Thursday, April 30, 2009

SOP: Accusing Israel Of That Which Its Enemies Are Guilty

It's standard operating procedure for the Israel-bashers: come up with some of the reprehensible actions of the Palestinian Arabs or other enemies of Israel and falsely accuse Israel of them.

This was done in a letter, included here, published by The Danbury News-Times April 29. The writer accuses Israel, which offered the Palestinian Arabs far more than they could ever reasonably have hoped for (of course, reason has never been a characteristic of Israel's enemies) of not bargaining fairly!

The letter is followed by some comments, to which some may wish to add.

Force Israel to bargain fairly

Since 1967, despite continuous protests from America, Israel has built settlements with 470,000 residents on occupied territory, making it increasingly difficult to create a viable Palestinian state. The current government does not want a two-state solution, thereby killing the peace process.

There could have been peace decades ago if America had pressured Israel to bargain fairly with the Palestinians, but we always protected Israel, defending their actions even though the U.N. condemned them. This has caused great harm to the Palestinians, to America's position in the world and to Israel, which would have benefited from peace.

More recently we supported their invasions of Lebanon and Gaza, where their army deliberately targeted civilians in the mistaken belief that Hezbulah and Hamas would be weakened instead of the opposite which happened. Despite our objection to the embargo in Gaza, where 20 to 50 per cent of children suffer from malnutrition, it still continues. We have done nothing further and are complicit.

This is the country that long ago stole vital military secrets from America, and later traded them to the Soviet Union in exchange for Jewish refugees from Russia. It is time that America rescued Israel from its stupidity and forced it to bargain fairly. If they refuse, our commitment to democracy demands that we withdraw all our support.

William A. Estlick

Estlick: "Since 1967, despite continuous protests from America, Israel has built settlements with 470,000 residents on occupied territory"

Comment: The territory in Judea and Samaria is disputed, not occupied and the figure used apparently includes Jewish residents not only in disputed portions of Judea and Samaria but in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem.

Estlick: "making it increasingly difficult to create a viable Palestinian state."

Comment: The presence of a few hundred thousand Jews in disputed territory, most of which will be incorporated into Israel under any conceivable agreement, no more precludes the establishment of another Palestinian Arab state than the presence of more than a million Arabs within its borders precludes the existence of Israel.

Estlick: "The current government does not want a two-state solution, thereby killing the peace process."

Comment: The current chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is also the leader of the PLO and Fatah, both of which continue to call for the elimination of Israel. It is the unwillingness of the Paletinian Arabs and their leadership to agree to any reasonable compromise not entailing the destruction of Israel that has destroyed the so-called peace process.

There is no more reason for Israel's leaders to be Palestinian Arab nationalists than there is for the Arab leaders to be Zionists.

Estlick: "There could have been peace decades ago if America had pressured Israel to bargain fairly with the Palestinians, but we always protected Israel, defending their actions even though the U.N. condemned them. This has caused great harm to the Palestinians, to America's position in the world and to Israel, which would have benefited from peace."

Comment: As is typical, the writer accuses Israel of that which its enemies are guilty.

Far from not bargaining fairly, Israel has been incredibly willing to compromise. In 2000, it offered to give the Palestinian Arabs not only all of Gaza and virtually all of Judea and Samaria, but even offered to give away substantial portions of its own capital. The response of the Palestinian Arabs demonstrated that they had no interest in either fair bargaining or any compromise, even one heavily weighted in their favor. They not only rejected that offer, but launched a brutal terrorist offensive that destoyed any reasonable hopes for peace.

Estlick: "More recently we supported their invasions of Lebanon and Gaza, where their army deliberately targeted civilians in the mistaken belief that Hezbulah and Hamas would be weakened instead of the opposite which happened.

Comment: More false accusations.

Israel made tremendous efforts to avoid harming civilians even while Hezbollah and Hamas used civilians as shields.

Estlick: "Despite our objection to the embargo in Gaza, where 20 to 50 per cent of children suffer from malnutrition, it still continues. We have done nothing further and are complicit."

Comment: This is the height of hypocrisy. The Arab League has maintained a boycott of Israel for more than six decades, a boycott aimed at destroying Israel.

Gaza is controlled by a terrorist organization which is pledged to destroy Israel. No country has an obligation to freely trade with a de facto state which is attacking it. Despite that, and the fact that Gaza also shares a border with Egypt through which it could import goods, Israel itself has transferred massive amounts of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, to the very people launching rockets at Israeli civilians in Sderot, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva and other Israeli cities, towns and kibbutzim.

Israel has continued to transfer assistance to Gaza even though Hamas and other terrorist groups have repeated attacked the crossing through which the assistance goes, sometimes murdering the very people transferring aid to the Arabs in Gaza.

Estlick: "This is the country that long ago stole vital military secrets from America, and later traded them to the Soviet Union in exchange for Jewish refugees from Russia."

Comment: This is simply fantasy with no basis in reality.

Estlick: "It is time that America rescued Israel from its stupidity and forced it to bargain fairly. If they refuse, our commitment to democracy demands that we withdraw all our support."

Comment: The lengths to which Israel has gone to induce its enemies to make peace has been amply demonstrated. Our failure has been in not effectively pressuring the Palestinian Arabs to bargain in good faith.

At its heart, the Arab-Israeli conflict results from the unwillingness of the Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs to accept a free, Western-oriented democracy, which also happens to be a Jewish state, within the overwhelmingly Arab and Muslim Middle East. Israel, while battling for its own survival, is also battling for Western civilization. We abandon Israel at our own peril.

