Israelis roar into 21st century while Diaspora Jewry continues to wallow in their 20th century anxiety and inferiority complex

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Zionism and the Changing Global Structure

Redacted from an article by David Hazony
Exec Dir, The Israel Innovation Fund

With Adam Scott Bellos

The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2017

There is nothing more weird than the gap between the American Jewish conversation about Israel, on the one hand, and the real day-to-day lives of Israelis on the other.

American Jews are re-litigating the twentieth century, while Israelis are living the twenty-first.

American Jews ask: will Israel make peace or live forever by the sword? Why does the occupation never end? Will anti-semitism destroy us all? Do Jews have a right to every inch of the biblical lands? Will Netanyahu cause a break with American Jews? Will Israel’s democracy be ruined by demography? How will the tiny Jewish state survive against an ocean of enemies? These are questions Israelis have mostly stopped asking, and American Jews cannot understand why.

The answer is that everything has changed. The strategic, economic and cultural opportunities facing Israel have drowned out the existential threats. The old anxieties have been overrun by both Israel’s successes and failures.

Successes: it is now a vibrant and powerful country, and its power has changed the thinking of national governments not just in Europe but also across the Arab world. Today Israel has only one real strategic enemy – Iran, which has been the force behind all of Israel’s wars in the past decade-and-a-half.

Economically, the Jewish state has become a global leader in technology, from agriculture to autonomous vehicles. It has solved its two biggest problems of nature: water and energy. Culturally, it has become an exporter in everything from film to art to wine to architecture to electronic music.

Israelis now count their Nobel prizes the way Jews used to.

But also failures: the Yom Kippur war and the Oslo Accords taught Israelis about the horror that flows from self-delusion. The endless Palestinian terrorism has taught them that not every malady can be cured, that some must instead be managed.

Rabin’s assassination proved the danger of messianic frenzy. Socialism sank in a sea of red ink.

Yet as Israelis are busy doing Zionism – building a prosperous, forward-facing, secure Jewish state – and Americans are wringing their hands about Zionism; nobody is really engaged in new Zionist thought.

The last serious attempt to reinvent Zionism from the Right, as a theological movement built on settlement of Judea and Samaria, collapsed with Rabin’s assassination and the Gaza withdrawal, both so long ago that new IDF recruits don’t remember them. The last attempt to reinvent it from the Left collapsed with the failure of Oslo and the Second Intifada. Failures left only one path forward: just live and succeed and stop trying to explain it all.

The result is a strange combination. As a project, Zionism is roaring. As a vision, however, it is coasting.

Israel has made its choices: security over messianic peace-seeking, capitalism over socialism, pragmatism over utopia. The country exists, and its foundations are now stronger than those of many other developed democracies.

American deliberations about Israel’s “right to exist” suggest a surplus of spare time and an absence of imagination. Israelis do not struggle with the questions that grip American Jews because they have been resolved, by choice or by history, or left permanently unanswered, which is also an answer.

More urgent than answering old questions, however, is the quest for new ones.

What should Israel’s role be in the coming century – not just for Jews, but for the world? A century that began with terrorism and the tech bubble, and will likely see economic upheaval resulting from automation and artificial intelligence, and societal upheaval from the shattering of national and communal identities – this is the world that a Jewish state must find its place in if it is to survive.

The new Zionism will focus less on statecraft and more on expansive creativity. Put another way: Zionism’s last century was about creating the conditions for Jewish survival in a sovereign state; its next century will be about thriving, building outward, and sharing with the world.

The next phase of human history will turn on creativity. As machines replace men (there will be no cab drivers, coal miners, or preparers of fast food in 30 years), wealth and power will rest increasingly on humankind’s singular added value: the new thought.

As the global economic structure shifts, new great powers will rise. Smaller countries will be less impeded by their lack of manpower. Larger ones will suffer if they cannot be flexible and make swift changes. The question of national agility will come to dominate the historical ledger. The next phase in Zionism will have to address Israel’s place in this new world.

Westerners have only recently started to feel the heat coming from the creative furnace that drives the Israeli soul.

“Start-Up Nation” opened a window to a different Israel from the one you hear about on the news.

Yet start-ups are only one outward manifestation of what is a much deeper role Israel will play. Israel could more aptly be called the “Creative State”: in everything from social programs and unique nonprofits to music and television and medical and cognitive and culinary sciences, Israelis are everywhere applying their brash, do-it-differently style to endlessly reinventing life.

Israeli culture has no patience for how things have been done in the past. There is no Hebrew expression for “best practices.” The assumption that someone else has figured things out for us in advance is anathema in the Creative State. The affirmation of life requires constant change. Soar, or sink.

Israelis, in other words, are the Jews of the 21st century.

How did this happen? And why now? From its beginning, Israel has lived in a permanent state of “innovate or die.” The knowledge that Jews never have the luxury of a quiet life. That self-criticism does not have to undermine unity; on the contrary, it can be the glue that binds our collective confidence that we are on the best path possible.

That if we are going to beat the odds, we will need to find new ways to build a military, to find water and energy, to absorb immigrants, to speak and think and live.

Both businesses and non-profits in Israel are at the cutting edge of everything that makes life better. This is not, as the haters stupidly suggest, a question of branding. Israelis do not leave their families suddenly to jump on airplanes and race to sites of natural disasters around the world for the sake of building their global image. They do it out of a genuine belief that life is good, that with experience and ability come obligation, and that using your mind to offer urgent and effective help, and to build yourself in the process, is just how you are raised.

Little-known fact: Israelis are second only to Americans in charitable giving as a percentage of GDP. And they have a lot less disposable income.

And yes, the Creative State is a Jewish state, and not just because it’s full of Jews. Israel’s creativity emanates from a cultural predilection for restlessness, self-criticism and change that have characterized Jewish life for thousands of years. Israelis are, on the most profound level, Jews. Even, perhaps especially, those who are not Jewish.

The origins of it are deep in the Jewish soul and historical memory – a people that had to rapidly adapt to new situations and changing existential threats, a people who for whom creative thinking and mutual care correlated with survival. A people who, in their most profound and ancient moral teachings, found an organic and intuitive balance between Self and Other, between particularism and universalism, between utopian dreams and dark skepticism.

The Zionists were following millennia of Jewish traditions about the centrality of creativity and change to man’s place on earth. The Hebrew Bible – probably the first book to reach the masses in any language – did more than any other single work to change the course of human history.

With Zionism, all that creativity was channeled into a space of sovereign freedom and collective endeavor. Although it has taken more than a century for the world to see it, Zionism has always been about the Jews channeling the power of their creative-moral intellect into every facet of human life.

A new phase in both world and Jewish history requires new thought and new thinkers, asking questions of a nation blazing a new path for humanity. Israel will never have the world’s largest army, its most plentiful natural resources, or its biggest factories. But in our new world, a world of artificial intelligence and automation, it may not need them.

What it will always need – indeed, on this will its survival depend – is clarity of purpose, fidelity to its cultural soul and commitment to the continuity of its multi-millennial creativity that has brought about its successes until now.

What it needs is a new generation of Zionist thinkers and articulators, to help us understand where we are all going, and to remind us why.

David Hazony is an author and editor, and executive director of The Israel Innovation Fund. Adam Scott Bellos is an entrepreneur and CEO and founder of The Israel Innovation Fund.

