Friday, May 09, 2003
"Blinded by Bush-Hatred". . . by Jonathan Chait, in the Washington Post: "Perhaps the most disheartening development of the war -- at home, anyway -- is the number of liberals who have allowed Bush-hatred to take the place of thinking. Speaking with otherwise perceptive people, I have seen the same intellectual tics come up time and time again: If Bush is for it, I'm against it. If Bush says it, it must be a lie."
Thursday, May 08, 2003
Check out www.ShabbatPeace.comOn May 30th, join millions of Jewish women and girls around the world as we dedicate our candle-lighting to peace: peace in our homes, peace in the land of Israel - the home of the Jewish people, and peace throughout the world.
The International (weekly) Jerusalem Post has a brief story in print that I can't find online:
A Lesson Not Learned
A new textbook prepared for schoolchildren in India portrays Adolf Hitler as a "hero" and makes no mention of the German murder of Jews during the Holocaust, according to the Press Trust of India. The book is entitled Contemporary India and was approved by the government's National Council for Eduacational Research and Training.The book reportedly defines Nazism as a "fusion of German nationalism and socialism," but makes no mention of the virulent antisemitism that was a key component of Hitler's ideology. [B"H] -- some members of India's Federal Parliament have voiced outrage.
Dramatic Increase in Global Anti-Semitic Acts noted in ADL press releaseThe year 2002 witnessed the highest number of violent anti-Semitic acts in more than 12 years, according to Tel Aviv University's annual report, Anti-Semitism Worldwide 2002/3, the country-by-country survey published in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress. A total of 311 violent anti-Semitic attacks were reported in 2002, among them 56 major attacks involving the use of weapons, and 255 major violent incidents.
Among the more violent attacks in the U.S. were an arson attack at an Oakland,CA synagogue, a neo-Nazi seen aiming a gun at a synagogue in Nashville, TN, and three separate attacks on the Hebrew Cemetery of Auburn in Worcester, MA (more than 120 gravestones were overturned).
The good news, according to Steven Plaut ("Israel at 55") is that only "around 21,500 Israelis have died in battle or in belligerent attacks by the Arabs since 1947." Plaut goes on to explain that, "since the destruction of the Second Temple there was probably never an era of two generations in which ONLY 21,000 Jews were killed by anti-Semites!" Thus, we are enjoying "an era of unprecedented Jewish security."
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
"Secularism does not lessen the essential holiness of our State," he said. "In the Talmud, our Sages explain that all of the material used in building the Temple became sanctified only after it was set into place. We build with the secular and sanctify it afterward. The Temple was built in this fashion, and this is the way the redemption of Israel develops, in stages, a little at a time. The building of Eretz Yisrael is accomplished by every segment of the nation, by the righteous and by the less righteous. We build with the non-holy, even though this causes complications and problems, yet little by little, all of the various problems will vanish, and the sanctification of G-d will appear in more and more light."
"In 1965-66 a sweet little yidele from Tel Aviv came and says to me 'can you get through to my son, he is a high officer in the army and he really hates yidishkeit but now he has a new kind of craziness. In the dining room in my house there is a big picture of my grandfather, a yid with a long beard and a shtreimel. My son told me that unless I take out the picture he refuses to come to my house. He says that it's nauseating to be the grandson of such an idiot. What should I do with him?'
In 1967 after the six-day way, one day the door opens and the yid from Tel Aviv walks in with his son the officer. He has a little beard and peyis, tzitzis, he looks like a new person. I said to him 'what happened to you?' and this is what he said. 'I'm a tankist and during the war I was driving a tank. Suddenly I noticed an Egyptian tank on my tail and I have to get as close to the other tanks as possible because I cannot fight an Egyptian tank all by myself. I was driving as fast as I can and suddenly in the middle of the road I see a yid with a tallis and tefilin praying. And you know what I think of religious people, they are crazy. I knew they were crazy but that crazy, in the middle of a war? In the middle of the dessert, standing here praying? My first reaction was that I should really run him over but how can you run over another Jew, so I made a detour. The Egyptian tank didn't make a detour and drove right over the place where the Jew was standing and was blown up by a mine. I came back to my father's house, looked at the picture of my grandfather, it was him, my holy grandfather came down from heaven to protect me. What an honor to have such a grandfather'.
Last Updated on May 7, 2003, 11:18 AM (GMT+02:00)
New York Times: A special US team seeking 7th century copy of Jewish Talmud underneath Iraqi intelligence command in Baghdad has found plans and maps for terror strikes against strategic Israeli targets based on detailed information from 1990s: a perfect mock-up of Knesset, official buildings in Jerusalem in fine detail, satellite pictures of nuclear complex and a female mannequin in Israeli Air Force uniform in front of Israeli officers' ranks and insignia
Search for ancient Talmud (collection of oral law interpreting Bible part of which known as Babylonian Talmud completed in 6th century) was carried out by US WMD hunter unit MET Alpha teamed up with Chalabi's Iraqi Congress
Yom Ha'Atzmaut Sameach!
A Letter from Sharon's friend, Danny.
Last night marked the beginning of Israel's Memorial Day. As night fell, the air-raid sirens sounded for a full minute. For one minute, the country stopped - standing still, at attention, heads bowed - remembering and honoring the 21,540 Israeli soldiers who have fallen so that we might live and be free.
