Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Will Obama betray Israel?‎

Will Obama betray Israel?‎

By Isi Leibler

Throughout his eight years in the White House, U.S. President Barak Obama has ‎insisted that he "has Israel's back."‎ The reality is that his appalling foreign policy has been geared toward the creation of ‎‎"daylight" between the U.S. and Israel.

To this end, Obama reneged on the long-standing ‎bipartisan policy that the U.S. would never be a party to forcing Israel into reverting to the ‎‎1949 armistice lines. That policy was reflected in the carefully drafted U.N. Security Council ‎Resolution 242, unanimously adopted on Nov. 22, 1967, which intimated that Israel ‎would never be expected to revert to indefensible borders. The armistice lines imposed at the ‎end of the War of Independence were never considered formal borders. They left Israel only 9 ‎miles wide at its narrowest point and were described by then-Foreign Minister Abba Eban as ‎the "Auschwitz borders."‎

In explaining the language of U.N. Resolution 242, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur ‎Goldberg was specific. To achieve "secure and recognized boundaries" there would be ‎a necessity for both parties to make "territorial adjustments in their peace settlement, ‎encompassing less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, ‎inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure." It was also clearly ‎understood that withdrawals would only take place in the context of an overall peace ‎settlement.‎

In September 1968, President Lyndon Johnson stated that "it is clear … that a return to the ‎situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be ‎recognized borders."‎

President Ronald Reagan in September 1982 stated, "In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was ‎barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery ‎range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again." ‎

In September 1988, Secretary of State George Shultz declared, "Israel will never negotiate ‎from, or return to, the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders."‎

In January 2001, President Bill Clinton, in his final attempt to promote a solution, continued to ‎emphasize the importance to Israel of "secure and recognized boundaries."‎

Even the Palestinians who initially bitterly opposed Resolution 242 ultimately accepted it when ‎the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles with Israel in September 1993.‎

In an April 14, 2004, letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responding to Israel's announcement ‎of a unilateral Gaza withdrawal, U.S. President George W. Bush wrote that "the United States ‎reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders." ‎

More explicitly, Bush stated that "in light of new realities on the ground, including already ‎existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final ‎status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all ‎previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is ‎realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually ‎agreed changes that reflect these realities."

The U.S. Congress endorsed the letter in joint ‎resolutions by the Senate (95-3) and the House (407-9).‎

Sharon regarded these Bush commitments as a negotiated deal based on his total withdrawal ‎from Gaza. He considered this deal to be his most important diplomatic achievement and used it ‎vigorously in an attempt to justify what subsequently proved to be the disastrous withdrawal ‎from Gaza.‎

As late as November 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was a major critic of Israel ‎within the Obama administration, still acknowledged the goal of "a Jewish state with secure ‎and recognized borders that reflects subsequent developments and meets Israeli security ‎requirements." ‎

On May 19, 2011, in a shameful humiliation, without any prior notice, just hours before ‎meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama stunned his guest by radically deviating ‎from and reneging on this long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy. ‎

He did so when it was clear that the Palestinian Authority was totally inflexible and the entire ‎region was being engulfed by a barbaric civil war. Obama chose that time to state that "the ‎borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, ‎so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." ‎

If adopted, that would effectively impose the indefensible 1949 armistice lines as the ‎benchmark for opening future negotiations, with any variation subject to Palestinian consent. ‎Given the consistent Palestinian track record of refusing to make any concessions, the concept ‎of "mutually agreed swaps" is pure fantasy. The fallback would be imposing the 1967 borders ‎which would entail forfeiting secure borders and ceding the major settlement blocs including ‎the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, something no Israeli government could ‎contemplate. ‎

Netanyahu unquestionably represented the Israeli consensus when he firmly rejected these ‎proposals, which are now being vigorously pursued by the Europeans, led by France.‎

Until now, Obama's statements about 1967 borders were often played down by many as ‎merely diplomatic postures to humiliate Netanyahu.