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There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Donald Trump – Thank you very much.

On following article-  “Next year in Jerusalem”  Trump showed everyone he is not afraid to go against the grain and make good on his promise – declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel • No matter what government leads Israel or who heads it, Jerusalem will never be negotiable.

By Boaz Bismuth, “Israel Hayom” newspaper , 12-7-17  http://www.israelhayom.com/2017/12/07/next-year-in-jerusalem/

In summary of the article:……Trump is a strong man. He doesn’t get easily worked up. The American media has been attacking him with unprecedented force since his election, but he remains unfazed. The same is true about the pressure he has faced, both domestically and internationally, not to fulfill his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – from the various liberals at home, the “righteous” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the “enlightened” European countries, the Palestinian Authority that, once again, found a great excuse not make peace, and even from some soured Israeli leftists.

But the fact is that Trump could not for the life of him understand why his predecessors kept deferring, again and again, the recognition of something that everyone knows to be true!

Thank you, Mr. President, for this brave and historic decision. Thank you for applying your famous common sense to such a critical declaration on such a crucial issue – Jerusalem.

However, Obama seems like a distant nightmare. Obama was crowned the “messiah” when he first took office, hailed as the change that the world had been waiting for. He did, in fact, change the world – for the worse….. in October 2016, we were confronted with the shameful UNESCO decision to deny the link between the Jews and Jerusalem. What a change we are now seeing! Jerusalem has gone from being characterized as a settlement (its eastern part) to being recognized as Israel’s capital…

In that same shameful decision facilitated by Obama’s administration, the U.N. decided to unilaterally change the borders of Jerusalem. Now, the current American president has decided to recognize reality without dragging boundaries into the mix……..

… In case anyone has failed to notice, Trump is not a fan of procedural rituals, unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama. He is a man of action. Like he personally told me in Washington two days before his inauguration: “You know I’m not a man who breaks promises.”

On Wednesday, he fulfilled his promise, even if there is still a ways to go….
In this era, when the international community largely decides what is and isn’t acceptable, what is legitimate and what is wrong, and where the lines are to be drawn, the world is insisting on deciding for us where the Jewish capital is located – to them, it is Tel Aviv – a Jewish city. That is why Trump had to remind the world what friendship, reason and living up to your word looks like. …

Winston Churchill was one of the first leaders of the 20th century to recognize the holy bond between the rebirth of the Jewish state and Jerusalem, – In 1955 He said: “You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it is they who made it famous.”

The decision to recognize Jerusalem has put Trump in the same circle as Harry Truman, whose recognition of the Jewish state led the rest of world to follow suit. In the same way, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem will prompt the relocation of many embassies there.

To those threatening us with riots and wars, let us keep in mind that recognizing reality does not, in fact, change reality. That is an important rule of thumb. For decades, the U.S. has avoided coming out and saying what everyone already knows. This has done nothing to advance peace. On the contrary: it only demonstrated how

……..Trump managed to break from the policy of all his predecessors without undermining the status quo of the peace process, thereby turning the U.S. from a passive, easily affected actor into an unexpected player, free of the Obama administration’s affectations. There’s a new sheriff in town, and this one is also the fastest gun in the West.

(www.israel-commentary.org)

The Reality of Jerusalem by President Donald Trump

The Reality of Jerusalem

Trump honors a campaign pledge on the Israeli capital.

The Israeli and the U.S. flags are seen projected on the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Dec. 6.
The Israeli and the U.S. flags are seen projected on the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Dec. 6. PHOTO: OREN ZIV/ZUMA PRESS

President Trump honored a campaign pledge on Wednesday when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision is hardly the radical policy departure that critics claim, and Mr. Trump accompanied it with an embrace of the two-state solution for Palestine that Presidents of both parties have long supported.

Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1995 in a bill President Clinton declined to veto. Other Presidents have agreed in principle, and even campaigned on it, but in office they used a waiver to put off any formal recognition or move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The difference is that Mr. Trump apparently meant what he said as a candidate.

Mr. Trump called his decision on Wednesday “a recognition of reality,” and he’s right. Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court and the president and prime minister’s residences are housed in Jerusalem, and U.S. Presidents and Secretaries of State meet their Israeli counterparts there.

Yet official U.S. policy is that both Israel and the Palestinians must agree on the future status of Jerusalem, since the Palestinians claim the city as their capital too. President Trump isn’t taking sides on that issue. The White House proclamation acknowledges that “Jerusalem is a highly-sensitive issue” and doesn’t distinguish between West Jerusalem, which houses Israel’s government, and East Jerusalem, which Israel has administered since the 1967 Six Day War.

Mr. Trump combined his Embassy move with renewed intent to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and he doesn’t rule out a Palestinian state as part of the solution. Administration officials reiterated that intention Wednesday, saying progress is being made behind the scenes. Color us skeptical given the long history of failure, but the U.S. is trying.

One way the Palestinian Authority could signal a new seriousness would be to stop paying the families of Palestinians who kill innocent Israelis. The House passed the Taylor Force Act Tuesday, which would reduce U.S. aid to the Palestinians until they renounce pay-for-slay payments. A Senate vote may follow this month.

Arab leaders denounced the Embassy move, but we wonder how long the fury will last. The Sunni Arabs also confront the threats of Islamic terrorism and Iranian imperialism, and the Palestinians are a third order concern. If the movement of an American Embassy that was signaled more than 20 years ago is enough to scuttle peace talks, then maybe the basis for peace doesn’t yet exist.

Appeared in the December 7, 2017, print edition.

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Mueller’s Endgame: Impeachment of President Donald Trump

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(Redacted from an in-depth shocking exposure of the deep, very dirty Washington D.C.  swamp with a special council who is an integral part of it.)     jsk

By ANDREW C. MCCARTHY

December 2, 2017 4:00 AM

The end game is the removal of Trump, either by impeachment or by publicly discrediting him and making his re-election politically impossible.

Here’s what I’d be tempted to do if I were President Trump: I’d direct the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, including any Obama-administration collusion in that enterprise.

I would make sure to call it a “counterintelligence investigation,” putting no limitations on the special counsel — just as with the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been unleashed to conduct into Trump “collusion” with Russia.

That is, I would not restrict the prosecutor and investigators to digging for specified criminal violations. Or, indeed, any criminal violations. I’d just tell the special counsel, “Have at it” — with unbound authority to scrutinize the negotiations surrounding the eventual Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Would I really expect the special counsel to find that Obama officials conspired with the mullahs to obtain nukes for Tehran? No . . . but hey, as the “Trump collusion with Russia” crowd says, “You never know.”

Meantime, under the guise of investigating this highly unlikely “collusion,” I’d want the special counsel to scrutinize closely any variances between what Obama-administration officials were telling Congress and the public about the negotiations and what they were telling the Iranians; to probe any side deals the administration agreed to but failed to disclose to Congress; and to consider whether any laws or policies were violated in such matters as President Obama’s payment of a cash ransom in exchange for American hostages held by Iran.

Why would I do this? Well, because I disagree with Obama administration foreign policy, of course.

Under the Mueller “collusion” precedent, it is evidently now American practice to criminalize foreign policy disputes under the pretext of conducting a counterintelligence investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disclosed no factual predicate calling for a criminal investigation from which Trump’s Justice Department would be ethically required to recuse itself.

