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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Shavua Tov

Reading around the blogosphere
I had a great time reading around the blogosphere this evening. At Jane Galt's Assymetrical Information, reader Joseph Bryngelson posted this comment, which he doesn't mind sharing:
I would like to address specifically the people who really hate George Bush, rather that the people who, upon considered reflection, decide to vote for someone else.

I suspect the enormous difference that your collegues see between Bush and Gore or Kerry is largely cultural. By the term "cultural" I am not refering to stands on social issues, but rather to social identification. For example, for many of my well-off, educated neighbors in Brookline, MA, hating Republicans is something that is a part of their culture, of who they are and of why they feel good about themselves. They take this hatred (or at least dislike) as a mark of their intellegence, education, and good will. Bush pours gasoline onto this fire by his gestures to "middle America". Furthermore, unlike Gore, Kerry, and Clinton, Bush makes no similar gestures to my neighbors who think of themselves as part of America's moral and (especially) intellectual elite. A feeling of superiority to "middle America" is a substantial component of the self-esteem of all of the most vociferous Bush-haters that I know. Much of the antipathy of these people towards Bush arises from a feeling that he really is one of "them", not "our kind of people", or at least takes "them" seriously, which is almost as bad. Many people hate Bush not because of his policies but rather because Bush deeply offends their sense of superiority.

British journalist Melanie Phillips has an excellent series of posts on the moral bankruptcy of some UK MPs, Simon Jenkins of the Times, and the EU -- Banagor talks about Fallujah -- the Captain's log at USS Clueless has an important key point to remember, that the strategic goal of terrorism is to provoke reprisals:
It is not the terrorist act itself which helps advance the political goals of the terrorist group; it is rather the reprisal. Terrorism is a form of jiu-jitsu, a way of using an enemy's strength against himself. (In jiu-jitsu, you don't throw an opponent. You aid him in throwing himself.)
And Charles Johnson directs us to a petition to remove the abominable JewWatch website from Google. 50,000 signatures are needed; please help.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Good Shabbos


Israeli police protect a Jewish worshipper at the Western Wall from
stones during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli border police
at the Jerusalem's Old City, April 2, 2004.

Ever notice how what the media calls "clashes" are in reality, attacks, perpetrated by Arab Muslims?
AP: "Militants, Police Clash at Holy Site in Jerusalem"
BBC: "Clashes erupt at al Aqsa Mosque"
Reuters: "Clashes erupt at Jerusalem Shrine"
Independent (UK): "Israeli police clash with Palestinians at Jerusalem flashpoint"
Chicago Tribune: "Holy site clash shakes Jerusalem"
Other headlines begin with "Israeli police storm al Aqsa..." (after Arab Muslims threw stones)

I find it deeply disturbing that the media cannot or does not say, "Hundreds of Arab Muslims attack Jews at prayer; In response, Jews seek to defend themselves and protect one another." BTW, DEBKA says thousands, not hundreds.

I also find it significant and deeply disturbing that the Kotel, the holiest site on earth for the Jewish people, is described not as such, but variously as "holy site," "Islam's third-holiest site," a "Jerusalem shrine" or "flashpoint," or simply as the "al Aqsa mosque."

And, while I'm nit-picking the above photo caption: "... police protect a Jewish worshipper... from stones"??
Since when do people need protection from inanimate stones?
Oh, I get it, the stones were being thrown by someone. Why didn't they say so?

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Surfing Rabbi Ripping Into Boulder
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
April 16 - 18

Growing up under the spell of one of the world’s most coveted surf spots, Norm Shifty Shifren risked missing his own bar mitzvah to take his first shaky ride at the legendary spiritual vortex of surfdom Malibu Beach. An assimilated Jew who barely acknowledged his spiritual roots, Shifren pursued his dream of becoming a big-wave surfer, lifeguard, and triathlete. This child of the sun and surf, of Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, and the Ventures undertook an awesome transformation and spiritual awakening when he least expected it.

His quest for self and ultimate truth led him to Israel, a stint in the Israel Defense Forces, kibbutzim, back to the U.S. to teach in arguably the toughest public high school in L.A., and then back to Israel where he would plumb the depths of Torah, Talmud, and Chassidut at Kfar Chabad.

Chabad Rabbi Nachum Shifren will be the featured guest of Kol Hamacabee April 16-18. In addition to his talks over Shabbat at Lubavitch of Boulder Friday evening and Saturday, he will be giving a class Sunday morning based on his best-selling book Surfing Rabbi – A Kabbalistic Quest for Soul, and then Sunday evening debating University of Colorado Professor of Religious Studies Ira Chernus on historic and contemporary issues facing Judaism and the Jew’s role and position in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora.

vs. Ira Chernus
The debate which will be held in Room 150 of the Humanities Building on the CU campus will be open to the general public without charge April 18 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Seating will be limited to the first 160 people to arrive that evening.

Reb Nachum is a chassid and follower of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ZT”L, as well as Rabbis Meir and Binyamin Kahane, HY”D, and proudly considers himself a Settler in the Kingdoms of Judea and Samaria. He will address the following topics among others relevant to Jewish seekers and spiritual athletes:
1) Can I be Jewish and still be a professional surfer?
2) What is the connection between Torah, Mysticism, and Surfing?
3) Where is the best wave in the world?
4) Why does Israel have such lousy surf?
5) How can diet and physical fitness influence your spirituality?
Date
Time
Tide Type
Height

Boulder Harbor

2004-04-16
7:15 PM MDST
Mincha
High

2004-04-16
7:30 PM MDST
Kabbalat Shabbat
Highest

2004-04-17
9:45 AM MDST
Shacharit
Astral

2004-04-17
12:30 PM MDST
Kiddush/Tishch-Reb Nachum Talk
Beach Break

2004-04-18
11:00 AM MDST
Surf and Soul Class Led by Reb Nachum
Mexican Pipeline

2004-04-18
7:00 PM MDST
Reb Nachum vs. Professor Ira Chernus Debate
eXtreme/Heavy/WIPE-OUT!!!!

All events other than the Debate at 4900 Sioux (Chabad) in Boulder

Debate at CU Humanities Room 150

NO CHARGE FOR ANYTHING

CONTRIBUTIONS AND PURCHASES OF REB NACHUM’S BOOK APPRECIATED

Visit www.surfingrabbi.com for a preview and photos.


The mission of Kol Hamacabee – The Center for Religious Zionism, with offices in Boulder and K’far Tapuach, Israel, is to provide education in Jewish and Israeli history, heritage, and culture; teach effective leadership as brought down in and from the Torah; engender love of Torah and the Land of Israel; build self-esteem, strength, and honor in the Jewish People; encourage and support Torah-based living; provide moral support and assistance to individuals who desire to relocate to the Land of Israel; and foster mutually beneficial relations and relationships between the People of the United States of America and the People of Israel.

Good Shabbos and Pesach Sameach,
Moshe Ha'levi

DEATH OF A MYTH by Jonathan Rosenblum

"Israelis definitely have a dog, as the Americans would say, in the fight between Bush and Kerry"
. . . Israel’s existence cannot explain the chronic failure of the Arab world to keep pace with the rest of the world, despite its immense natural resources, The 2002 U.N.-sponsored Arab Human Development Report, produced by Arab intellectuals, detailed the backwardness of the Arab world in freedom, knowledge, and the status of women.
The 22 Arab states rank at the bottom of the freedom scale of the world’s seven regions.

Arab despots’ fear of their own people forces them to keep a tight control on all knowledge.

Internet connectivity in the Arab world ranks behind sub-Saharan Africa.

The entire Arab world translates one-fifth the number of books annually as Greece.

From 1980-2000, the Arab states registered 370 patents compared to Israel, with little more than 2% of the population, which registered 7,652.

No wonder the total GNP of 22 Arab states, with 280 million people, is less than that of Spain, with 40 million.
That failure has made the Arab world a festering sore producing a pus of hatred. As the great Orientalist Bernard Lewis notes, Arab loathing for the West is perfectly natural: The poor and the weak will always despise the rich and strong, and particularly if they see the world as “a millennial rivalry between two world religions, and now, from their point of view, the wrong one seems to be winning.”

Arab hatred of Israel is a subspecies of the generalized hatred of the West, only more intense because of Israel’s existence in the middle of the Arab world. Israel is not the cause for the Arab failure to join the modern world, but rather the excuse that Arab leaders require to distract their subjects from their ignorance, poverty, and lack of freedom.

Should John Kerry replace George Bush as president, however, we can expect to see a full revival of the old myth. . .
Read it all at Maariv.

Also a MUST READ:

FAITH THROUGH THE DARKNESS
by Barbara Sofer, in the Jerusalem Post


On the Zargari family's living room couch Esther, six, is reading to her little sister Avigail. The joy and wonder of hearing a child reading fluently is magnified. Seven months ago, I met Esther lying in silence, a giant ventilator heaving above her. Like everyone, I added my prayers that she wouldn't be the 24th casualty of the Bus No. 2 bombing.

