Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chabad - Dr. Berger doesn't get it /Good people vs Theology

The following guest post by RaP reminds of the important point that most of us are influenced by good people rather than by theology. This has always been the most powerful weapon of missionaries [and kiruv] and is encapsulated by the Gra when he said to a student, "Beware of the Maskilim because they have a good heart." R' Yisroel Salanter realized that all the bans against the Maskilim were ineffective because they were good people who genuinely cared about others. He decided to create a frum Haskala i.e., the Mussar Movement as a counterbalance [Seridei Aish's essay on R' Yisroel Salanter].
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Guest Post: Recipients and Publicity's comment to "Chabad - Prof. David Berger's clarification of Vil...":

Dr Berger just doesn't get it. The Shluchot are a refutation to the anti-Chabad sceptics.

Reading this essay is such an interesting counter balance or counter-approach to the Dr. Berger world view of Chabad and how he perceives the subject as he strives to ring alarm bells about it. Published in the latest "The New York Jewish Week," Monday, September 08, 2008 written by noted columnist Jonathan Mark.

The article has its own problems (dragging Feminist Rebbetzin Blu Greenberg into the discussion and it ignores the fact that Governor Sarah Palin is an avowed evangelical Christian with interests very different to the shluchot he compares her to), but it does convey the supra-rational human appeal of Chabad via its Shluchot and how powerful and appealing that paradigm is not just for Jews but now for American politics and why it makes the metaphorical shutters come down when the arguments of the "talking heads" and "chattering classes" as exemplified by Dr. Berger's constant academic attacks against Chabad that just look like he's spinning his wheels and going nowhere as Chabad keeps on growing and impacting the world, religiously and secularly.

Importantly, the article shows the very real political implications of the Chabad approach both for Jews and in American politics using the person and persona of the latest Republican nominee for Vice President, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as a "living metaphor" who has also been praised for her pro-Jewish and pro-Israel stance (but as is known she is a Christian Evangelical that may have its challenges too) see also the VIN article "Chabad Rabbi: Sarah Palin a Great Friend To The Jewish Community" (see below after the Jewish Week article.)
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Here's the Jewish Week article of September 08, 2008
"Sarah Palin's Appeal Is Same As Chabad's

I'm getting a hunch the Republicans just might win for one reason alone, and it makes no sense, just like Chabad makes no sense to the Jewish elite.

That one reason is Sarah Palin. She reminds me of about a thousand different Chabad shluchot (the rebbe's women representatives). She's seems friendly, sexy (forgive me) in an Orthodox way, with that magnetism, optimism, and accessibility that has made Chabad shluchot successful in 5,000 different locales, even though they are almost always considerably more right-wing -- religiously and politically -- than their congregants and financial supporters.

Reform, Conservative and other Orthodox Jews don't get it. How is Chabad is so successful in places where there are no Chasidim? Why do liberal Jews on the Upper West Side want to send their kids to Chabad pre-schools? Why do many hundreds of non-Chasidic, even non-Orthodox students at Harvard and SUNY Binghamton want to spend Friday night meals with these Chabad Sarah Palins rather than the more mainstream, liberal Jews down the road? It makes no sense.

Don't get it, do you?

Who would you rather have a cup of coffee with on a bungalow porch, a cup that can turn into a three-hour conversation, Sarah Palin or Nancy Pelosi?

Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton come across like the Queen of Spades of a nanny state; school marms of a school you don't want to go to. Pelosi, in particular, seems like one of those Sisterhood program chairs from a suburban temple whose calls you don't want to answer.

Sarah Palin seems like one of those Chabad women who don't have enough chairs at her table for all the non-Chabad women who'd take a plane or a subway to attend the next shluchot convention in Crown Heights.

Something's happening and you don't know what it is, do you, Nancy Pelosi?

And another thing: There are plenty of logical, rational reasons to abort America's relationship with Israel, the far left tells us, but Chabad doesn't abort and evangelicals (such as Palin) don't either.

Rabbis who can't stop quoting Heschel or Soloveitchik don't get it.

Americans and Jews don't need another genius. We don't need another Herr Rabbi Doctor. We have enough "scholars," believe it or not.

We don't have enough human beings who'd rather rock a Down Syndrome baby to sleep than abort it; human beings who can relate to a flunking child or the stuffiness of the sophisticates, parents who don't give a damn who's in the top shiur or who made law review.

We have too many of the best and the brightest, the wise and the brilliant, who can't communicate (and who, in the end, maybe aren't really the best or all that brilliant.)

The genius of Chabad is delivering their message in a down-home way, much as Sarah Palin did at the convention. [...]

Chabad women don't conduct studies. They cook a chicken (or, Sarah Palin, a moose) and invite you over on Friday night. And college students, middle-class families, international businessmen want to be there.

At the beginning of these successful relationships between Chabad and their guests, theology and politics having little or nothing to do with it. A lot of Palin's appeal has nothing to do with her theology or politics either.

The other party and denominations are trying to figure it out. Maybe if they could get a grant. Maybe if they could find someone with whom they can dialogue.

Chabad women and Sarah Palin don't dialogue. They talk. And they don't talk down.

They win. Makes no sense, does it?"
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Here is the article from VIN (similar report in a number of Jewish media)

"Chabad Rabbi: Sarah Palin a Great Friend To The Jewish Community
Chabad of Anchorage’s Rabbi Yosef Greenberg: [...]

I was personally impressed by Gov. Palin’s remarks of hope and faith when she gave birth to a child with special needs. We all feel that the Governor is a remarkable, energetic, and good person. [...]

18 comments :

  1. Sarah Palin does indeed have a great deal in common with Chabad shluchos.

    In today's paper, I noticed that she was wearing a wig, honestly, it looked so good, I wanted to call her up and ask who her sheital macher was.

    But great sheitals is not where the Palin/Chabad similarities end.

    Chabad, like Pentacostal Christians believe in the Second Coming of a dead Messiah.

    Chabad like Pentacostal Christians believe that one has to accept that Messiah in order to be "frum".

    Sarah Palin has been quoted saying (at a Church conference some months ago) that Jews suffer Anti Semitism because we have not accepted Jesus. (Herzl BTW said the same, his entire family converted to Christianity).

    Christianity is a very popular and appealing religion. Christians, like Lubavitchers go the world over to provide aid to the troubled, impoverished, sick and lonely places of the world.(No other Jewish group has ever done this because proselytizing is forbidden by Judaism).