Instead, Mueller’s investigation was rationalized by the need to conduct a counterintelligence inquiry into Russia’s “cyber-espionage” meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s investigation was not a criminal investigation. It started out as a fishing expedition, under the vaporous heading of “collusion,” into “contacts” between Russian officials and Trump associates — notwithstanding that collusion is not conspiracy and that it was perfectly legal for Trump associates to have contacts with Russia (just like Clinton associates did).

See, we’re not following the normal rules, in which a prosecutor is assigned only after evidence of an actual crime has emerged. We’re in the wooly realm of counterintelligence, where anything goes. And in the event our aggressive prosecutor can’t find any crimes — which would be no surprise, since the investigation was not triggered by a crime — no matter:

The special counsel is encouraged to manufacture crimes through the investigative process. Misleading assertions by non-suspects made to investigators probing non-crimes can be charged as felony false statements.

The end game of the investigation is the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency, either by impeachment (which does not require proof of a court-prosecutable crime) or by publicly discrediting Trump to such a degree that his reelection becomes politically impossible.

Nevertheless, Trump’s victory caused consternation in the Obama administration for two reasons. First, and most obviously, Obama did not want his policies reversed. Second, neither Obama nor his party could abide a judgment of history holding that the election of Trump, the bane of their existence, was a result of the American people’s rejection of the Obama agenda and of Hillary Clinton, the hapless candidate nominated by Democrats to carry that agenda forward.
One major Obama-administration priority was to solidify the policy of blaming Israel for the enduring Israeli–Palestinian conflict — specifically, downplaying the ideological roots of Palestinian terrorism and framing as the real culprit Israeli settlement-building in disputed territories that Obama, like Israel’s enemies, regarded as illegally “occupied.”

Thus, in his administration’s coup de grace, Obama orchestrated a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity — a stark departure (as I wrote at the time) from America’s commitment to Israel’s security and policy of shielding Israel from such U.N. intrigues.
Flynn informed his counterparts that Trump opposed the resolution — which opposition, by the way, Trump was quite clear about publicly. Flynn encouraged them to vote against the resolution, or at least delay it until Trump would assume office in January. The Obama administration used the weeks following the election to protect Obama’s priorities from Trump and to promote a narrative that Clinton’s defeat was the result of collaboration between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

The FBI knew there was no suggestion, in any of the activities just described, that Flynn or Trump had anything to do with Russian espionage. There was no evidence that Flynn had committed a crime.. The ongoing Mueller probe is not a good-faith investigation of suspected espionage or other crime.

 

It is the exploitation of the executive’s intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement powers in order to (a) criminalize Trump political policies with which the Obama administration disagreed and (b) frame Clinton’s electoral defeat as the product of a traitorous scheme rather than a rejection of Democratic-party priorities …

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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The Long and Short of Hillary and Uranium One

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By Andrew P. Napolitano – – 

The Washington Times

November 15, 2017

The Department of Justice will soon commence an investigation to determine whether there should be an investigation (you read that nonsense correctly) of a scandal involving the Clinton Foundation and a company called Uranium One.

It appears that FBI decisions made during the time that Hillary Clinton was being investigated for espionage will also be investigated to see whether there should be an investigation to determine whether she was properly investigated. (Again, you read that nonsense correctly.) Only the government can relate nonsense with a straight face.

Here is the back story.

When President Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey last spring, the attorney general’s stated purpose for recommending the firing was Mr. Comey’s dropping the ball in the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email when she was secretary of state.

After a year of investigating her use of her own computer servers to transmit and store classified materials instead of using a government server to do so — and notwithstanding a mountain of evidence of her grossly negligent exposure of secret and top-secret materials, which constitutes the crime of espionage — the FBI director decided that because no reasonable prosecutor would take the case, it should be dropped. Weeks later, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ratified Mr. Comey’s decision.

At the same time that Mrs. Clinton was failing to safeguard state secrets, she was granting official State Department favors to donors to her family’s charitable foundation. There are dozens of examples of this so-called “pay to play,” the most egregious of which is the Uranium One case. This involved a Canadian businessman and friend of former President Bill Clinton’s, Frank Giustra, who bundled donations from various sources that totaled $148 million, all of which Mr. Giustra gave to the Clinton Foundation.

At the same time that Mr. Giustra made this extraordinary donation, he was representing a client that needed federal permission to purchase a 51 percent stake in Uranium One, which then controlled about 20 percent of America’s licensed uranium mining capacity.

Mrs. Clinton freely gave Mr. Giustra’s client the State Department’s approval, and it soon acquired the remaining approvals to make the purchase. Mr. Giustra’s client is a Russian corporation controlled by the Kremlin.

When the FBI got wind of the Giustra donation and Mrs. Clinton’s approval and the Kremlin involvement, it commenced an investigation of whether Mrs. Clinton had been bribed.

At some point during former President Barack Obama’s second term, that investigation was terminated. We do not know whether the investigating FBI agents learned that the Clinton Foundation was not even registered as a charity by the states in which it was doing business or authorized by them to receive tax-free donations.

At the same time that the FBI was looking into Uranium One, American and British intelligence agents were surveilling Donald Trump. The belated stated purpose of that surveillance was to ascertain whether the future president or his colleagues were engaged in any unlawful activity by accepting campaign favors from foreign nationals or were improperly assisting foreign intelligence agents to interfere with the presidential election.

One of the foreign nationals whose communications were captured during that surveillance was Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States. He spoke with Michael Flynn, then the national security adviser to President-elect Trump.

Mysteriously, portions of a transcript of those intercepted communications were published in The Washington Post.

Another foreign national who caught the FBI’s attention is a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele. Mr. Steele had compiled a dossier about, among other things, alleged inappropriate behavior by Mr. Trump in a Moscow hotel room years earlier. After offering Mr. Steele $50,000 to corroborate his dossier, the FBIbacked down.

After being confronted by irate Republican members of the House and Senate judiciary committees, who demanded to know why the investigations of these matters had been terminated, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed that he has asked career DOJ lawyers to commence an investigation of all of the above to determine whether an independent counsel should be appointed to investigate all of the above.

This is the investigation to determine whether there should be an investigation. This is also the DOJ’s reluctance to do its job.

Can the government investigate itself? The short answer is yes, and it has done so in the past. But it hardly needs an investigation to determine whether there should be an investigation. The job of the DOJ is to investigate probable violations of federal law. Mr. Sessions should not shy away from this and should not push it off to another independent counsel.

We have one independent counsel already because his target — let’s be candid — is the president of the United States. That is a potato too hot for the DOJ. But Hillaryand Bill Clinton, the FBI’s tampering with the political process, and the use of intelligence-captured communications for political purposes are not. It is profoundly the duty of the DOJ — using its investigatory arm, the FBI — to investigate all this.

Whatever Mr. Comey’s motive for not prosecuting Mrs. Clinton and the DOJ’s ratification of it, the current DOJ is not bound by these erroneous decisions. The evidence in the public domain of Mrs. Clinton’s espionage and bribery is more than enough to be presented to a grand jury. The same cannot be said about FBI involvements with the Steele dossier or the use of intelligence data for political purposes, because we don’t yet know who did it, so we need aggressive investigation.

But none of this presents the type of conflict that exists when the president is a target, and none of this requires an independent counsel. All of this simply requires the DOJ to get to work.