But one should not underestimate ‎Obama's determination to punish Israel before he retires.‎

To her credit, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was unequivocal in her meeting with ‎Netanyahu on Sept. 26, stressing "her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to ‎impose a solution … including by the U.N. Security Council."‎

But the vibes from the Obama administration and State Department are ominous. While ‎thousands of Arabs are being massacred almost daily in the region, the State Department ‎focuses its energy on statements condemning the Israeli construction of 30 houses replacing ‎homes to be demolished within the boundaries of an existing settlement.‎

This obviously encourages the Europeans, especially the French, to intensify their anti-Israeli ‎policy at the U.N. Security Council.‎

There is a growing fear that despite U.S. public opinion, the unequivocal support of Congress ‎and the stated policy of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Obama's obsession to distance ‎the U.S. diplomatically from Israel could lead him to forgo employing the U.S. veto in the ‎Security Council, or worse, that he himself would endorse a resolution that could pave the ‎way for global sanctions against Israel.‎

The long-term damage to Israel of such a Security Council resolution, allowed or endorsed by ‎the U.S., must not be underestimated.‎

Those American Jewish leaders who can have some impact should be actively agitating and ‎creating an atmosphere to ensure Obama realizes that by pursuing his anti-Israeli agenda, he ‎is acting against the will of the nation.‎

To the extent that they still have any relevance, Jewish leaders should speak out before it ‎is too late. In particular, pro-Israeli liberals such as Alan Dershowitz and Haim Saban have an ‎obligation to act. ‎

After having no qualms condemning the Republicans for not supporting a two-state solution, if ‎the Anti-Defamation League wishes to retain any integrity, its CEO should be appealing to his ‎former boss, Obama, not to betray Israel.‎

In urging restraint, it should be stressed that for a lame-duck president in his remaining days in office to reverse U.S. policy in this manner would make a mockery of democratic ‎procedures. It would be contrary to American public opinion, in direct breach of a bipartisan ‎resolution of Congress, and in conflict with the policy enunciated by both presidential candidates, ‎particularly Hillary Clinton, who explicitly committed herself to opposing U.N. intervention. ‎


Sunday, October 30, 2016

America's Moment Of Truth

America's Moment Of Truth

Finally a real choice. The American way, or the European way?

Hillary Clinton embraces George Soros’ vision of an open border world


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Palestinians step up the jihad of the lie

Palestinians step up the jihad of the lie


This week UNESCO doubled down on its shameful resolution erasing the historic connection of Judaism and Christianity to the Temple Mount, the holy of holies of the Jewish people, defining it instead as a “Muslim holy site of worship.”

For good measure, the original resolution also condemned the “escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures” against the department in charge of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy places and deplored “the continuous storming of Al-Aksa mosque/ Al-Haram al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces.”

This rewriting of Jewish history and religious belief amounts to a jihad of the lie. The false claims of Israeli aggression, projecting the Arabs’ own unceasing violence, cultural vandalism and terrorism over Temple Mount onto their Jewish victims, are incendiary lies which fuel murderous attacks on Jews and in which UNESCO has now made itself complicit.

Of all the disturbing issues of our time, the most fundamental is the collapse of the distinction between truth and lies.

When post-modern society decided that the notion of objective truth was bunk and so everything was relative, it also destroyed the idea of a lie. If there’s no such thing as truth, there can be no such thing as a lie. Everything becomes merely a matter of opinion.

Palestinian leaders lie reflexively and unremittingly about Israel and the Jews. Inflammatory libels that Israelis deliberately kill Arab children or perpetrate ethnic cleansing and apartheid incite Arab mobs to murderous rage.

These lies are also believed by many in the West. For while only some Westerners are consumed by anti-Jewish bigotry, most are no longer educated to distinguish lies from factual evidence. They are taught instead to afford equal respect to “competing narratives.”

Profoundly ignorant about the Middle East, many have thus swallowed the patently ridiculous lie that the Jews have no historic connection to the land of Israel, whose indigenous people were instead the Palestinians.

Next year marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the letter written in 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour. This committed the UK government to establish a Jewish national home in what was then called Palestine.

As the latest front in their campaign to delegitimize and destroy Israel, the Palestinians have now threatened to mark this anniversary by a year-long campaign of fabrication and distortion.

Last July, the Palestinian Authority absurdly threatened to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration. PA “foreign minister” Riyad al-Malki said it “gave people who don’t belong there something that wasn’t theirs.”

This is a lie. Israel has only ever belonged to the Jews, the sole extant indigenous people of the land. This has been acknowledged by Arabs themselves.

In 1918 Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic holy places in Arabia, wrote that the Jews streaming back to Palestine were “exiles” returning to their “sacred and beloved homeland.” In March 1919 Emir Faisal wrote: “We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home.”