Memorial Day in Israel is a day of solemnity, solidarity and grateful appreciation. There are no "white-sales". Everyone knows a soldier who has been killed, or one of the families that is mourning. While businesses and shops stay opened, entertainment centers are closed, and at precisely 11:00 AM the country grinds to a halt as the sirens sound again for two full minutes.
This is a especially poignant Memorial Day for me. As you know, just a week ago we got up from sitting shivah for my father. I am still in the "sheloshim" month of the year-long mourning process. My father's life encapsulated, in so many ways, the story of the Jewish people in the 20th century. He was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929 and was a young boy when Hitler took over. He experienced Kristalnacht and was saved , by the grace of God, arriving in New York with his parents and sister on the wings of war in September 1939.
Dad grew up as a Jewish immigrant in New York City, went to college and graduate school, was ordained as a Rabbi at the Torah Vada'ath Yeshiva and became one of the great Cantors of his time. His ability to interpret our prayers, melodies and folk traditions, to soar with his voice and spirit as if to heaven, earned him fans and devoted admirers world-wide.
My father always saw himself as a survivor - he had been targeted for death by the enemies of our people and he survived! His life had to count. Saving Jews, Jewish education and strengthening the State of Israel were major themes of his life. He was one of the founders of our local Jewish Day School, was involved in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry from early on and devoted himself whole-heartedly to Israel and Religious Zionism. While he taught us to be grateful to the United States for providing a place of refuge, we were brought up to see Israel as the home of the Jewish people and the future home of our family.
Dad fell into a coma while visiting here with us in Efrat for Pesach, passed away in Bikur Holim Hospital in Jerusalem and was buried on Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi where my brother Mike lives. Mom, Mike, Eddy and I sat shivah in Mom & Dad's apartment in Jerusalem which has been their home away from home in Israel for over 20 years.
My father often expressed his wonderment and gratitude at being part of this amazing Jewish saga. The little refugee boy, who had to flee for his life for the simple "crime" of being Jewish grew up to see the return of the Jewish people to Zion, to have a home of his own in the capital of Israel -Jerusalem, and to see most of his children and grandchildren rooted and flourishing here.
Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) just ended. It's solemnity and sadness gives way suddenly to the joy of Yom Ha'Atzmaut - Israel's Independence Day - I can see and hear the fireworks in the sky and have just returned from synagogue where we sang the Hallel and other prayers of thanks and celebration. "This is the day that God has made - let us rejoice and be glad".
Yesterday we remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us to this day - and now we are celebrating 55 years of Jewish Independence! Yes, we still face a world of enemies. Yes, the world still doesn't know what to do with us Jews. (So what else is new?) But we will survive and prosper, believing in ourselves and trusting in God.
Tonight's service ended appropriately with the singing of the age old Jewish statement of faith and confidence in the future: "I believe with a full belief in the coming of the Messiah. And even if he tarries, even so, I will wait for him until that day that he comes". May it be so speedily and in our days.
Hag Sameach! Happy Independence Day!
Danny (& Batya, Rafi, Ari & Nili)
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
UGH...Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Instituion research fellow and columnist for the Washington Times, is absolutely right in his delineation of "Why Peace Can't Work" due to Arab intransigence. He provides two quotes which really kick me in the stomach:
The first is from a textbook called Islamic Education for the Tenth Grade, 1999-2000, page 116: "The logic of justice obligates the application of the single verdict [on the Jews] from which there is no escape; namely, that their criminal intentions be turned against them and that they be exterminated. The duty of Muslims of our time is to pull themselves together, unite their ranks, and wage war on their enemy until Allah hands down his judgment on them and us."
The second is what Yasser Arafat told Oriana Fallaci in 1974: "The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediators...We don't want peace; we want victory. Peace for us means Israel's destruction and nothing else."
You can't get much more straightforward than that. If only the Israeli/Jewish response could be as succinct, consistent, adamant and unanimous . . . as the threat against us.
Monday, May 05, 2003
When security forces reached the site, they had to search for the girl's father. He was not found until an hour later. Initial reports are that he apparently attempted to set out for the nearby community for help, when he collapsed.
This, just hours after US Special Envoy to the Middle East, William Burns, called on Israel to stop settlement activity and ease up on restrictions imposed on the Palestinian Arabs.
For background information, check out CAMERA, the Centre for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. Click on NPR.
When I complained quite bitterly about National Palestinian Radio to CEO Kevin Klose in November 2002, he told me in an email: "I stand on our journalism for its quality, balance, compassion and fairness to both sides in this terrible confrontation." You may note that veracity was not on his list. He went on to say, " . . . The only clear measure of what we report is what you as a listener discern and decide about what you hear." He was right about that. I've discerned and decided about what I've heard, and I don't think a single Jewish or Zionist dime should enrich the coffers of NPR. That number again is 1-800-421-1717.
ALSO PLEASE NOTE There is a coast-to-coast protest of NPR's biased coverage of Israel taking place at a radio station near you on Wednesday, May 14th. In the Boulder area, that would be at 5:15 pm at KCFR at 2249 S. Josephine Street in Denver. Contact Denver@JAT-Action.org for further information.
Sunday, May 04, 2003
Sorry, but even having studied anthropology for eight years, I still can't appreciate a culture where people slash their own heads in religious fervor, blow themselves up to murder people, and hide explosives in texts they hold sacred.