade is forced to stop the counterattack waged by Iraqi forces that had come to assist the Syrians.

“The sun was shining in front of them, and it blinded them. And they moved in our direction without noticing anything. It seems that they also did not know where they were. They kept coming closer and I was worried, very worried. What is he counting on? Why not open fire? I have my finger on the trigger, I’ve got the first tank in my sights. ‘Wait,’ Wagman said. Then when they got to within a very short distance. Wagman said: ‘Fire!’ I fired at the first tank, and I hit it. ‘Target!’ I yelled out. ‘Fire on the second one!’ Wagman said. I fired again in the same direction. We hit seven tanks on our own. Wagman came down to the turret and hugged me warmly.”

(Adjusting Sights, Rabbi Haim Sabato)

The brigade lost 75 men in in the war. The brigade memorial association headed by Danon makes sure to aid the families as much as possible. The organization is made up of its combat troops, its commanders, veterans, and bereaved families. It has been active for 35 years, perpetuating the memory of those who fell while imparting the brigade legacy on the younger generations of IDF soldiers.

One of those soldiers is me, an officer in one of the brigade battalions that a few years ago underwent training for operating the Merkava 3 tank. The brigade name was changed to Brigade 434. It took part in battles during the Second Lebanon War, losing two of its best young men. Each year, the foundation holds a memorial ceremony at the commemorative site in Tel Shifon on the Golan Heights. The ceremony is attended by brigade troops and bereaved families throughout the generations.

The foundation is undertaking efforts to build an amphitheater that offers an open view of the battlefield on Tel Shifon. The site would complement the existing memorial there, serving as an educational tool that would teach youngsters of the battles that took place on the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War.

Then, as it is now, the 434/679 Brigade represents an important component in the defense of our borders. People who have proven that values of comradeship and an aspiration toward victory do not belong to the past served there, and continue to serve there. Let us preserve the memory of those who fell nearly four decades ago, and let us carry on their legacy.

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Love of the Land: Yana - We had no choice but to win

RubinReports: Here and There in the Middle East: Fleeing Christians, "Moderate" Imam, Mad Turkish Leader, Syrian Revolution

Here and There in the Middle East: Fleeing Christians, "Moderate" Imam, Mad Turkish Leader, Syrian Revolution

By Barry Rubin

1. Fleeing Christians
Christians are fleeing the Middle East and Western Christians are indifferent. More than half of Iraqi Christians, threatened with death and terrorism are out of that country, though many are in neighboring Syria. Virtually all Christians have fled the Islamist Gaza Strip and Syrian Christians generally (though not all) support the regime there, fearing an Islamist takeover.
But Egypt is home to millions of Christians that dwarf these numbers. In fact, the number of Christians in Egypt exceeds the populations of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia.

Copts have emigrated in the past, but they have been so rooted in Egypt as to tend to remain there. Now the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations reports that 95,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011. If Egypt continues to look as if it is going down an Islamist road, or at least if the government and military appear ready to tolerate such assaults, one can easily imagine one million or so Copts heading for the exits in the next few years. How would Europe like to receive these people who—in contrast to many other immigrants—would be legitimate asylum seekers with a genuine fear for their lives?

2. Mad Turkish Prime Minister....

Read it all:

RubinReports: Here and There in the Middle East: Fleeing Christians, "Moderate" Imam, Mad Turkish Leader, Syrian Revolution

RubinReports: Wake Up! It's 1967 All Over Again, Sort of

Wake Up! It's 1967 All Over Again, Sort of

By Barry Rubin

The easiest way to understand the current situation in the United States is this:

We are in a new version of the 1960s with four significant differences.

1. The radicals aren't just demonstrating in the universities, they control them.

2. The radicals aren't being ignored by the mass media, they control them.

3. The president of the United States is the leader of the New Left, sort of like the head of the campus branch of SDS and the Black Student Alliance put together. In comparison, Bill Clinton was the head of the campus Young Democrats.

4. The music's not nearly as good.

Yet is support for the radical left really higher than in the 1960s? I don't think so. The movement has just camoflauged itself much better, including convincing millions of people that this is a mainstream liberal one.

RubinReports: Wake Up! It's 1967 All Over Again, Sort of

RubinReports: How Do We Know Definitively That Israel’s Critics Are Wrong? Because of What They Say

How Do We Know Definitively That Israel’s Critics Are Wrong? Because of What They Say

By Barry Rubin

People frequently ask me to respond to the latest article of You Know Who, Complete Ignoramus, or even the World’s Most Pompous Columnist, and various others of that ilk. I almost always respond that I’ve done that kind of thing already, or at this point one should only ignore such people, or it is better to spend one’s time writing constructively to explain reality than to waste time combatting endlessly recycled lies and nonsense.