A few days ago in London, a campaign to get Britain to apologize “for its past colonial crimes in Palestine” was launched at the House of Lords, no less, by the Palestine Return Center.

The meeting brought together “Jewish conspiracy” theorists, Holocaust deniers and other Jew-haters in a display of open antisemitism. The lies of antisemitism are fed by, and feed into, lies about Israel.

When he edited the Palestine Telegraph, the PRC’s Balfour Declaration campaign coordinator, Sameh Habeeb, posted a video of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claiming that Israel is a terrorist threat to America.

Now the PRC claims that when the Balfour Declaration was written “the indigenous Palestinians amounted to 90% of the total population.”

The claim that Britain gave a Palestinian country to the Jews is a lie.

On July 24 1922, the League of Nations unanimously gave its recognition to “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” As a result, it gave Britain a mandate to settle the Jews there as of right.

In 1917 the Arabs living in Palestine did not identify themselves as Palestinians. They were either nomadic or identified with Arab countries, such as Syria. When people referred to Palestinians in the first half of the last century, they meant the Jews.

The Jews are the only people for whom the land of Israel was ever their national kingdom. It is the Arabs who are bent upon a colonialist crime, seeking to steal the Jews’ land from them once again.

As ever, though, Israel’s government, with its swaggering, macho refusal to deal strategically and forensically with the cognitive war being waged against it, has responded merely with sarcasm and outrage.

Israel needs instead to educate the world in quite how unhinged these lies are.

For many in the West themselves don’t know the true facts and so don’t understand that the Palestinians are motivated by a madness.

These lies prove unequivocally that the real agenda of even so-called “moderate Palestinians” is to eradicate Israel. Their hostility to the Jewish homeland is so pathological they perpetrate the most ludicrous falsehoods to write the Jews out of their own history.

The Palestinians think their big historical lie will finish Israel off. In fact it could rebound on them badly and finish off their own cause – but only if Israel recognizes the opportunity it should now seize.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why this Orthodox Rabbi supports Trump

Why this Orthodox Rabbi supports Trump

I am going to vote for the candidate that protects the Constitution and makes America what it can be - and was.

By Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer

The writer is rabbi of the Young Israel of Orange County, member of the RCA Executive Board and former national vice president of the ZOA. An adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, he was Chief Articles Editor of the UCLA Law Review and authored the books "Sharon Against Time Magazine" (Jerusalem: Steimatzky, 1985) and "Jews for Nothing".

I am an Orthodox rabbi. I am also an attorney and an adjunct professor of law. I clerked 20 years ago for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Boggs, one of the most brilliant minds I ever have known in any of my walks of life, soon thereafter served as chief judge of the Sixth Circuit.
Of course, I am disgusted by the stories that dominate the election campaign. I am disgusted as a law professor, an attorney, a father of daughters, and as a rabbi. Women making accusations that they have been sexually abused — Paula Corbin Jones who received an $850,000 settlement from Bill Clinton; Kathleen Willey who went to Bill Clinton in the White House, desperate for a job after her husband killed himself; Juanita Broaddrick, a Clinton volunteer who insists he raped her; the new list of women whose names I am only now learning who say that Donald Trump groped or kissed them against their will. The abused women whose reputations and lives were destroyed by Hillary Clinton, as she defended her husband’s public profile after each “bimbo eruption.” Hillary referred to victims as “looney tunes” and worse, her team including the likes of James Carville and Sidney Blumenthal characterized them as “trailer trash,” and Hillary most infamously ruined the life of 12-year-old Kathy Shelton, raped by a 41-year-old whom Hillary was required to defend. There was nothing wrong in Hillary defending—every accused criminal deserves a good defense. But Hillary destroyed the girl in the process and proceeded years later laughing about that case and regaling an interviewer with anecdotes of that tragedy.
All of it disgusts me. So I have decided that on November 8 I am not going to vote for Clinton or Trump. Instead, I am going to vote for the federal judiciary. Along the way, I also am going to vote for an authentic economic recovery that will include repatriating trillions of dollars back home, for a stronger American footprint in the world, for a border that will protect Mexico from free-flowing American weapons that feed their drug cartels and that will protect America from the influx of potential terrorists and murderous drugs that now easily can pour through our porous borders.
I am going to vote for a process that restores civil harmony in the inner cities by restoring respect for law enforcement even as we begin to address legitimate concerns that responsible African Americans have raised about bias. I am going to vote against sanctuary cities. I am going to vote for a stronger military that, after the past eight years, we now unfortunately will need to protect from Iranian terror exports and North Korean adventurism.