On Thursday evening, August 19, Esther's parents, Nava and Yaakov Zargari, took five of their six children on a summer outing to the Western Wall. They prayed and recited psalms for an hour. The night air turned chilly as they waited at the Kotel bus stop, glad when a double bus pulled up.

It filled quickly. Sons Michael 13, and Netanel eight, found seats up front. Esther sat by the window, near her Dad. Avigail, three, sat with her Mom who held baby Shmuel, 11 months, on her lap. The bus was so crammed with passengers that Nava handed Avigail over to Yaakov and gave the seat to a woman standing nearby.

The bus pulled into Shmuel Hanavi Street. Hebron teacher and Hamas member Raad Abd el-Hamid Maseq, 29, positioned himself in the middle of the bus and set off his deadly explosives.

The world went black and silent, like the darkness of Egypt. Nava uttered what she thought was a final confession before losing consciousness. When she came to, her lungs hurt. Ambulances were blaring, and people outside the bus were screaming for Nava to pass them Avigail through the window. Two lines from the 23rd psalm repeated in her head. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou art with me."

Michael and Netanel were unharmed. Nava, moderately injured, was rushed away in an ambulance. Avigail's face was burned. Yaakov had a concussion and internal injuries. Shmuel, wrenched from his mother's arms by the blast, died of head injuries.

ESTHER HAD survived, but barely. Hers was the worst case of pediatric blast injury that the experienced Jerusalem doctors had ever seen among the living. The concussive wave of air pressure had broken her ear drums and torn her lungs.

Dr. Ido Yatziv, head of Hadassah's pediatric intensive care unit, stayed with her all night. "We needed everything we had ever learned, and then some, to make it through the night," he said.

At dawn, she was still alive. A network of prayers spread across Jerusalem, then Israel, and on the Internet across the world.

Dazed and medicated for her injuries, Nava absorbed the tragic news. Two days after the bombing, Yaakov woke up. Echoing the Talmudic story of Bruria and Rabbi Meir, Nava refused to tell her husband of baby Shmuel's death until after Shabbat.

She sat shiva by Esther's bedside. On the seventh day, Nava joined hundreds of men and women at her synagogue shouting prayers to heaven. "If Dr. Yatziv was using everything he and the other doctors could do, we had to use everything that people of faith can do, too."

At home, Nava's phone suddenly rang. It was Rina Yosephy, the nurse from the intensive care unit. The respirator was being removed. Esther could breathe on her own.

Later, Rina held the receiver to Esther's ear. "How are you feeling?" asked her mother. "Baruch Hashem, blessed be God," came a tiny voice. Then slowly, as she did each morning upon waking, Esther recited the Modeh Ani prayer. "I give thanks, living and sustaining Ruler, for You have returned to me my soul, nishmai." In Hebrew, the words for "soul" and "breathing" are almost the same.

Ten days later, wearing a new blue skirt and carrying a schoolbag on her back, Esther began first grade with her classmates. She's an excellent student, but her favorite subject is recess.

Preparing for Pessah, this week, Nava sometimes finds her face wet with tears as a book or a toy touches off memories of last Pessah, when her cleaning was punctuated by nursing Shmuel.

"I catch myself and remember that I have walked through the shadow of the valley of death, but God was always with me. I know there is a divine though mysterious purpose to our suffering."
One of the sources she quotes easily is the Book of Job – "In my flesh shall I see God whom I shall see for myself."

For the many commentaries I've studied on Job, I never really understood the resignation that comes from faith until I met Nava Zargari.

These days, Esther picks up Avigail from the nursery school beneath their building and they practice the Four Questions. The Zargaris will make Pessah at home. They'll speak long about the Exodus from Egypt and of what Nava Zargari calls "our own personal going out of Egypt." She says, "We will celebrate all those miracles God has wrought for us."

And the telling will go on. After Pessah, Dr. Yatziv will be presenting the medical story of Esther's recovery in the United States. In schools and women's gatherings in Israel, Nava will talk about the power of faith. Each respects the other. And so it should be among our people.
Amen.

MUST READ: David Wilder's eyewitness account from Kiryat Arba

"This is one of the sickest situations I have ever witnessed since coming to Israel some 30 years ago"
If, in any other country in the world, a government decision brought about the violent annihilation of a synagogue, newspaper headlines would scream 'Anti-Semitism' and 'Racism.' International Jewish organizations would demand immediate restoration and harsh measures to be brought against the perpetrators.




Only in the State of Israel, under Ariel Sharon, can a synagogue, built in memory of two Jews murdered by terrorists in the midst of a war, be 'justifiably' wiped off the face of the earth, having been declared an 'illegal outpost.' It is unfathomable.




Despite the horror of today's actions, it is incumbent upon us to realize what is actually happening. Only hours ago the IDF Chief of Staff announced that other 'illegal outposts' would be uprooted. The army is ready to "carry out what it's required to do." What does this mean?

Understand - this does not just refer to 'outposts,' be they 'legal' or 'illegal.' Ariel Sharon intends to implement such actions throughout all of Gaza and most of Judea and Samaria. He intends to give the orders and expects the army and other security forces to 'carry out what it's required to do." To evict people from their homes. To bulldoze entire communities into the ground. To abandon Eretz Yisrael to our enemies - our blood-thirsty next-door neighbors whose only desire is the destruction of the State of Israel.

Soldiers are supposed to obey orders. That's what 'soldiering' is all about. This morning I saw different kinds of soldiers. I saw officers who were very unhappy with what they had been commanded to do, but had no alternative to carrying out their orders. Then, there were others, who showed little emotion, one way or the other. But there were those who were happy - they smiled, laughed, and enjoyed their evil deed - evicting men, women and children from their synagogue, a place of worship, and their land. They could joke about it, they could make fun of the women, weeping, trying to explain why they could not abandon the synagogue. "Don't you have a synagogue in your neighborhood," one of the women cried out to the soldiers who were dragging her away.




These are the ones that really bother me. It is written, that while Moses was still on Mt. Sinai, after having received the Ten Commandments, the Jews far below began worshiping a golden calf. G-d ordered Moses to leave the mount and deal with the people. As Moses reached the bottom of Mt Sinai, he became furious. Not so much due to the fact that the people had built a golden calf and were using it for idol worship. Rather, because there were those who were joyously singing and dancing around the calf. To commit such a crime, that is one thing, but to be happy about it - that is unthinkable.

Read it all at IsraelInsider - Author David Wilder is spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron.

The Hazon David synagogue-outpost, adjacent to Kiryat Arba-Hevron, was established two and half years ago, following the murders of David Cohen at the site, and of Chezi Mualem, adjacent to the site.

PA Corruption

General in Palestinian security force has been pocketing pay of 7,000 fictitious troopers
Haaretz: An examination of the payrolls of the Palestinian Authority's National Security force, considered the largest of the Palestinian security forces, commanded by General Haj Ismail Jabber, has revealed that salaries for 7,000 fictitious troopers were being paid into his pocket every month.

The salaries for police at the lower ranks range from $300-400 a month, which means that some $2 million a month from PA funds was being paid to the general. . .

In addition, it turned out that Haj Ismail was receiving the salaries for his troops according to the exchange rate used in Israel, around NIS 4.5 to the dollar, while he paid his troops according to NIS 3.7 to the dollar, a rate used by the PA. That gap meant another half a million dollars a month went into his pocket.

On Thursday, for the first time, the National Security forces will be paid their March salaries through their bank accounts instead of in cash. And Haj Ismail's secret extra salary will cease flowing to him.

None of these millions came from the EU, of course. A European Parliament probe revealed today that although the EU is the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority, none of their monies have been diverted to finance corruption or terrorism. See the full story . . from Brussels . . . via al-Reuters.

Sharon spells out rationale for disengagement, but no details

Herb Keinon, in the Jerusalem Post:

Sharon. . . said the current impasse presented him with four possibilities.

The first option, he said, was to essentially annex the territories, taking over responsibility for the 1.8 million Palestinians living there. "I strongly object to this possibility," Sharon said. "Israel has no interest in taking responsibility for and ruling over the Palestinians' lives. I do not think we should allocate billions of shekels from our budget at this time to deal with the Palestinians' education, welfare and sewage."

The second option, he said, was a complete withdrawal from the territories "in return for vague promises, as the extreme Left suggested in Geneva, to the great joy of [Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser] Arafat and his cronies." He said this option would be "a disaster for Israel in terms of security, as well as practically impossible to implement."

The third option, Sharon said, would be the easiest – do nothing; maintain the status quo. "In terms of internal politics, this possibility is very attractive," Sharon said. "You stay put, you have a stable coalition and the support of the parties on the Right. There is no need to face the disagreements of your own party. This would undoubtedly be an ideal political situation." But, Sharon said, the status quo is dangerous for Israel because "a deadlock cannot last forever. The world will not allow the impasse to continue. A dead end will, sooner or later, bring about political initiatives which are dangerous to Israel."

