The Secrets of Jewish Genius

Political News Opinion and Analysis

The New York Times 

Dec. 27, 2019

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By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

(First:  The New York Times Apology over having published Brett Stephens politically incorrect but unvarnished truth praising the amazing history of intellectual achievement by the Jewish people.  

Below is the  New York Times explanation of the part they left out, evidently for fear of alienating the Jew-haters and the scared shtetl Jew apologists of the world who prefer to hide in the woodwork for fear of increasing the century’s-old Jew-hatred, based on envy, that permeates their every environment.)

Jerome S. Kaufman    Jan. 13, 2020

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New York Times Editors:

An earlier version of this Bret Stephens column quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews.

After publication Mr. Stephens and his editors learned that one of the paper’s authors, who died in 2016, promoted racist views. Mr. Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically.

The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent. He went on instead to argue that culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements and that, as he put it, “At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.” We have removed reference to the study from the column. 

(The New York Times thus used the usual cop-out to eliminate anything they did not want to hear or read. They called it “racist views” because it did not conform to bizarre globalist concepts which have never met the requirements of hard evidence and is, in itself, counter to our own best interests.) jsk

(Back to the courageous, politically incorrect Brett Stephens article)

Brett Stephens:

An eminent Lithuanian rabbi is annoyed that his yeshiva students devote their lunch breaks to playing soccer instead of discussing Torah. The students, intent on convincing their rav (rabbi) of the game’s beauty, invite him to watch a professional match. At halftime, they ask what he thinks.

“I have solved your problem,” the rabbi says. “How?” 

“Give one ball to each side, and they will have nothing to fight over.”

I have this (apocryphal) anecdote from Norman Lebrecht’s new book, “Genius & Anxiety,” an erudite and delightful study of the intellectual achievements and nerve-wracked lives of Jewish thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs between 1847 and 1947.  Sarah Bernhardt and Franz Kafka; Albert Einstein and Rosalind Franklin; Benjamin Disraeli and (sigh) Karl Marx, etc, etc, etc

How is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of 1 percent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?

The common answer is that Jews are, or tend to be smart. But the “Jews are smart” explanation obscures more than it illuminates. Aside from perennial nature-or-nurture questions, there is the more difficult question of why that intelligence was so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose. 

One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.

But as the story of the Lithuanian rabbi suggests, Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Where Jews’ advantage more often lies is in thinking different.

Where do these habits of mind come from?

There is a religious tradition that, unlike some others, asks the believer not only to observe and obey but also to discuss and disagree. There is the never-quite-comfortable status of Jews in places where they are the minority — intimately familiar with the customs of the country while maintaining a critical distance from them. 

There is a moral belief, “incarnate in the Jewish people” according to Einstein, that “the life of the individual only has value [insofar] as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”

And there is the understanding, born of repeated exile, that everything that seems solid and valuable is ultimately perishable, while everything that is intangible — knowledge most of all — is potentially everlasting.

“We had been well off, but that (having been) was all we got out,” the late financier Felix Rohatyn recalled of his narrow escape, with a few hidden gold coins, from the Nazis as a child in World War II. “Ever since, I’ve had the feeling that the only permanent wealth is what you carry around in your head.” If the greatest Jewish minds seem to have no walls, it may be because, for Jews, the walls have so often come tumbling down.

These explanations for Jewish brilliance aren’t necessarily definitive. Nor are they exclusive to the Jews.

At its best, the American university can still be a place of relentless intellectual challenge rather than ideological conformity and social groupthink

At its best, the United States can still be the country that respects, and sometimes rewards, all manner of heresies that outrage polite society and contradict established belief. 

At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.

The West, however, is not at its best. It’s no surprise that Jew hatred has made a comeback, albeit under new guises. Anti-Zionism has taken the place of anti-Semitism as a political program directed against Jews. 

Globalists have taken the place of rootless cosmopolitans as the shadowy agents of economic iniquity. Jews have been murdered by white nationalists and black “Hebrews.” Hate crimes against Orthodox Jews have become an almost daily fact of life in New York City.

Jews of the late 19th century would have been familiar with the hatreds. Jews of the early 21st century should recognize where they could lead. What’s not secret about Jewish genius is that it’s a terribly fragile flower.

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

Composed by Jerome S. Kaufman

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Hostilities With Iran Began in ’79

Image result for Iran war image jpg free

Political News Opinion and Analysis

By establishing a credible deterrent, the killing of Soleimani should restrain Tehran’s aggression.