I am going to vote for an end to bullying and ceaselessly blaming and threatening Israel, our strongest and only truly reliable ally in the Middle East, the only country in that region that truly shares America’s deepest values. And I am going to vote to stem the perilous slide away from America’s traditional social core values of hard work, self-help, trust in G-d, respect for religion’s central place in our lives, and the sanctity of life.
If we do not have a robust rebound from the terrible recession of nearly a decade ago, let it not be because I voted based on some filthy talk that a candidate spoke 11 years ago. Let young Americans in our inner cities not continue to die in an endless spiral of gang violence because a tape recorded braggart childishly impressed a gullible young news journalist. And how sad it is to see men—Hillary’s male enablers like John Podesta, Rob Mook, Bill Clinton, and others no less cynical on the other side—preying on women’s legitimate and decent values by trying to sway voting blocs one way or the other based on issues other than the life-and-death concerns on today’s table.
How will we explain to our sons or grandsons who one day would be sent overseas to fight to stop an enriched Iran—nuclear-enriched, hundreds of billions enriched—when America’s continued weakness and failure to stand strong now ultimately will leave us with no choice but to fight later? Shall we tell them: “Well, you see, we did not elect the candidate who would have stood stronger because  11 years earlier he was recorded saying the most disgusting things as he bragged on a bus to an impressionable journalist?”
We elected John F. Kennedy. He certainly was no saint. U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) was deemed an elder statesman and moral vicar, despite a background of frolicking that reached its nadir with a woman left to drown at Chappaquiddick. We elected Bill Clinton twice, because the Silicon Valley economic explosion was afoot, and the cultural and media elite saw no reason to let a stained dress disrupt that. To this day, Clinton—one of only two U.S. presidents ever impeached—is the most honored statesman at Democratic Party conventions.
Oh, how I wish this were a different election with different candidates! But my choice is set. One candidate will work for open borders and has a lifetime of proven public life that is stamped by two overriding symbols: failure and lying.
She even lied about her first name. Who lies about their name?
Cattle futures. Arriving in Bosnia under gunfire. Rose Law Firm billing recordsWhitewater. The White House travel office firings. Donors’ privileged access to the White House Lincoln bedroom. The missing White House furniture. The missing 33,000 emails about “yoga schedules” and “wedding plans.” Repeating “I don’t recall” 39 times.
Her reset with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a failure; he now holds Crimea and threatens all of Ukraine, even as he has extended Russia’s reach back into the Middle East. Her failures in Libya, leaving us with an ambassador murdered in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and a failure to evacuate or support our troops are so legion that she never utters the word “Benghazi” during the campaign. The calculated and cynical lie blaming it all on a cheesy YouTube video that barely was seen by anyone. That is what difference it makes.
African Americans and Latino Americans deserve what I have. They deserve economic opportunity, the kind of fabulous education that I got and that I gave my kids, which opened the kinds of doors that food stamps and “entitlements” never will match. The Obamas and Clintons know what a fabulous education is all about; they gave it to their kids. We owe African Americans and Latino Americans the best schools, charter schools, and magnet schools, where educators are selected and promoted based on merit and academic results and not coddled by arcane teachers’ union rules.

I certainly will not vote for Hillary, the Clinton cabal, or her village pocked by fragmented special-interest sub-constituencies, each bewailing its own trigger-warning list of “microaggressions.”