In a clear reference to the Geneva Initiative, Sharon said there are people around the world, and in Israel, who believe "we should first withdraw from all the territories, and then, simply by force of a written agreement, the Palestinians will stop the terror. These people, who garner a wide range of support around the world, primarily in Europe, will not stop pressuring Israel to abandon its demand that the Palestinians fight terror. Since the Palestinians are doing nothing, the pressure is focused on us. It is easier to pressure a westernized democratic country like Israel." While Israel has been able to fend off these initiatives up until now, Sharon said there is no guarantee it will be able to do so forever.

In the meantime, terror continues, and Israel continues its "security activities." The end result, he said, is that "Every day around the world, pictures are transmitted of people standing at Israeli roadblocks, of Israeli soldiers in the streets of Palestinian towns, and there are horror stories of alleged Israeli abuse of Palestinians."

A continuation of this situation, he said, will lead to a humanitarian collapse in the territories.

As a result, the prime minister said, the only option available is the fourth one – unilateral disengagement. While saying that he will not reveal details of the plan, which are still under discussion with the White House, Sharon did present the basic principles:
- establishing a security line along which the IDF will be deployed, "in areas essential for Israel's defense";

- erecting a physical obstacle to make terrorist infiltration into large population centers more difficult;

- withdrawal from areas which will clearly not be under Israeli control in any future permanent agreement and which are sources of great friction, "such as the Gaza Strip";

- obtaining the political support of the US and other "friends around the world" for the plan.
Sharon said the Palestinians are afraid of the plan because it will obligate then to fight terrorism or "be stuck with their political aspirations until they do so."

"The withdrawal from Gaza," Sharon said, "will remove the historic Palestinian excuse according to which the Israeli presence prevents them from acting against terror.

We must say to them, 'Gentlemen, please, there is no Israeli presence, let us see you begin to act.'"

Four Christians arrested in Egypt, possessed Bibles

Four Christians have been arrested in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt after police found that they had Bibles and Christian music tapes in their possession, according to reports received by the Jubilee Campaign.

The four Christians - Peter Nady Kamel, Ishaq Dawoud Yassa, John Adel and Andrew Sa'id - all University students at Cairo or Minya Universities. They had gone together to the beach resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, by the Red Sea, for a Christian retreat and stayed at a hotel.

They were arrested in their hotel rooms by local police at 9 a.m on January 26th 2004. Their rooms were searched and all their possessions confiscated. The four Christians have been charged with forming a group that threatens the national unity, social peace and national security. Jubilee Campaign believes it is highly likely that the Christians have been wrongly accused of having the Bibles and Christian tapes for the purposes of evangelising Muslims, since such actions are often condemned by the authorities as "threatening national unity."
Earlier in the month, two Christian men in Egypt were axed to death. al-Reuters reports that "Tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities are a sporadic problem in southern Egypt."

HAMAS planned to smuggle explosives inside toys;
Fatah terrorist sentenced for plotting murder of Israeli ambassadors

Maariv: A Hamas operative from Nablus was indicted on Wednesday for attempting to smuggle bombs and explosives hidden in stuffed animals in to Israel.

According to the indictment, three weeks prior to his arrest, he received a bomb-belt that was hidden inside a large ‘teddy bear’ doll. The explosive device was supposed to be delivered to a suicide bomber near an East Jerusalem hospital. The plot was foiled after the Nablus operative was arrested on the very day he planned to deliver the belt.

In a separate incident, a Samaria Military Court sentenced a Fatah- Al-Aqsa Brigades operative, Hader Mahmoud Koka, to 18 years in prison Thursday for planning multiple terror attacks. The charges included conspiring to assassinate Israeli ambassadors, plotting to poison drinking water reservoirs and bombing large gas storage sites and planning a large-scale attack at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli professor accuses Israel of genocide

"The government of Israel is leading the Middle East to Jihad"
Maariv: "The murder of Sheikh Yassin is part of an Israeli policy that can be described as symbolic genocide". This claim was made by Ben-Gurion University professor Lev Greenberg in a recent article published in the Belgian daily 'La Libre Belgique'.

Greenberg, a member of the university's political sociology department, served as spokesman for the “Yesh Gvul” peace organization in 1982, was imprisoned in 1987 for refusal to serve in the territories, and is an outspoken supporter of soldiers who currently refuse to serve there. Greenberg's article harshly attacks Israeli government policy:
"The only people to suffer from the Holocaust are now performing genocide on the Palestinians", he wrote. It is a criminal act. I appeal to Europe and the international community to save Israel from itself and from its government."

"The government of Israel is asymmetrically liquidating and destroying the Palestinian people. Israel has invented bureaucratic jargon to camouflage its criminal acts: murder becomes targeted killing; occupation and repression are called the peace process. The Palestinians have offered endless cease fires. But Sharon responds by assassinating the democratic leadership of the Palestinian people. The government of Israel is leading the Middle East to Jihad. The world must stop Sharon immediately."
Greenberg's article drew a wave of angered responses from Jews and supporters of Israel in Belgium. Among them were European contributors to Ben-Gurion University who threatened to cut their ties with the institution.

A Ben-Gurion University spokesman responded by saying,
"Freedom of expression and thought form the basis of democratic, Western society, and in a pluralistic institution like Ben-Gurion University, the faculty members represent a variety of opinions and views . . . In academia, researchers must be sensitive to and publicly defend the basic rights of citizens. Nevertheless, the views expressed by Dr. Greenberg are solely his."

A Jewish settler boy stands at the site where residents were rebuilding
a makeshift synagogue at an outpost outside the southern West Bank
settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to the Palestinian city of Hebron,
Wednesday March 31, 2004. Early Wednesday, Israeli forces destroyed
the Hazon David settlement outpost, a tent and a shack used as a
synagogue in the area, but several hours later, about 300 settlers trying
to rebuild the outpost clashed with security forces.
(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Antisemitic attacks in Toronto

JTA: Pride of Israel Synagogue - seven stained-glass windows broken

Eitz Chaim school and Bnai Torah Synagogue - vandalized

Bathurst Street - spray-painted swastikas and antisemitic messages at various locations

United Jewish Appeals signs defaced and swastikas painted on a clothing donation box

Bathurst-Lawn Jewish Cemetery - 27 tombstones toppled, benches broken, plaques and menorah torn down

13 Jewish homes and vehicles in Toronto suburb of Thornhill - spray-painted swastikas and hateful messages

Jewish family - telephone hate messages, including death threats

Lubavitch synagogue - pelted with eggs

Construction site - Iranian-born man caught spray-painting hate message [Magen David equals swastika]

Three teenagers have been arrested.

According to a Bnai Brith report, the number of reported antisemitic attacks across Canada has doubled since 2001.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

A very different take on Gibson's movie

THE PASSION OF THE FIRST JEW I EVER KNEW
by Rabbi Joel David Bakst


I watched Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (twice so far) and I believe it has an important and challenging message for the world, a message that is, well, messianic. This observation may not be unusual for most Christians who have viewed this cinema-graphic passion play; however, it is unusual coming from me, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who studied Talmud, Bible and Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) in Jerusalem for 20 years. What is even more unusual, is how I am using the term “messianic.”

According to a Jewish mystical tradition, first written down in the 13th century, as humanity would enter the final stages of Divinely orchestrated global evolution, we would experience an unprecedented influx and accessibility to the “Wisdom from Above” (previously hidden mystical teachings) and an unprecedented acceleration of the “Wisdom from Below” (science and technology). These are the signs and wonders that would appear at the beginning of a new era synergistically working together to help usher in messianic consciousness. The rabbis teach that the individual Messiah is simply the vortex of this consciousness—the resurrecting body of all humanity. Aspects of technology are destined to play an important messianic role.

The technological, magical mastery of the big screen that has evolved out of Hollywood is, from one perspective, the most mind-altering and emotionally impacting medium since prophecy. In an uncanny fashion, movies have become watered down, “black and white” versions of prophetic visions for many of our generation. From both a moral and a spiritual perspective, it is obvious that more is lost than gained by what comes out of Hollywood, but then again, the Jewish tradition teaches that in the ancient period of prophesy there were over one million prophets with only a handful making it into the Bible - those “inner technological” visions that would have lasting value. Sometimes an entire movie’s only value is in one challenging and thought provoking idea or simply in an amazing computer generated visual image that can be used as an important tool to grasp certain messianic transitions taking place in our society and world at large.

Whether The Passion is anti-Semitic or not is not the focus of my attention and it is, in fact, begging the issue because the same question can (and should) be asked of the New Testament itself. For many Christians throughout history the Gospels are certainly anti-Jewish and should be since they believe that anyone born from Jewish parents is intrinsically different from the rest of humanity and “evil” to varying degrees. Other Christians, although also sensing that Jews are somehow “different” choose to look past those NT passages and emphasize Jesus’ teachings of brotherhood, love and redemption.