By Eric S. Edelman and Franklin C. Miller

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 9, 2020

The American media and political class worry that the U.S. is on the verge of war with Iran. It isn’t. The war has been under way for 40 years. 

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Largely using surrogates or proxy forces, Iran has killed hundreds of Americans by shooting down civilian planes, bombing U.S. embassies and military barracks, and supplying munitions for attacks on American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere. 

With the exception of a brief naval engagement in April 1988, the U.S. responded to Iranian aggression by attacking surrogates rather than dealing with the source of the problem.

Now, with the killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Washington has sent Tehran an unambiguous message that it can no longer attack Americans with impunity. For the first time since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the U.S. has taken important initial steps to establish a credible deterrent.

Deterrence is effective when an enemy is convinced that the cost of an action will outweigh the gains.

Until now the Iranian leadership has suffered no losses to its own valued assets as a result of killing Americans. Soleimani’s habit of taunting U.S. officials during his travels around the region was testimony to his belief that he could act against the U.S. without consequences. The ayatollahs had evidently concluded they had a free hand to harass American troops.

Soleimani’s death is the first time the regime has lost something it valued in its conflict with the U.S. The Trump administration was right to make clear that America will impose significant costs on the regime until its state-sponsored hostage-taking, murder and other forms of terrorism cease. 

There’s no need to threaten a ground war, or to respond rashly to Iran’s Tuesday attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq, which did minimal damage. The U.S. has the military capacity to inflict severe damage on Iran without an invasion.

Some say that attacks like the Soleimani strike will encourage Iran to hit soft targets in the American homeland. But that risk already exists. And if Tehran still believed Washington would respond to a deadly terrorist attack on American soil only with strikes against peripheral targets, then the risk of such an attack would probably increase.

The sole previous direct American response against Iranian state assets—the 1988 naval rout, in which the U.S. sank two Iranian ships and destroyed a Persian Gulf oil platform being used to harass Western shipping—caused Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to agree to a cessation of hostilities. 

Deterrence works, but only if the threats are credible.

Soleimani was a state actor, carrying out a national policy of terrorism to murder Americans. U.S. recognition that it has been and remains engaged in a war with Iran and its proxies is long overdue.

The Trump administration’s goal should be to make sure the regime and its surrogates understand that nothing good can come from attacking Americans, American facilities or our allies.

Mr. Edelman was undersecretary of defense for policy, 2005-09, and is counselor at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. 

Mr. Miller served as special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council staff, 2001-05, and is a principal of the Scowcroft Group.

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Jews in Poland?

As guest speaker at our synagogue last Shabbat, we had the rabbi of Krakow as representative of the chief rabbi of Poland. He is involved primarily in re-invigorating the Jewish presence there.  Below is a picture of one of the final homes of near 3 million Holocaust Polish Jews.

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Here is a redacted version of his inaugural speech Sep 26, 2013 upon assuming the position:

“My first reaction when hearing about the position was a typical Jewish North American one – “Why would anyone want to go back to that graveyard?”

I had been unaware of the strides taken both by the Jewish community of survivors and by the Polish government over the past several decades. I learned of the remarkable resurgence of Judaism in Poland in general and Krakow in particular. 

In Krakow the The Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland has maintained synagogues, services and Jewish connection to the past, while at the same time the new Jewish community center has re-invigorated Polish Jewish life, paving the way for a stronger Jewish future. Old and new are gathering daily and are re-introducing themselves to Judaism.

To be sure, the numbers are paltry compared to Polish Jewry’s glorious past – but considering the history of Poland’s Jews, any resurgence at all seems to me miraculous. 

As guest speaker at our synagogue last Shabbat, we had the rabbi of Krakow. He was the representative of the chief rabbi of Poland involved primarily in re-invigorating the Jewish presence there.

This change is taking place despite the fact that while the Nazis (with enthusiastic Polish support) eliminated 90 percent of the Polish Jewish population of 3 million Jews that had been there for 800 years. The remaining Jews were then subjected to Communism that lasted for 40 years beyond the Holocaust and strove to erase whatever Jewish consciousness remained.

Some Jews survived by assimilating, hiding their Jewish identities and never speaking of their Jewish roots.

In the past 20 years, thousands of Poles have been confronted with new information about their roots. Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who has been serving the Jewish community in Poland since 1992 and has been its chief rabbi since 2004, described just a few of the stories of revelation in a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) address. Jews came forward who had been given away to non-Jews and others came forward who had, for various reasons, not been aware of their Jewish identity.

