Friday, April 8, 2016

J.Post April 8: And One More Thing ...

To all of The Jerusalem Post readers: Our dear friend Zev Chamudot died suddenly several days ago. He and I became great pals because of our common love of Israel and the many letters we both wrote to The Jerusalem Post.

Whenever he had a letter published I would call him. Sometimes he was satisfied. Sometimes he would say, “But they took out my best sentence!” And now, unbelievably he is gone from this world. We still feel the fierce and passionate love he had for this land. I can imagine him now being an advocate for Israel and the Jewish people among all the angels.

Our hearts are with Harriet and all the family. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Petah Tikva
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

J.Post March 23: BDS - Wrong Prescription, Wrong Diagnosis

Reader James Adler leaves us with the impression that he sleeps very well now that he has concluded that he possesses the formula for ending the BDS movement and resolving the Arab-Israel conflict (“Rx for BDS,” Letters, March 20). To achieve this state of bliss, all Israel must do is “cease settlement expansion and end the occupation.”

It is worthy to note that when Adler iterates what Israel must do, he provides not even the slightest hint as to any obligations or requirements that are expected of the Palestinian side in order to reach this messianic goal. Some points of reality that he might want to consider are: 

1. The state of Israel is surrounded by hate and enmity, and the corrupt Palestinian Authority is engaged in active anti-Israel incitement in its educational system and mosques, so that the relinquishing of any territory is not doable now or in the foreseeable future. We have witnessed the results of our unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, where we were repaid with thousands of rockets.

2. The primary interest of the PA and its partner, Hamas, is not a state of their own, but the elimination of the State of Israel.

3. The discomfort of checkpoints is not the cause of terrorism. Terrorism demands the security need for checkpoints.

4. The settlements and occupation are not the cause of BDS, as attempts to boycott Israel have been a tool of Israel-haters ever since the state’s establishment.

Petah Tikva 

(You can read Adler's response here.)

[Image credit: Flickr user claudia gabriela marques vieira]

Thursday, February 25, 2016

J.Post February 23: Moral delusions & biblical distortions

While I join Dov Lipman in his totally justified condemnation of Deputy Minister Meir Porush for his boorish, ugly, and polarizing remarks concerning the Women of the Wall (“Fire Deputy Minister Porush,” Observations, February 5), I am profoundly disturbed by the contrasting example he offers.

Lipman passionately endorses the reactions of Michal and Shivi Froman after the pregnant Michal was stabbed by a 15-year-old Palestinian terrorist. Both husband and wife declared that they had not changed their views, adding: “There has to be recognition of the other.... We must make their lives easier and help them develop economically.”

Sadly, the Fromans’ lack of hatred and harshness reflects an apparent inability to express their absolute loathing of the savage beast that committed this atrocity. Are these proclamations of moral confusion deserving of Lipman’s unstinting admiration? I think not! We are being placed in a confessional and are hearing egotistical declarations of moral delusions that are rooted in moral cowardice. The Fromans are, in reality, fearful of recognizing the “other” because they would be confronted by a demonic monstrosity disguised as a humanoid and driven by a legacy of over 2,000 years of ingrained hatred of the Jew.

Such a monstrosity must be met only by utter revulsion and consummate detestation. Its evil culture of death defies and betrays all human attempts at understanding.

I am also unfortunately led to believe that Lipman himself shares some of this moral confusion when he resorts to biblical distortions in attempting to vindicate the Fromans’ distinctly non-Jewish reaction to conspicuous evil. By some bizarre exegetical casuistry, he attempts to relate to the Torah’s command to be kind to the stranger.

Let the reader be assured that the Divine wisdom that requires the utmost concern for the stranger, widow, and orphan does not include in that grouping the ogre who wants to take your life.

Zev Chamudot
Petach Tikvah

Sunday, January 24, 2016

J.Post January 19: What 'victories'?

Unassailable evidence of a chronic dearth of oxygen in Washington is provided by President Barack Obama’s description of recent engagements with Iran as “diplomatic victories” (“US slaps ballistic missile penalties on Iran following massive sanctions lift,” January 18).