The Two-State Solution?

These thoughts were prompted by an online discussion about the so-called "two-state" solution which took place within a committee working to support Israel in its quest for peace.

It's not up to Israel (or the United States) to determine the way the Palestinian Arabs govern whatever territory is eventually given to them, as long as the stop murdering Israelis, stop threatening to continue to murder Israelis and stop trying to destroy Israel.

I think the Israeli government would be well served to include this in its negotiating position, which should really just involve the division between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs of the disputed territories and the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

When people talk of a two-state solution, they are really talking about a three-state solution; they generally ignore the existing Arab state of Jordan, which already controls about 78 percent of Palestine. (Ignoring Jordan is a terrific propaganda strategy for the Arabs, since they are then able to fool people into thinking Israel had most of Palestine even prior to 1967.)

The events since Israel pulled out of Gaza should have made it clear to people that a single Palestinian Arab country in the West Bank and Gaza is probably not feasible, with the geographic separation being only a minor part of the problem. (As an aside, nobody seems to pay attention to the fact that a "contiguous Palestinian Arab state" is incompatible with a contiguous state of Israel unless Egypt and Jordan both give up territory to form a connection between Gaza and the West Bank without cutting Israel in two.)

I think if a two-state (really a three-state) solution is ever agreed upon and implemented, it won't last very long, with those living in the West Bank realizing they'd be better off if they were incorporated into Jordan and those living in Gaza realizing they'd be better off if they were incorporated into Egypt. (Of course, they'd have to completely change their society if they wanted to convince Egypt to take them in.)

Presently, we really have a four-state non-solution, since despite their non-recognition by most of the civilized world, for most practical purposes the territory ruled by the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria is already a state, as is the Islamic State Hamastan. They are rogue, terrorist states, but de facto states nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Contributed By Steve Rubin.

Today is Israel Memorial Day.

We remember all the fallen soldiers and murdered civilians over the last more than 60 years. There are no barbecues, no picnics, no restaurants and no movies.

This is a day that all Israeli citizens, Jews, Druze and Beduin alike, mourn the loss of all their loved ones. Those of us who live in chutz la'Aretz share in their pain--Israelis and the entire American-Zionist community. It's very difficult not being in Israel at this time. If you have ever travelled to Israel or lived there during Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut you know exactly what I mean.

It doesn't only hurt for all of our brethren we have lost but also because we are far away from home. The siren goes off--no matter where you are in the country, people stop their cars, the buses halt their service, taxis stop and everyone stands up to honor the fallen. It is one of the most moving moments anyone can possibly have. Tears run down people's eyes, some can not breathe, it is difficult to get back in your car and continue your day.

This is a true national day of mourning. The saddest thought of all is that even today we are losing our brethren and loved ones to terror. Until this specific moment anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments run rampant throughout the world. We must never forget the Shoah and we must never forget the losses we have suffered since then.

We must wish our chayalim safe completion of their duty and all our Israeli brethren, "no more war and no more bloodshed." Hopefully this will not be a dream and a day will come that our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will no longer have to fight in wars.

This evening, after 25 hours of terrible sorrow and remembrance, begins a new 25 hours. The next day of euphoria, of barbecues, of picnics, of restaurants and of movies. Tonight and tomorrow we will celebrate the 61st Yom Ha'Atzmaut. The founding fathers of M'dinat Yisrael were so very wise to institute such a 50 hour time period. We go to the dregs of sorrow and then to the heights of celebration. We can only thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu for allowing us to reach these days.

Yhi zichram baruch and Chag Sameach.

Israel's Arab cheerleaders

Written by Caroline Glick, this was published by The Jerusalem Post.

It is a strange situation when Egypt and Jordan feel it necessary to defend Israel against American criticism. But this is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Arab support for Israel's bid to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on its agreeing to support the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state. In her words, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts." As far as Clinton is concerned, the two, "go hand-in-hand."

But just around the time that Clinton was making this statement, Jordan's King Abdullah II was telling The Washington Post that he is satisfied with the Netanyahu government's position on the Palestinians. In his words, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has "sent a message that he's committed to peace with the Arabs. All the words I heard were the right words."

As for Egypt, in spite of the media's hysteria that Egypt won't deal with the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration's warning that Israel can only expect Egypt to support its position that Iran must be denied nuclear weapons if it gives Jerusalem to the PLO, last week's visit by Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman clearly demonstrated that Egypt wishes to work with the government on a whole host of issues. Coming as it did on the heels of Egypt's revelation that Iranian-controlled Hizbullah agents were arrested for planning strategic attacks against it, Suleiman's visit was a clear sign that Egypt is as keen as Israel to neutralize Iranian power in the region by preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

And Egypt and Jordan are not alone in supporting Israel's commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. American and other Western sources who have visited the Persian Gulf in recent months report that leaders of the Gulf states from Bahrain - which Iran refers to as its 14th province - to Saudi Arabia to Kuwait and, of course, to Iraq - are praying for Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and only complain that it has waited so long to attack them.

As one American who recently met with Persian Gulf leaders explained last week, "As far as the Gulf leaders are concerned, Israel cannot attack Iran fast enough. They understand what the stakes are."

UNFORTUNATELY, THE nature of those stakes has clearly eluded the Obama administration. As the Arabs line up behind Israel, the Obama administration is operating under the delusion that the Iranians will be convinced to give up their nuclear program if Israel destroys its communities in Judea and Samaria.

According to reports published last week in Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz, President Barack Obama's in-house post-Zionist, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, told an American Jewish leader that for Israel to receive the administration's support for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it must not only say that it supports establishing a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza, it must begin expelling its citizens from their homes and communities in Judea and Samaria to prove its good faith.