    With that friendly cup of tea and chicken dinner comes the Gospel. (Jethro Tull sung about it in Aqua Lung, "Feeling alone
    the army's up the road
    salvation à la mode and
    a cup of tea. ")

    I wish that Orthodox Jews in America would remember that we are NOT Evangelical Christians. There is not such thing as a Judeo Christian heritage. Christianity is idolatry and its tenets are heresy. How many of our ancestors died Kiddush Hashem rather than kneel before the Cross??

    If anything the comparisons between Chabad women and Sarah Palin should sound a LOUDER warning to our Rabbis.

    Chabad has become a movement that is antithetical to Judaism. Rabbi David Bergers comparisons of Chabad to Christianity should be heeded seriouslybefore it is too late to save American Jewry from becoming Chabadism, a movement that has a lot more in common with Jews for Jesus (which is funded by Sarah Palins Church) than with the Judaism of our ancestors.

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  2. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 10, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    Dr. Eidensohn, thank you for this post. However the words and direction and the logic that you have decided to add to the post as some kind of "definitive progue" are faulty.

    You say: "The following guest post by RaP reminds of the important point that most of us are influenced by good people rather than by theology. This has always been the most powerful weapon of missionaries [and kiruv]"

    Now don't you think that that is somewhat patronizing and deragatory as well as misleading? Firstly, your cavalier dumping together of "missionaries [and kiruv]" devalues true kiruv and may reveal a worrisome disdain for it that many Baalei teshuva and kiruv workers sense from the mainstream frum world that it is suspicious of their motives, looks down on them, and on some level wishes they would go away because as you imply that after all this is no different to Christian missioanry stuff.

    As you note some things may seem the same, but if there is one thing Judaism teaches it is that subtlety counts and its surprising how often present-day Talmidei chachomim so good at analysing the minutest differences and nuances in the words of the Gemora, Rishonim and Acharonim, will not do the same when talking about other issues that require the same level of care of thought and expression.

    For exaample, if there is one thing Judaism teaches about the two sei'irim of the Yom Kippur avoda (we are almost there on the calendar) it is that sometimes the more two things seem identical, the more they may differ entirely in essence and goals. So when you lump kiruv and missionaries together without a better explanation, and while they may semm similar, yet what can be greater on all levels than a missionary bringing someone closer to Jesus and a genuine kiruv worker bringing a Jews closer to Hashem and mekarevim them to Avihem shebashamayim?

    You say: "and is encapsulated by the Gra when he said to a student, 'Beware of the Maskilim because they have a good heart'."

    But come now Dr. Eidensohn is the subject of Chabad in any way related to the reputed statement by the Vilna Gaon that you cite here? The GRA was blunt in his rejection of Chasidism, refused to meet the Baal HaTanya, and he put Chasidim in Cherem, talk about that but don't throw in your own comparisons based on his words that ties the Chasidim to maskilim and Christian missionaries.

    It would truly be interesting to know how the GRA spoke or wrote about Christains or their missionaries. In his day, in Catholic Lithuania the Inquisition was still in full force and there was no missionizing by persuasion. Rather, Jews lived in fear of the Catholic church and the possibility that their children would kidnapped and forcibly baptised by the Church never to be seen again.

    And of course, when talking of the GRA on the subject of Christianity, the saga of the Vilna Ger who was close to the GRA according to what is known and who was burned at the stake should come into the picture. It is important to put the GRA in a correct and careful HISORICAL, HASHKAFIC and HALACHIK context because this is a delicate subject being examined.

    You say: "R' Yisroel Salanter realized that all the bans against the Maskilim were ineffective because they were good people who genuinely cared about others. He decided to create a frum Haskala i.e., the Mussar Movement as a counterbalance [Seridei Aish's essay on R' Yisroel Salanter].

    Ok, fine, but you are comparing apples with oranges really. What does the Haskalah and the maskilim have to do with Chabad and Christian missionaries historically, hashkafically or halachically? Of all the examples and metaphors is this the best you can do? Now you throw Chabad in not just with Christians but with maskilim as well, and neither comparison is in any way justified, accurate or correct and in fact is grossly misleading and tendentious on your part that would serve to take a reader's attention away from the discussion at hand (your constant picking of points and poking at Chabad, come hell or high water) instead of making the right connections which you could easily have done, such as comparing Chabad to the Baal Shem Tov, he was most friendly too, or to his teachings and the teachings of many Chasidic Rebbes about the centrality of Ahavas Yisroel because the dictum of "ve'ahavta es rei'acha kamocha -- zeh klal gadol baTorah" is probably THE central pillar of Chasidim's and true kiruv's attitude to other Jews and it is a big motivator for Chabad and kiruv workers so that no Torah Jew in his right historical, hashkafic and halachic mind would say that practicing the human art friendliness and in particular of Ahavas Yisroel and fulfilling the requirements of ve'ahavta es rei'acha kamocha with hiddurim is like being a "maskil" and a "Christian missionary" (lehavdil elef havdolas) because it relies on too much on friendliness.

    For that matter that succeding in life and work requires efforts and genuine friendliness to succeed in personal and professional relationships and that that is somehow tainted because it's like being a "Christian missionary" or an atheistic or secular "maskil" (lehavdil). Thank you.

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  3. lubavitcher just do not get it. They think that their good deed forgives their bizarre ideology that they invented.

    Furthermore, when examining a bit more closely one sees that their good deeds are mixed with their ideology where they use the good deeds to bring their presence in the media and there show their hegemony and conquest of the world.

    Stick to the good deeds and abandon the false ideologies and also abandon the lust and preoccupation with your being the most powerful body in judaism, so you can continue the legacy of doing the good deeds for their own sake and it will not be mixed with those megalomanical feelings that taints so much the good deeds that you do.

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  4. This article was also on CNN.

    Neither Sarah Palin nor her Church are friends of the Jews. With "friends" like this, who needs the Spanish Inquisition?

    At least Palin's pastor, unlike McCains pastor, Hagee who views Hitler as the "Great Hunter" who brought the Jewish people to Israel, does not believe that Christians should do Jews a "favor" and FORCE them to suffer. Its just good when others do it for them.




    Palin's Church: Jews deserve terrorist attacks

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories

    Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the church’s website.

    “He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism,” Kroon said. Brickner then explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish.

    “The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality,” he said.
    Brickner’s mission has drawn wide criticism from the organized Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of “targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception.”

    Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.

    Palin was in church that day, Kroon said, though he cautioned against attributing Brickner’s views to her.