Moreover, we owe them the respect they deserve to aspire for what we cultivated in our own families: the message that Government assistance and “caring” never will replace or match the kind of wealth and personal pride one can acquire and attain by looking to one’s own hard work, devotion to family, sensible risk-taking, and willingness to delay gratification briefly in order to reap greater rewards in time. Trust in government never can replace trust in G-d, and every boy deserves to grow up with a working father as a role model.
Perhaps most of all, I care about the federal judiciary—not just the Supreme Court. I remember what the Sixth Circuit was like when I clerked there 20 years ago. Our judicial system has been changed. Most of us do not see it. Most federal appellate decisions never get appealed, and most that get appealed never get considered by grant of certiorari. Therefore, when a federal appellate circuit issues a ruling, that becomes the law for four or six or more states.
When perfectly reasonable voter-identification laws get thrown out, I look for the names of the judges who ruled. I see the Democrat presidents who appointed them. And when the Constitution is judicially upheld and a brazen presidential overreach is stopped by a court order, affirmed by an appellate panel, I look and see that those judges were appointed by Republican presidents. Our entire federal judiciary is on the line in this election, and these Article III judges all are appointed for life.
How does one explain to a victim of an unfortunate appellate panel’s ruling that “I could have voted for a federal judiciary that would protect the Constitution and refrain from legislating from the bench, but a braggart was recorded 11 years earlier, boasting in filthy terms, saying that he then did filthy, disgusting things that were less filthy and disgusting than what his opponent actively defended her husband and clients for doing. So I am sorry for losing the federal judiciary. And for abandoning America’s influence in the world. And for allowing more destructive drugs to enter the country illegally by permitting the border to become even more porous. And for the economy remaining mired with no meaningful job growth or income gains. And for the loss of affordable health coverage and for losing access to preferred doctors. And for not voting finally for change to stem the steep decline in the Judaeo-Christian religious and social values that built this great country and that shaped America’s extraordinary character.”
I cannot do that and cannot explain that. So I certainly will not vote for Hillary, the Clinton cabal, or her village pocked by fragmented special-interest sub-constituencies, each bewailing its own trigger-warning list of “microaggressions.”
I cannot vote for a politically correct mélange of “safe spaces” that are truly safe for none but the Clinton-connected elite whose multilingual education boasts a fluency in Latin consisting primarily of the “quid pro quo” pay-for-play corruption they spread everywhere they go, from secret Wall Street back-room speeches at $225,000 a hit, to Qatar million-dollar birthday presents payable to Bill Clinton and redeemable in the State Department.
Therefore, while I most definitely am not voting for Trump the Flawed, I definitely am casting my ballot for Donald Trump, the engine for the change America now needs.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Hypocrisy over Gaza

Hypocrisy over Gaza


Why the Jews Are Indigenous to Israel

Why the Jews Are Indigenous to Israel


Response to “Jews are NOT indigenous”