Rather, Mel Gibson’s Passion Play, has simply utilized Hollywood technology (with his own embellishments) to increase the resolution of that which is already hardwired into the 2 billion cells of the present collective mind of Christendom. His movie is mirroring back to us how half the world, intellectually and viscerally experiences those responsible for the humiliation, torture and death of Jesus, whether they view him as a mere prophet or as God incarnate.

Yet, God works in strange and often circuitous ways, as the Jewish prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways.” Mr. Gibson, regardless of his own agenda, can also be a tool in the hands of the Divine Mind, but not in the way obvious to viewers. For me the key that unlocks the hidden messianic message in the movie is contained in the big screen’s opening preface, “He is wounded because of our transgressions.” This is also a verse from the prophet Isaiah that has been made famous by Christians as the essence of their “Suffering Servant.” Yet, before Christianity utilized this passage to apply to only one Jew, the rabbinical tradition, going back to Isaiah himself, has always known this passage to be referring to all Jews, the collective soul of the Nation of Israel. Jesus, as a Jew on a mission from God, is but one drop in a much larger ocean. That this fact is obvious in the Jewish tradition but not so to others is not unusual. As the great British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “It takes an unusual mind to perceive the obvious.”

Over the last few generations the image of Jesus has been undergoing a transformation. Beginning as a blond, blue-eyed “Christian,” he has been slowly recognized as actually being Jewish, then also as a Jewish miracle worker, then as an educated rabbi, and now even as a kabbalist, a Jewish sage-mystic (as were also hundreds of his contemporaries). But the ultimate transformation of Jesus that would truly be of messianic proportions would be to also recognize him as a microcosm of the collective body and soul of the Jewish Nation. Isaiah’s depiction of the Messiah as a universal suffering servant is but one role in the totality of the Jewish mission’s centrality in the fabric of history and in the unification of all humanity back into one Adam, the higher-dimensional soul from which all life has sprung.

The passionate final 12 hours of humiliation, torture and death of the Jesus in Gibson’s rendition are but a “movie trailer” for the 20 centuries of ceaseless humiliation, torture and death of millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children at the hands of the rest of humanity, only because they were Jewish. Along with Jesus, the Romans crucified a quarter of a million additional Jews. Not long after the time of Jesus the famous Rabbi Akiva, the virtual Moses of his generation, was slowly tortured to death by having all his skin scraped off with iron combs. His colleagues – also great masters of wisdom and lovers of God -- were also tortured and executed. For four thousand years, going back to Abraham and Sarah, it has been an endless experience of bloodbaths, domination and exile from their home in the Land of Israel followed by torture and murder at the hands of the Crusades, pogroms, blood libels, inquisitions, expulsions and the Holocaust. Yet, according to Biblical tradition, it is precisely these wounds that have been heaped upon the heart of Judaism that carry the cosmic burden of the world’s imperfections, yet paradoxically, help guide it towards its final rectification.

Many years ago, when I was a young rabbinical student in Jerusalem, I met a Christian minister who was passionately reconnecting with the “Jewishness” of his savior Jesus (he even had sent his young son to a Jewish summer camp so he would have some sense of Jewish culture). He told me an amazing thing that I have never forgotten. He became a born again Christian at the age of 16. Growing up in the American South he had, literally, never encountered any Jewish people. In retrospect, my Christian friend told me that Jesus was the first Jew he ever met. Jesus the Jew is, for most of the world, simply the first Jew they have ever known.

Upon experiencing The Passion it is challenging to view it through a set of very different messianic eyes. Not only is Jesus a Jew, but Jesus is also a microcosm of the entire Jewish nation. As a believing Christian or as a righteous gentile, Jesus may well have been the first real Jew you have truly begun to know and to have an intimate relationship with, but he should not be the last. Jesus can be the truth, the light and the way for all righteous gentiles to begin to have a relationship with not only the collective soul of the Nation of Israel but also with the sacred teachings of the Torah –- the vast spiritual technology and wisdom of Judaism -- which are also applicable to all humanity.

In Harper’s Magazine in 1898, Mark Twain concluded an essay, saying that from a historical perspective,
“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then ... passed away. The Greek and the Roman followed. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts. … All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
With credit to Mel Gibson, to this I would add, “And what is also the secret of his suffering?” In other words, both secrets must be viewed as simply two sides of the same enigmatic cosmic coin. To feel the passionate suffering of the Christ can open the door to the suffering of his own people, for together it is they, in the mystery of the immortal Jewish soul, who are wounded for our transgressions. Moreover, Jesus is only one gift that Judaism has given to the world. The Torah (The “Old Testament”) as the foundation for the Christian Bible is only a small part of what it has to offer. Within the revelatory teachings of the Oral traditions of the Torah, there lies a virtual treasure house of universal keys to creation. This is especially true with its esoteric teachings, the Kabbalah, which is only just now, in our generation, beginning the fulfillment of the ancient prophesy of also being made accessible to righteous gentiles as we prepare for the imminent quantum jump of all humanity and life.

Another Jewish prophet Zechariah also peered into the messianic future and witnessed that, “In those days it shall come to pass, that ten people from every language shall take hold, and shall seize the corner of him that is a Jew, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” Jesus may be the first Jew a Christian has come to know, but he shouldn’t be the last.

I told you this was very different.

My friend Rabbi Bakst teaches at Chazon HaTorah, a yeshiva of visionary Torah, in Colorado Springs. You can write to him at yoel@chazonhatorah.org

THIS, I DO NOT WANT TO SEE TODAY


A Jewish settler scuffles with an Israeli border police officer, after
troops dismantled an unauthorized outpost outside the southern
West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to the Palestinian
city of Hebron, Wednesday March 31, 2004. Early Wednesday,
Israeli forces destroyed the Hazon David settlement outpost, a
tent and a shack used as a synagogue, in the area but several
hours later, about 300 settlers trying to rebuild the outpost
clashed with security forces. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

GOOD NEWS: Suicide bombing prevented in Israel

Arutz Sheva: One of the terrorists apprehended by IDF troops during the night has been identified as Kamal Tourqi, a member of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization, who reportedly was planning a suicide bombing attack. He was apprehended in Shechem.

South African Muslim father brought 6-year-old son to protest dressed as a Palestinian suicide bomber

According to this "father," the boy wants to become a "martyr" for the sake of Allah
WorldNetDaily: A Muslim father brought his 6-year-old son to a protest against the slaying of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin dressed as a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Mohammad Dockrat paraded Uzair at the march in Pretoria, South Africa Sunday saying the boy wants to become a "martyr" for the sake of Allah, the Cape Argus newspaper of Cape Town reported.

Uzair, who had a belt of fake explosives strapped to his body, showed up at the protest days after a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was captured at a Gaza City checkpoint wearing more than 17 pound of explosives.

The Palestinian youth, Hossam Abdo, said he had been paid to carry out a suicide mission.

Yesterday, the family of a 15-year-old Palestinian, Tamer Khweirah, said terrorists tried to recruit their boy by locking him in a dark room. At another point the terrorists tried to lure him with clothes, a cell phone and promises of paradise.

At the Sunday protest, Uzair, with prompting from his father, swore revenge on Israel for killing Yassin, a terrorist responsible for hundreds of Israeli civilian deaths.

"Martyrs are heroes ... they go to heaven," Uzair said, according to the Cape Town paper.

"They [Israel] kill our people with tanks and helicopters. We can blow them up," he said.

The father called his son's costume a "symbolic act of self-defense" against Israeli aggression.

"We are violent towards those who are violent towards us, and in this case, Israel is the aggressor," he said.

But Dockrat said his son was not encouraging violence, insisting the boy would prefer to win through justice rather than violence.

"He understands the status of a martyr, but will rather see justice instead," he told the Cape Argus.

Sitting on a placard calling for the killing of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uzair was told by an unidentified adult protester: "You will be a martyr one day."

The march to the Israeli embassy was backed by the South African Communist Party, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Muslim Youth Movement.

Dear Gd in heaven, hear our cries; nobody else does.

More photos of the savagery in Iraq


Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs points us to the Getty photos of today's atrocities in Iraq.

Warning: It will, or should, turn your stomach. Further warning: If you don't look, then you don't truly know what we're up against.

Personally, I think anyone who wants to vote in the upcoming presidential election should be required to view these images. Here's the LINK.

"Islamic radicals" were behind the ten "explosions" in Madrid!


Reuters: Investigators say Islamic radicals, possibly with links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, were behind the ten explosions that killed 191 people and wounded 1,900. . .

There are now 14 people remanded in custody -- 10 Moroccans, one Spaniard, two Indians and the Syrian -- and all 14 have denied any involvement in the attacks. Formal charges would come later in the process.

A 15th detainee, also a Moroccan, has yet to appear before the court.