    The executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Ira Forman, cited the “cultural distance” between Palin and almost all American Jews.

    “She’s totally out of step with the American Jewish community,” he said. “She is against reproductive freedom – even against abortion in the case of rape and incest. She has said that climate change is not man-made. She has said that she would favor teaching creationism in the schools. These are all way, way, way outside the mainstream.”

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  5. The article correctly notes that folksy appeal trumps ideology. Yes, given a choice I'd rather have lunch with Sarah Palin than Hillary Clinton, and for all the reasons given in the article.
    Except...
    Perhaps what bothers us about Clinton and Pelosi is their lack of a sociable veneer over their underlying agendas. With them, there is no friendly coffee before the intense discussion. They have a goal and are interested in pursuing it without regard to how other people perceive it (or perhaps they just don't realize how other people perceive it).
    Lunch with Sarah Palin would be nice, but in the back of my head I would always be thinking: She wants my vote. If she could convince me with political arguments she would. But right now she's trying to win my vote with her charm.
    And with Chabad it is no different. Yes the shluchim and shluchot are marvelous, indefatigable human beings with hearts of gold. But, and this is the important part, not because they're intrinsically that way but because that's what their training turns them into. They are constant PR machines for their religion and their organization. They have long ago learned that blatantly pursuing an agenda, like Reform, without a pleasant veneer, turns people off. They want to be charmed, they want their hearts to be won, so Chabad goes after that. But the end result is the same - an agenda to win the vote, as it were.

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  6. Anyway, I like Sarah Palin's hair even though the Boston Herald says is 20 years out of date )so am I, I guess).

    There is a good deal of debate online as to whether or not it is ethical for her to wear a wig (in this case a fall).

    I have heard the same discussions in Chabad houses. Many secular Jewish women cannot believe that the glamorous custom $4000 European tresses of Chabad shluchos are the updated versions of their Bubbie's sheitalach.

    I am just waiting for Georgie, Yaffa, Jacquelyn and Clary to come out with the "Sarah" in this Fall's lineup of styles. I will probably wait until its a closeout to buy it, unless there is a great sale for Chanukkah.

    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/2008/view.bg?articleid=1116858&srvc=2008campaign&position=8

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  7. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 10, 2008 at 3:58 PM

    Jersey girl: Do you like Barak HUSSEIN Obama's haircut more? And do you think his aspirations to be leader of America would be good for the world and for Jews when Libya's Gadafi has vouched that Obama is a Muslim as recorded by the reliable MEMRI organization, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSemkPChvHo and as you may know Obama was raised as a Muslim by his step-father in Indonesia as a youngster and thus according to Islamic law he remains a Muslim regardless of what faith he later professes or denies.

    Seems that it is six of one and half a dozen of the other, caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea of Esav and Yishmael! The only hope of the Jewish people is to turn to Avihem Shebashamayim and forget about all the "isms" and false faiths and trust only in Hashem in these dangerous times.

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  8. Jonathan Mark's article makes a number of good points. I would point out that he isn't really contrasting Chabad to non-Chabad, but Chabad versus non-chareidi. When he describes the non-Chabad rabbis and leaders, he is cleary NOT talking about chareidim. (e.g. "mainstream, liberal Jews", "Rabbis who can't stop quoting Heschel or Soloveitchik"). He is pretty explicitly contrasting Chabad to MO and those even further left. He appears to be unaware (though I'm sure he isn't really) of chareidi Jews who are not Chabad.

    The reason for this may be because, although the positive characterisitics he ascribes to Chabad are fairly common place in the chareidi community, Chabad has much more exposure in the general population.

    In any event, the article also misses some points. The perceived snobbishness of a Pelosi or Clinton (and an Obama) is directly related to their ideology of elitist control of, well, everything. By the very nature of their beliefs, they have to view the general population as "school marms" view their unruly students.

    Conservatives like Sarah Palin are generally much more approachable and "regular Joe" precisely because their ideology sees regular people as fully capable of and responsible for running their own lives. Again, by the very nature of their beliefs, they don't see themselves as superior to the general population.

    Why this should find a parallel in the religious Chareidi/Liberal divide, I am not sure. Perhaps this is related to our previous discussion of the correlation between religious belief and political ideology. By and large, the religious Orthodox/Liberal divide is paralleled by a political conservative/liberal division. This is certainly not a coincidence.

    In any event, I fail to understand JaP's point that "the Shluchot are a refutation to the anti-Chabad sceptics."

    Nothing in the article contradicts the points raised by Dr. Berger and other critics of current Chabad. Indeed, the article never even mentions the messianism issue (presumably because it isn't relevant to his point, just as Sarah Palin's evangelical Christianinty isn't relevant).

    Dr. Berger "strives to ring alarm bells" about Chabad precisely because they are a large, highly effective community within the Orthodox world that is, fairly rapidly, drifting away from Judaism.

    Yes, Chabad has many talented people, especially among the shluchim, who are very effective at spreading their ideology. Yes, many of them are truly good people who are genuinely concerned about others and want to help them.

    All of this can be said about Jews for Jesus as well. It just emphasizes the nature of the tragedy.

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  9. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 10, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    To Jersey girl who complains about Governor Sarah Palin's pastor, do you think that Barak HUSSEIN Obama's pastor, the Rev Wright who baptised Obama and did his marriage service to the racist anti-White Michelle Obama, is a "tzadik" with all his preaching of "God damn America," honoring of Nation of Islam's Farakhan yimach shemo and statements of supporting the Arabs when he says no one has suffered as much as the Palestinians (really now?), see it all in less than four minutes on this ABC news report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk3LXvVlsI4 and ask yourself, with a "rebbi" what does it say about the "talmid"?

    Who cares what Sarah Palin is wearing? She has derech eretz. This is America and why do you expect it to be different? Maybe in Bnai Berak or Meah Shearim one can escape the goyishe atmosphere but in the reast of the world Jews have developed coping and rejection mechanisms based on Torah and mitzvos and good hashkofes. Most politicians and celebrities have plastic surgery and wear fake things. Do you think all those male senators and congressmen with hair aren't wearing hair-pieces? But all this is to miss the point.