A speech by then-president Aleksander Kwasniewski at Yad Vashem underscored the official position Poland has taken in recognizing its difficult past and attempting to build avenues for reconciliation and Jewish-Polish rapprochement: 

“Efforts are currently being made in Poland to preserve the material heritage of the vibrant world of Polish Jews for future generations, and to commemorate their history for the benefit of all visitors to our country. 

A Museum of the History of Polish Jews testifying to over 800 years of Jewish presence in Poland is being built with the support of public and private funding on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. We can rest assured that it will be a unique, world-class institution, a remarkable site of remembrance and meditation, like the memorial opened a year ago on the site of the former Nazi death camp at Belzec.”

Dialogue, better understanding and closer ties between Poles and Jews are bearing the desired fruit. Thanks to the multitude of projects involving Polish-Jewish history (such as the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow or the activities of the Shalom Foundation), we in Poland are now happy to witness a growing interest in Jewish culture, especially among the younger generation.

The rabbi then presented the re-assurances of previous and current Polish presidents and other Polish representatives that great efforts were being made to eradicate anti-semitism and encourage new Jewish institutions. Some have even gone to Israel, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and develop a meaningful relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Commentary: Jerome S. Kaufman

How grand! How very impressive and noble —even a museum built over the site of the infamous hell hole of the Warsaw Ghetto where Jews were penned up like pigs waiting their turn to be slaughtered.

Maybe the Rabbi is not aware of what the Polish government has done in real time outside the glorious rhetoric and apparent achievements of both the Jewish community and the Polish government? What has followed since the rabbi’s initial optimism of just 6 years ago and the work he and his fellow rabbis have done trying to increase the Jewish presence and observance.

On February 2, 2018 Poland’s Senate approved a bill that makes it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.

The bill was signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who had previously expressed his support. Violations were to be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.

Five months later due to much opposition, the right-wing prime minister changed the law from a criminal offense to a civil offense.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill “baseless,” saying: “One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.”

At least three million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Apologists said, “The government is trying to present itself as a defender of Polish dignity,”  “It’s part of the government’s agenda to appeal to people, to present itself as a defender of the Polish nation.”

jsk Terrific! So where does that leave Polish Jews who are living examples refuting the veracity of the new declaration and insulting “Polish dignity? It leaves them once more as a despised minority and a source of Polish embarrassment. 

Also, maybe the rabbi did not see the Nov. 22, 2019 statistics?

In Poland, anti-Semitic attitudes were present in 48% of the population, up from 37% in 2015, when the last survey was conducted. 

IN EUROPE The Mindless Scourge of Anti-Semitism (Jew-Hatred) Continues Unabated 

Wall Street Journal (Nov. 22, 2019)

24.6% of  Europeans holds strongly anti-Semitic views, according to a poll by  a Jewish anti-hate organization. 

Among European Muslims in Western Europe, the incidence of such views was, on average, higher than the general population, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s study. 

jsk: Then why encourage further Jewish existence in Europe at all?  Should we not be extending our every effort to encourage Jews to prefer Israel? Should it be that hard?

Most authorities would say that Jews prefer to live in Poland and Germany rather than Israel because of economics. They are also aware of the daily terrorist incidences against Jews in Israel itself and the now frequent missile attacks that are becoming more and more accurate.

If we want to have any chance of changing this situation, it is up to Israel.  They must clean up their act. They must use the muscle that Hashem has given to them and punish their enemies severely so as to eliminate the terror and the missiles. 

Israel must also clear up all its domestic political problems. They must make housing affordable with more units and open the territories to Jewish development. They must make it possible to make a decent wage. 

When all this is addressed and corrected, European Jews will flock to Israel rather than remain in countries where mindless hatred increases exponentially despite the Jews’ usual effort to be compliant patriotic citizens. 

So, What else is new? How’s the family?

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The Jews, the Hebrew Bible and President Donald Trump

Political News and Analysis

The Jews, the Hebrew Bible and President Donald Trump

By  Jerome S. Kaufman

Last Shabbat we had the privilege of listening to renown Rabbi Shlomo Riskin discuss the Hebrew Bible and perhaps, as  a surreptitious aside, the Jews, the current State of Israel and Donald Trump.

He began by telling us the classic story of Jacob and his entire entourage finally escaping from 20 year old  captivity in the hands of his cousin Laban whose daughters, Leah and Rachel, Jacob had married.

The biblical story describes how Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi, with cunning and deception, murdered the male members of the Chevites  in revenge for their Prince Shechem kidnapping and violating the brothers’ sister Dinah who Shechem still kept  in captivity.