With just months separating Iran from either joining the nuclear club or from being barred entry to the clubhouse, the Obama administration's apparent obsession with Judea and Samaria tells us that unlike Israel and the Arab world, its Middle East policies are based on a willful denial of reality.

The cold hard facts are that the Middle East will be a very different place if Iran becomes a nuclear power. Today American policy-makers and other opponents of using military force to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons compare the current situation to what the region could look like in the aftermath of an Israeli campaign against Iran's nuclear installations. They warn that Hizbullah and Hamas may launch massive retaliatory missile attacks against Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other states, and that US military personnel and installations in the region will likely be similarly attacked by Iranian and Syrian proxies.

Indeed, proponents and opponents of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations alike warn that Iran's deployment of terror proxies from Beirut to Bolivia, from Managua to Marseilles, and from Gaza to Giza means that things could get very ugly worldwide in the aftermath of an Israeli attack.

But all of that ugliness, all of that instability and death will look like a walk in the park compared to how the region - and indeed how the world - will look if Iran becomes a nuclear power. This is something that the Arabs understand. And this is why they support and pray for an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations.

IF IRAN acquires nuclear weapons, the Obama administration can throw its hopes for Middle East peace out the window. Today, even without nuclear weapons, Iran is the major force behind the continued Palestinian war against Israel. Iran exerts complete control over Hamas and Islamic Jihad and partial control over Fatah.

In and of itself, Iran's current control over Palestinian terror groups suffices to expose the Obama administration's plan to force Israel to destroy its communities in Judea and Samaria as misguided in the extreme. With Iran calling the shots for the Palestinians, it is clear that any land Israel vacates will fall under Iranian control. That is, every concession the US forces Israel to make will redound directly to Iran's benefit. This is why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claim that it will be impossible to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians without first neutralizing Iran rings so true.

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the situation will become even more destructive. A nuclear-armed Iran means that any chance of marginalizing these Iranian-controlled forces in Palestinian society will disappear. For Israel, the best case scenario in the age of a nuclear-armed mullocracy would involve continuous war with Iranian proxies - sort of expanded versions of the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead - in which it has little option for victory because the terror armies would fight under Iran's nuclear umbrella.

Regionally, a nuclear-armed Iran would in short order compel both Egypt and Jordan to abrogate their peace treaties with Israel. The exposure of the Iranian sabotage ring in Egypt last week makes clear that Iran seeks to either overthrow or dominate the Arab world with its nuclear arsenal. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, roundups of Iranian agents like the one in Egypt will be inconceivable. Iranian agents will be given free reign both regionally and worldwide.

For Israel, the abrogation of its peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan would raise the danger of regional war to an all-time high. Goaded by Iran, and operating with Iran's US- and Turkish-armed Lebanese proxy and Teheran's Syrian slave, Egypt and Jordan may well be made to decide that the time has come to invade Israel again.

These scenarios, of course, are likely because they compare favorably to the worst case scenarios in which a nuclear-armed Iran decides to simply detonate its nuclear bombs over Israel, either in the form of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or in the form of a direct nuclear strike. An EMP attack would not immediately kill anyone, but would destroy the country's electricity grid and permanently paralyze its military and civilian infrastructures, rendering the population defenseless not merely from its neighbors, but from disease and starvation. If successful, a direct nuclear strike would likely kill between 50,000 and several million Israelis, depending on how many warheads reached their targets.

GLOBALLY OF COURSE, a nuclear-armed Iran would be well positioned to take over the world's oil markets. With Saudi Arabia's main oil installations located in the predominantly Shi'ite eastern provinces, it would be able to credibly threaten to destroy Saudi oil installations and so assert control over them. With Iran's strategic alliance with Venezuela, once it controls Saudi oil fields, it hard to see how it would not become the undisputed ruler of the oil economy.

Certainly Europe would put up no resistance. Today, with much of Europe already within range of Iran's ballistic missiles, with Iranian-controlled terror cells fanned out throughout the continent and with Europe dependent on Persian Gulf oil, there is little doubt of the direction its foreign policy would take in the event that Iran becomes a nuclear power. Obviously any thought of economic sanctions would disappear as European energy giants lined up to develop Iranian gas fields, and European banks clamored to finance the projects.

Finally, there is America. With Israel either barely surviving or destroyed, with the Arab world and Europe bowing before the mullahs, with much of Central and South America fully integrated into the Iranian axis, America would arguably find itself at greater risk of economic destruction and catastrophic attack than at any time in its history since the War of 1812. An EMP attack that could potentially send the US back to the pre-industrial age would become a real possibility. An Iranian controlled oil economy, financed by euros, would threaten to displace the dollar and the US economy as the backbone of the global economy. The US's military options - particularly given Obama's stated intention to all but end US missile defense programs and scrap much of its already aging nuclear arsenal - would be more apparent than real.

Yet what Clinton's statements before Congress, Emmanuel's statements to that American Jewish leader and Obama's unremitting pandering to Teheran and its Syrian and Turkish allies all make clear is that none of these reasonable scenarios has made a dent in the administration's thinking. As far as the Obama White House is concerned, Iran will be talked out of its plans for regional and global domination the minute that Israel agrees to give its land to the Palestinians. The fact that no evidence exists that could possibly support this assertion is irrelevant.

On Sunday, Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland claimed that Obama will not publish his administration's policy on Iran until after he meets with Netanyahu at the White House on May 18. It will be during that meeting, Hoagland wrote, that Obama will seek to convince Netanyahu that there is no reason to attack Iran.