This anti-rational and utterly unbelievable portrayal of events leaves us no choice other than to attribute it to the malign influence of atmospheric conditions. Surely, sound reasoning would view these events not as signs of victories, but as a continuing chain of shameful defeats.

One has every right to expect from a country being granted billions of dollars in sanctions relief along with full acceptance into the international diplomatic community that it dare not risk such extremely valuable prizes only a week before the agreement goes into effect. But instead of being careful, Iran does not hesitate to seize American sailors and then force the US into dealing for their release.

A genuine victory by the US could be claimed only if Iran politely informed it of the trespass of its ships and just as politely suggested that the vessels leave their territorial waters. Iran is spitting in America’s face, and America’s president insists on calling it rain.

Unfortunately, this is consistent with the whole tone of appeasement that the US has adopted toward Iran, and therefore cannot accommodate any claims by Washington of victories. It does, however, exponentially increase the anxiety level of many countries, because the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism has now been unleashed with increased strength and substance.

Petach Tikvah

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

J.Post December 7: Baskin's Israel-Blaming Bias

The theme of Gershon Baskin’s column last week (“Israel – My sad home,” December 3) and his solution for making it a happier place are replete with tired clichés and patently absurd conclusions. The absurdity is compounded when one realizes that Baskin for the last several years has been repeating the same banalities over and over again, without any attempt to critically question the validity of his arguments and with his propensity for blaming only Israel for the breakdown in negotiations.

Baskin claims that he has been engaged for many years in developing educational programs between Jewish and Arab schools. I believe that it is fair to ask if he has ever examined the hate-filled anti-Israel textbooks and curricula in the Palestinian Authority educational networks? As Baskin walks fearlessly through Arab towns and cities, has he ever noticed the street signs or the stadiums that proudly bear the names of unrepentant rabid Jew-killers? As he absorbs himself in the Arabic language and culture, has he been able to discern the fanatical anti-Israel sermons being delivered in mosques or the mendacity of the fabricated libel that Israel is threatening the al-Aksa Mosque, which thereby provide poisonous reasons for their minions to go out and slaughter Jews? 

Petah Tikva

[Image credit: Flickr user Diego Sandoval]

Monday, December 7, 2015

J.Post Magazine December 4: From Nuremberg to Israel

Sir, - The article "The Nuremberg Diary" by George Sakheim and the review of Efraim Karsh's "The Tail Wags The Dog: International Politics and the Middle East" both powerfully complement one another and help shed light on some matters of utmost importance.

George Sakheim is a retired 92 year-old clinical psychologist and one of the few living American army officers who served as a translator at the 1945 Nuremberg trials, and who recorded in his personal diary the interviews he conducted with some of history's most evil men. Efraim Karsh is a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies. They both share profound insights into the nature and essence of the virulent hatred that caused the death of millions seventy years ago and which is presently wreaking havoc on the Middle East. In addition to several peripheral issues that were involved in the horrors of WWII, needless to say the irrational hatred of the Jew was primal to those events. Professor Karsh cites "the barefaced anti-Semitism of the ruling elites" of Britain, that from the very outset challenged the Zionist enterprise, and its continued influence on today's events.

While Sakheim proudly asserts the leading role that America played in bringing the leading Nazi war criminals to justice, he is embarrassed to note that the U.S. has not yet passed a crimes-against-humanity law, and adds that this "has again made the U.S. an outlier in the community of democratic nations." Efraim Karsh also favorably notes the support that American presidents gave to the Balfour Declaration and for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, but goes on to state that the Obama administration has demonstrated "an unprecedented level of cluelessness and disregard of reality" and "went out of its way to deny, ignore, euphemize, and whitewash anything smacking of Islamic violence."

Petach Tikva

Monday, November 9, 2015

J.Post November 9: Editorial Distortions

Sir, - Your editorial "Terrorism, not terror" (October 29) has several unforgivable distortions that raise serious doubts about the objectivity of its writer. 

An editorial that justly portrays the murderous intentions and actions of the Palestinians and then devotes half of its content to the supposed sins of the Jews, settlers, rabbis, and crazies leaves the definite impression that there is moral equivalency between the two sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is one of the major distortions that has already been adopted by the UN, the United States, and, above all, the murderous terrorists themselves. 