Meanwhile the identity of the mastermind remains a mystery, with private investigators and press reports pointing to a number of radical clerics and known al Qaeda operatives from around Europe and the Arab world.

Thank Gd, Someone Finally Says It

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post: STOP USING CHILDREN
If there is such a thing as a citizen's arrest, then there ought to be such a thing as a citizen's UN resolution. I propose a UN resolution condemning the PA, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad for using naive and addled children as suicide bombers. I am waiting for France, Spain, Russia, and other European governments to sign it. The use of dopey kids as suicide bombers is clearly abhorrent. It is child abuse combined with murder. . .

I have endorsed every peace plan that has come along and long ago supported a Palestinian state, but in the past several years, the reasons for Israel's founding have been brushed aside in a frenzied, mindless dash to demonize one side in this conflict. . .

The UN's proclivity to blame Israel for everything and the Palestinians for nothing - not even for repeatedly rejecting every peace plan offered them - reduces it to irrelevance. What would these nations do with a society that exalts martyrdom and sends children to die in an effort to kill other children? These are criminal acts. . .

I want the UN to condemn Palestinian terrorism, specifically suicide bombers and, most specifically, the use of confused and sad kids for that purpose. If you cannot condemn the murder of innocents, especially by children, then you have no business condemning anything else.

Kol hakavod, Mr. Cohen!

Iraq attack resembles a Palestinian car swarm


This excerpt from the NY Times describes only one of the attacks in Iraq today. It shows very clearly (for those who have yet to realize) the nature of these people:
In another attack Wednesday, gunmen in Fallujah attacked two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, killing their occupants and setting the cars on fire. Some witnesses said four people were in the vehicles, others said six.


A vehicle burns in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, Wednesday March 31, 2004.
Gunmen in Fallujah attacked two civilian cars that residents said were
carrying up to eight foreign nationals. The occupants of the cars were
killed and their vehicles were set on fire. (AP Photo/Abdel Kader Saadi)



Iraqis dance on a wrecked car attacked 31 March 2004 in the
flashpoint town of Fallujah. At least seven people were killed in
attacks in western Iraq. (AFP/Karim Sahib)


Footage from Associated Press Television News showed one man beating a corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a cord to one of the bodies, attached it to a car and drove it down a street, surrounded by a cheering crowd.


Iraqis mutilate a burnt body of a dead man believed to be a US citizen
who was inside a car attacked in Fallujah. Furious Iraqis hacked up the
charred bodies of two people, believed to be foreign civilians, and hung
the remains from a bridge after their car was ambushed, saying this
rebellious Iraqi town would be the 'cemetery' of US-led occupation forces.
(AFP/Karim Sahib)


An Associated Press reporter saw two blackened bodies hanging from a bridge. "The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep,'' resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some of the corpses were dismembered, he said.


Iraqis chant anti-American slogans on a bridge over the
Euphrates River where charred bodies are hanging in Fallujah,
west of Baghdad, Wednesday March 31 2004. Enraged Iraqis
in this hotbed of anti-Americanism killed four foreigners
Wednesday, including at least one U.S. national, took the
charred bodies from a burning SUV, dragged them through
the streets, and hung them from the bridge spanning the
Euphrates River. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)


APTN footage showed the charred bodies of three slain men. Some were wearing flak jackets, said resident Safa Mohammedi.

One resident displayed what appeared to be dog tags taken from one body. Residents also said there were weapons in the targeted cars. APTN footage showed one American passport near a body and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card belonging to another man.

Witnesses said the two vehicles were attacked with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

In conjunction with this, one should also read accounts of interrogations of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, such as this in the Washington Times, which reveal al Qaeda's plans to target the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago.
"Those plans were aborted mainly because of the decisive U.S. response to the New York and Washington attacks, which disrupted the terrorist organization's plans so thoroughly that it could not proceed."

Somehow, I believe matters of Arab Muslim intent and atrocities overshadow domestic concerns such as health care and education. Or even taxes. Whaddaya think?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A "young gunman"


A young gunman from the Palestinian Fatah movement hold[s] up
his assault rifle, Tuesday, March 30, 2004 . . .

Anti-terrorist raids in Britain


The AFP has this article on the raids, but doesn't mention the half ton of ammonium nitrate found, according to Debka.

Whenever there's "action" in the UK, I always check the Jewish Comment blog, from an excellent bunch of American (at least I think they're all American) writers in the UK. Their latest editorial, "Harold Pinter, the 9/11 Commission and the Current Terror Dilemma," is an eye-opener:
In due course we will be printing on this site a complete review of the seminars we attended, but suffice it to say that we were chilled to the bone by the speech of Dr Izzam Tamimi, Chair of the Muslim Association of Britain (co-sponsor of the Anti-War Coalition) at a seminar by the Friends of al Aqsa. Dr Tamimi worked himself into a near-frenzy explaining to the audience of mostly berobed young British-born Muslims that the world cannot exist with Israel in its midst. He does not wish harm to Jews but Israel must be dismantled. Why does one's blood freeze at this thought? There are scores of Muslim and Arab countries and several rapidly reaching a Muslim majority. Why must a tiny strip of land, devoid of oil and natural resources, be Judenrein?

How soon will such ‘spokesmen for the anti-war coalition’ be demanding the dismantling of the USA and disenfranchisement of its Jews? 9/11 could have brought the United States to its knees. Is this what the ‘anti-war’ leaders want?

Harold Pinter, the eminent British playwright, sent a message to the anti-war event at St James’s Church Piccadilly last week. It was so extreme in its rhetoric about the USA that we could barely listen without cringing. The gist of his meesage was that America, the perpetrator of a litany of crimes he listed for the huge and adoring church audience, had for all intents and purposes got its just desserts on 9/11. (Does Harold complain when six-figure sums come in from his American royalties?)

We are reminded of a talk we attended in London last year. The speaker was a Jewish member of the peace movement. He said that Americans were sitting in their living rooms scheming about who they wanted to kill next. One of us had to cut in to remind him that it was December and that Americans, including President Bush, were sitting in their living rooms on the edges of their seats waiting to see who would win the Super Bowl.

Despite the endless streams of crimes we have heard levelled against our native ( and dare we say beloved?) United States of America in three weeks of seminars, demos and day events in London, my assessment of the situation, as we watch the Washington hearings, is that the Big Country is misunderstood. Likewise the Americans appearing before the cameras will never understand terrorism (oh, how we have heard about ’American state terror’ these past few weeks from fuming peace campaigners!) and will have to become much meaner and ruthless if they are to prevent further 9/11s.

Also, being away this past week, I missed most of the Richard Clarke drama as it unfolded. I soon got caught up to speed, reading "A Missile Strike on the Spiritual Leader of Terrorists" at Jewish Current Issues.

You MUST follow the link where it says "no plan" - it will take you an interview with Richard A. Clarke in August 2002. I especially enjoyed the exchange wherein the interviewer asked, "Why was it so difficult for the Clinton administration to make decisions on those issues?" Clarke said, "Because they were tough issues."

And also,
QUESTION: What is your response to the suggestion in the [Aug. 12, 2002] Time [magazine] article that the Bush administration was unwilling to take on board the suggestions made in the Clinton administration because of animus against the — general animus against the foreign policy?

CLARKE: I think if there was a general animus that clouded their vision, they might not have kept the same guy dealing with terrorism issue. This is the one issue where the National Security Council leadership decided continuity was important and kept the same guy around, the same team in place. That doesn't sound like animus against uh the previous team to me.

JIM ANGLE: You're saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that's correct.

Jews & Jew Haters

by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok of KosherTorah.com
The Jewish people have been given numerous opportunities from Heaven to correct our ways, do the right thing and straighten out the mess our world is in, partially because of us. Time and time again we miss our opportunity to do the right thing with the results usually being an outbreak of anti-Semitism that leads to the unnecessary suffering and deaths of countless Jews.

The present state of Jewish affairs in the world points down the road to another potential Holocaust. Hatred of Jews in Moslem lands today has equaled that of Nazi Germany. Indeed, we might look at the collective Moslem world today as the "Rise of the Fourth Reich." Jew hatred in Europe is on the rise again, almost equal to its pre-WWII heights.

Although anti-Semitism here in the U.S. appears to be less, one just need do a web search on the likes of the GOOGLE search engine under the key word "Jew" to see that this leader of search engine technology lists a neo-Nazi hate organization as its number one listing under that word. Apparently, anti-Semitism is growing for it to be such a popular internet topic, with GOOGLE a willing contributor to the propagation of hate.

Hatred of Jews is a problem that seems never to go away. It explodes to the surface of society in place to place from time to time, works its evil, leaving devastation in its path, and then submerges again, for maybe a decade or generation. Yet, the evil specter of the hatred of Jews never goes away. It stays there like a ghost or a phantom haunting us from the shadows.