The fact that Obama could even raise such an argument, when by Israel's calculations Iran will either become a nuclear power or be denied nuclear weapons within the next 180 days, shows that his arguments are based on a denial of the danger a nuclear Iran poses to Israel and to global security as a whole.

It is true that you can't help but get a funny feeling when you see the Arabs defending Israel from American criticism. But with the Obama administration's Middle East policy firmly grounded in La La Land, what choice do they have? They understand that today all that stands between them and enslavement to the mullahs is the Israel Air Force and Binyamin Netanyahu's courage.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Entitlement Thinking: We are paying for it now!

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

“I studied really long hours-I deserve at least a “C”

“Everyone has one, when in the next 24 hours are you going to get me one?”

“Just look at me, why shouldn’t I be with that person?”

“I put in my time, I come to work everyday, I do most of what you ask of me, why am I not getting the raise?”

Across the spectrum of life in the USA you probably have heard these and other comments stated by those among us who feel entitled. We have even coined a term for the next group of young people-the “entitlement generation”. Many of us have observed and witnessed individuals who believe that they are deserving of or entitled to certain privileges simply because…This is not a new behavioral phenomena-it has been with us for several decades. In terms of behavior people actually believe they should have some material object, e.g., a new car, the latest fashions, the new “tech toy” or admission into a school, a club or program simply because they exist. Is this too harsh a statement-no, it is the truth. All one has to do is look around, listen to what people say, watch their reactions if and when there is not immediate gratification (possession of any of the previous items). The external behavior one observes is one of anger, upset, whining, blaming, and most assuredly complaining.

“It appears that a great deal of suffering in the world is the direct result of feelings of “entitlement.” We often feel entitled to things over which we have little or no control. Not obtaining what one feels entitled to is often the foundation for anger. Most acts that violate another human being involve the violator feeling entitlement to the victim. A thief, a rapist, a murderer, a molester, a bully, all in some way feel entitled to violate their victim. Most feel victimized themselves and are therefore “justified” in their actions. On a smaller scale people feel entitled to make derogatory remarks belittling others publicly, or spreading lies, and other common cruelties. It seems that these assumptions of entitlement create individually distorted concepts of justice. What are we entitled to, if anything?”1

Here are some other comments shared with us when asked about entitlement:

“Being entitled means you have a right to claim something for yourself. Therefore, people who have selfish, distorted worldviews will naturally think they're entitled to more. Especially, if they've been trained to from a young age. Then again, there's a certain degree of healthiness in asserting your rights.”

“My mother instilled in me that "you get what you earn". Because of this I was rarely handed anything and I have had to work for what I get. When I look at many others in college, they get a huge amount handed to them for practically no work. Their parents pay for their college education, a new car to drive around campus, a weekly "allowance" that is similar to the amount I make working, and many other perks which they do not have to work for. With this attitude, it is not surprising that many college graduates feel entitled to much more than in the past. Their parents have given them everything and, in many ways, they do not understand the value of money and the necessity of hard work in getting certain things. In many ways I think this is because they are born into a position of affluence and so base their lives on these standards, feeling entitled to many things others in less fortunate situations do not.”

“"The more you have the more you want"- In Psychology, there is something called the "baseline standard". The "baseline standard" is a way by which we judge our current situation and what we feel we should have. For example, every time we get a big raise at work, a new car, a bigger home, etc. for approximately 6 months afterwards there is a general increase in satisfaction and we can really appreciate the increase in our life situation. However, after 6 months the situation becomes the norm, the new "baseline" by which we judge our lives, and often there is a new desire to get even more. In this sense, the more you have the more you want. This is particularly true of those who have the most. Their baseline standard of living is so high, it seem unimaginable for many of them to have anything less.”

Let me offer a brief synopsis of these assorted comments. Entitlement thinking is acquired, learned and reinforced in our greater USA culture. This occurs over time. Entitlement beliefs, behaviorally reinforced, over time produces a person who is a member of this newest generation. By no means does this apply only to the young-this has been occurring since the 1960’s-some would argue for a longer period of time than this. What has occurred is the exponential impact one decade of behavior has wrought upon the succeeding decades. It is not surprising or should I say no one should be surprised that in the year 2009 we find our greater USA culture abound with this kind of thinking and external behavior.

The concepts and dare I offer values of yesterday seem to” have gone a wandering.” The ideas of hard work, due diligence, effort, perseverance, and delayed gratification are some that do not lead to entitlement thinking. You hear people, including national leaders say we must be more personally responsible-nice rhetoric but what does it mean? For me it means one willingly accepts the consequences of one’s actions/behavior. The operative word is “willingly! I suggest this is no longer the majority behavior in America. Thus, we have created an entitlement mentality.

The result of this is playing out before our eyes. Given my generation is now “in charge”; we grew up in a world of “entitlements”. Beginning in the 1960’s with all the Great Society Programs and continuing up to this very day, Americans have grown up with real and actual “entitlements. The American perception, the American psyche is abounding with entitlements and they have become our reality.

The Democratic Party has represented itself for decades as the Party that cares for the “little people and the underserved and underrepresented”. Code for “you have been abandoned and abused by those rich, self-serving Republicans. You deserve what they all have (class envy) and we are the Party to get it for you-and we have.