The Prince’s father, Chamor,  came to Jacob to tell him that his son Prince Shechem was genuinely in love with Dinah and wanted to marry her and make peace with the Jews.

At this point, Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi devised a scheme whereby if all the male Chevites  circumcised themselves, they could become Jews and then make peace with the Hebrews.

Jacob and Chamor  agreed to the plan. On the third day after the self-imposed circumscision the males, all in great pain presented, as planned by the brothers,  easy targets for their slaughter with the swords of Shimon and Levi.

Jacob took great exception to this dastardly deed admonishing his sons for “Making my mind troubled creating hostility between me and the inhabitants of this land and have them gather against me and my household and destroy us.” Jacob carried that criticism all the way to his death bed when he again chastised his sons for their action.

(That part of the story ends at this point.  I did notice later in Jacob’s journey, a sentence, that to my knowledge, has been neglected.

“Then the journey (of the Hebrews) continued and “The fear of G-d was upon the cities that were around them and they did not pursue the children of Yaacov (Jacob).” So, Jacob’s worries at the point, came to naught and the slaughter evidently was an effective political move.) jsk

Rabbi Riskin the took a different tact – one, by the way, that I have been preaching for over 60 years.

He went on to describe previous acts of deliberate Hebrew military action.

Much earlier in the bible,  Lot, Abraham’s nephew, settles in the evil city of Sodom and became captive to four armies in the Sodom Valley. Abraham, hearing this, quickly set out with a small band of his followers to rescue his nephew and miraculously, with Hashem’s great help, defeats all four armies.

Also, Rabbi Riskin pointed out that despite Jacob being a learned religious man favored by his mother Rebecca, Yitzhak, his father, in many ways preferred his outdoor hunter son Esau who provided him with game and perhaps protection. Yitzhak, on his death bed, expressed his desire to bless Esau and advised him he would live by the sword.

In an earlier chapter Abraham, Yitzhak’s father, exhibited great love for Ishmael his son through Sara’s maidservant Hagar. This was despite the fact that Ishmael was not a spiritual man, was the son of his second wife and lived on the land through cunning and thievery.

Rabbi Riskin then brought the threads of these facts together to show that the Hebrews in the past had used power and violence to protect their very existence. And … it was an accepted policy for the founding fathers to do so.

II  Commentary:  Jerome S. Kaufman

Now to the present: Up until the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948,  the Diaspora Jews that survived following the destruction of their biblical nation and their Holy Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and 135 AD lived as vagabonds – second class, despised citizens in the cities of the Arabs and the Europeans. They lived without military strength or power under the complete domination of their host countries.

What is worse, to my mind,  is that this state of being became very comfortable. The Jews need not become military and provide for their own protection. They became content and even smug in being the People of the Book, the apparent beacons of moral authority and an example to which the nations of the world were to aspire.

But what has been the direct result of this supposed superior moral unprotected stance? Disaster!  The nations of the world have ignored or despised the Jews and their moral assumptions.

The Jews have been deliberately buffeted from European nation to nation  by the monarchs of the day in order to steal their money and the property the Jews had accumulated. The monarchs then used these assets  to pay for their own  extravagance and awful performance. Blame and use the Jews has been historically a great ploy and to this very moment.

The Jews were slaughtered in the centuries-old  pogroms of the Poles, the Russians, the Slavs, the Italians, the Balkans, the Arabs and everyone else – many times encouraged and indoctrinated by the Catholic, Protestant and Islamic churches.

This on-going slaughter culminated in the deliberate killing of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the rest of their very willing executioners in virtually all the nations of Europe.  Anti-Semitism was in full bloom.

Unfortunately, it is once again in full bloom in these same areas – easily again instigated,  for their own purposes, by Islam. What is worse is that Europeans have chosen not to recognize the obvious Islamic plan and that they are themselves next on the victim list of useful idiots.

Back to Rabbi Riskin: His message was thus that simply being a nice guy, a nice nation, a moral nation is not enough.  Simply currying favor with those dominant over you does not work. It leads to victimhood. Rabbi Riskin carefully pointed out that the Hebrew Bible made power and force an essential part of the Jew’s very existence.

Many believe that Hashem has provided this essential power in the re-establishment of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, once again most Jews remain oblivious to importance of this essential gift and do not protect it with every bone in their bodies. And, Hashem forbid, may in the immediate future, suffer the consequences.