    Sarah Palin's religious beliefs do not change the reality that America is a Christian country and it always has been (except for those that want to change it into another kind of religious country, the "Islamic States of Ameriva" through world-wide jihad, chas veshalom). She is not running for president. Every American president has always needed as much of the Evnagelicls' votes to get into the White House. Senator McCain does not like the Evangelicals and they have rejcted him a long time ago, so pray that Hashem keeps him alive, healthy and retain his wits for along time, but he has done the smart thing by creating a pragmatic alliance with them, bringing them back into the Republican fold by the clever choice of Governor Sarah Palin of which she is a symbol, but McCain will run the show as the next president of the USA so misdirected and out of proportion alarmism is not called for here when there because there are other just as serious problems to deal with.

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  10. Jersey Girl said...

    "(Herzl ... his entire family converted to Christianity)"

    This is not accurate.

    Although the Herzl's were clearly a deeply disturbed family (as was Theodor Herzl himself), only one of his three children converted to Christianity.

    In brief, Herzl's eldest daughter, Pauline, suffered from a serious mental illness and died from a heroin overdose (possibly a suicide).

    His second, Hans, was also mentally ill. He converted to Christianity (rapidly working his way through several different denominations) and then committed suicide.

    His third, Trude, was comitted to a mental hospital after the birth of her son in 1918. She remained there until 1942, when the Nazis sent her and the other patients to Theresienstadt where she died.

    Trude's son, Stephan Theodor, Herzl's only grandchild, committed suicide in 1937.

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  11. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 10, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    For the record, and because this may potentially impact, either positively or negatively or not at all, matters pertaining to, and effecting Jews in America and Israel, here is a summation of Governor Sarah Palin's Christian upbringing and background as reported in BBC news Wednesday, 10 September 2008 "Sarah Palin: 10 things we've learnt"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7607039.stm

    "It has been a week since Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was catapulted from relative obscurity to centre stage as US Republican John McCain's choice for running mate. Here are 10 things we now know about her...

    8. She was baptised a Catholic as an infant but attended a Pentecostal church in Wasilla - her hometown since her parents moved to Alaska from Idaho when she was three months old - for many years. She now attends Wasilla Bible Church, a non-denominational, evangelical church. The Associated Press reports that the church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer."

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  12. I am posting this anonymously, and am hoping RDE will make an exception. People who already knew what I'm talking about will know who wrote this post (including RDE, I believe), and those who don't won't hear me toot my own horn. Despite how the end of this post sounds, I do not consider myself the ideal Jew, and will omit my name so as to sound less self-aggrandizing.

    Jonathan Mark writes in the Jewish Week "Americans and Jews don't need another genius. We don't need another Herr Rabbi Doctor. We have enough 'scholars,' believe it or not.

    "We don't have enough human beings who'd rather rock a Down Syndrome baby to sleep than abort it; ..."

    This is a false dichotomy.

    I am reminded of the Conservative Jew who writes about the need to have more attention to ethics rather than all this Orthodoxy and ritual. (Particularly right now you know they're saying/thinking it, with Agriprocessors back in the news.)

    Non-Orthodox Jews take comfort by trying to convince themselves that they're closer to the true path, by arguing that our attention to halachic detail will necessarily distract from the attention we can pay the more fundamental obligations.

    However, it's the Orthodox Jew who is capable of striving for perfection in both his relationship with other people AND in his observance of mitzvos bein adam laMakom. By abdicating from part of the goal, our non-Orthodox brothers are giving up their opportunity to fully achieve it.

    This is the same false dichotomy.

    Take myself for example. I'm dubbed a rabbi. I taught in college for a few years. (Although I didn't complete a PhD, so I'm not technically a "Rabbiner Doktor".)

    My wife and I adopted a child with Downs -- he is our 9th. We also adopted a child with psychiatric issues. And our oldest was also a Jewish child placed in the state system, and he is a bright, healthy, mainstream adult. Were all the non-academics fighting for those opportunities to save these children from assimilation, from "faith based" charities and their idea of saving Jews by finding them "good Christian homes"?

    Given the number of children lost, I don't think so.

    Why not have a Herr Rabbiner Doktor who rocks Down Syndrome babies to sleep? Why is his ideal necessarily one or the other?

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  13. RaP:

    My perspective on what is good for the Jews is very simple and purely economic (I am a consultant in Manufacturing Accounting, my father was an Economist for World Bank as was my uncle and my brother is a Professor of Tax Law who advises Congress). When the countries Jews live in prosper, we do okay in Galut. When the countries we live in suffer financial hardship, we also suffer terrible Anti Semitism.

    This is a fact that is long proven throughout history. (My ancestor Meir Levy, King Joao's Chief Economics Advisor in the 1500s, was beheaded when things went badly for Portugal, thus giving meaning to the expression "having your head handed to you").

    It scared me when I recently heard Rebbetzin Jungreis say that America reminds her of pre WWII Europe. There are indeed many similarities. Millions of Americans are losing their homes, businesses, credit, and educational opportunities.

    Millions of Americans do not have health insurance, cannot afford to heat their homes this winter or pay for their groceries.

    To me, it boils down simply to economics. Democrats tend to follow Keynesian theories in their economic policy (that is to increase spending in order to stimulate the economy), while Republicans are traditionally "trickle down" theorists. Both candidates' campaign rhetoric mirrors their parties' traditional stance on the economy.

    I fear that if the Republicans win this upcoming election that their traditional economic policies will cause continued financial suffering for the majority of Americans and that we will see a dangerous increase in Anti Semitism (as was the case during the Great Depression, the Postwar Recessions and during Stagflation of the 70s).

    Our Sages tell us that we should do everything possible to appease our Gentile neighbors and alleviate Anti Semitic trends in the countries in which we live. In this case, I believe this would translate to voting against the Republicans. I did not say I am voting FOR Obama, only that I am voting AGAINST the Republicans.

    Many American Jews believe that the US is an Empire in decline and that our days in this country are numbered anyway, but I am not in any rush for things to get much worse. American Jews do not have any place better to go right now anyway.

    I don't think Israel will be much of an option either if the Evangelical Christian Republicans keep pushing Iran's (and now Pakistan's) war buttons because I fear either might nuke Israel in retaliation. And contrary to what John McCain says, I do not believe that the American people would support a war on behalf of Israel.

    There is already a movement gaining momentum in Congress (Democratic and Republican) to further cut financial aid to Israel due to the lagging US economy.

    So, to sum it all up, I don't care much about McCain or Obama or their idolatrous Churches.

    I do care about the economy of the US which in turn supports Israel's economy. And I do care to remove an administration from power that I fear could ignite the War of the Armageddan by antagonizing Iran into C"V nuking Israel, causing the C"V deaths of approx. 200,000 Jews.

