Steven Plaut

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Archeologists in Poland have just discovered an amazing document, uncovered from beneath rubble left over in what was once the Warsaw Ghetto.

A Letter and Call to Sanity for the Warsaw Ghetto zealots, from the Peace Now chapter of Warsaw, April 23, 1943.

Dear Deluded Brethren:

A few days ago some zealots from certain messianic settler organizations operating in Warsaw launched a series of acts of unprovoked violence against the legitimate German peace partners directing peace-seeking activities here in Warsaw. A number of German soldiers and officers have been viciously murdered, while others have been maimed and injured by these thoughtless religious fundamentalists.

Comrades, we must emphasize that these violent hoodlums are deluded and are making things much worse for everyone else here in the Warsaw Ghetto. You have to understand that there are no military solutions to the problems of deportations of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto by the Germans. Our problems can only be resolved through negotiations. We insist that, in spite of the claims of these messianic terrorists provoking the Germans, there IS a partner for negotiations amongst the Germans, and we Warsaw Jews DO have a moral responsibility to conduct good faith negotiations with the legitimate representatives of the German people.

In addition, violent attacks by irresponsible Jewish settlers in the ghetto against innocent Germans will only provoke a cycle of violence. There can be no winners in that.

Don't these people conducting the hooligan violence understand that if they attack the nazi troops and refuse to conduct negotiations with the agents sent to us by Adolf Hitler, Hitler will lose control of his forces and then some **really** violent anti-Semite could take over the Third Reich. Besides, Hitler is really trying his best to rein in the more violent of his stormtroopers; he simply cannot be everywhere at once. And besides, the Red Army and the eastern front have him so pre-occupied that he cannot act more effectively against the renegade SS terrorists mistreating Jews.

In addition, the Germans do have some legitimacy to their negotiating position. After all, Jews in Poland have been illegally occupying numerous Polish territories that really belong to Aryans! The Jews have established themselves in numerous Polish settlements where they just do not belong and their presence there has antagonized some of the local oppressed people. In addition, horrendous inequality has been created by Jewish racism, since the Jews in Poland are better educated than the gentiles there and Jews in Warsaw earned more than non-Jews before the war. This manifestation of anti-gentile apartheid must be redressed! We need some affirmative action to help the Polish non-Jews advance in society and promote social justice.

In addition, some Polish civilians were victims of Jewish pickpockets in Warsaw before the war! The Jews need to pay compensation for THAT.

Clearly the solution is two ghettos for two peoples! The Warsaw ghetto needs to be divided and shared. The Jews in one half must agree to be deported peacefully from that half to other destinations, so that the Germans and the Poles can have equal rights in their segment of the New Middle Europe. The entire tragedy that we have experienced is because of the selfish inability of so many Jews to share their property and land.

We repeat, violence has never solved anything. Violence only foments more violence. The violent Warsaw settlers attacking the innocent Germans are guilty of disrespect towards The Other. They are bigots and racists. They have wounded innocent bystanders.

We need to speak out in defense of the human rights of Germans and Poles in the vicinity of the ghetto. We must denounce the racist Zionist hooligans and messianic zealots attacking those victims. Jewish terrorism against Germans must be stopped and compensation made to its victims.

We must begin negotiations at once. Those claiming there is no peace partner on the German side are deluded. We simply have to give Hitler a chance. He just wants a homeland for his own people and his fair share of our territory!

So take a lesson from our rich and wonderful heritage. The Bible itself calls upon us to pursue peace!

Stop the shooting! Start the talking! Now!  All we are saaayyyiiing is Give Peace a Chance!

Signed,

Peace Now, Warsaw Chapter 


 

"Rabbi" Eric Yoffie is one of the most obnoxious figures in North American Jewry.  A pseudo-clergyperson in the Reform movement, Yoffie is a leading promoter of the pagan theology of "Political Liberalism as Judaism."  He has also long been a radical underminer of Israel and supporter of its enemies.

 

Yoffie was all over the news recently in denouncing Sheldon Adelson's proposal that the US concentrate the Shi'ite mind by blowing off a nuke in an empty part of the Iranian desert.   Come to think of it, that is not such a bad idea.  But Yoffie went ballistic, denouncing Adelson and threatening him with "sanctions" (see http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.554663).