Years ago, I remember the majority of secular Jews worldwide dismissing Jew hatred as a long gone evil totally divorced from their present reality. In recent times, these same secular Jews worldwide, far away from their culture and tradition are beginning to realize that the ancient evil has not died at all. Like their cultural and religious Jewish brethren, even the secular Jew is awakening to the undeniable fact that all is not right in the world when it comes to the Jews.

Jews of all walks of life offer all kinds of answers to respond to Jew hatred. None of them have worked against the rising tide. There is however today a serious and significant deterrent to the growing desire to rid the world of Jews once and for all. This is the existence of the State of Israel and its might army backed up with alleged nuclear weapons. Yet, in spite of however mighty any deterrent is, it is of no value if those entrusted to wield its might are to timid to do so.

Jew hatred attacks the Jews in more ways than mere physical attacks upon one's person or property. Jew hatred attacks the Jew in the mind, making the Jew question as does the Jew hater if the Jew really has the right to be who he is and to survive and thrive as Jews do. Jew hatred attempts psychological warfare by discrediting the Jew and the Jewish people and then attempting to get Jews themselves to believe their poisonous lies. As history and current events shows us, there is no shortage of turn-coat Jews willing to embrace the venom of the Jew hater feeling that this will ultimately save them in the end.

We thus find the rank and file Jew surrounded by challenges to his mere existence. Many a Jew have responded by fleeing from everything Jewish and by embracing the new "world religion" of consumerism and hedonism. After all, it is believed, if a Jew assimilates into the greater non-Jewish culture, then the Jew hater will not distinguish him in a crowd and will therefore bypass said Jew as an object of racism and ridicule.

I chuckle at those who really believe their assimilation is their protection against the Jew hater. It didn't save the Jews in Germany against Hitler's purge. Such assimilation certainly has not stopped the Moslem terrorism from spying out such assimilated Jews everywhere in the world and targeting them for acts of terrorism.

Western Jew haters in Christian lands might not be so active in their picking out of Jews to target; nonetheless, they will seek to harm Jews in general by sharing their political, social and religious agendas of prejudice and hate with all who are willing to listen.

Assimilated Jews scoff at this meager attempt to harm them and dismiss it outright saying that such idiots can cause them no harm. Then we here about prejudice and racism in the work place and elsewhere. The assimilated Jew responds either by standing up for himself as who he is, or else he embraces the hatred of his attacker and becomes a turn-coat Jew all too willing to join in the attack against his fellow Jews. We Jews have long known that the worst type of Jew hater is the Jewish born self hater.

The times, they are a changing! Moslem extremism that began with Jew hatred has now spread to include hatred of everything non-Muslim. Muslim extremists grow most extreme and thus more desperate. The recent attack in Spain where 200+ were killed in a bomb attack on an urban railroad center shows us that the terrorist is alive and well and looking to strike in a location near you. It is only a matter of time before another something BIG happens. The question to ask is what kind of response should there be?

For many in the Western world the response will be what it was after the 9/11 disaster in New York. They will blame the Jews. The Jew hater fans the fires of rage by saying that if the Jews have not angered the Moslems by creating a Jewish state in Palestine, none of this terrorism would be happening. It is all the fault of the Jews, even the assimilated ones. On 9/11 Jews leaving Manhattan were verbally and physically attacked by many of their "fellow" Americans saying exactly this. Will next time be much worse?

As long as hated is tolerated and not forcefully challenged, it will continue to grow. Jew hatred has actually become a thing in vogue in many centers throughout Europe. Like a disease it is spreading throughout the body of the world. And it is always the Jew who is the last to know, the last to realize that those whom he embraces, certain that they have forgotten (or not noticed) that he is a Jew, have not forgotten at all.

Where and when will it ever end? Maybe the Jew should indeed learn a lesson from the Jew hater and be solid in resolve. Maybe we Jews should learn to stand as strong for ourselves as those who hate us stand against us.

There was a time when the world respected and feared a strong and defiant State of Israel. There was a time after the 1967 Sinai War when the name Israeli was something feared. Israel earned its respect through strength in arms, a lesson that recent Israeli governments have forgotten and allowed to erode.

Maybe Jews today should learn to become as resolute as those who hate them. Maybe Jews should address the Jew hater with a punch in the nose as opposed to a slap on the wrist. Maybe individual Jews should respond with force against those who hate them. After all, if your enemy wants a war and has declared war on you, what is the wisdom in waiting defenseless for him to attack you?

Common sense dictates that we attack a known enemy and seek to neutralize their means to make war against us. This is after all, what our enemies do to us, by attacking everything Jewish and making Jews ashamed to identify themselves as Jews.

The ultimate struggle will inevitably come. Jew verses Jew hater. The war will be fought in all arenas, social, political and economic. Maybe if we pick up the good fight now and battle for Jewish self-respect and destroy the Jew haters, then maybe the mighty army of the State of Israel will never be backed against the wall by waves of invading Arab armies, forcing Israel to unleash all its devastating might. That for sure will put an end to a large segment of Jew haters. Nuclear strikes have a way of doing this.

If individual Jews embrace with pride our culture, heritage and identity and we fight for it, we will succeed in overcoming the overwhelming opposition to us. If we fail to do this and continue to allow the Jew haters to gain the upper hand, we will all inevitable face the monster that we have allowed to grow in our midst.

There will be no escape unless we create it NOW, before it is too late. Again we have the opportunity.

Anne Bayefsky on International Law and the Middle East Conflict



Bayefsky says she "can only provide you with a brief overview" of the UN record on Israel, but it's much appreciated.
Human rights are the most powerful political currency of our time. So it matters that at the UN Israel is the archetypal human rights violator in the world.

Almost 30% of UN Commission on Human Rights resolutions condemning a specific state over a 35-year period are on Israel alone.

Israel is the only state to have been the subject of an entire agenda item of the Commission for the past 34 years.

The General Assembly has only had ten emergency sessions in its history and six of them have focused on Israel.

In 1993 the UN Commission on Human Rights created the role of Special Rapporteur - or human rights investigator - on the "Palestinian territories". The Rapporteur's mandate is to investigate only "Israel's violations of...international law" and not to consider human rights violations by Palestinians in Israel.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Israel is only one of many UN bodies created to focus on Israel. If one goes to the UN website and the chart of the "UN human rights organizational structure" there is only one country-specific mandate listed, the "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories". Established in 1968, it is the only country-specific UN human rights investigative mechanism that is not comprised of independent experts, but three state representatives.

There is another "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People". Established in 1975 on the same day the General Assembly passed the Zionism is Racism resolution, it still produces annual reports and sponsors meetings, conferences and various publications, year round.

At the UN Durban World Conference Against Racism in September 2001 only one country situation was criticized as racist in the world today - Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Notwithstanding that such a characterization is a gross misrepresentation of the conflict guaranteed to inflame and incite hatred and violence, Durban is now the centerpiece of the anti-racism agenda of the UN.

In April 2002 UN action was a major contributing factor to an atmosphere of hysteria over an alleged Israeli "massacre" in Jenin, a place labeled in a Fatah-authored report as "the suicider's capital". Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, described the scene at Jenin as "horrific beyond belief", "...totally destroyed...like an earthquake; we have expert people here who...say they have never seen anything like it". Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of UNWRA, called it "a human catastrophe that had few parallels in recent history". Three months later, in mid-summer, the UN Secretary General released a report on Jenin noting in a paragraph 57 the fact that the Palestinian death toll was 52, more than half of whom were armed combatants. The impression of a massacre, however, is what remains in the public consciousness.

Israel is the only UN member state denied full and equal membership in one of the UN's five regional groups. Israel is denied membership in any UN body elected in Geneva. Every day from 9 to 10 a.m. of the UN Commission on Human Rights' annual six-week session, only Israel is left standing in the halls, while all other UN members and observers (including the Palestinian Authority) meet in private strategic and information-sharing sessions in each of the five UN regional groups.

Both the 2002 and 2003 Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution which specifically affirmed the legitimacy of suicide-bombing -- or in UN-language "all available means including armed struggle" -- in order to resist "foreign occupation and for self-determination."

What is the comparable UN regard for human rights protection of people in other states?

There has never been a UN Commission on Human Rights resolution on countries like China, Syria, Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe.

Complaints to the UN of gross and reliably attested human rights violations - which are made by individuals and groups - for example, against Bahrain, Malawi, Mali, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates, have all been quietly dropped by an in camera procedure at the Commission on Human Rights.

In 2002 the Commission had before it a report expressing concern with gross human rights violations in Iran, such as the absence of due process of law and respect for religious minorities, systematic discrimination against women and the killing of intellectuals and political activists. Iran also had refused to cooperate with the designated UN special representative and denied him entry into the country for the previous six years. The Commission responded not by condemning Iran, but by removing the representative.