Response to “Jews are NOT indigenous”
By Hila Hershkoviz
In response to an article by Donny Fuchs in The Jewish Press, titled “Jews are NOT indigenous,” attacking those of us advocating the Jewish people’s indigenous status in the Land of Israel I say:
Jews are indeed indigenous to the Land of Israel. Eretz Yisrael is the place where our people, culture, language, and deep spiritual worldview developed. It’s the cradle of Hebrew civilization. Although I’ve also noticed a recent increase in professional Israel advocates employing an indigenous argument as a tactic for promoting Jewish rights and justifying Israel’s existence (sadly without internalizing what it really means to be indigenous), Jewish indigeneity wasn’t recently invented by these people. For thousands of years, Jews have self-identified as indigenous, referring to Israel as “admat avoteinu” — “the land of our forefathers,” and even non-observant Jews were willing to die fighting the British in order to liberate what they viewed as their ancestral homeland from foreign occupation.
“The Canaanites”
As for the biblical historiographic claim regarding the “Canaanites” (who no longer exist as a self-identified people), it should first be noted that the Ramban explains the journey of Avraham’s family to the Land of Canaan as a return to their own homeland. According to the Ramban, Ur Kasdim had been a foreign country that the family had previously migrated to. And on the verse Fuchs cites at the top of his article — “Avram passed through the land… the Canaanites were then in the land” (Genesis 12:6-7), Rashi states that when Avraham arrived, the Canaanites had been trying to conquer the country, but God desired to give the land to Avraham, in accordance with Noah’s division in which the Land of Israel fell to Avraham’s ancestor Shem and his descendants (our Sages, in both talmudic and midrashic literature, unanimously identify Malkitzedek — the king of Jerusalem in Avraham’s generation — with Shem).
In their attempt to explain the word “אז” (“then” or “at that time”), other commentators, such as Ibn Ezra, also mention that the Canaanites were only in the land at the time when Avraham arrived, but not previously. The fact that our Sages and teachers are even discussing these issues reveals that the concept of indigineity isn’t foreign to our authentic culture or identity. And when Yosef later tells Pharaoh that he had been “stolen from the Land of the Hebrews,” it’s clear that Canaan had been known by this name in ancient Egypt.
Moreover, even if the author’s claim were to be correct, Jews would still easily be considered indigenous. A few days after Fuchs published his article, the Jerusalem Post published the discovery of a 2,500-year-old seal from First Temple period with the Hebrew name “Elihana bat Ga’el.” The fact that this land holds the cultural and traditional genesis of our entire civilization is more than enough to be considered indigenous, irrespective of any previous Canaanites (although a country can have more than one indigenous population). The fact that when young Jews run around the Judean mountains, they relate to the earth under their feet as the same ancient ground walked by their ancestors and ancient national heroes is all that is needed.
“Racist and messianic”
The author claims that the notion of indigeneity is based “racist, blood-based theories”. Of course, there is nothing racist about qualifying as indigenous. In fact, according to the UN’s definition, one must not even be linked by ancestry in order to be considered indigenous. Therefore, “converts” (an English mistranslation for those who naturalize into our people) are also indigenous by definition, as they join the Tribes of Israel and therefore become part of our collective story.
While Fuchs dismisses the United Nations definition as being foreign to our own culture and rightfully claims that the “Balfour Declarations and U.N. votes are of zero worth for the Torah Jew,” he oddly fails to recognize that it is our own culture that very much recognizes ancestry, lineages, tribalism, communal hierarchy and many other notions foreign to Western democracies, but very much in alignment with indigenous peoples. Do we not attempt to preserve the lineages of the Kohanim (and who does Fuchs think they are descendants of if not the Levite sub-tribe that lived here long ago)? Does Ezra not speak of “the holy seed” of Israel that must be preserved? Ezra’s concept wasn’t race-based (a concept foreign at that time), but a spiritual concept embedded in reality, like all Torah ideals, and in this case through tribal lineages and ancestry.
As for the claim that “some of these indigenous rights activists have alliances and friendships with missionary groups and prominent messianic personalities” — I can’t speak for all Jews who identify as indigenous, but the LAVI movement with which I am associated not only opposes any cooperation or alliances with Christian groups, but also views missionary activity as a form of cultural colonization that we as an indigenous people must resist.
“Divine right only”
In the author’s opinion, the only claim to be advocated is our God-given right to the land. This may be a legitimate outlook, yet I fail to see how Divine inheritance negates our qualification as indigenous. While we do not require an indigenous claim to justify our Divine inheritance, we certainly do classify as such. And the same God who granted us this land also authored history in such a way to provide us with an indigenous claim to it. And I for one believe that we are obligated to use all tools available in advancing our Divine mission. In fact, assuming Fuchs agrees that Israel’s Divine mission requires us to maintain political independence in our land, I’d like to ask if he thinks we better serve our God by putting forward biblical arguments only few can appreciate (most notably the Christian Zionists he fears) or by asserting indigenous rights that communicate our story in a language the outside world can understand?
I also find it interesting that the author does not seem to be as troubled by countless other non-Divine-inheritance-based advocacy claims, such as by those who claim we have a right to be here, “because we need security/because Europe hates us/because we’re technologically developed/because Tel-Aviv has gay parades.” One must question why then does the author only choose to attack those of us who proudly state that we actually belong here, that our people are deeply rooted here, that this is our ancestral homeland and that this is the only country our people have ever called home?
The fear of advocating Jewish indigeneity
Although the article was titled “Jews are NOT indigenous,” a possibly more appropriate title might have been “My FEAR of advocating Jewish indigeneity.” The author’s real concern, which by the very nature of semi-conscious fears — was presented only as a sideline issue to the “stupid” notion that Jews are indigenous, is that identifying as indigenous would open a “dangerous” Pandora’s box.
Of course, Jewish activists haven’t recently opened any box. Some of us have simply stopped ignoring the issue that has been at the center of this conflict for years. As Fuchs seems to acknowledge, Palestinians have been claiming indigeneity for decades. In fact, indigeneity is the base on which all other Palestinian claims are built upon. Palestinian indigeneity isn’t something that might be suddenly acknowledged if Jews advocate our own indigenous status; it is something that almost everyone outside of the pro-Israel choir already take for granted, while our roots here are being denied (and easily so, as we have failed to speak of them for so long). All claims against Jews and Israel are based on the notion that Jews are foreign colonialists with no real historical or cultural connection to this land. Israel advocacy professionals have for years been avoiding the indigenous issue, in hopes that Bar Rafaeli and Tel Aviv beaches would be enough to make our national case.
And so instead of continuing to ignore the issues underpinning the conflict, we have taken the stage and decided to speak up and assert the fact that Eretz Yisrael is first and foremost the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, irrespective of security issues, not as a tactic against Palestinian claims but as an historic truth central to the story of our people.
You might claim indigeneity to be “un-Jewish” Mr. Fuchs but nothing feels more natural for me than to declare myself a Jew indigenous to the Land of Israel.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Don't just treat the symptoms

Don't just treat the symptoms

71% of Israelis are not satisfied with the government's response to the current terror wave. Something can be done.