    Meir Sheetrit speaks for me when he says, ""Israel must on no account attack Iran, speak of attacking Iran or even think about it". "Thinking about it", in my opinion includes an American President whose pastor is John Hagee and whose support for Israel includes igniting the War of Armageddan between Israel and its Muslim neighbors in order that Israel's Jews perish in a nuclear Holocaust to usher in the Second Coming of Jesus.

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  14. Is It Good for the Jews?

    The recent controversy over the Israel lobby has focused on how it distorts U.S. foreign policy. Forgotten is whether it helps Israel (and the peace process).


    Daniel Levy | June 18, 2006
    On May 23, the House of Representatives passed Resolution 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, by a vote of 361 to 37. Nothing remarkable about that. But the passage of H.R. 4681 had all the ingredients of the worrying way in which the Israel-Palestine conflict has played out in American politics and policy for the past decade or more.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied enthusiastically for the bill. Many AIPAC supporters and donors, assuming that they were simply doing right by Israel, would be surprised and perhaps even shocked to learn that its provisions are significantly more draconian than Israeli policy. Israel has to live with the Palestinian reality on the ground, coordinate with whomever necessary on everything from security to avian flu, and distinguish between moderates and extremists. Congress and lobbyists do not.

    Israeli officials, as had happened on numerous occasions, were concerned by this excess of zealotry, but they kept quiet for considerations of domestic politics and politesse. After the fact, while visiting Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of course welcomed H.R. 4681.

    This congressional propensity to out-kosher the Israelis and even give a nudge toward escalation led three prominent American-Jewish organizations -- Israel Policy Forum (IPF), Americans for Peace Now (APN), and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom -- to campaign publicly against the bill. In private, many representatives recognized the bill's shortcomings, but a yes vote was the path of least resistance.

    Some members were intimidated. Unusually, one congresswoman who voted against the measure, Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum, hit back after being accused of supporting terrorists by an AIPAC representative. In a letter to AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr, McCollum called on the organization “to immediately condemn this un-American attack and disavow any attempt to use this type of threat and intimidation to stifle legitimate policy differences … until I receive a written, formal apology … AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices or for meetings with my staff.”

    Interestingly, the Bush administration opposed the bill, too. Presumably, the final legislation will look different and presidential waivers will be used against the more irksome provisions.

    But back here in the Middle East, the damage has already been done. Moderates are undermined and critics of the United States strengthened, America is blamed for Palestinian suffering, and reformers once again lower their expectations of the United States. How such a cavalier and irresponsible approach to a central foreign-policy question became so fashionable -- and its implications for Israeli's interests, as well as future U.S. policy -- is the subject at hand.

    * * *

    The publication earlier this year of a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government paper by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” placed the issue under a magnifying glass.

    It is sensitive territory. Their thesis, and the counterattacks, have been well-rehearsed elsewhere, including most recently by Michael Massing in The New York Review of Books. Establishing some benchmarks is a worthwhile exercise. The more shrill conspiracy theorists who suggest the existence of an all-powerful foreign interest occupying Washington, such as “They Dare to Speak Out” author and former Republican Congressman Paul Findley and his Council for the National Interest (a group that I had the misfortune to be quoted by in a recent New York Times ad), are wide of the mark. Conversely, those defenders of the cause whose reflexive response is to cry antisemitism can be equally misguided and also do a disservice to the struggle against contemporary manifestations of real antisemitism.

    AIPAC's sheer name recognition and resources guarantees that most American Jews who care somewhat about Israel but are not policy wonks will likely choose it as their default vehicle for occasional involvement. But the so-called Israel lobby is not monolithic. Groups such as the Religious Action Committee of Reform Judaism, IPF, APN, and Brit Tzedek are probably more representative of American Jewish opinion than AIPAC (and closer to where the Israeli public and even much of government policy stands today). Polls repeatedly show that American Jews, unsurprisingly, are liberal on Israel-Palestine, just as they are across a range of issues. Paradoxically then, it could be argued that there is too little Jewish influence in Washington. If more American Jews took a keener interest in what was being advocated in their names on Israel-related matters, then things might look very different, and far more hopeful. And of course, AIPAC is not unique in being a powerful and influential lobby (as the group boasts on its own Web site) that flouts its success, or in largely representing a diaspora community on a foreign policy/homeland issue in controversial ways (just look at the role of the Cuban American National Foundation). Furthermore, AIPAC is not omnipotent, unchanging, or unchallengeable. It can also be a convenient scapegoat and excuse for failings of others or a credit-taking champion for the successes of more camera-shy actors.

    So let's go back to our Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act and ask how the automatic majority for ill-conceived measures became the conventional stuff of U.S.-Israeli political relations.

    Ten years ago, J.J. Goldberg, now the editor of the Forward, made the most valiant and serious effort to date to understand this phenomenon in his Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment. The book is a warm and sympathetic insider's account, brilliant in its detail and piercing in its analysis. Goldberg claims that a set of factors had emerged by the mid-1970s that were to transform organized American Jewry and its political role, developments whose consequences fully came to fruition two decades later as the late Yitzhak Rabin pushed for peace (and as Goldberg wrote his book). He traces the stratospheric rise of Jewish institutional empowerment and politicization to three ingredients: Israel's Six Day War military victory and the Jewish nationalist passions it stirred just as the U.S.-Israel Cold War alliance was being cemented; the mass campaign for Soviet Jewry and its lynchpin role in U.S.-Soviet relations; and the belated rise of Holocaust awareness (and guilt) in popular culture and its attendant “never again” maxim. The interaction among these commands -- defend Israel, save Soviet Jews, and remember the Holocaust -- created the “counterrevolution” of the “new Jews,” a passionate minority of defensive nationalists driven by a terrible vision amid an overwhelming majority of still optimistic Jewish liberals. “Their defiance was so strident, and their anger so intense, that the rest of the Jewish community respectfully stood back and let the New Jews take the lead. The minority was permitted to speak for the mass and became the dominant voice of Jewish politics,” Goldberg writes.

    Donations to candidates were, of course, a big part of the rising influence. Today observers point to at least 36 PACs whose disbursements are predicated on an Israel agenda (although the PACs' names often seem unconnected). Playing internal American and Israeli politics has also become an essential part of the game. And while Israeli Labor Party politicians constantly fret at AIPAC's Likud tilt, the opposite accusation -- that the organization acts as a liberal bridgehead -- is not heard. For Israelis and Americans alike, the Rabin-Clinton Oslo years provided an opportunity to test the existence or otherwise of a hard-line ideological lobby leadership.