It must be made quite clear to all that although we have some extremists in our midst, the murder of innocent Arabs never was and never will be part of our national program. It does not appear in our textbooks, We do not preach it in our synagogues, we do not name streets or stadiums after our 'terrorists' and there is no Jewish mother praying for the death of her son in order to reward him with the services of heavenly virgins. Not only do our people not joyfully celebrate the ugly acts of our miscreants, there is overwhelming national and individual condemnation of their behavior. 

Another distortion in the editorial is the identification of the masked attacker of Rabbi Arik Ascherman as a "knife wielding settler," when it is still unknown who the attacker was. It would be equally unjustified to distort the presence Rabbi Ascherman at the scene for the purpose of aiding Arabs in their attacks against Jewish farmers.

The most disgraceful and unforgivable portion of the editorial, however, is that which contains completely unsubstantiated accusations against the national government, settlers, and the IDF: 

"This is shamefully obvious in the official response to the persecution of Palestinian farmers by settlers, who deny them access to their to their farmland under the watchful eyes of nonintervening IDF troops."

These distortions serve to add fuel to the unconstrained hatred that surrounds our beleaguered state.

Petach Tikva

Sunday, October 11, 2015

J.Post October 11: J Street and the Common Denominator

Sir, - Alan Eisner, vice president for communications at J Street, categorically informs us that the "unbreakable bond" between Israel and the United States is in danger of erosion if the "occupation continues." ('No chance Netanyahu, Obama will heal their rift, says J Street,' October 7.) He clearly and unconditionally blames the "occupation" for being the root of all evils, believing its end will usher forth the final redemption. Unfortunately, the J Street spokesman is not only sightless but seems to display a witless naivete about the realities that comprise the complex geopolitical, religious, and social tensions that find their expression in this region of the world.

I challenge Mr. Eisner to relate or find any causal connection between the following news events that were published in The Jerusalem Post on the same day as the appearance of his J Street wizardry, and his theory of "occupation":   'Thousands of refugees in Jordan return to Syria' (Page 7); 'NATO rejects Russian excuse on Turkish air space,' '15 soldiers dead in Aden attacks on gov't targets,' 'Car bomb attacks kill 57 people in Iraq' (Page 8); 'Boko Haram terrorists kill 11 Chadian troops,' 'Pro-Russian Ukraine rebels postpone vote' (Page 9); 'Forces seize M-16 used by Hamas to kill Henkins' (Page 10).

The common denominator for all these events, Mr.Eisner, is not "occupation" but an Islam that has been kidnapped by ruthless murderers who share a culture of death and aggressively force their savagery on the thousands killed in the Twin Towers in the United States, on 250,000 innocents killed in Syria, and the death of the cherished Henkins in Israel.

Petach Tikva

[Image credit: 

Friday, October 31, 2014

J.Post October 29: The 'Palestinian state' folly

Sir, - The article by Michael Cohen submitted as a "Letter from America" with the title "Why a Palestinian state is essential" suffers from an obvious major flaw. While it very well may be an accurate expression of why America views a Palestinian state to be essential, it completely fails to appreciate the genuine existential concerns of the people of Israel, while at the same time reveals a gross lack of understanding about the realities of the PA-Israel conflict.

Since Michael Cohen lists himself as a Rabbi and a college teacher of conflict resolution, I unfortunately feel compelled to criticize the thesis of his article in relation to these two professional areas. One of the primary duties of a rabbi has always been to identify with the plight of the Jewish people, seek their welfare, and fight on their behalf. Rabbi Cohen expresses no empathy at all with Israel's fragile security situation, but with unmitigated chutzpah dares to suggest that his understanding of Israel's defense requirements is superior to that of Israel's democratically elected prime minister.