What other amazing gift has Hashem laid upon the Jews and Israel and again, unfortunately  ignored and disparaged?

The amazing gift is President Donald Trump. Through his genuine emotional involvement and his complete understanding of the importance of establishing protection and power in our friends, he has greatly empowered our crucial ally – Israel.

He has moved Israel’s capitol to Jerusalem; recognized Israel’s domain over the Golan and recognized Israel’s right to develop communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical homeland.

Furthermore, he has amazingly nurtured  a re-approachment between Israel and the Arab powers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman. He has thus, put on notice to the world that the US genuinely has Israel’s back.

He has in addition, in his usual outspoken manner, opined that American Jews do not love or appreciate Israel enough and its importance to their very existence.

And …. He is, of course, right.

Jerome S. Kaufman

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Return to Ignorance. Students, Community Groups Sue Univ. of Calif. to Drop SAT, ACT Results

https://images.app.goo.gl/7VJ7nycrGknH9TgL7 

The Return to Ignorance in the State of California 

Students, Community Groups Sue University of California to Drop SAT, ACT

Redacted from an article by Melissa Korn

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 11, 2019

The law suit alleges the university discriminates against low-income students and others by relying on standardized-test scores in admissions.

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(What exactly are the SAT and ACT?

The SAT is defined as the Scholastic Assessment Test, now called the SAT Reasoning Test, which is a test that measures the reading, writing and math levels of high school juniors and seniors. An example of the SAT is the test many students take to get into college. The SAT was designed to be an exam for which students could not study. 

While the SAT attempted to test a student’s aptitude—that is, the students ability to learn—the ACT was much more pragmatic. The exam tested students on the information they actually learned in school. The ACT, on the other hand, was a test that rewarded good study habits. 

Today, with the release of a redesigned SAT in March of 2016, the tests are strikingly similar in that both test information that students learn in school. The separate tests are now given equal consideration.)

Students, Community Groups Sue University of California to Drop SAT, ACT

By Melissa Korn, Wall Street Journal 12/11/2019

A group of students and community organizations filed a much-anticipated lawsuit against the University of California, alleging that the university system discriminates against low-income students, racial minorities and others by requiring SAT or ACT admissions tests.

The suit was filed Tuesday in California state court on behalf of a high-school sophomore, two seniors, and a first-year student at Pasadena City College, all of whom it says would be strong candidates for more selective UC campuses except for their test scores. 

Several California college-prep and social-justice nonprofits are also plaintiffs in the suit. The Compton Unified School District is preparing to file a related suit.

They seek to bar the UC system from requiring applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, and from using scores in admission decisions unless it can demonstrate a way of assessing the scores “in a rigorous and meaningful, transparent, nondiscriminatory, and non-stigmatizing manner,” according to the suit.

(But, that is exactly what these tests are supposed to do – Find those students of merit most likely to contribute to this society, this nation, this world. Or, should we instead legislate for ignorance and a return to the Dark Ages?) jsk

The plaintiffs are wading into a nationwide debate about meritocracy and fairness in college admissions. Concerns that certain groups get special advantages, because of wealth, race or other factors have come to a head with last year’s trial regarding admissions practices at Harvard University, as well as the more recent admissions cheating scandal that accuses families of having their teens lie about their academic credentials and cheat on the SAT and ACT.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities including the University of Chicago and Colorado College now make test scores optional. They have questioned whether standardized tests offer any more value than high-school performance in predicting college success. 

Defenders of the tests say students with high scores tend to fare well in college and beyond. The standardized tests have been considered by many as an equalizer, allowing colleges to identify talent from high schools with which they are not familiar.

A UC task force is currently assessing the value of the SAT and ACT in admissions, with recommendations expected before the end of the school year, and the university will make a decision after that, said a spokeswoman from the UC president’s office. Its determination is expected to have wide-ranging implications due to its size and clout, as UC campuses received more than 176,000 freshman applications last year.

UC campuses can consider academic performance, standardized test scores, class rank, extracurricular activities and other factors, but unlike many other selective institutions are barred from taking into account race or ethnicity in admissions.

“We are disappointed that plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit when the University of California has already devoted substantial resources to studying this complex issue,” the university spokeswoman said Tuesday.

According to College Board data from this year, 45% of white students who took the SAT in California scored at least a 1200 out of a possible 1600, and 55% of Asian students did, compared with only 9% of African-American students and 12% of Hispanic students.  (excuse me but whose fault is that) jsk

“The notion that the SAT is discriminatory is false,” said a spokesman for the College Board. “Any objective measure of student achievement will shine a light on inequalities in our education system. Our focus, with our members and partners, is combating these longstanding inequalities.”