    * * *

    Rabin had an openly tempestuous relationship with AIPAC. Having witnessed the organization's closeness to Likud, Rabin demanded that he and not they be the ultimate arbiter of Israel's dialogue with the United States.

    Rabin might have been able to get his way with the executive branch, but it was a different story with Congress. For the United States to play its designated role in the peace process, enabling legislation needed to be enacted. This took the form of MEPFA -- the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act of 1993. The conditionalities, certification, and reporting requirements that Congress tried and sometimes successfully built into MEPFA, were an overt attempt to sabotage the peace process.

    Worse was to follow. At a particularly sensitive moment in the peace negotiations and with the 1996 presidential and congressional elections approaching, a number of AIPAC and Republican leaders moved to throw a wrench in the works -- the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The act required the U.S. Embassy in Israel to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a given time frame. It inflamed Arab opinion and cornered both the Clinton and Rabin governments. It had been tried before (and again since), but never had it been used as so blunt a political instrument in U.S. and Israeli domestic politics. Israel cannot publicly oppose it but has never prioritized it. Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole announced the initiative at the 1995 AIPAC Annual Conference. The Likud cheered, using it to attack Rabin precisely as the incitement that ultimately led to his assassination was reaching its peak. Itamar Rabinovich, then the Israeli ambassador in Washington, has called it the “The Jerusalem Hijack,” writing about “how embarrassing it was.”

    So, the Rabin years represented a moment of truth for the American Jewish leadership -- was it in the grip of Goldberg's “new Jews,” or could it adapt to pursuing a peace strategy? The choices made then continue to cast their shadow now. Key AIPAC officeholders then who were sympathetic to the Rabin case, such as Steve Grossman and Neal Sher, were sidelined by the more hard-line, and often Republican-supporting, “old-guard leadership.”

    As Goldberg concluded in his book back in 1996, “the most feared and respected pro-Israel lobbying organization can no longer be relied on to support the views of Israel, much less the views of American Jews.” In the following years, Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, and in many ways the pro-Israel lobby, became neoconservative half a decade before the U.S. government. The luminaries of the neoconservative echo chamber and their institutional support system -- Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Michael Ledeen, the American Enterprise Institute, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and more -- had a few years' practice whispering in an Israeli leader's ear even before their Washington moment in the sun arrived.

    The Netanyahu years sealed the ideological affinity of the Israeli right with the neoconservatives, and also with another influential American constituency -- the Christian right. An entire industry has arisen of Christian right affiliation with and active support for the Israeli far right and the settler movement in particular. Many evangelical mega-churches have adopted settlements in the territories, or assisted new immigrants to live in settlements. Stephen Sizer's book Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon details not only the theological sources of this relationship but also the astonishing density of this interaction.

    The AIPAC relationship with the Christian Right is almost a “go ahead, test my chutzpa” moment for the descendents of Goldberg's new Jews in simultaneously speaking for mainstream Jewry while acting in ways so antithetical to its core values. It is almost as if the pro-Israel lobby inhabits the rightist planet Likud, while Israelis live on the centrist planet Labor-Kadima.

    * * *
    And this takes us back to the question of the Israeli interest. Understandably, the debate

    usually emphasizes American interests and takes the Israeli side of the equation for granted. But is Israel being served by the current incarnation of the special relationship? Of course, such an alliance in a unipolar world is not something to be sneezed at. Israelis, public and elites alike, treasure the relationship. There is no Israeli Hugo Chávez out campaigning against the Yankee enemy in the barrios of Tel Aviv. Yet many senior Israeli figures, in and out of government, regret that the relationship is not put to more constructive use.

    In researching this piece, I spoke with a number of former and serving Israeli officials, ministers, diplomats and journalists from several political parties. Many repeated the same refrain, which went something like this: “the pro-Israel lobby is an asset that can serve us and that no one will be hasty in abandoning, but our interests are not identical and we constantly have to maneuver around the obstacles they place in our path, especially when we pursue the peace option; when we ask something of the executive branch, a not unusual response is: ‘Go convince your friends in AIPAC.'”

    Clearly, there is no one view as to what constitutes the Israeli interest, but the outlines of an emerging consensus are at least partially visible. Occupation is bad for Israel. When Ariel Sharon said it, the cat was well and truly out of the bag. Settlements have placed a strain on Israel's budget, defensive lines, and international reputation. They also breed an internal antidemocratic threat to the state. Peace and the territorial concessions entailed, including evacuating most of the settlements, is the best and perhaps only guarantee of Israel's future.

    U.S. policy, under the influence of an unreconstructed Israel lobby of neoconservatives, fundamentalist evangelicals, and American Likudniks, is liable to follow directions that are unhelpful to this Israeli interest. Three unwelcome types of policy suggest themselves. Let's call them: initiative recoil, the obstacle course, and an addiction to misbehavior without consequence.

    Initiative recoil is a form of self-censorship, as when the U.S. government preemptively holds back from making a move or seizing an opportunity based on a calculation that it is not worth the likely domestic political fallout. Israel would sometimes greatly benefit from the initiative having been taken and/or is unable to make the first move itself. For example, in 1987, then–Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres reached the London Agreement with Jordan's King Hussein for resolving the status of the Palestinian territories. Peres beseeched then–Secretary of State George Schultz to take the initiative in pursuing the plan. Schultz declined. The moment was lost. More recently, success with the road-map plan would have required American initiative and leadership, but it was unpopular in Congress and with AIPAC. The Bush administration shied away. The road map is a dead letter. Today both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas, are publicly stating their preferences for a negotiated agreement. U.S. leadership is absent. Initiative recoil is the predictable and desired tribute to AIPAC's success, its effect felt in the diplomatic realm of paths not taken, something Israel has often later regretted.

    The classic examples of the obstacle course are the MEPFA and Jerusalem Embassy Act stories cited above. The parties decide on a way forward and have U.S. support; lobbies then mobilize Congress to place as many obstacles as possible in their way. The process sputters, the United States loses credibility, the parties -- having made courageous choices -- take a hit in domestic popularity, and the fragile balance is made shakier. If Israelis and Palestinians attempt again to engage in a negotiated process, then H.R. 4681 has all the trappings of an obstacle course waiting to happen.