That is, unless the lawyers in the leadership of this DOJ are fearful of investigating their predecessors for fear that their successors might investigate them. Whoever harbors those fears has no place in government.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution.

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Favorable American Moves Shouldn’t Change Israel’s Red Lines

Weekly Commentary:
Dr. Aaron Lerner 30 November, 2017

If President Trump were to honor his campaign promise and move the American embassy to Jerusalem it would be the right thing to do.  But it wouldn’t change the fundamentals on what should and should not be acceptable for Israel in a “deal” with the Palestinians.

It would not even change the fundamentals on what concessions of a permanent nature Israel should and should not make to the Palestinians prior to such a “deal”.

And for good reason.

Whether the American embassy is in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv the fundamental problems with having a sovereign Palestinian state remain just that: fundamental.

A sovereign Palestinian state remains a sovereign state even if it openly declares the agreements that they signed as part of the package that facilitated its creation null and void.

And the Palestinians would be smart enough to find ways to trash the agreements without an explicit declaration.

And they would continue to be a sovereign state.

By the same token, permanent “pre deal” concessions that either cede control over parts of Area A or introduce a greater Palestinian presence in Area A can’t be justified as a quid pro quo for an embassy move or other favorable moves.

We are here for the long haul.

We simply cannot afford to fritter away our assets no matter how friendly or supportive an acting president may be.

________________________________________
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis

Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations

Website: www.imra.org.il

The New Anti-Semitism at the New School

The New Anti-Semitism at the New School

 
Hatred gets a respectable cap and gown

 
By Phyllis Chesler at Tablet Magazine      11/27/17

 
In 1969, I received my doctoral degree from the New School. In those days, few did. The expectations, the standards, were notoriously high.

 

Founded by John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen, The New School hosted an eminent American and European expatriate professoriate that included Franz Boas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hans Jonas, Maynard Keynes, Margaret Mead, Erwin Piscator, and, in my field (psychology), Karen Horney and Erich Fromm—and my most beloved professors: Nathan Brody, Mary Henle, Ausma Rabe, Robert Terwilliger, and Bernard Weitzman.

And now, I would like to return my degree—but the New School I once knew and respected no longer exists. Yes, many of the professors are still “distinguished”—they have all the right publishers and prizes—and yet, what they utterly lack is even the speck of moral imagination required to refrain from giving their imprimatur to a rather rough bunch of Jew-haters.

WHO IS FINDING THEIR WAY INTO AMERICAN STUDENTS’ MINDS?
Nov 28, 2017  Posted By Sarah Stern In Anti-Semitism, ArticlEs, BDS, Israel

Congress will soon re-authorize Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act, a bill that was first introduced as the National Defense Education Act of 1958. The original legislative intent was to cultivate a consortium of university graduates who were best equipped to deal with the Soviet threat during the Cold War.
It was at a time when people in Washington began to notice how woefully ignorant American students were about foreign languages and cultures, so they crafted legislation that created regional studies departments—African Studies, Asian Studies,

 

Latin Studies and Middle Eastern Studies—to educate our nation’s youngsters to equip them with the necessary tools to best deal with our adversaries

 

But somehow, through the years, the original legislative intent of these programs has been turned on its head. Today, the U.S. government pours $65.1 million annually into various regional studies centers run by staffers who overwhelmingly possess strong anti-American and anti-Western biases that they are communicating to their students.

Even more pernicious is that in order to receive the grant, college professors must conduct workshops for librarians and for teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade. A study of the educational materials used in these teacher training workshops amounts to nothing more than “trickle down propaganda.”

 

The Middle Eastern Studies programs widely use a supplementary curriculum guide by Audrey Shabbas, called “The Arab World Studies Notebook”—a joint publication by the Middle East Policy Council, which receives its funding directly from Saudi Arabia, and the Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services, which is bankrolled by Saudi Aramco, the oil conglomerate.

 

When leafing through “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” one can easily find instructions on what the Quran teaches, including a lesson on the Quran’s commandments, descriptions of the five pillars of the Muslim faith, glorifications of Muhammad, instructions on how to turn a classroom into a mosque and suggestions to “make a field trip” to such a place of worship. (One wonders if the ACLU would have long ago intervened if a Christian or Jewish teacher’s guide offered such blatant religious instructions.)

 

 

In the section on “Palestine,” complete untruths are told that are presented as though they are unassailable facts. For example, the material claims that “the Jews wanted to drive out all the Arabs.” And just in case one is not determined to intellectually accept the anti-Israel bias, the student is reached emotionally through the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish.
Darwish’s poems, including “Identity Card,” are as one-sided as they are emotionally galvanizing, such as:
Write Down!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks.
So will the State take them
As has been said?!
Saudi Arabia is not the only Islamic nation that is finding, or rather funding, its way into the minds of America’s youngest, most vulnerable, most impressionable children. In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Qatar—a state which has long provided funding and logistical support for Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the al-Nusra Front and the Taliban—has been providing $30.6 million directly to school districts from New York to Oregon.

 

One has to wonder why the Muslim world, with a startling illiteracy rate of nearly 40 percent, has such an avid interest in the education of American youngsters.

 

Even though the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), the organization that I founded, had worked in 2008 to amend Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act to “provide a diversity of perspectives,” any review of the writings of the professors of the Middle East programs demonstrates a profound anti-American and anti-Israeli bias.

 

Take for example a Nov. 14 facebook post by Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University’s Middle Eastern Studies Program. Posted under a photo of Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it reads, “There is a reason why a small gang of European Zionists could land in Palestine and in broad daylight of history steal it under the feet of Palestinians.” Dabashi continued, “Like a rich brat teenager…[Salman] hides behind the wing of his Israeli and American protectors and benefactors, buys them with his windblown wealth, so that Jared Kushner’s Zionist kins can kill and rob Palestinians even more as they enable him to slaughter Yemeni women and children apace.”

 

It is simply appalling that our taxpayers’ dollars are helping to fund a professor with such blatant biases. This policy must end. Beyond that, no foreign government should be paying their way into the precious minds of our American students—either directly as Qatar does, or indirectly through Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act.

 

As long as our American youngsters receive this poisonous propaganda as a paltry substitute for a solid education of the region, we will never learn to acknowledge and appreciate the extremist ideology of radical Islam that is trying to defeat us. Our enemy has never relented in pursuit of its hegemonic aspirations, and we will be, once again, caught off guard.

 

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The Shambles of the Middle East by Dr. Yoram Ettinger

Redacted by Jerome S. Kaufman from an in-depth discussion by:

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger
Shabbat November 11, 2017 – Cheshvan 22, 5778

We were delighted to once again have Professor Yoram Ettinger, political analyst nonpareil, address us following the Shabbat services.

What exactly did Ambassador Ettinger say?

He began by relating his political discussion to the weekly parsha (portion) of the Hebrew Bible. The parsha of the week was Chai Sura – The Life of the Matriarch Sarah, the wife of the first Jew, Abraham and thus the First Lady of the Jews.

Sara instinctively knew Ishmael, son of Hagar, Sara’s hand maiden, would not be a proper son to carry on Abraham’s work with G-d establishing monotheism using the Hebrews  as his chosen people. She consequently, a few years after the birth of Yitschak, had Ishmael and his mother Hagar exiled from the land.