Thus, we arrive in today’s world. The past 5-8 years this sense that “you should have what every one else have” escalated to include home ownership. Promises were made and wouldn’t you know it, those who could not have a home found themselves in a home just like the others. Of course, they had been lied to, they could not afford the mortgages and economics is an equal opportunity (to succeed and to fail) provider. With entitlement comes expectations; these people ended up with unmet expectations. We are witness to the behavioral outcries of so many.

A compassionate Party, a compassionate leader would have seized upon this as an opportunity to empathize AND educate. Regrettably this has not happened. The very behaviors that are consistent with someone who does not get what he believes he is entitled to, blame/anger/denigrate others are now being used by our current government leaders. Additionally, given the absolute numbers of Americans who have fallen prey to this belief system, there is no surprise with the front page of the USA Today that has a headline Most Americans OK with Big Government, at least for now and reports that even though many Americans are supportive of what President Obama has done so far “by 55% to 32% Americans still say they worry more about Big Government.” Lee Heffner of Temple, PA, who supported Obama’s bailout of the auto industry, told USA Today: “it seems we’re on the trend of nationalization for a lot of things. Once the government gets into something, it’s very seldom they back out of it.”2 The people have “accepting” of this mindset and truthfully they have abdicated their responsibility as a citizen and as a parent.

Some of life’s difficult lessons include failure, disappointment, and envy, to name but a few. Rather than “make” failure a bad outcome, use it to buoy up a person’s courage and motivation to persevere and put forth additional effort. The old adage of: “When you get knocked down, it is what you do when you stand back up that counts” should be re-taught today. Instead, out of mis-placed sympathy, our culture rushes in to protect the fallen and comfort them to the point that they become incapable of doing for themselves. Thus, they become dependent upon others-does this not sound familiar? Americans have an obligation to the next generations to change-yes there is that word again. I suggest we return to the values, behaviors that enabled and ennobled our parents and grand parents. Focus upon what allowed us to become THE country in the world that people from around the planet aspired to move to-and they still do. Inspiring, authentic leaders, would have us change from a group of dependent people to a group of independent people choosing to work and live with one another and therefore benefiting the American people. We were once such a nation and can be again! I close with these 10 lessons whose time has come again:

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away mans initiative and independence.

6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income

9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

End Notes

Philosophy Forum: April 12, 2009
USA Today-April 15, 2009

Written by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcke in 1916

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spare the Pieties on Gaza

By Jack Engelhard

This was seen on the mailing list.

Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem?

Frankly, given a choice, I prefer the skinheads and other brutes who express their anti-Semitism openly. In such places, we know the enemy.

But please spare me the pieties and the righteous indignation of those "good people" protesting throughout Europe against Israel's defensive operation in Gaza. True, thousands have taken up banners in support of Israel. At the same time, however, the streets of Europe (and even some in America) are in an uproar. These are the "humanitarians" - the good, the noble, the refined, who chant "peace."

Now you're up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout the years, thousands of jihadist bombs fell on Israel? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it "peace" as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.

Suddenly, as Israel answered back, you found your Cause; and how self-righteous you are in your Cause.

You are the best and the brightest of Europe. You are educated. You attended the finest schools. You care for the birds, the bees, the bears, the trees.

You favor free speech and freedom of religion. Strange it is that the one and only place in the Middle East that shares your world-view is Israel, and it is Israel that you slander.

Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem? At the first hint of Jewish self-defense, how quickly you show your true colors.

I've seen the photos of your candlelight vigils along the streets and boulevards of Europe, all of it; all these tears in the service of those terrorists whom you call your brothers. Indeed you are related to Hamas (and Fatah) as once before, a mere generation ago, you were related to Hitler's stormtroopers. Your angelic faces are touching - and disgusting. Your hypocrisy is transparent and nauseating.

You speak of disproportion. You want proportion? Give Israel a population of 300 million residing in 22 countries, similar to the Arab Muslims who surround and ambush Israel - instead of five and a half million Jews in one single country. There's plenty of "proportion" coming from your BBC, which delights in presenting one side of the story and picks up where Der Sturmer left off. Now, with this type of "news", we know how Europe was conditioned for a Holocaust.

Already we see Nights of Broken Glass. Thank you, Europe, for reminding us why America was discovered just in time (and why Israel was redeemed many generations too late). You dare judge Israel? In your deportations, your expulsions, your forced conversions, your inquisitions, your pogroms, you have no moral authority over Israel or even within your own borders. You gave all that up from 1492 to 1942.

To those on the Left who sought peace, well, dear peace-lovers, peace brought this on. "Land for Peace" made this happen, as Land for Peace became Land for Jihad. "Painful Concessions" caused this war.

"Goodwill Gestures" backfired. Want more "peace"? Give up the Golan Heights. Give up the entire West Bank. Give up Jerusalem. Imagine the "peace." As for those "innocent civilians" in Gaza, they were given a choice and they chose Hamas. They chose this pestilence.

As for those "refugee camps" - why are they "refugee camps" when Israel handed over all that territory for a nation to be built in peace and security alongside Israel? Why are all Palestinians automatically refugees even after they've been given a home? The only true refugees are the thousands of Israelis who were driven from Gaza and still live in trailer parks. No tears for them in this world that still dreams of Auschwitz.

On this day, in response to a column I wrote about Theresienstadt, someone responded that I was incorrect; that Theresienstadt was not a prelude to Auschwitz, but rather "a vacation resort." I wrote back wishing this person a lifetime in such vacation resorts. I wish the same lifetime vacation resorts to all those parading throughout the streets of Europe with banners crying, "Death to Israel."

God bless the IDF! Go Israel!