    Israel's settlement policy is the textbook case of developing an addiction to bad behavior without consequences. As with many addictions that are left untreated, the temptation is to escalate -- build a separation barrier deep in Palestinian territory, expand the Jerusalem envelope of settlements -- and thereby strangle the viable, agreed-upon two-state solution to which Israel now professes to be committed and which America officially advocates. All because the best friend gave the drunk driver the keys rather than taking them away. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid, $3 billion annually. Yet no serious leverage or bully pulpit is used. Instead, Israel can enjoy occupation deluxe. Israel has enjoyed wasting NIS 45 billion (more than $10 billion) on settlements since 1967, according to a special Haaretz report.

    The cumulative effect of all of this on regional perceptions of and expectations from the United States, on the ability to act and build alliances regionally and multilaterally, is hardly a secret. Many of these issues exist in the margins of U.S. grand policy, but for Israel they can be defining moments and have dramatic implications. As Israeli author and commentator Tom Segev wrote in Haaretz: “Had the U.S. saved Israel from itself, life today would be better … the Israel lobby in the U.S. harms Israel's true interests.”

    * * *

    But initiative recoil, the obstacle course, and addiction to misbehavior without consequence, have not always carried the day or deterred executive action. Often forgotten is that American presidents over the past 30-plus years (and consistently since the end of the Cold War) have pursued initiatives seeking Middle East peace even in the face of domestic political opposition and lobbies. The current constellation of circumstances and executive branch timidity are, in key ways, the exception and not the rule. Jimmy Carter pushed hard to realize Israeli-Egyptian peace. Ronald Reagan started the U.S.-PLO dialogue. George H.W. Bush convened the Madrid Conference and linked American loan guarantees for Israel to settlement policy (remember Bush Senior's famous remark on AIPAC opposition to linking loans and settlements: “I heard today there was something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We get one lonely little guy down here doing it.”) In addition to supporting Rabin's efforts, Clinton pushed the 1998 Wye River Agreement in the face of Netanyahu's obstructionism, presented the Clinton parameters in December 2000 and tried to broker Israeli-Syrian peace (twice!). And the current George W. Bush administration has not been immune to displaying vim -- in endorsing the Mitchell Report, calling for a Palestinian state, and presenting the road map.

    As the tide turned decisively against Colin Powell during George W. Bush's first term, signs of courage waned and, since then, the United States has largely been awol. With the broader Middle East featuring so prominently in the U.S. policy debate, this absence of action is an ever more unaffordable luxury. Steve Clemons of the popular blog The Washington Note has suggested that this administration's foreign policy soul is again now up for grabs, largely in the person of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and that an Israel-Palestine moment of clarity is much needed.

    So can Israeli and American interests dovetail and a push for peace be pursued without being shot down on the Potomac?

    One final point may come into play that is both structural and very human. Structurally, AIPAC's stock rises when Israel is isolated and embattled -- when there is a cause. The converse is also true. During the Rabin period, as Israel flourished diplomatically, the Jewish community started to focus inward, 52 percent assimilation rates supplanted Arab threats, traditional priorities and funding patterns were challenged. I was chairman of the World Union of Jewish Students at the time and remember attending endless conferences on “Jewish Continuity,” time having been freed up from “defending Israel.” This was the time when AIPAC first started focusing seriously on Iran and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act was passed. The connection is obvious.

    At the human level, rubbing shoulders with power is exhilarating, and the access and attention can be intoxicating. Compare its glitz and fund-raising zap to dealing with the local Jewish education curriculum. It is very human. Yossi Shain, an Israeli academic, has written a great deal about diasporas and in a John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies paper argues that “once a conflict is settled, the high-level meetings and phone calls may recede, and diasporic community leaders find that both their internal communal prestige and their external levers of influence degrade as a result.”

    Writing during the Rabin era in an article entitled “Foreign Affairs: Mischief Makers,” Tom Friedman argued, “It is as if these organizations can only thrive if they have an enemy, someone to fight. They have no positive vision to offer American Jews.”

    It would require huge institutional and personal efforts and realignments, but it is still not too late for AIPAC to be a part of providing that positive vision. That would mean cutting the umbilical cord to the neoconservatives, the Christian right, and Israel's (now fringe) Likud party. The alternative for AIPAC would be to ultimately become a much loathed obstructionist footnote in history. The alternative for the moderate majority of Israeli and American Jews will be to forge new alliances and ensure that this time, the shared interest of peace and ending the occupation carries the day.

    Daniel Levy was an adviser in the Israeli prime minister's office, a member of the official Israeli negotiating team at the Oslo B and Taba talks, and the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative.

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  15. Jersey Girl said...
    "I fear that if the Republicans win this upcoming election that their traditional economic policies will cause continued financial suffering for the majority of Americans...."

    The bulk of our current economic problems are actually caused by the government interfering in the economy and preventing it from functioning properly. Unfortunately, Republicans are also susceptible to this kind of tampering, although, being that they are officially opposed to it, they are less heavy-handed in their vandalism than the Democrats, who are socialist true-believers.

    As bad as our current economic problems are, Democrats will make it worse. It would be nice if we could vote for a serious conservative Republican, rather than a "moderate" like Mcain, but even he is vastly superior to his opponent.

    "And I do care to remove an administration from power that I fear could ignite the War of the Armageddan by antagonizing Iran into C"V nuking Israel, causing the C"V deaths of approx. 200,000 Jews."

    So instead we should elect a president who would actively and passively empower Iran and all the other Islamic extremists. A president who the enemies of Israel know will not oppose their ambitions in any meaningful way.

    That will protect Israel?

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  16. Very interesting points. I didn't walk away from the article with a dichotomy, rather, I saw it as drawing attention to the sad fact that the typical 'Rabbiner Doktor', and certainly the 'eilem hateyreh' are perceived as having prioritized shteiging at the expense of much else. Certainly no 'godol' worshipped today would dream of adopting the type of children you did. What kovod would that get him at the next convention ? Far better to castigate others for what you consider failings, than to actually address real problems or help to solve them! In this sense, I think Jonathan Mark is onto something. Does Chabad have problems - of course they do. Are there areas they should be doing more in addressing - sure there are, and the same can be said about every other frum group. We are not angels, but humans, with strengths and failings, and work to do! What the article draws more attention to, and what any honest historian will admit, is that chabad has chosen to emphasize the positive. In his way they do two things.
    1. They increase their popular appeal a hundred-fold.
    2. They become agents of change, as opposed to armchair critics.
    We would do well to learn from them, especially as we grapple with the terrible problems we need to address in many of our 'brand name' yeshivas right now. Ahavas Yisrael should be our practical focus, starting with our schools and children, and extending out to any Jew we meet, no matter their level of observance. Then perhaps we can keep our problems as 'mikva reid', rather than the cover of New York magazine.