Professor Ettinger lamented thatm unlike Sarah, there is a critical lack of American and world foresight in dealing with genuine threats to their own very existence — Iran, Russian and North Korea.

To make matters worse, US and world powers muddy their own waters further by somehow bringing Israel’s 100 plus year conflict with the Arabs into the equation as contributory to the problem. In fact, there is no correlation whatever. Israel’s prowess and military strength is instead a huge part of the required solution rather then any part of the problem.

In a supreme act of delusion, the US, via Barack Obama, engineered the disastrous Iran nuclear deal despite the outspoken warnings of Bibi Netanyahu addressing a joint session of the US Congress.

The deal not only recognized Iran’s nuclear program but also contributed billions of dollars into the Iranian economy. As expected, these huge funds were not used for the benefit of the Iranian people but rather they expedited development of Iran’s nuclear program.

These new weapons are already aimed at US military installations and of course, at Israel, planning to actuate its bellicose promises to destroy the Jewish state.

By contrast, the Arab states in the immediate area – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Republics, Yemen, Oman, Jordan and Egypt – fully understand the threat to their own existence and are disenchanted with the United States any longer having their backs. As a result, huge steps of rapprochement with Russia have been taken — even buying billions of dollars in Russian military equipment.

These Arab nations agree with Ambassador Ettinger’s statement that Iran’s machete although not quite yet at the throat of the US or Western Europe, it is literally directly at the throat of the surrounding Arab states.

The dubious decision-making and lack of foresight of the US State Department is replete with egregious political errors that have created the current disaster. The original faux pax was promoting the toppling of the Shah of Iran in 1979 – a tried and true friend of the West. The Iranian Muslim extremist Ayatollahs quickly took total control of the country and imposed Sharia law upon the entire population. The friendly, cooperative, mutually beneficial cooperation with the West quickly vanished.

 

Another frightening development has been the recent visit of the Saudi King to Russia’s Putin. The music coming out of the current White House, especially accompanied by President Trump’s visit to Riyadh is a welcome, much more acceptable state of affairs to the Saudis than the  “leadership from behind” of Barack Obama.  But, the Gulf Arab nations await any real “walk” to accompany President Trump’s “talk” while none so far has appeared.

Unfortunately, the American State Dept. is once again attempting to use the Israel/PA “peace” process as a fall guy for their current failures all over the world so cleverly engineered by Obama during his entire eight year term.

President Trump is trying valiantly to correct this deliberate disaster despite the mindless opposition of the American media that remains totally occupied instead in attempting to get Hillary Clinton into the White House. How they consider that a step forward is beyond any figment of the imagination.

The Saudis are well aware of this disconnect between reality of the Middle East and the Israel/PA impasse. They have suddenly demonstrated their unqualified interest in resuming a relationship with Israel that is in their mutual best interests and has nothing to do with a phantom, relatively recently invented “Palestinian” people.  Israel’s long delayed building of settlements on land that was supposed to be Israel in the first place has certainly nothing to do with any of it.

The US State Department unfortunately, sticks to its original obtuse concepts of Arabs’ real goals, the Middle East and the PA/Israeli conflict. It does not allow the facts to get in the way regardless of gargantuan changes in circumstances, current events and a true knowledge and understanding of the history of the Middle East.
Instead, the State Dept. has always taken the position that US relations with the 21 Arab states is far more important than that with Israel. Knowledgeable military experts have rather considered Israel the indispensable virtual American aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. It has always been a bulwark against Russian aggression and now is the primary US opposition to Iran’s ceaseless attempt to overpower the entire area.

The State Dept. also labors under the total illusion that since a large part of Israel’s current population came from Russia, they must all be Communists! Talk about obtuse! In fact, only 4 members of the 120 Knesset members belong to the Communist Party which barely exists and is hardly a threat to the American State Dept. or anyone else.

Furthermore, it was the US State Dept. that explicitly gave the green light through their US Ambassador, for Saddam’s invasion and take over of Kuwait, thus initiating the first Gulf War and the later dismantling of Iraq and unopposed growth of Iran.

It was also the Dept. of State that enthusiastically supported the Oslo Accords demanding Israel’s complete compliance with the agreement while the Palestinians have not observed any part of their obligations whatever.

The Dept. of State also vigorously opposed Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 which ultimately saved thousands of American soldier’s lives and insured the US victory in the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein.

Finally, the State Dept.’s latest miscalculation was opposing Israel’s bombing of an impending nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. One can only imagine the catastrophe that would have resulted to this day if that reactor were still in place.

State’s latest and most destructive gambit is the virtually unfettered Obama Iran Nuclear Agreement. Hopefully, President  Trump can find a way to counter this genuine existential threat.

Let us pray  also, that the President knows all about Chai Sura (The Life of Sarah), how she anticipated the future and got rid of the bad actors that could destroy us.
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Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

Israel Commentary

www.israel-commentary.org

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

By Rafael Medoff
jns.org/ Jewish News Service
November 15, 2017
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely spoke at the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, Md., and discussed her remarks in a subsequent interview with JNS.org.

Hotovely said the notion that Israel is isolated and must change its policies in order to gain international acceptance is “a myth.” She pointed out that while just 33 countries voted in favor of Jewish statehood at the United Nations in 1947, Israel today enjoys diplomatic and trade relations with 160 countries—“pretty much every country in the world except the ones that want to destroy us,” as she put it.

The deputy foreign minister suggested that many countries’ criticism of Israel is little more than lip service.

“They go through the motions of criticizing Israel, but then they do a tremendous amount of trade with us,” she told JNS.org.

Hotovely recalled that during her first year in her current post, she met with more than 200 representatives of foreign governments, including some “that are not always thought of as being so friendly to Israel.”

At the same time, Hotovely noted, Israel throughout its history has sometimes “had no choice but to take actions that the world didn’t like.”

She recalled that in 1949, when the U.N. was demanding that Jerusalem be internationalized, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion responded by moving Israel’s government buildings from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The world didn’t like it then, and they still don’t like it, but Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and it will be forever,” Hotovely said.

She also pointed to a number of actions that were crucial to Israel’s national security, even though most of the international community opposed them—including the pre-emptive strike that enabled Israel to win the 1967 Six-Day War, the rescue of the Entebbe hostages in 1976 and the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

In each of those instances, Israel’s action was met with strong criticism from around the world.

“In fact, the United States not only condemned the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility, but even strongly considered imposing sanctions on Israel for violating Iraqi airspace,” Hotovely said. “But during the Gulf War of 1990, the U.S. was very glad that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons.”

“Israel’s policies cannot be guided by fear of international criticism,” she said. “At the end of the day, our survival is more important than world opinion.”

Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, which hosted Hotovely’s visit, said the deputy foreign minister presented “a thoughtful and reasoned explanation of Israel’s position in the world, a message that has been resonating with her audiences throughout her trip to the United States.”

Hotovely, 38, speaks fluent English, thanks in part to a year she spent in Atlanta as an emissary of the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement. She is widely regarded as one of Israel’s rising political stars and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

When she was named deputy foreign minister in 2015, Hotovely became the de facto foreign minister, because Netanyahu declined to appoint a foreign minister. The prime minister has held that portfolio himself, and has offered it to the opposition’s Zionist Union alliance if it were to join his governing coalition. But to date, the Zionist Union has preferred to remain in the opposition.