Jack Engelhard is the author of "The Bathsheba Deadline" and "Indecent Proposal", as well as the award-winning memoir of his experiences as a Jewish refugee from Europe, "Escape From Mount Moriah".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Laugh of the Day

This is a letter published in the Danbury News-Times on Friday, April 10, 2009. It was written by a dedicated hater of Israel, Gulamhusein A. Abba, who never lets either facts or logic stand in his way.

The heart of Abba's argument in this letter is that "only 65 rockets had been fired" by terrorists from Gaza into Israel during the early part of the so-called truce, prior to the time Israel broke up a terror attack in the making proving, "the truce had been implemented with surprising effectiveness by Hamas," and therefore there was no need for Israel to do anything further to protect its citizens other than simply let Gaza terrorists launch rockets whenever their hearts desired.

Israel chose destruction over calm and peace

Israel keeps claiming that its December-January invasion of Gaza was the only option left to it, to put an end to the mortars and rockets that Hamas keeps firing into Israel. That simply is not true.

There was, at the time, a truce between Israel and Hamas. This provided for the suspension by Hamas of firing rockets into Israel during the truce, in return for Israel easing its crippling siege and blockade against Gaza.

The truce had been going well. From the beginning of 2008 until June 19, Hamas fired 2,660 projectiles into Israel. From June 19, when the truce started, until Nov. 4, only 65 rockets had been fired. Israel's intelligence agencies acknowledged the truce had been implemented with surprising effectiveness by Hamas.

Clearly, strengthening and extending the truce was the way to go. Ephraim Halevy, former head of Mossad, wrote recently that the Israeli government could have stopped the rocket attacks long ago by lifting the siege on Gaza.

Regrettably, Israel not only failed to ease the strangling siege on Gaza, but it deliberately broke the truce. On Nov. 4, Israel Defense Forces went into Gaza and killed six Palestinians and injured six more.

In spite of this provocative violation of the truce by Israel, Hamas tried its best to make Israel agree to continue and extend the truce up to 10 years. For several days before the expiration of the truce, Hamas sought, through the good offices of Egypt, Jimmy Carter and others, to extend the truce.

But Israel, with callous disregard for Gaza and its inhabitants, and, more significantly, for the lives of its own citizens and territory, chose to spurn and ignore all overtures by Hamas to resume and even extend the truce.

Israel chose instead death and destruction over calm and peace. It decided to invade Gaza -- once again.

Gulamhusein A. Abba

Thank you, Mr. Abba, for providing some greatly needed humor.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Right and Wrong of Return

This was written by Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen of Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel in New Haven, Connecticut. An abbreviated version appeared in The New Haven Register on March 31, 2009

A seemingly intractable point of contention in Palestinian - Israeli negotiations is the claim of a sacrosanct "right of return," the right of any Palestinian to settle in Israel.

The claim is unrealizable because it defies the laws of physics and common sense. Here's why.

In the 1930s and 1940s, many Palestinians farmed small plots as sharecroppers on plots owned by Arabs in Damascus or Beirut; others farmed communal lands registered to local sheikhs. Few had clear land ownership records. In 1949, many farmers fled to avoid the war or at the urging of Arab leaders; some were chased out by the Irgun or Hagana. In the 1950s, Israel assigned unused farmland in the north to remaining Arab families.

In the intervening 60 years, the population of displaced Palestinians has skyrocketed. This is partly because the United Nations provides welfare benefits to anyone descended from a single displaced Palestinian, creating an incentive to identify as a "refugee" no matter what one's circumstances.

Most famously, Yasir Arafat claimed he was a Palestinian refugee from Jerusalem, when in fact he was born in Egypt while Israel was under British rule. Even Palestinians driving Mercedes and living in expansive homes enjoy a welfare package from the UN thanks to their status as permanent "refugees."

The Palestinian population explosion means that the four acres worked by farmer Ahmed in 1930 might have to be divided among his 60 descendants today, creating miniature plots too small to farm. As Fakhri Abu Diab, Director of Jerusalem's Al-Bustan Center, noted in the context of the Jerusalem municipality's restrictive building codes, "My parents had a house of 602 square feet. They had ten children, each of whom has married and had more children. Does the city really think that all of us can live in 602 square feet?" (Jerusalem Report, 30 March 2009, p. 13). (For reference, BEKI's George G. Posener Daily Chapel is about 1,000 square feet.)

Farmer Ahmed might also find that another Israeli Arab family is already working "his" land, or that his former farmland is now a fish pond, highway interchange or shopping mall. In the past 60 years, Israel has become about as developed as Connecticut. The world has changed.

In short, "returning" to the family's original farm or house is often physically impossible, or would mean displacing a new vast population of Israeli Arabs. The adherence to a "right of return" is akin to the notion of the resurrection of the dead, a religious view held deeply by many, including some Jewish sects. If there is bodily resurrection, what happens to people who had multiple spouses, missing body parts, or chronic pain?

Are all the dead who once lived in my house coming home? Those who believe in resurrection in this literal sense have no answer, other than "our Mighty God can manage it." That is fine for a matter of faith set to take place in the indefinite future, but not for a political program for which imminent implementation is sought.

If we agree that farmer Ahmed does not need to return to the exact plot he left, but will accept a substitute nearby, then why can't "nearby" be in the Palestinian territories, which are only nine miles from Tel Aviv, three miles from Afula, or one mile from Jerusalem, or in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and Jordan, or the uninhabited contiguous tracts of northern Sinai? Why insist on settling in Israel?

The "right of return," while deeply resonant in the hearts of those who feel dispossessed, is brought to the public forum specifically in order to deny Jews the very rights Palestinians demand for themselves. It seeks to displace Jews, who have every right to autonomy and safety in our small portion of historic Israel.