(So, what is the direct result of all this previous social engineering “affirmative” ( a debatable adjective) action” by our educational savants, beginning way back to bussing children in elementary school?) jsk

U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries

BY DREW DESILVER

Pew Research Center

Feb. 15, 2017

How do U.S. students compare with their peers around the world? Recently released data from international math and science assessments indicate that U.S. students continue to rank around the middle of the pack, and behind many other advanced industrial nations.

One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. 

The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science. (Ugh)

Compiled by Jerome S. Kaufman

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President Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Combating Nation-wide Anti-Semitism

Political News Opinion and Analysis

Commemorates signing and Chanukah at the White House

https://youtu.be/kqeicv7UPUs

By Jerome S. Kaufman

December 13, 2019

President Trump promised to withhold federal funds from colleges and other institutions that do not enforce this executive order.

He also decried the BDS – Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel. It has been promoted on the nations most important college campuses accompanied by the indoctrination of hatred and intimidation of Jewish college students.

Emeritus Harvard University Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke to the group  describing this declaration and signing by Pres. Trump as the most important action ever taken against the scourge of anti-Semitism.

Also addressing the group was Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who thanked President Trump and spoke of the actions to monitor college campuses as a bilateral, non-partisan effort so important to the objective education of our college students.

Also present, among many others, at the informal White House Chanukah celebration were: 

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen, Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina, Sen James Lankford of Oklahoma, Trump advisors Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka, US Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnushkin, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,  Rep Douglas Collins of GA, Ron Dermer, American-born Israeli Ambassador to the US, US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman who President Trump praised for managing the US Embassy re-location to Israel’s biblical homeland capitol, Jerusalem, 

President Trump proudly spoke of his other major works in support of Israel in addition to the embassy move – the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the confirmation of Israel’s right to build settlements within the the biblical areas of Judea and Shomron.

He then asked Bob Kraft, as an ardent supporter of Israel, which of these was his most important action?  Mr. Kraft responded none of these despite their great importance. He believed Pres. Trump’s most important action for Israel, the United States and the world at large was the abrogation of the lethal Obama-developed Nuclear Deal with Iran. President Trump was in agreement.

President Trump then thanked Army veteran Sargent Oscar Stewart, who chased the gunman out of the  Ponway Chabad, California synagogue and Jonathan Morales, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, who shot four bullets into the get-away car, saving tens of lives. They were both present at the Chanukah ceremony.

President Trump also gave his condolences to the families of the victims of the Jersey City anti-Semitism hate crime deadly attack at a kosher supermarket that left six people dead  including the two gunmen.

The memorable, very emotional, event was concluded by lighting the first day candle of the Chanukah Menorah and a heart-felt thanks given to our great President Donald Trump for his brave, singular, incomparable and historical support.

Jerome S. Kaufman, Publisher/Editor

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Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump by Alan Dershowitz

Political News and Analysis

Trump and Netanyahu: Both Being Investigated for Made-Up Crimes

by Alan M. Dershowitz

 

November 27, 2019 at 5:00 am

Image result for Netanyahu Trump pictures

Trump and Netanyahu at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2017. (Image source: The White House)

 

There are striking similarities, as well as important differences, between the investigations being conducted against American President Donald J. Trump by the US Congress, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was just indicted.

 

 

The most striking similarity is that both are being investigated for actions that their legislatures have not explicitly made criminal. Moreover, no legislature in any country governed by the rule of law would ever enact a general statute criminalizing such conduct.

 

 

The investigations of these two controversial leaders are based on using general laws that have never previously been deemed to apply to the conduct at issue and stretching them to target specific political figures.

 

 

Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery on the ground that he allegedly agreed to help a media company in exchange for more positive coverage and/or less negative coverage. There are disputes about the facts, but even if they are viewed in the light least favorable to Netanyahu, they do not constitute the crime of bribery.

 

 

Nor would the Knesset ever enact a statute making it a crime for a member of Knesset to cast a vote in order to get good media coverage. If such a law was ever passed, the entire Knesset would be in prison.

 

 

Politicians always seek good coverage and many vote with that in mind. Some even negotiate good coverage in advance of voting. That is why they have press secretaries and media consultants.

 

 

Nor could a reasonable statute be drafted that covered Netanyahu’s alleged conduct, but not that of other Knesset members who bartered their votes for good coverage. That is why no legislature in a country governed by the rule of law has ever made positive media coverage the “quid” or “quo” necessary for a bribery conviction, and that is why the bribery indictment of Netanyahu should not be upheld by the courts.