Dep Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely – YouTube

▶ 2:37

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

www.israel-commentary.org

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

 

By Rafael Medoff
jns.org/ Jewish News Service

November 15, 2017
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely spoke at the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, Md., and discussed her remarks in a subsequent interview with JNS.org.

Hotovely said the notion that Israel is isolated and must change its policies in order to gain international acceptance is “a myth.” She pointed out that while just 33 countries voted in favor of Jewish statehood at the United Nations in 1947, Israel today enjoys diplomatic and trade relations with 160 countries—“pretty much every country in the world except the ones that want to destroy us,” as she put it.

The deputy foreign minister suggested that many countries’ criticism of Israel is little more than lip service.

“They go through the motions of criticizing Israel, but then they do a tremendous amount of trade with us,” she told JNS.org.

Hotovely recalled that during her first year in her current post, she met with more than 200 representatives of foreign governments, including some “that are not always thought of as being so friendly to Israel.”

At the same time, Hotovely noted, Israel throughout its history has sometimes “had no choice but to take actions that the world didn’t like.”

She recalled that in 1949, when the U.N. was demanding that Jerusalem be internationalized, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion responded by moving Israel’s government buildings from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The world didn’t like it then, and they still don’t like it, but Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and it will be forever,” Hotovely said.

She also pointed to a number of actions that were crucial to Israel’s national security, even though most of the international community opposed them—including the pre-emptive strike that enabled Israel to win the 1967 Six-Day War, the rescue of the Entebbe hostages in 1976 and the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

In each of those instances, Israel’s action was met with strong criticism from around the world.

“In fact, the United States not only condemned the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility, but even strongly considered imposing sanctions on Israel for violating Iraqi airspace,” Hotovely said. “But during the Gulf War of 1990, the U.S. was very glad that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons.”

“Israel’s policies cannot be guided by fear of international criticism,” she said. “At the end of the day, our survival is more important than world opinion.”

Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, which hosted Hotovely’s visit, said the deputy foreign minister presented “a thoughtful and reasoned explanation of Israel’s position in the world, a message that has been resonating with her audiences throughout her trip to the United States.”

Hotovely, 38, speaks fluent English, thanks in part to a year she spent in Atlanta as an emissary of the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement. She is widely regarded as one of Israel’s rising political stars and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

(She is also a knock-out – the best looking deputy foreign minister I have ever seen!) jsk

When she was named deputy foreign minister in 2015, Hotovely became the de facto foreign minister, because Netanyahu declined to appoint a foreign minister. The prime minister has held that portfolio himself, and has offered it to the opposition’s Zionist Union alliance if it were to join his governing coalition. But to date, the Zionist Union has preferred to remain in the opposition.

Dep Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely – YouTube

▶ 2:37

The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Should be a Warning Sign for Israel

www.israel-commentary.org

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Israel, October 23, 2017

The Kurdish people have an inalienable right to their own national homeland just as other nations do. The Kurds are the largest ethnic entity in the world, numbering some 30 million people, which does not have a state of its own.

Over three years ago, I declared – here on Arutz Sheva – that the world is obligated to see to it that historic justice is granted the Kurds by supporting their dream of being a free nation in their own land.

A referendum was held last month among the Iraqi Kurds over whether or not they should declare independence, while in the background threats emanating from Turkey, Iran, the Iraqi government and even Bashar Assad could be discerned.

Joining them were other countries, including the USA and Europe, all of them warning the Kurds – and especially their leader, Masoud Barzani – not to attempt a one-sided declaration of independence. The neighboring countries fear a snowball effect on other minorities in their own countries, including their resident Kurds. More distant countries fear another war in the oil-rich regions such as northern Iraq, which could lead to a much wider conflict.

The referendum showed that a vast majority, over 90% of those voting, support independence. This resulted in Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region, acquiring the ability to wield powerful leverage against the Iraqi government, which was naturally unnerved by the results and tried its best to convince Barazani not to declare independence.

The two main issues in the dialogue between Barzani and the Iraqi regime are:

  1. Delineating the borders of the Kurdish region and whether the oil fields and the nearby city of Kirkuk are within those borders and
  2. What happens to the oil that flows under the ground in the Kurdish region – are the profits Iraqi or do they belong to the Kurds?

Except that Barzani is not the only Kurdish actor on the stage. Jilal Talabani, his rival, did not support the hopes for Kurdish independence espoused by Barzani, and was of the opinion that the Kurds must remain within the national framework of Iraqi sovereignty. He was once the Iraqi president – mainly a ceremonial post – from 2005 to 2014, and died in Germany two weeks ago, on October 3, 2017.

The differences between Barzani and Talabani are nothing new. In fact, the two families have been at odds for decades, and in the second half of the twentieth century there were actual battles between the two, involving weapons and resulting in dead and wounded.

The Iraqi regime knew this well and took advantage of it by forming a coalition of one side against the other. The factionalism of the Kurds prevented them from forming a united stand and the neighboring states – Turkey, Iran and Syria – knew how to make use of this factionalism for their own ends.

This week, the dispute led to facts on the ground: The Iraqi army, supported by Shiite militias, moved towards Kirkuk and the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting force left the city without doing battle. Within two days the Iraqis took over the city and its adjacent oil field without resorting to violence, neutralizing an important part of the leverage Masoud Barzani was hoping to wield during negotiations with the Iraqi government.

It seems that the Pershmega are not united and reflect the ongoing internal dispute among the Kurds. Some listen to Barzani’s orders and others act under the influence of Talabani. The forces guarding Kirkuk were under the sway of Talabani and gave up in the struggle against the Iraqi army’s takeover, to Barzani’s dismay. The internal strife among the Kurds distances them from their dream of independence, a dream that will only move farther away for as long as they cannot agree on its parameters.

The Kurds expected the world, headed by the US, to stand behind them once ISIS was defeated, remembering their large contribution to that defeat and supporting their demand for independence. These hopes were dashed very quickly when the official American stand turned out to be that “we have no intention of interfering in internal Iraqi affairs” – that is, the US will not support the Kurdish demand for independence led by Masoud Barzani, this despite the referendum and their historic rights.
It is possible that the American stand is based on Talabani’s approach, one which saw no need –certainly not an immediate one – for declaring independence and preferred that the Kurds integrate into the Iraqi state for good. Naturally, Talabani’s loyalty to the Iraqi regime is explained by rumors of bribery, jobs and other favors he and his men received from Iraq and Iran.

Conclusions Israel must draw from the Kurdish saga

For the last several years, and particularly since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, there has been a discernible warming of relations between Israel and the Arab nations who feel threatened by Iran. Those include Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan.

Because all these countries fear Iran as much as, and possibly more, than Israel does.

The answer is simple: What happened to the Kurds will happen to Israel. The Kurds fought ISIS, sacrificed their soldiers and people, and were thrown to the wolves once they were not needed. That is exactly what the world’s nations will do to Israel once it extricates them from the Iranian problem. Why not? The immediate interests of each and every country and not the moral rights of the Kurds and the Israelis are what makes the world go round.

For this reason, Israel would do well not to give up its lands for a piece of paper with the word “peace” stamped on it, because that paper can easily fly away in the desert wind while the worlds on it fade in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. (AMEN)

As soon as the Sinai became Jihadistan and began fighting Egypt, the weapons smuggling from Sinai to Gaza ceased abruptly. In sum, the peace between Israel and Egypt exists for as long as it suits Egyptian interests.