The majority of Palestinians are descendents of Bosnians, Armenians, Georgians and other Europeans who colonized during the 19th and 20th centuries, or Arabized Turks who came during the 300- year Ottoman (non-Arab) period immediately preceding British rule. This is a simple demographic fact, though not widely recognized. Many came during the time of Zionist development or British rule to enjoy the benefits of the economic growth that the Jews and British brought.

That is why so many Palestinians have Turkish, Egyptian and other foreign last names. That is why all of the cities and towns west of the Jordan River have original Hebrew, not Arabic, names. Even the name Palestine, imposed by the Romans to suppress Jewish identity, is not Arabic. Arabic doesn't even have the letter "P."

Those Arab families with the deepest roots in Palestine are descendents of the Arab conquerors. If conquest creates national autonomy rights, then the Israelis who "conquered" the land through population growth, immigration, development and defensive armed struggle must be declared the outright winners.

Connecticut was "white" well before Palestine was predominantly "Arab."

That is, Arab ethnicity came to dominate much of Palestine only in the past two hundred years. When Maimonides lived in Acco 850 years ago, French was the predominant language in Jerusalem.

None of this is to delegitimize Arab claims; after all, most of Israel's Jewish population is descended from immigrants from Arab countries, Africa and Europe. The fact that my great-great-great grandfather Dov ben Ze'ev lived in northern Israel does not give me a "first come" claim over people who subsequently lived there. But the notion that Arabs are somehow more "native" than Jews is an historical absurdity. Yet it is a notion that underlies much of the writing of the European and American press, and that is held dearly by some Palestinian proponents.

Nor does this detract from the valid claims of Palestinian Arabs to national autonomy in Palestine, civil rights in Israel, and human rights everywhere.

It does, though, detract from the offensive and hostile claim of exclusive rights.

The population of the State of Israel (its citizens), not counting the territories, includes about 18% Palestinian Arabs. Israel has defined itself as a state that embraces, or at least tolerates, a large non-Jewish minority. However, since the early 1920s, no Jews have been permitted to live in the balance of Mandatory Palestine, that is, Jordan; and no Jews are tolerated in the Palestinian territories west of the Jordan (Gaza and the West Bank). There is a certain asymmetry, in which Palestinians demand the right to live among Jews but refuse to grant the reciprocal right in return.

America is built on the ruins of native civilizations obliterated in genocidal conquest. I sympathize with Palestinians who, like whites in Connecticut, have enjoyed the fruits of their ancestors' conquests, only to find the once-vanquished nation rising again. Like post-frontier Americans, Palestinians must face up to their own history and let Jews live on the Jewish reservation in peace.

If Americans can claim the right to regulate the migration of Mexicans into Texas and New Mexico, or any of the millions who in theory should have just as much right to live on these shores as the native born, then surely Israel, like any society, has a right to define itself and protect itself from inundation by larger surrounding ethnic groups.

Some "working groups" of Israelis and Palestinians have proposed that Palestinians can be mollified with some symbolic implementation of this "right of return." Even the settler's movement, in its plan to annex certain Palestinian populations and the land on which they reside, has acknowledged that "The State of Israel can digest an additional 4% [of Arab citizens] (out of 7.3 million) without a drastic impact on its Jewish character" (Adi Mintz, Nequda May 2006). Will the Palestinians then recognize the right of Jews to live anywhere in historic Palestine?

Ultimately, peace and pragmatism must override theoretical claims of right by all parties.

Let the "right of return" mean the right of any Palestinian to settle in the ample Palestinian-controlled territories. Once Palestinians reconcile to living in peace with Israelis, they will find that they have no better friends than their Israeli neighbors. Israel is eager to share agricultural, medical and other technology, offer a hundred thousand good jobs, and celebrate the uniqueness of each nation.

Misdirected Anger

On March 26, The New Haven Register published a typical example of an Israel hater's missive railing at Israel for defending itself while deliberately ignoring the crimes of the Palestinian Arabs.

This particular screed is among the more extreme examples in that the writer claims anger about what were in reality two accidental injuries incurred by anti-Israel activists in the course of violently supporting Arab terror while he totally ignores the dozens of deliberate murders of innocent Americans by Palestinian Arab terrorists.

This entry includes the article published along with two responses, one published by The Ledger and one submitted but not published.

[This was the screed published by The New Haven Register on March 26. The photograph is one taken of the author and another Israel-hater who courageously covered his face while they were picketing a speech given at the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. ]


How much violence against Americans overseas will U.S. accept?

By Stanley Heller

Stanley Heller produces the TV news magazine 'The Struggle.' He can be reached at or MECC, Box 3626, Woodbridge 06525.

HERE'S a riddle. When is an American not an American? Answer: When he or she opposes crimes committed by Israel.

Tristan Anderson of Oakland, Calif., stood in a Palestinian village, Ni'lin, taking photographs March 13. He was shot in the head by a special high-velocity tear gas grenade and is grievously injured.

He wasn't hurt by an Arab 'terrorist.' He was shot by someone in the Israeli army, which the United Nations says is illegally occupying the West Bank of Palestine.

Anderson was in the village taking part in a demonstration against theft of land. The Israelis intend to take a quarter of the village land and give it to Jewish-only settlements.

Now, you might think our government's leaders would be screaming bloody murder about what was done to an innocent American. Think back to 1994, when an American who committed vandalism in Singapore was to be caned on his buttocks. Practically every politician in the country was outraged, and said so. Even President Bill Clinton made a statement.