At the 2003 Commission, members had before them the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture which detailed the Sudanese penal code and its punishment for armed robbery as "cross amputation" -- the amputation of right hand and left foot, various cases of women being stoned to death for adultery after trials denying them legal representation and conducted in a language they didn't understand, and cases of "death by hanging with crucifixion." Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, objected to the draft resolution's condemnation "of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment such as cross amputation" as "an offense to all Muslim countries." The resolution was defeated and the position of the Rapporteur on human rights in Sudan terminated.

In 2003 the Commission adopted 20 resolutions directed at country situations, five of which were directed at Israel.

In the 2003 General Assembly there were 20 GA resolutions directed at Israel. Criticism of human-rights situations in the rest of the world - the other 190 UN members - drew only four country-specific resolutions.
There's so much more, like this bit:
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - and a UN special rapporteur and the UN Commission on Human Rights - have called Israel's killing of Yassin an "extrajudicial killing" "in violation of international law." After Israel killed two senior Hamas military-wing terrorists who were ticking bombs, engaged in planning suicide attacks in the short term this past September, Terje Roed-Larsen (the UN's Middle East envoy) "expressed serious alarm over the latest violence in the Middle East... after an Israeli operation yesterday in Hebron, in which a 12-year-old boy was killed... Israel has an obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and refrain from the use of disproportionate force."

International law actually says combatants in a war are not entitled to judicial process before being targeted, particularly in circumstances as here where Israel cannot arrest and the Palestinian Authority refuses to do so. The Geneva Conventions say specifically that the presence of "civilians shall not be used to render... areas immune from military operations... in attempts to shield military objectives from attack" and incidental loss of civilian life as result of an attack on a military target is only prohibited if "excessive".

Proportionality does not mean zero civilian casualties. By contrast, the UN has never once condemned the violation of international law by the Palestinian Authority - namely, putting civilians, deliberately and directly, in harm's way, and using the civilian population as human shields.
It's a keeper. Read it all.

Gibson to film Jewish 'western' - the Chanukah story

According to the BBC, Mel Gibson "looks set to provoke further antipathy among the Jewish community with plans to make a film about the story behind the festival of Hanukkah."
"The Maccabees' family stood up and made war," said Gibson, speaking on a US chat show last week. "They stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It's like a Western."
The same article mentions that Arafat saw Gibson's movie, The Passion, on Saturday and found it "moving and historical." (Apparently no one asked him why there were no Palestinians in the movie.)

Finally, if anyone's curious, The Passion is a blockbuster among Arab Muslims and Christians in the Middle East: "The film has drawn large and enthusiastic crowds in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon."
A Jordanian Muslim woman says she was moved to tears when she saw the movie at an Amman theater. She says the movie "unmasked the Jews' lies."
In Kuwait, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Mohri demanded that his country lift its ban on the movie, saying "We demand the Information Ministry to allow the film 'The Passion of The Christ', peace be upon Him, to expose the role of the Jews, the killers of prophets."

This same (Reuters) article has Arafat saying that the film is not antisemitic.

OPERATION "TROJAN HORSE" - Israeli police raid homes and offices of Jewish nationalists, activists

Report from David Ha'Ivri of Kfar Tapuach
Early yesterday morning (Mar 29, 2004), tens of plainclothes, riot, and other police officers surrounded and raided several homes and offices in Kfar Tapauch, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and Rishon Le'tzion. In the end, they conducted a "search" and confiscated computer and other office equipment. Six activists were arrested and taken in for questioning. The suspects were kept for over 12 hours, not permitted to contact anyone including lawyers and family members, were not provided with kosher food, were kept in isolation, and were not even aware that the others had also been arrested.

The Israeli Police claim that this operation code named "Operation Trojan Horse" was the result of a 3 month investigation with cooperation from international agencies such as interpol. They also claimed that as a result of this raid, the websites were taken offline but almost immediately they were back up and the webmasters reported a significant increase in traffic to the sites.

The police allege that the suspects in this case including David HaIvri and Yekutiel Ben Yaakov (Mike) were responsible for running maintaining and updating "terrorist" websites connected to the outlawed Kach and Kahane Chai movements. The bulk of the "evidence" was that on the said websites http://www.kahane.org and the Hebrew counterpart http://www.kahane.info "illegal" graphics including the famous symbol of Jewish resistance the star of David and the fist and "advertisements" connected to the outlawed groups were found. They also claimed that these sites contained writings which constitute "incitement to racism violence and terrorism."

In Haviri's case he is merely suspected of having links on his website http:// www.hameir.org to the other sites including Kahane.org and the Jewish Legion http:// www.defendisrael.net a legal organization with the full permission and even cooperation of the IDF. He is therefore (obviously) to be held accountable for all the content on external sites to which he links. I highly doubt that today that the police will be raiding the houses and offices of all those who have link to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbolla as well as a slew of neo-nazi sites and news sites who report on such phenomena. I sincerely hope that the raid yesterday was only one phase of the operation and that more arrests (of the REAL terrorists) can be expected but I will certainly not be holding my breath.

The offices which were raided are involved in many important activities including the Darka Shel Torah parsha sheets, the publication and distribution of the writings of Rabbis Meir and Binyamin Kahane (HY"D), several other websites including http://www.hameir.org and http://www.kahanebooks.com, the sale of other Kahane merchandise, newsletters, periodic mailings, and many other activities pertaining to spreading the Authentic Jewish Idea.

Other office equipment including ADSL modems, Ethernet routers, scanners and thousands of dollars worth of software was also confiscated. The police were "kind hearted" enough to leave the monitors but practically everything else was taken. As it is unclear if and when this equipment will be returned and in what condition, funds are desperately needed to purchase new equipment in order that our most important activities can be continued.

R. Binyamin Kahane used to joke that the police have a yearly "minhag" to raid our offices prior to the Pesach holiday. This is not the first time that such a raid was conducted at this time of year and unfortunately I fear it will not be the last. This despicable behavior by the Israeli Government and police force is clearly meant to do nothing else but harass good Jews and to shut our mouths. They greatly fear the message which we are sending out and want to silence it at ALL costs. They justifiably realize that the greatest threat to their suicidal policies and ongoing attempts to remove all vestiges of Judaism and Authentic Jewish Values from the State of Israel is not the Yesha council or the right wing and religious political parties but the followers of Kahane.

It is appalling that a government which at least claims to value democracy will resort to any means necessary to silence those who oppose them. Their conception of "democracy" and freedom of speech only applies to self hating leftist traitors and Arab terrorists who openly support the murder of innocent Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel. Long time Kahane activist Itamar Ben Gvir in a response to the arrests released to the press the following statement: "Instead of arresting Hamas terrorists who operate openly in the Galilee area, they come to a group of `good Jews' seeking to spread the truth. They will not silence us. We will continue to spread the word and maintain Kahane website."

It is poignant to note that today is "Land Day" when tens if not hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs annually take part in violent anti-government protests. This year the Police Chief gave specific orders that no rubber bullets or live ammunition are to be used in suppressing the anticipated Arab riots.

In other words, Arab citizens of Israel are freely allowed to violently riot with impunity but Jews are arrested for the mere publication of their beliefs. The police and government take the Arabs in Nazereth who openly march with Hamas headbands.


Israeli Arabs shout slogans and carry a poster of the late Hamas
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin during a protest to mark the 'Land
Day' at the Israeli Arab village of Araba March 30, 2004.
Photo by Nir Elias/Reuters


They allow Arab Kenesset Members to openly side with the enemies of the Jewish people and even travel to hostile countries and meet them because of "freedom of speech".

Blatantly offensive and anti-Jewish art and literature is completely permissible and even taught in Israeli schools and on display in museums and galleries but Heaven forbid any Jew say a word against our Arab enemies who murder us daily.

More and more Israeli Arabs are becoming openly involved with terrorism and terrorist groups and nothing whatsoever is done about this.

Our shul and house of study in Tapuach West was razed to the ground while thousands of illegal Arab structures including mosques are erected daily with impunity.










There are tens of hot intelligence warnings every day about real Arab terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israeli cities and murder innocent people but the police somehow have the time and money to conduct a 3 month investigation with high tech surveillance equipment and take tens of officers off the streets and send them to harass Jews and confiscate office equipment.


If anyone is guilty of incitement and (judicial) terrorism it is the Israeli Government against the followers of Rabbi Kahane and the right in general. They have forces working around the clock to throw a wrench in all of our activities and wage a constant campaign of defamation and slander against us in the press. When legitimate grounds for arrest and confiscation of property can't be found "evidence" is simply fabricated or in the case of Noam Federman they simply resort to administrative detention which should send shivers down the spine of anyone who even pretends to value democracy and justice.

Please!! don't allow the self-hating jewish lemmings to silence us and our message. Anyone who can contribute financially or directly donate computers and office equipment is asked to do so each in accordance with his means. Such equipment is vital for the continuation of our activities and at the moment we do not even have the basic ability to send and receive email, type memos or access our databases and records. The Kahane Legacy and Authentic Jewish Idea cannot live on without your support at this critical time. If we are to be victorious in our struggle for a Jewish Israel everyone must do their part. At the beginning of the Pesach seder we say "All who are hungry let them come and eat." Elsewhere the Sages say "Poverty only refers to lack of knowledge in Torah".