As a rabbi and conflict resolver, Cohen must understand that Israel is surrounded by implacable enemies and unrestrained fanatical hatred. The PA has never ceased its promotion of terrorism in words as well as in deeds. It heroizes the most vile acts of terrorism and constantly uses every vehicle at the UN and elsewhere to demonize Israel by invoking old blood libels, and obscenely accuses Israel of Nazi atrocities. It actively promotes terrorism in its schools and mosques. It joins itself with Hamas, whose charter calls for the annihilation of Israel, who has 'tsunamied' Israel with thousands of deadly rockets, and who has taken the lives of tens of our most precious sons. 

Must not everyone of sound mind and principle decidedly appreciate—despite Cohen's derision—Israel's insistence on maintaining its 'present very narrow and rigid security definition' for its very survival?

Petach Tikva

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Slow Beheading of Jonathan Pollard

The shocking news that the US government website has erased the 2015 date for the release of Jonathan Pollard portends a most dreadful outcome to this terribly tragic affair, and compels us all to review its long history, in the hope that it can awaken the need for a concerted effort to call for his immediate release.

A sobering discussion revolving around Natan Sharansky's lengthy imprisonment and his ability to maintain hope during his ordeal took place more than a year ago in Jerusalem. The participants included Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Jerusalem Post Editor in Chief Steven Linde, and two very well known Americans, Dr. Mahmet Oz and Rabbi Shmuel Boteach. During the question period, the inevitable query arose about the adamant refusal by the Americans to release Jonathan Pollard after being imprisoned for almost three decades. Not one of the four participants was able to offer a logical or convincing argument to help understand this refusal and none were able to offer any suggestion as to how to help facilitate his release. On the contrary, Rabbi Boteach, who visited Pollard in prison and lobbied for his release, expressed his solemn belief that the Americans wanted Jonathan to die there!

The news that Jonathan Pollard's health has now so deteriorated that he required hospitalization comes as no surprise considering his long imprisonment, several years of which were spent in solitary confinement. At this critical juncture, it seems absolutely vital not only for Jonathan, but also for the many fair-minded and decent people all over the world who have tried unsuccessfully to penetrate the iron wall of mystery that surrounds his incarceration, to be provided with some rational accounting for this lengthy, cruel, and unusual prison term. Up to the present, no such explanation has been forthcoming, and in its absence, the question as to why Pollard has been singled out for this exceptional treatment naturally invites a wide spectrum of theories and accusations, including those of overt discrimination and thinly veiled anti-Semitism. This latter charge has recently been made by no less a personage than former CIA director Woolsey, who noted that others convicted of spying for allies of the U.S. have received sentences of no longer than eight years, while Pollard still languishes in prison.

The extraordinarily harsh life sentence imposed on Pollard leaves the indelible impression of having been born in sin. A plea bargain which was accepted by the government, commuting his sentence to only ten years in prison, was effectively abrogated when then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger submitted a secret affidavit purportedly containing charges of such severity that they warranted the life sentence. The details of that affidavit have never been revealed to the public and therefore continue to raise suspicions about the merit of its contents.

Pollard's imprisonment played a prominent role in the 1998 Wye River negotiations when Bill Clinton, in order to obtain Netanyahu's agreement, made a commitment to release Pollard. This in fact was the 'deal-maker' that won over a reluctant Netanyahu, who agreed to the deal despite distrusting Arafat for his long history of agreement violations. But ultimately Clinton, citing opposition from public officials, never honored his promise. After President Obama's unequivocal rejection of Prime Minister Netanyahu's request for Pollard's release made at the start of the peace negotiations between Israel and the P.A. – despite its obvious legitimacy at the time when America was pressuring Israel to release hundreds of convicted terrorist murderers to the Palestinian Authority – seriously increased our perplexity.

It must be noted that Pollard never sought to betray the U.S. or bring harm to any of its institutions. His only crime was wanting to aid Israel by supplying it with information he felt was vital to its security and yet being withheld from it. He transferred the pick of U.S. intelligence on Arab and Islamic military activity conducted by both "friendly and unfriendly" Arab countries. The data included essential details about Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan, and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological-warfare capabilities, as well as planned terrorist attacks against Israel.