But then I realized that there was a totally different and far more revealing way of approaching this issue, a way of using this kind of criticism to show precisely how wrong it is....

But you know that already. Here’s what’s new: What should You Know Who, the Complete Ignoramus, the World’s Most Pompous Columnist, and various others of that ilk be writing? In other words, if you want to challenge Israel’s stance how should you do it?

The answer is by taking the exact opposite position. Here it is....

Read it all:

RubinReports: How Do We Know Definitively That Israel’s Critics Are Wrong? Because of What They Say

Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: YOM HA K'PURIM: A YOM KIPPUR THOUGHT


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

When the Torah calls the holiest day of the year Yom HaKippurim, on a deeper level it saying that the day is actually Yom K'Purim, meaning "a day like Purim." And if Yom Kippur is likened to Purim, then on some level one could actually say that Purim is even deeper, in that it is the root holiday after which Yom Kippur is modelled.

Yes, Purim is historically post-Biblical, while Yom Kippur, being Biblical in origin came earlier, but in matters of Divine Truth there is no past or future. It's all happening in the eternal moment. Time is but a function of our human dimension. It lacks relevance from the perspective of the other worlds. Time slows down as we approach the speed of light. And at the speed of G*d there is no past present or future, just as G*d lives simultaneously in the past, present and future. You can be reincarnated into the past just as easily as you can be reincarnated into the future. As we stand before the Aron Kodesh, with our whole future before us, so too is our whole past stretched before us on the heavenly surround sound wide screen projection video.

On Purim we celebrate the vanquishing of evil. Haman is always in pursuit of Mordechai. Mordechai, always one step ahead, escapes his clutches. Esther represents that part of us which takes the leap of faith. Like Esther, we put ourselves on the line, throwing ourselves at the mercy of the king for our very lives. With every fiber of her being and every ounce of energy she summoned her holy chutzpah to plead for her deliverance. Haman, representing evil incarnate, must nevertheless pay homage to Mordechai, who triumphantly leads him through the streets of Shushan.

So too, on Yom Kippur, we realize that while we despair at the sins we may have committed, in the end they may ultimately be harnessed in the service of the good. In the end, the crimson thread turns to white as the High Priest proclaims our atonement. In the place where a Baal Teshuvah stands, holding in his hands a tattered, well-worn valise of sins, no Tzaddik can stand. Still, we are wont to give in to despair because as we aspire in holiness and piety the evil inclination is never far behind.

We often become discouraged in our spiritual strivings because the higher we ascend in our spiritual progress, like Mordechai's ascent in the court of the king, so too do the forces of negativity seem to increase their vigor, and like Haman, nearly succeed in dragging us down into the abyss. The secular world claims the religious sin because of hypocricy, perhaps to justify its antinomian predilections. But the truth is that the greater the Tzaddik, the greater the evil inclination, as its sole desire is to distract and weaken and eventually annul the tzaddik's soul desire. Our mission is to overcome and not surrender.

And yet we revel on this day in the sure knowledge that in the end the evil decree will be anulled, the evil inclination will be vainquished, and like Esther we will soon be dining at the feast of the Great King. On Yom Kippur, the King of Kings holds out His golden sceptre to each of us, thereby anulling the evil decree. That is why Yom Kippur is the most joyous of all holidays. Solemn, perhaps, but certainly joyous. May Hashem's messengers on horseback race to the far ends of the kingdom proclaiming that each and every one of us are sealed in the Book of Life.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah!

© 2000 - 2011 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

P.S. The tzaddik in the above is one who valiantly wrestles with his yetzer hara, as opposed to a complete, true Tzaddik, a Tzaddik Gamur, who is in the rarified ranks of those who have completely dominated and subjugated their evil inclination. Among them are the lamedvavniks, 36 in all, clothed in secrecy, whose existence is said to sustain the world. They are the pillars of the world, known for their kind and unassuming natures.

Sefer Chabibi Deepest Torah: YOM HA K'PURIM: A YOM KIPPUR THOUGHT



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading for Simchas Torah, Thursday 20 October (Israel) & Friday 21 October (elsewhere):
VE-ZOS HABRACHAH, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Additional reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3
Maftir: Numbers 29:35-30:1
Haftara: Joshua 1:1-18


After the succession of stern rebukes to Israel in the preceding parshahs, we finally come to the conclusion of the Torah, which is all goodness and blessing. VE-ZOS HABRACHAH: "And this is the blessing with which Moses, man of G-d, blessed the Children of Israel before his death" (Deut. 33:1).