Please allow us to continue spreading the Authentic Torah message which is vital to the survival to Israel and the entire Jewish people. Enable us to nourish the millions of starving Jewish souls who so desperately need to hear our message. If there was ever a time when we needed to be heard it is NOW! Show the government and our enemies that their ongoing attempts to silence us will not be successful and in the end it is THEY who will be defeated. David Haimovich, HaIvri's attorney said yesterday at a public meeting held in Jerusalem that the government is using what is known as the "chill effect" in an attempt to silence opposition. They realize that by constant harassment and frivolous legal battles a vast majority of the population will cease and desist their activities. HaIvri strongly declared that WE WILL NOT BE BROKEN!!!

We can however use your help....Donations can be sent to:
Hameir L'David
PO BOX 960121
143 Doughty Blvd.
Inwood NY, 11096

or

PO Box 4005
Ariel 44837
Israel
We also accept credit cards or payment via paypal at paypal@hameir.org

David HaIvri can now be contacted at haivri@post.com. Due to the ongoing situation haivri@hameir.org may be temporarily out of service.

Darka Shel Torah (the Way of the Torah) is a bi-weekly torah newsletter founded by Rabbi Binyamin Zev Kahane hy'd in 1988. The newsletter is circulated today in thousands of shuls around Israel in 60,000 copies in Hebrew, English and Russian. The Darka shel Torah staff is harassed from time to time by the Israeli authorities because of Torah commentaries and political writings that differ or question polices of the government.
See also coverage in the Jerusalem Post.

1500 Satisfied Customers in Cherry Hill

Shimon Peres: A Dreamer Dreams . . . by Jack Engelhard
Arutz Sheva Opinion

Israel's grand diplomat, Shimon Peres, came to New Jersey this past Sunday night, to a synagogue in Cherry Hill, and found an audience of some 1,500 that agreed with him from A to Z, or if you please, from Aleph to Tav. He is a charmer and he charmed. He is a dreamer and he dreamed.

None of this is so simple, of course, for how dare we judge a man who was there at the start and helped build Israel's military, particularly its Air Force, its electronic aircraft industry, not to mention its program of nuclear deterrence. Perhaps it is even sinful to scoff at a man like this. Perhaps there would be no Israel without a man like this.

Perhaps, on the other hand, there would be no Israel with a man like this. So how dare we judge him, and how dare we not judge him?

Peres spoke for about an hour and his main points were as follows:

1. Israel must give up the "occupation." (No dissent here in Cherry Hill upon the word "occupation" from an Israeli statesman.)

2. He, Peres, and his followers will not pull out of the government if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon keeps to the strategy of relinquishing Gaza and the "West Bank."

3. The Israelis must do what they can to end the conflict. (No such burden upon the Arabs, at least not in this speech.)

4. The Palestinian Arabs finally realize [they do?] that the terrorists in their midst are the real enemy, not Israel. (This conclusion, or dream, may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands in Gaza and elsewhere who swore revenge and ripped their clothes in mourning over the hit that took out terrorist mastermind Ahmed Yassin.)

Here in Cherry Hill, all heads nodded in approval when Peres said that Israel must not rule as masters over another people.

Peres drew no rebuke when he compared the "occupation" to the Israelite captivity in Egypt.

He drew the most sustained applause, at the end of his talk, when he said, "You have to fight the reasons for terror."

Clearly, the reasons are the "settlements" and the "occupation." Clearly, it is Israel that must continue to make concessions.

(If so, if it is all on Israel, why Hatikvah at the outset of the ceremony in Cherry Hill? Why not, someone might ask, the Palestinian Arab national anthem?)

Read it all.

I wish it weren't so, but we are our own worst enemies. Well, almost; the Arabs are pretty bad too.

JOSEPH FARAH to speak tonight at CU


Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily and syndicated columnist at the Jerusalem Post, will present "A View of the Middle East" at 7:00 pm in the University Memorial Center's Glenn Miller Ballroom on the CU-Boulder campus.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

I could find no mention of Farah's lecture in the Daily Camera, but there is a piece in today'sColorado Daily.

Yasher koach to Liron Kopinsky and other members of EMET (Education, the Middle East and Truth) for bringing this breath of fresh air to Boulder. See you there!

Seder-less in Seattle . . . or anywhere else on earth?

Passover is a week away. The two seders are among the highlights of the Jewish calendar and are meant to be spent with other Jews.

Jewish World Review is arranging home hospitality for any Jew in almost any metropolitan city. We have families all over the world that will be HONORED to have you join them. You will be their cherished guest. There is NO charge. No kidding!

Just drop me a note. And I'll take care of the rest. But you need to do it now, as time is running out.

PLEASE spread the word about this invite, folks! Forward and post this message.

I want to help.

Warmest regards and in friendship,
Binyamin L. Jolkovsky,
Editor in Chief
JewishWorldReview.com
Email is blj@jewishworldreview.com

Kosher restaurant in St. Petersburg attacked

JTA: Windows were shattered at St. Petersburg’s only kosher restaurant. The incident took place overnight Sunday when vandals threw stones at the Sholom Jewish restaurant. The chief rabbi of St. Petersburg, Menachem Mendel Pevzner, and chairman of the city’s Jewish religious community, Mark Grubarg, said in a statement that the attack on the restaurant may have been premeditated.
The Moscow Times describes the stones used as "pieces of granite."

Monday, March 29, 2004

Ugh, got this response in Saturday's Daily Camera

to my letter published March 24
PALESTINE: If Arapaho return, who of us will go?

Anne Lieberman's letter of March 24 asks why Palestinian terrorists don't take their goals "to the negotiating table and save themselves the trouble of blowing themselves up?"

It's almost as if Ms. Lieberman has no knowledge of history. After all, it's not like the Israelis haven't planted a few bombs themselves.

In 1946, the future Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, blew up the British-occupied King David Hotel, killing 91 people. Though an act of mass murder, it did serve to hasten the British withdrawal — which led to an independent Israel by 1948. Should Begin be considered a terrorist? According to Ms. Lieberman, terrorists are willing to die for their beliefs. By only making others die for his beliefs, Begin flunked that test. So is a freedom fighter a failed terrorist, or vice versa?

It is really not my intention to demonize the statehood of Israel. My intention is to demonize arrant hypocrisy and the rhetoric that accompanies it.

Ms. Lieberman justifies Israel's claim to Palestine by citing a Roman census taken in 49 A.D. She then suggests that anyone foolish enough to question that claim is willing to cede Boulder to "the Arabs." One has to wonder exactly what kind of logic is being huffed in the Lieberman household — and where such a hypothesis naturally leads.

If Arapaho Indians show up at the Lieberman home tomorrow, point guns at the family, bulldoze the house and order the family into a camp, citing an ancestral right to do so, would the Liebermans go willingly? More to the point, would anyone?

PATRICK CLARK
Boulder

What is huffing? And what does it mean to be accused of huffing logic in my household?

My other favorite bit: "It's almost as if Ms. Lieberman has no knowledge of history."
-- key word here is "almost."

Interesting that this man argues with me, but not with the (three) terrorists I quoted.

Just walked in the door from Texas

and found this very disturbing email from the rabbi at KosherTorah.com
TROUBLE WITH THE GOOGLE PEOPLE

Shalom one and all, I would like to ask your advise on a matter. I recently received the enclosed email from the Google people. I pay for an advertisement on the keyword Kabbalah and the like.

MY ad states:
Kosher Torah Kabbalah
Teachings of Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok
Relevant, Practical, Authentic
That's it! Just those 12 words.

Google refuses to allow this ad to appear because they say it contains: UNACCEPTABLE CONTENT. The Google people said in their email to me that somehow the 12 words above contain:
"LANGUAGE THAT ADVOCATES AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL, GROUP, OR ORGANIZATION".
I have sent them an email asking them to explain to me their position. I am waiting to hear from them.

In the mean time, I am sorry to bother you with such a trivial matter. But I must ask you, do you see a problem as does Google or do you think something else might be wrong? Maybe Google would like to hear from some of you. Maybe you can tell them what you think.

It may or may not help, but at least it would keep them busy and make them think about what they are doing.

Please drop a line to the Google people and let them know what you think - - - adwords-support@google.com

Thanks in advance . . .
The (Rio Grande) Valley and the Hill Country were GREAT, we had a blast, and as soon as I unpack and get my bearings, maybe I'll have something to blog about. While you're waiting, send an email to Google on behalf of Rabbi Bar Tzadok. I'll keep you posted if I hear any more.

UPDATE, Tuesday: I just heard from Google that "we escalated this particular issue for further review, and the advertiser is currently approved to run on Google." YAY!