By Dr. Jacob L. Freedman

The wave of terror sweeping Israel must be stopped.  The past few months have seen well over a thousand incidents of Arab terrorism resulting in the deaths of dozens of individuals with hundreds of others injured.  Tragically, very little has been done to end this atrocious violence.

Various officials have made headlines with strong words and rhetoric.  On December 14th 2015, an Arab resident of Jerusalem drove his car into a bus stop, wounding fourteen people including a toddler whose leg required amputation.  In response, the Israeli government defiantly decided to spend approximately two million shekels to place protective barriers at 300 bus stations around the capital,

When a rash of shootings, stabbings, and car attacks on the highways of the Gush Etzion region resulted in enough casualties—including the death of American Yeshivah Student Ezra Yechiel Schwartz—that it could no longer be ignored, security officials instituted a bold plan of action.  To protect entire towns of terrified citizens, it was suggested that the most frequently targeted roads be closed for cars that did not posses Israeli license plates.  But unfortunately even this measure was quickly undone due to a wave of counter protests.

While many plans have been executed in response to individual terror attacks, the root cause has yet to be addressed.  In considering this I am reminded of a fundamental rule learned during my training as a physician: don't just treat the symptoms, treat the underlying disease.  For example, every parent knows that Tylenol will bring a fever down overnight and stop a screaming infant, but only a visit to the pediatrician in the morning will get the antibiotics necessary to treat an ear infection.

As a psychiatrist working with patients on a "dual-diagnosis unit,” many of my patients are dealing with substance abuse issues in addition to primary mental illnesses.  Some developed chemical addiction and subsequently found themselves with a variety of anxiety-provoking and depressing financial, social, and legal problems.  Others developed substance abuse problems while self-medicating a preexisting depression or anxiety disorder.  For the first group of folks, the key is to complete a medical detoxification and then to help them pick up the pieces to begin a new sober life.  Treating the second group is significantly more complex.  If their underlying mental illness remains uncontrolled, a patient’s risk of relapse remains profound no matter how many times they are able to get clean.

This is how I've come to view the fundamental problem with the Israeli government's response to Arab violence.  Israel is constantly relapsing on terrorism and these past few months are just another episode in a history that spans decades.  But rather than attempt to treat the underlying cause of terrorism, Israel is further addicted to anemic responses aimed at providing a momentary calm until the next disaster.  As Harvard University professor Dr. Kenneth Levin so aptly described in his 2005 book—The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege—many have become traumatized into the delusional belief that there isn't any effective long-term solution to Arab terror.

Fortunately this isn't the case.  In identifying the root causes of Arab terror, a radically different approach can be taken.  Certainly this requires significant courage, but it is not unreasonable or impractical.  Consider the following examples:

The Palestinian Authority continues to both fund and incite terror including such unconscionable acts as financially supporting the families of suicide bombers.  Instead of shaking hands with its leader Mahmoud Abbas at the recent Paris Summit on Climate Change, Prime Minister Netanyahu could order the IDF to raze his compound and have him charged for his crimes against humanity.

Whereas families of Arab terrorists can still receive state benefits including welfare, housing subsidies, and tuition vouchers, concrete measures to deport family members of Arab terrorists—especially those who praise the acts of these monsters—should be enforced immediately.

But most importantly, efforts must be made to strengthen Jewish Identity.  Unless we are resolute in our belief that we are here for a purpose, we will end up being somewhere else without a purpose.  Promoting Jewish education and expanding Jewish settlement—most importantly doing it together with all of Am Yisrael for the sake of Jewish unity—are the only ways to treat the underlying condition that continues to threaten the Jewish people.

Jacob L. Freedman, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist practicing in Boston, Massachusetts, and a former student of Yeshiva Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. In addition to his work as a clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Freedman has worked as a healthcare and a risk-management consultant. He can be most easily reached at: JacobLFreedman@gmail.com