The list of prominent personalities who now declare their support for the release of Jonathan Pollard includes statesmen, Noble Laureates, clergymen, intellectuals, scientists, senators, congressmen, and members of the Intelligence community, some of whom originally opposed his release. The register begins with two former Secretaries of State (Kissinger and Schultz) followed by former Vice President Don Quayle, Senator John McCaine, Dennis Ross, former Director of the CIA James Woolsey; Director of the FBI at the time of Pollard's arrest William Webster; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb; former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard's arrest Senator David Durenberger; former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum; and former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heyman – the last three of which reviewed the classified intelligence reports on Pollard's case and nevertheless chose to add their names to those who call for Pollard's release. PM Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have made personal appeals. They were joined by Israel's two Chief Rabbis and by an overwhelming majority of Israel's Parliament. They were joined by the vote of the umbrella group representing the 50 largest American Jewish organizations that added the voice of American Jewry to those who seek Pollard's freedom.

When considering the evident crescendo of support in favor of freedom for Pollard, we are confronted by a September 2011 report in the New York Times that is totally vexing. We are informed about a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and a group of rabbis in south Florida. When the rabbis raised the question about possible clemency for Jonathan Pollard, the Vice President's vehement response was "Over my dead body"! And indeed Pollard continues to languish in prison!

A fresh wind blew into the picture in December 2013 when Governor Bill Richardson, a former UN Ambassador and a confidant of Pres. Obama, wrote to the president and suggested that Pollard should be freed immediately. Richardson stated, "In my view there is no longer a need for a discussion today. Virtually everyone who was in a high position of government and dealt with the ramifications of what Pollard did at the time now supports his release."

Pollard's immediate release was also recommended in a letter to President Obama by former National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane, who unequivocally blamed Weinberger's "anti-Israel agenda" for Pollard's disproportionate sentence and called it a "great injustice." Similarly, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb stated that the sentence was entirely due to Weinberger's "visceral hatred of Israel."

The pathological animus that surrounds the Pollard affair is evidently still potent enough to keep him in prison and to contribute to his slow beheading!

An Anemic Criticism of Mahmoud Abbas

Sir, - In his article "An open letter to Mahmoud Abbas," Yoram Dori expresses his disillusionment with the PA President as a result of the pernicious speech Abbas gave at the UN General Assembly. In a venomously mendacious anti-Israel tirade, Abbas accused Israel of "genocide" and "war crimes," and Yoram Dori attempts to disabuse him of the delusive use of these terms as applied to Israel.

While it certainly is a positive development that Dori, who served as a senior advisor to Shimon Peres since 1990, belatedly appears to express some disenchantment with the PA leader, his criticisms suffer from acute anemia. 

It must be clearly understood that Abbas's vicious attack at the UN was not the result of his not being fully cognizant of the meaning of the terminology that he employed. On the contrary, Abbas, with full awareness of what he was saying, deliberately chose to besmirch Israel at that international forum. This is quite consistent with his heroization of terrorists and shaping of the PA's hate-filled educational curriculum that is unabashedly raising generations of anti-Israel fanatics, and his continued incitement and encouragement of the daily rock and molotov cocktail throwing against innocent Israeli civilians and police. 

Unfortunately Abbas, who began his career as a holocaust denier and deputy to Arafat, continues to be an active pro-terrorist and must be recognized and denounced as such, with the full realization that he can never be a genuine partner for peace with Israel.

Petach Tikva

[Image credit: UN Photo]

Sunday, September 28, 2014

J.Post September 29: Nothing But Certainty!

Sir, - I was totally dismayed by the odious headline that appeared on the front page of the Jerusalem Post on September 24th. The headline read "SWAT team kills suspected murderers of the three teens." The gratuitous injection of the adjective 'suspected' places an immediate appalling question mark concerning the legitimacy of the activity by introducing an unfortunate, ever so slight implication of uncertainty into the action. 

In fact, the massive intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the Counterterrorism Unit during the three months of intensive search for these terrorist abominations, provided the certainty that eliminated any and all doubt as to the identity of these murderous kidnappers.

Only the unequivocal assertion by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz expressing the hope that the families of the victims got some little relief "in the knowledge that we got to the murderers of their sons" was appropriate to the circumstances, and the only assertion that could provide these very deserving people with the ability to state that "an evil circle has closed."

Petach Tikva