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  17. There are 1.4 BILLION Muslims in the world today.

    Sixty years ago, 55,000 SS murdered 6 million Jews.

    This 55,000 translates to 0.00039286% of the world's Muslim population today. If even a minuscule fraction of the world's Muslims were at all motivated to do so, I cannot see why they would not be just as able as the Nazis to destroy every Jew in Israel or even the world, C"V. That is, within the context of the technology of 1939.

    With consideration to nuclear weapons, chemical warfare, biological weapons of mass destruction etc etc etc that is available today, it is so much easier to commit genocide than is was in 1939.

    Should we as Jews rely upon the belief that the same US that turned Jewish refugees facing certain demise from the Nazi inferno during WWII would send troops across the world to engage in warfare to save Jews in Israel??

    I have a lot of family who live in Morocco and Turkey. I also do business regularly with Muslims in Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Morocco and other Arab countries. I do tell my Muslim business associates that I am Jewish because part of doing business in Arab countries is to discuss family matters before business.

    The only Anti Semitism I deal with in my business is from born again Christians who tell me flat out that they will only deal with someone who is part of their "Christ- centered" networking.

    We are in Galut and we all know that the world hates us just for being Jews. Muslims are monotheists and Christians are idolators. We learned recently in Chok L'Yisrael that it is for this reason that if one has to choose, he must give preference to a Muslim over a Christian.

    I have not yet heard of a halachic basis for Jews to join with Christians in their Crusades against Islam. If you study our history, you will see that anytime Christians go after Muslims, they then turn to Jews.

    It is better to learn from history than to repeat it.

    I respect that most of the readers of this blog are only seeing the barrage of propagandized misinformation from the media in the US and Israel. I understand Arabic and listen to Arabic radio and TV shows regularly. Several members of my family read Arabic and regularly read Arabic language news sources. My family has not seen the Anti Semitism from the Arab and Muslim world that is being reported in the West.

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  18. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 11, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    So Jersey girl, since today is the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (in which good number of Jews died and after which the Jews and Israel were blamed) you are saying that you are looking forward to and would not mind a president who is called Barak HUSSEIN Obama, who had a biolgical AND step father who were Muslims (one from Kenya the other from Indonesia and who both returned to live in their home countries) and you imply from your words that if the USA would become the Islamic States of America (since by now we know just how much you hate the Christian USA) -- just to satisfy you and your relatives business portfolios?

    You have to be kidding!

    You make it sound like life is so normal in the Arab states nowadays just because you are managing to do business with them, which is so untrue and illogical, like saying the Saudis and Libyans are nice to Jews because Jewish businessmen could buy oil from them on the high seas and it could go into cars owned by Jews in America, overlooking the reality that the Saudis with their fanatical fundamenatlist war-lie Wahabi brand of Islam that is alarming everyone else (incluing other Sunnis and Shiites), and who are the official guardians of the modern (?) Caliphate with their control of Mecca and Medina, and who BY LAW do not allow Jews into Saudi Arabia which they regard as infidels, even though Muhamed, see Muhammad and the Jews http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_and_the_Jews who is the role model for all Muslims and stole his ideas for the Koran from them and then killed out the original Jews of Saudi Arabia, see Jewish tribes of Arabia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_tribes_of_Arabia and History of the Jews in Saudi Arabia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Saudi_Arabia or that long time despicable dictator (most Arab leaders are dictators) Colonel Gadafi of Libya who has been one of the most vicious enemies of Israel and has expelled all the Jews and taken their property away and other Arab villains like this. See, Jewish exodus from Arab lands http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_lands Antisemitism in the Arab world http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world and Islam and antisemitism Islam and antisemitism

    I think the average Sephardic Jew would be ashamed to identify with your views because they had to face modern Arab antisemitism first as it seriously arose in the 1920s and 1930s with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that was inspired and guided by Fascism and grew close to the Nazis. Sadat and Nasser were pro-Nazi Germany (Sadat was thrown into jail for being apro-Nazi sympathizer) while the British were battling to expel Rommel and his Nazi Afrika Corps from North Africa.

    The hatred fomented by the Nazis spread to Iraq and the first deployments of the British Army and airforce was to get rid of the pro-Nazi Iraqi leaders in Bagdad. You also conveniently forget the role of the Mufti of Jerusalem who was protected by Hitler, who Rav Hutner has definitively written was responsible for convincing Hitler and Eichman to undertake the Holocaust. So it was a MUSLIM who was the main force pushing for the Final Solution and was Hitler's and Eichman's inspiration to make it happen according to Rav Hutner, which is quite different from your narrow views.

    See http://www.jpi.org/holocaust/hlchp4a.htm

    "In "'Holocaust'-A Study of the Term, and the Epoch it is Meant to Describe" (1977), Rabbi Isaac Hutner states that the Mufti was serving his own "perverted fears, which were the influx of millions of Jews into Palestine, and the destruction-of the Mufti's personal empire". Yet, there can be no doubt, based on historical research of the facts, that Hitler and the Mufti each helped the other accomplish his own evil goal. The Nazis, represented by Eichman, simply wanted to kill Jews; the Mufti wanted to make sure that they never reached Palestine:

    In the end, the "final solution" was the same. At one point, Eichman even seemed to blame the Mufti for the entire extermination plan, when he declared, "I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more." (FULL ARTICLE: Hutner, Yitzchok. " 'Holocaust'--A Study of the Term and the Epoch it is Meant to Describe."The Jewish Observer, October 1977, pp. 3-9.)

    So if I were you I would be careful about a few things like making incorrect and illogical statements about and comparisons with the Holocaust and for drawing the wrong conclusions, and then for trying to convince people that living under a pro-Muslim regime in America at a time when Islam is on the march with its radicalism with the world in fear of Islamic terrorism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamist_terrorism (we all saw its ugly face of Islam on 9/11 as the most serious example, but many innocent Jews have died in similra grusome ways in bus and cafe bombings) all this is being fueled by Islamofascism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamofascism and Islamic fundamentalism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_fundamentalism which you would have us belive is nothing compared wto what could happen to Jews under President McCain and Vice President Palin in the USA as we know and not as Barak HUSSEIN Obama and his shrill and ingrate spouse Michelle would try to remake it. What a cheap and distorted shot on your part that I doubt anyone will agree with.

    (Dedicated to the Jewish victims of 9/11, seven years on, Sep 11 '08)

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