When Israel is involved, it's all different.

On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie of Washington state was run over and killed by a bulldozer in the Gaza Strip while trying to prevent Israelis from knocking down a Palestinian's house. American and British eyewitnesses saw the bulldozer operator watch Corrie as he plowed over her, yet the Israeli investigation ruled it was an accident. No Israeli was
punished in any way for the killing. The U.S. government did
nothing for her family.

Now, it's Tristan Anderson's turn to face abandonment by his government.

He suffered a large hole in his forehead. Part of his brain had to be removed. An eye is severely damaged.

The tear gas grenade that hit him from less than 60 meters is a new-generation weapon. It can be shot over 500 meters because the grenade is self-propelling.

What are American politicians saying about this outrage? U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd says nothing. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro says nothing. U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman? You might as well expect it to snow in Stamford in July.

What about the State Department, which is charged with protecting American citizens overseas.?

On a TV show, Andrew Parker, U.S. consul general in Tel Aviv, said the State Department was 'concerned,' that it was awaiting an Israeli government report and that the United States had issued travel warnings about Israel.

That's it. After all, the United States is a powerless country. It only gives Israel billions of dollars every year and every advanced weapon in the book. What's the United States to do to protect its citizens against Israel.?

I videotaped a similar West Bank demonstration in 2007. It was in Bil'in, which is fairly near Ni'lin. Palestinians, international supporters and more than a few Jewish Israelis walked with banners toward the separation wall, or as some Palestinians call it, 'the Annexation Wall.' Before they got anywhere near it, Israeli armed forces started shooting hundreds of tear gas grenades and rubber coated bullets. A Palestinian was shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

The violence being used against demonstrators is getting worse.

In Ni'lin, demonstrators are met with live bullets. One was shot in the leg the same day Anderson was injured. Four Palestinians have been killed in the last year, the youngest 11 years old. Demonstrators face being shot at with 'skunk,' which is described in the Jerusalem Post as a 'foul-smelling liquid' and is believed to be sewage water. 'A terrible stench - the smell of a rotting, dead animal,' said Dr. David Nir, an Israeli peace campaigner. 'Like jumping headfirst into a sewer.' Ni'lin actually made it to the news in the United States last July. An Israeli soldier shot a Palestinian protester who was under arrest, handcuffed, blindfolded and standing next to him.

This would have been ignored except for a youth with a camcorder, who caught it all and put it on YouTube.

The guilty soldier got a slap on the hand, eventually.

Anderson is 37 years old. He faces the possibility of many operations, loss of the eye and permanent disfigurement.

Will some American in government speak up for him? Are you listening, President Barack Obama?

[The following letter in response was published by The New Haven Register on April 4.]

Palestinian killings don't spark outrage

Forum columnist Stanley Heller's outrage over an American's accidental injury in Israel is hypocritical and misplaced.

Heller expresses no outrage for the numerous Americans murdered by brutal Palestinian terrorism who, like Israelis targeted every day, were eating in restaurants, studying at university, riding the bus or enjoying an evening out when killed in cold blood.

Instead, Heller focuses on Tristan Anderson, injured by Israeli soldiers during a volatile demonstration. Anderson put himself in harm's way by participating in clashes that included masked demonstrators and stone throwing.

Anderson was working with the International Solidarity Movement, whose conduct and objectives involve much more than nonviolent protests. It is well-organized and spreads propaganda and misinformation about Israel and expresses vocal support for violent resistance.

In 2002, its co-founders wrote that they 'accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms' and that Palestinian resistance 'must take on a variety of characteristics - both nonviolent and violent.'

In March 2003, Israeli troops raided its offices in Jenin and captured a senior member of Islamic Jihad hiding in the office who had planned foiled attacks on Israelis.

When faced with such threats, Israel has the right to respond. Israel's response to the demonstrations at Ni'lin and elsewhere has been remarkably restrained, and use of tear gas and 'skunk' gas underscore the lengths to which Israel goes to minimize injury.

The Israeli government fully investigates every rare instance of injury to demonstrators, expressing regret in each case and condemnation where appropriate. In contrast, Palestinian terrorists are championed and celebrated.

David Waren

Editor's note: David Waren is Connecticut regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

[The following letter was submitted to The New Haven Register but has not been published.]

To the editor:

With his March 26 op-ed, "How much violence against Americans overseas will U.S. accept?," anti-Israel activist Stanley Heller demonstrates he suffers from a severe case of misplaced and selective outrage.

Heller rails about the largely self-induced injuries of Rachel Corrie and Tristan Anderson but remains silent about the deliberate murder of dozens of innocent Americans by the same Palestinian Arab terrorists Corrie and Anderson were heartily supporting.

As far back as 2003, when "militants" murdered John Branchizio, Mark Parson and John Martin Linde while they were riding in an American diplomatic convoy trying to provide Fulbright Scholarships for Arabs living in Gaza, Palestinian "freedom fighters" had already murdered 51 innocent Americans in a ten year period.

Corrie had recently burned a mock American flag at a Hamas rally when she apparently slipped and was crushed under a pile of rocks while trying to protect the tunnels being used by Hamas to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza. (The explosives used to murder Branchizio, Parson and Linde were probably smuggled in through those tunnels.)

Anderson was accidentally injured by a tear gas canister as police tried to contain a violent protest in which he was participating.

These self-induced accidents are regrettable, but it is the deliberate murder of dozens of innocent Americans by Palestinian Arab terrorists which merits outrage and the question "How much violence against Americans overseas will the United States accept?"

Alan Stein