The second proof is the peace with Jordan, based on Yitzchak Rabin and King Hussein’s shared interest in preventing a Palestinian state from being established. This common interest created wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. Hussein’s son, Abdullah II, changed his father’s policies and is a strong backer of the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria whose capital is East Jerusalem .

The clear conclusion from the Kurdish, Egyptian and Jordanian situations is that Israel must not jeopardize its existence, security and interests by placing them in bankrupt Arab insurance companies.

 

Israel absolutely must strengthen its position in the Land of Israel, create local governing emirates for the powerful Arab families in urban Judea and Samaria while battening down Israeli control of the rural areas. No peace treaty can give Israel a lasting insurance policy, and the faster Israel and the world internalize this truth the better.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel

To subscribe to Israel Commentary:
Send your email address to: israelcommentary@comcast.net
Twitter: @israelcomment

The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Should be a Warning Sign for Israel

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Israel, October 23, 2017

The Kurdish people have an inalienable right to their own national homeland just as other nations do. The Kurds are the largest ethnic entity in the world, numbering some 30 million people, which does not have a state of its own.

Over three years ago, I declared – here on Arutz Sheva – that the world is obligated to see to it that historic justice is granted the Kurds by supporting their dream of being a free nation in their own land.

A referendum was held last month among the Iraqi Kurds over whether or not they should declare independence, while in the background threats emanating from Turkey, Iran, the Iraqi government and even Bashar Assad could be discerned.

Joining them were other countries, including the USA and Europe, all of them warning the Kurds – and especially their leader, Masoud Barzani – not to attempt a one-sided declaration of independence. The neighboring countries fear a snowball effect on other minorities in their own countries, including their resident Kurds. More distant countries fear another war in the oil-rich regions such as northern Iraq, which could lead to a much wider conflict.

The referendum showed that a vast majority, over 90% of those voting, support independence. This resulted in Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region, acquiring the ability to wield powerful leverage against the Iraqi government, which was naturally unnerved by the results and tried its best to convince Barazani not to declare independence.

The two main issues in the dialogue between Barzani and the Iraqi regime are:
Delineating the borders of the Kurdish region and whether the oil fields and the nearby city of Kirkuk are within those borders and

2. What happens to the oil that flows under the ground in the Kurdish region – are the profits Iraqi or do they belong to the Kurds?

Except that Barzani is not the only Kurdish actor on the stage. Jilal Talabani, his rival, did not support the hopes for Kurdish independence espoused by Barzani, and was of the opinion that the Kurds must remain within the national framework of Iraqi sovereignty. He was once the Iraqi president – mainly a ceremonial post – from 2005 to 2014, and died in Germany two weeks ago, on October 3, 2017.

The differences between Barzani and Talabani are nothing new. In fact, the two families have been at odds for decades, and in the second half of the twentieth century there were actual battles between the two, involving weapons and resulting in dead and wounded.

The Iraqi regime knew this well and took advantage of it by forming a coalition of one side against the other. The factionalism of the Kurds prevented them from forming a united stand and the neighboring states – Turkey, Iran and Syria – knew how to make use of this factionalism for their own ends.

This week, the dispute led to facts on the ground: The Iraqi army, supported by Shiite militias, moved towards Kirkuk and the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting force left the city without doing battle. Within two days the Iraqis took over the city and its adjacent oil field without resorting to violence, neutralizing an important part of the leverage Masoud Barzani was hoping to wield during negotiations with the Iraqi government.

It seems that the Pershmega are not united and reflect the ongoing internal dispute among the Kurds. Some listen to Barzani’s orders and others act under the influence of Talabani. The forces guarding Kirkuk were under the sway of Talabani and gave up in the struggle against the Iraqi army’s takeover, to Barzani’s dismay. The internal strife among the Kurds distances them from their dream of independence, a dream that will only move farther away for as long as they cannot agree on its parameters.

The Kurds expected the world, headed by the US, to stand behind them once ISIS was defeated, remembering their large contribution to that defeat and supporting their demand for independence. These hopes were dashed very quickly when the official American stand turned out to be that “we have no intention of interfering in internal Iraqi affairs” – that is, the US will not support the Kurdish demand for independence led by Masoud Barzani, this despite the referendum and their historic rights.
It is possible that the American stand is based on Talabani’s approach, one which saw no need –certainly not an immediate one – for declaring independence and preferred that the Kurds integrate into the Iraqi state for good. Naturally, Talabani’s loyalty to the Iraqi regime is explained by rumors of bribery, jobs and other favors he and his men received from Iraq and Iran.

Conclusions Israel must draw from the Kurdish saga

For the last several years, and particularly since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, there has been a discernible warming of relations between Israel and the Arab nations who feel threatened by Iran. Those include Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan.

Because all these countries fear Iran as much as, and possibly more, than Israel does.

The answer is simple: What happened to the Kurds will happen to Israel. The Kurds fought ISIS, sacrificed their soldiers and people, and were thrown to the wolves once they were not needed. That is exactly what the world’s nations will do to Israel once it extricates them from the Iranian problem. Why not? The immediate interests of each and every country and not the moral rights of the Kurds and the Israelis are what makes the world go round.

For this reason, Israel would do well not to give up its lands for a piece of paper with the word “peace” stamped on it, because that paper can easily fly away in the desert wind while the worlds on it fade in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. (AMEN)

As soon as the Sinai became Jihadistan and began fighting Egypt, the weapons smuggling from Sinai to Gaza ceased abruptly. In sum, the peace between Israel and Egypt exists for as long as it suits Egyptian interests.

The second proof is the peace with Jordan, based on Yitzchak Rabin and King Hussein’s shared interest in preventing a Palestinian state from being established. This common interest created wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. Hussein’s son, Abdullah II, changed his father’s policies and is a strong backer of the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria whose capital is East Jerusalem .

The clear conclusion from the Kurdish, Egyptian and Jordanian situations is that Israel must not jeopardize its existence, security and interests by placing them in bankrupt Arab insurance companies. Israel absolutely must strengthen its position in the Land of Israel, create local governing emirates for the powerful Arab families in urban Judea and Samaria while battening down Israeli control of the rural areas. No peace treaty can give Israel a lasting insurance policy, and the faster Israel and the world internalize this truth the better.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel

To subscribe to Israel Commentary:
Send your email address to: israelcommentary@comcast.net
Twitter: @israelcomment

We live in an age where it is not fashionable to pray

From the book, To Pray as a Jew (or anyone else)

BasicBooks 1980

By Rabbi Hayin Halevy Donin
Introduction 4-6

Even among those who join synagogues, only as a small percentage pray daily. They are somehow beyond that stage — needing to pray daily or even weekly.

Those who do not worship regularly claim their reason for affiliating with a synagogue is to identify with the Jewish people and the Jewish community and perhaps, even with the Jewish faith but, not for the purpose of prayer.
Some consider the spiritual arrogance of contemporary man to be a stumbling block to prayer. Since prayer requires the capacity to be in awe and feel thankful, the immodest and arrogant personality simply cannot pray because he has no sense of awe or gratitude. He puts too much faith in his own ability to do wonders and ascribes all achievements to his own powers. He lacks the necessary measure of humility.
While this may be true for some individuals, it is perhaps skepticisms and doubt that make it difficult for other people to engage God in conversation. It is not that they are atheists or even agnostic.  It is simpIy that they waver between faith and doubt.