 

 

Upholding a conviction based on positive media coverage would endanger both the freedom of the press and democratic processes of governance.

 

 

Prosecutors should stay out of the interactions between politicians and the media unless specifically defined crimes, as distinguished from arguable political sins, are committed, and no one should ever be prosecuted for actions that were never made criminal, and would never be made criminal, by the legislature.

 

 

President Trump is also being investigated for alleged bribery. Originally the Democrats thought they could impeach him for non-criminal conduct, such as alleged maladministration, abuse of office or immoral conduct.

 

 

I think they have now been convinced by me and others that no impeachment would be constitutional unless the President were found guilty of the crimes specified in the Constitution, namely, “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

 

 

So the Democratic leadership has now settled on bribery as an offence for which they can impeach President Trump. The problem with that approach — similar to the problem with the Israeli approach against Netanyahu — is that it is simply not a crime for a President to use his power over foreign policy for political, partisan or even personal advantage.

 

 

Imagine Congress trying to pass a law defining what would constitute a criminal abuse of the foreign policy power, as distinguished from a political or moral abuse.

 

 

Presidents have even engaged in military actions for political gain. They have given aid to foreign countries to help themselves get elected. They have appointed ambassadors based not on competence but on past and anticipated future political contributions.

 

 

None of these has ever been deemed criminal, and Congress would never dream of enacting a criminal statute that sought to cover such actions.

 

Could it carve out a specific crime based on seeking personal political advantage rather than partisan political advantage? I doubt it. But even if it could parse such a statute, it has not done so. And if it has not done so, neither Congress nor prosecutors can seek to criminalize the exercise of a President’s foreign policy power on the ground that they do not like the way he used it or even if he abused it.

 

 

The central aspect of the rule of law is that no one may be investigated, prosecuted or impeached unless his conduct violates pre-existing and unambiguous prohibitions. Neither Congress nor prosecutors can make it up as they go along, because they, too, are not above the law.

 

 

Now to the differences. Israel is a parliamentary democracy in which the Prime Minister can be removed by a simple vote of no confidence. There is no requirement of, or need for, an impeachment mechanism.

 

 

The United States, on the other hand, is a Republic with separation of powers and checks and balances. The Framers, led by James Madison, saw the impeachment power as central to preserving our Republic and not turning it into a parliamentary democracy.

 

 

That is why they rejected a proposal that would have permitted impeachment on the ground of “maladministration.” Such an open-ended criteria, according to Madison, would have resulted in a situation in which the President served at the will of Congress.

 

 

That is why Madison insisted on the specific criteria for impeachment that the Framers ultimately accepted.

 

 

Although the differences between Israel and the United States are significant, they share in common the rule of law. Under the rule of law, properly applied, neither Netanyahu nor Trump should be deemed guilty of bribery.

 

 

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019, and Guilt by Accusation, Skyhorse publishing, 2019

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Sec.Pompeo Busts Settlements Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

Political News Opinion and Analysis

Sec. of State Pompeo Busts  Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeo-busts-the-occupation-myth-11574207220

The Claim that Israeli settlements are illegal was flimsy in 1978 and ridiculous in 2019.

Map below of Biblical Israel showing the homeland of the Jews on both sides of  Jordan River extending all the way to Euphrates River in present day Iraq!  

There was never a country of Jordan until the League of Nations arbitrarily created it after WWI!

By Eugene Kontorovich

The Wall Street Journal  Nov. 19, 2019

Israeli settlements  West Bank do not violate international law. That is now America’s official view, announced Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The historic decision repudiates conclusions of  1978 State Department memorandum.

For decades, Israel’s detractors have appealed to consensus, asserting that settlements are illegal because the entire international community agrees they are illegal. As with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the Trump administration has refused to be cowed by a hollow consensus. By dissenting, the U.S. has destroyed both the consensus and the frail arguments that relied on it.

The four-page 1978 memo, written by legal adviser Herbert Hansell, was hardly a thorough study. It painted with broad strokes across several issues and cited no precedent for its key conclusions. Most important, its legal analysis of occupation and settlements has never been applied, by the U.S. or anyone else, to any other comparable situation.

Hansell’s memo took two analytic steps. First, it concluded that Israel was an “occupying power” in the West Bank. Next, it invoked an obscure provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Hansell concluded that Jews who have moved past the Green Line into disputed territory have somehow been “deported or transferred” there by the state of Israel.