The last of the Torah's fifty-three parshahs thus completes the circle to make the perfect garden: 53 is the gematria of the Hebrew word GAN = "garden". The Torah began with the creation of Adam, recounting how he was placed in the Garden of Eden, only to fall and be driven out. Similarly Abraham, Isaac and Jacob planted themselves in the Land of Israel, which is intended to be a garden of a land. But their children fell into exile in Egypt, and the glorious redemption and the Giving of the Torah at Sinai were followed by the making of the golden calf and the other sins in the wilderness. The purpose of all Moses' labors instilling G-d's law into the hearts of the people of Israel was to bring about the complete rectification of Adam's sin in order to enable his children to come back into the garden and enjoy goodness and blessing in their land forever.

The Kabbalah explains that G-d brought about the creation through the concealment of His infinite light and perfect unity, leaving a seemingly separate, finite realm of lack and imperfection. This provides man with an arena of challenge where he can earn higher levels of connection with G-d through his own efforts. The flaw in the creation is man's rebellious streak. When he succumbs to it, he intensifies the darkness and evil in himself and the surrounding world. But he is also vested with the power to repent and to overcome the evil. In tracing how man became separated from G-d and teaching him the pathways he must follow in order to reconnect, the Torah provides the complete remedy for the whole of creation.

Having recounted man's sins and the resulting tribulations -- imperfection and disunity -- and having set forth the code of law through which man repairs himself and the world, the Torah ends with rectification and unity. "And this is the blessing. And there was a King in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were GATHERED and the tribes of Israel TOGETHER" (Deut. 33 v. 1 & v. 5). All the different pieces finally come together again and everything returns to unity. The name Yeshurun refers to Israel in the aspect of Yosher, straightness and rectification. VE-ZOS HABRACHAH speaks of the greatness of Israel and their destiny -- each tribe individually and all together collectively. "Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you?. a nation saved through HaShem" (ibid. v. 29). Nothing in the world can stand between G-d and Israel. Not only was He revealed to them at Sinai. He is even revealed to them out of Se'ir and Paran -- Edom, Ishmael and the other forces of concealment: "HaShem came from Sinai, from Seir He shone to them." (v. 2). Through the power of the Torah, even that which seems furthest from G-d can be brought back and reconnected with Him.

Although the twelve tribes of Israel are all unique, each with their different qualities -- multiplicity -- they all share a common destiny: to lead the world back to G-d -- unity. Thus it says of Zevulun and Issachar, "They will call nations to the Mountain [= the Temple Mount], they will slaughter offerings of righteousness." (v. 19). Of Joseph it says, "He will gore the nations, TOGETHER even the ends of the earth" (v. 18). Finally, all the scattered sparks will be gathered back together again. In the end, after all their struggles and suffering -- "And Israel will dwell securely, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of corn and wine. Indeed, his heavens will drop down dew" (v. 28).

Everything is in its proper place. Everything has been rectified. Moses' mission has been fulfilled, and as a mortal man, he too must die. We cry when we read of the death of Moses -- we cry over our own mortality. Yet we must know that eventually we have to die, for only through the death of the self can we be merged with the All-encompassing One. There are no exceptions to G-d's immutable law, not even in the case of Moses, who was the greatest of all the prophets. For failing to sanctify G-d one time in the wilderness (Numbers 20:1-13), Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Yet selflessly, he brought the Children of Israel -- his children -- to the borders of the land, and all that was left for them to do was to enter and make their conquest.

Moses comes to the end, yet it is not the end, because life continues, and where the older generation leave off, the new generation pick up and carry on. After the death of the old comes the birth of the new. It is never the end, because as soon as we reach the end of the Torah, we immediately go back to the beginning and start all over again! This very continuity is the Joy of the Torah, SIMCHAS TORAH, the day on which we complete the annual cycle of the Torah and begin again. Just as G-d is Eyn Sof -- NO END -- so, the Torah has no end. When you reach the end of the cycle, the circle is complete and you start again from the beginning. For the end is seamlessly attached to the beginning, and the circle goes around and around.

Thus on SIMCHAS TORAH the Children of Israel take all the Torah scrolls out of the ark and dance around and around the reader's desk in circle after circle, to indicate the endlessness of the Torah. You might have thought it would be impossible for finite man to have any connection with the Infinite G-d. Yet in His compassion, G-d has given us a way to connect with Him: through cycle after cycle of Torah study. Through each circle and each cycle, we expand the horizons of our knowledge of G-d, drawing down His all-encompassing light around and inside ourselves, becoming steadily more and more suffused with His unity, love and peace.

May we have the merit of studying the entire Torah time after time, cycle after cycle, until "the earth will be full of the knowledge of HaShem as the waters cover the seas" (Isaiah 11:9).

Shabbat Shalom!!! Chag Same'ach!!!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel
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