Even of Noah, who is described in the Bible as a “righteous man” who “walked with God,” it is said that ‘he believed and did not believe,”  for he lacked the faith to move immediately into the ark that he was commanded to build and did not move into the very last moment.

Our generation, too, often appears to be precariously balanced between believing and not believing, sometimes leaning in one direction, sometimes in the other.
Or perhaps the reason for the unfashionably of prayer is simply that most people dan’t know how to pray. They were never properly taught. Yet prayer is more commonplace than most people realize if we do not think of it as taking place only within a structured religious service and only through the medium of prescribed and sanctioned words.

“Dear God make her well” is as simple and classic a prayer as there can be. Moses said in his prayer for his sister Miriam when she was stricken with leprosy. In one form or another this prayer is recited by countless mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, children, friends, and lovers.

Or, consider the sigh of relief,  “Thank God”  that comes after going through a period of intense anxiety in the wake of a serious accident or a dangerous illness or a fateful mission  or when loved ones seem suspended between life and death or between success and ruin. This, too, is a prayer and is just as likeIy to be said by people who think that they never pray as by those who pray with deliberate and conscious regularity.

Or, consider the feeling of awe and admiration that wells up in one’s heart when coming upon great natural scenes — vast oceans, breath-taking mountains, stunning deserts.

King David summed it up saying, “Oh Thy works Lord, how great are Thy works!” Is this not a prayer, even though it may come out simply as “Magnificent!”  by those with less poetic talent than the author of the Book of Psalms! But if they believe these phenomena to be God’s handiwork and mean to praise Him, then this word, too,  constitutes a prayer.

Or consider the person who has qualms of conscience about some wrong-doing and in the privacy of his own thoughts says,”How truly sorry I am!” This, too, is a a prayer, especialIy if the words “forgive me” are added.

These examples are universal; they are also the four types of prayer that make up the content of the siddur (Hebrew prayer book). The prayer of petition which people most people think of as the nature and purpose of all prayer, is just one of four types of prayer.

The other three types of prayer consist of thanksgiving,v of praise of God, and of that are basically self-searching and confessional.

The Hebrew word for “to pray” does not mean or “to ask” or “to petition” It means for God to judge.

Here lies a clue for the real purpose for engaging in prayer. Whether we petition God to give us what we need, or thank Him for whatever good was granted, or extol him for his awesome attribute, all prayer is intended to help make us into better human beings.

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How the liberal leanings of Google, Facebook, (Twitter) shape the political landscape

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How the liberal leanings of Google, Facebook, (Twitter) shape the political landscape

(Redacted from a much more detailed, documented and shocking expose’)

By Jeff Mordock – The Washington Times – Monday, October 23, 2017

Robert Epstein tried a simple experiment in the run-up to the presidential election: running searches on Google and Yahoo for political topics.
The results were stunning. Google searches returned twice as many pro-Hillary Clinton news articles as Yahoo searches.

Perhaps even more stunning was that men and blue-state residents saw more than double the number of pro-Clinton articles than women and people living in red states, Mr. Epstein, of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and Robert E. Robertson, a professor at Northeastern University, argued in a report this year.

Mr. Epstein said he is still studying what caused the bias but worries that Google’s search algorithm — a form of artificial intelligence that chooses what results a searcher is looking for — ranked pro-Clinton articles ahead of positive articles about her opponent, Donald Trump.

Those algorithms have become the modern-day Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, deciding what news reaches the eyes and ears of Americans in an increasingly Google-Facebook-Twitter media environment.

(There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is true. They definitely pick and choose which of my submissions agree with their limited, biased political position and that encompasses virtually the entire media.) Jerome S. Kaufman

In recent months, the focus has been on whether the companies were able to be manipulated by Russian-connected operatives who attempted to sow “chaos” in the U.S. surrounding last year’s elections.

But the power of the companies to shape American politics goes well beyond that.

“The social media companies are the gatekeepers,” said Frank Foer, a writer at The Atlantic and former editor of the New Republic who has authored a book on social media’s power. “Whatever choices these companies make to elevate or bury information is very powerful and will have a big impact on what people read.”

Mr. Epstein and Mr. Robertson, in their research, looked at 4,045 election-related searches on Google and Yahoo during a 25-day period from mid-October through Election Day. They found that the pro-Clinton articles swamped pro-Trump news.

“The algorithms are not programmed with an equal time rule,” said Mr. Epstein, a vocal Clinton supporter. “They are programmed to put one thing ahead of another in a way that is highly secret and ever-changing.”

He said his experiments show the power of news searches to affect politics and has found that he could boost support for a candidate by as much as 63 percent after just one Google search session. He has dubbed this the “search engine manipulation effect.”

Analysts have caught some deeper glimpses over the years, based on testing and on information gleaned from patent applications Google has filed, saying Google judges trustworthiness and importance of a news site, how much content it produces and even length of stories to gauge whether to elevate a site’s content.

Facebook workers raise questions
Accusations of an indirect bias may not carry as much weight if not accompanied by accusations of direct bias by the social media companies.
In May 2016, a group of several former Facebook workers told technology blog Gizmodo that they routinely suppressed news about prominent conservatives, including Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

The employees, who worked as ‘news curators,’ also said stories reported by conservative outlets such as Brietbart and Newsmax were dismissed unless The New York Times, BBC or CNN covered the same article.

Facebook denied the accusations and said an internal study found virtually identical rates of liberal and conservative new topics. The company did concede bias could have occurred through improper human actions and it would take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited 16 conservative leaders to the company’s headquarters for a meeting.

“The meeting opened on a positive, honest note and went that way throughout the whole meeting,” said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. Mr. Bozell said Facebook has made a sincere effort since the meeting to include conservative voices. “We’ve never had a serious problem with Facebook,” he said. “Does that make us the exception to the rule? I don’t know.”

It’s not just Facebook and Google. Earlier this month, Twitter blocked a campaign ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, claiming it included “an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong reaction.” In the ad, Ms. Blackburn said she helped stop Planned Parenthood from selling baby body parts.

“The damage being done to conservatives is almost incalculable,” said Seton Motley, a technology policy specialist and president of Less Government, a conservative organization dedicated to reducing government power. “If network television media bias can give a candidate a 4- to 6-point advantage and social media giants have more power than the networks, can we even quantify a number?”

Facebook also donated heavily to the Democratic Party. Of the nearly $4.6 million Facebook employees and affiliates spent on last year’s election, 67 percent went toward Democrats and 32 percent went to Republican candidates. Mrs. Clinton received $478,000 from Facebook, while Mr. Trump received about $4,665.

Google and Facebook have increased their lobbying efforts over the past few months as Congress scrutinizes their power. Facebook spent $285 million on lobbyists from July through September, a 41 percent increase over the same period last year. Google spent $417 million during those three months, including hiring Republican lobbyists Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC to fight a bill that would penalize tech companies for content that promotes sex trafficking. The companies are fighting the bill because it weakens some of their legal protections.

“The social media companies will engage in full-scale censorship with the approval or rejection of advertising content in the next presidential election,” he said. “Trump’s advertising will be critiqued in a way that they will not do to the Democrats.”

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