Under international law, occupation occurs when a country takes over the sovereign territory of another country. But the West Bank was never part of Jordan, which seized it in 1949 and ethnically cleansed its entire Jewish population. Nor was it ever the site of an Arab Palestinian state.

Moreover, a country cannot occupy territory to which it has sovereign title, and Israel has the strongest claim to the land. International law holds that a new country inherits the borders of the prior geopolitical unit in that territory. Israel was preceded by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, whose borders included the West Bank. Hansell’s memo fails to discuss this principle for determining borders, which has been applied everywhere from Syria and Lebanon to post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine.

Even on its own terms, the memo’s conclusions no longer apply. Because occupation is part of the law of war, Hansell wrote, the state of occupation would end if Israel entered into a peace treaty with Jordan. In 1994 Jerusalem and Amman signed a full and unconditional peace treaty, but the State Department neglected to update the memo.

Even if there were an occupation, the notion that it creates an impermeable demographic bubble around the territory—no Jew can move in—has no basis in the history or application of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Almost every prolonged occupation since 1949—from the Allies’ 40-year administration of West Berlin to Turkey’s 2016 occupation of northern Syria—has seen population movement into the occupied territory. In none of these cases has the U.S., or the United Nations, ever claimed a violation of this Geneva Convention provision.

Mr. Pompeo’s action shows the U.S. understands that we can’t have one international law for one country and another for the rest of the world.

Mr. Kontorovich is professor at George Mason University Scalia Law School.

Also view:   Eugene Rostow:

Jun 14, 2019 – For those under gross misconception Israelis are “on Arab land“. “Nothing could be further from the truth. …
and primary producer UN Resolution 242 lsraeli Settlements Judea, Samaria, Gaza www.israelcommentary.org.

 

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I Rising Scourge of Islamic Anti-semitism II Laura Ingraham’s response to Islamic anti-Christian theology

Dr. Andrew Bostom gave a presentation to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), July 30, 2019, entitled, “The Rising Scourge of Islamic Antisemitism”   Islamic anti-Semetic anti-Christian theology

Dr. Bostom summarized extensive, and unprecedented Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey data revealing current disproportionate 2.0 to 4.5-fold excess of extreme Anti-semitism amongst Muslims vs. all other religious groups, or those professing no religion, globally, and regionally, including within United States.

He also demonstrated what animates Muslim Antisemitism: the 1300 year-old living legacy of theological Islamic Jew-hatred, rooted in Islam’s core texts—the Koran itself, the traditions of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, and the earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad.

These texts, in turn, have begotten three inter-related canonical Islamic doctrines which continue to be espoused by Islam’s most authoritative religious teaching institutions, Sunni, and Shiite, alike: jihad war to subjugate Jews, and other non-Muslims; the application of Islamic Law,

Sharia seeks to humiliate Jews, Christians and non-Muslims who survive their conquest but refuse to convert to Islam.

Islam’s theology of virulent Jew-hatred which targets Jews, relentlessly, for their alleged intrinsic evil, manifested as stubborn, even hateful rejection of Islam, and conspiratorial efforts to undermine the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and his mission to propagate the Muslim creed, from Islam’s inception, till now.

The presentation, notably, also includes an exposure, and thorough debunking, of the popular, late modern Western Islamic studies doyen, Bernard Lewis, whose platitudinous bowdlerization of doctrinal and historical truths, continues to negate the Islam underpinning Muslim Jew-hatred, with tragic consequences.

Finally, the mea culpa-based teachings and implementation of Vatican II/Nostre Aetate, launched in 1965, which sought to expunge Christianity’s Anti-Semitic theology, were summarized as a template for challenging institutional Islam—indeed demanding—that it initiate a similar effort to eliminate Islam’s own virulent theological Jew-hatred.

II  Dr. Andrew Bostom challenges Laura Ingraham’s vacuous response to the  immediate  threat of Islamic theology to Christianity

Janet Mefferd interviewed Andrew Bostom 6/14/19 on a segment that aired  6/10/19 discussion between Fox News host of “The Ingraham Angle,” Laura Ingraham, and two so-called “reformist” Muslim women, Qanta Ahmed, and Asra Nomani given unchallenged license to: (i) dissimulate about Islam’s uniquely virulent anti-Christian theology; and (ii) ignore hard data on the resultant unparalleled extent of murderous anti-Christian persecution in Muslim societies, and now Church desecrations in Western Europe, past as prologue.

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