  

Yoffie these days is under increasing fire for his behavior.  See this piece by Rabbi Boteach:

http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/the-growing-extremism-of-reform-leader-eric-yoffie/2013/10/30/

 

The Growing Extremism of Reform Leader Eric Yoffie

By: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

mosesPublished: October 30th, 2013

 

Rabbi Eric Yoffie is one of those courageous souls, prepared to throw stones while living in a glass house. Not content to criticize the Chabad movement as offering feel-good, commitment-free, money-chasing Judaism ("Reform rabbis tell me of Chabad rabbis who come into their communities and spend most of their time cultivating a handful of very wealthy people"), the former head of American Reform Judaism has now turned his sites on Sheldon Adelson, the global Jewish philanthropist, who he believes should be all but ostracized from Jewish communal dialogue ("Perhaps the time has come for important leaders of our community to decline invitations to appear at Mr. Adelson's side.")

I do not know Rabbi Yoffie but mutual acquaintances tell me he is a good, measured, and decent man. But surely he is aware that radical attacks on movements and individuals with impeccable credentials of dedication to the Jewish community, however imperfect, will lead others to examine his own record of leadership, particularly given the reverberations of the recent Pew Research report that paints so devastating a portrait of the state of Reform Jewry of which Yoffie, according to his Wikipedia page, served as "unchallenged head… from 1996 to 2012."

The Pew study tells us that Reform Jewish religious attendance has plummeted to 17 percent attending services at least once a month. Fewer than one in five (16 percent) Reform Jews say that religion is very important in their lives. More than half of Reform Jewish families do not enroll their children in any Jewish programs like Hebrew school or youth groups and, perhaps as a direct result, only four percent of Reform Jews reported knowing how to read Hebrew. When it comes to connection to the Jewish state, 60 percent of Reform Jews have never visited Israel. Most significantly, one of out of every two Jews who affiliate with Reform marry outside the community.

Now, none of this is a criticism of Reform Jews who are my brothers in every way. I lecture to Reform groups much more than orthodox audiences. They welcome me with love, are eager to hear the relevance of Jewish values to modern life, and I can bear personal witness to their deep attachment to their Jewishness and their dedication to Israel's future. They are immensely philanthropic to Jewish causes and exhibit a deep sense of social justice. It is, rather, a critique of leaders like Rabbi Yoffie who seem so preoccupied with firing torpedoes at those trying to right the Jewish ship (Yoffie himself admits that without Adelson there would be no Birthright) rather than focusing on saving their own liner from sinking.

Writing in Mosaic just last month on the high number of intermarriages Yoffie said this: "The simple fact is that no feasible strategy is available to lower those rates in any dramatic way. Doing so would require Jews in this country to pull back from full, enthusiastic participation in American life and to construct barricades and bunkers to separate themselves from the American mainstream."

This copout confession would have us believe that there is no way of internalizing Jewish commitment and that assimilation can only be combatted by returning to the ghetto. Yet, hundreds of thousands of Jews – many of them Reform – go out every day to work, play, and live in mainstream America, taking their Jewishness with them because they have had a solid Jewish education and have found ongoing sources of inspiration, like Synagogues and study groups, to bolster Jewish identity.

But Rabbi Yoffie's belief that Jewishness cannot flourish in non-Jewish society is perhaps informed by his puzzling attitude toward non-Jews. Writing in the Jerusalem Post in September 2011, he said, "I care about humankind, but I love my own group a bit more. I am more comfortable with them."

This strange statement would deny the existence of a common human family. I am an orthodox Rabbi but I am immediately comfortable neither around Jews nor non-Jews but with those who treat me with love and respect, whatever their ethnicity or religion. Readers of my columns are well aware of my two-decade bond with Cory Booker, our newly elected Senator from New Jersey, who served as President of my Jewish student organization at Oxford, or Mike Benson, grandson of Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson, who is today the President of Eastern Kentucky University. In Englewood, our Shabbos table has as many non-Jews as it does Jews.

Perhaps this is why, in an astonishing act of willful blindness, while almost all segments of affiliated Jewry translated the results of the Pew study as alarming, even catastrophic, particularly in its finding on the growing disconnection of Reform Jews, Yoffie actually published two recent columns analyzing the Pew study but did not mention the words 'Reform Judaism' even once, not in his Haaretz column of October 16, or his Jerusalem Post column of October 7th, which offers the cheery conclusion that "American Jews are deeply committed to Israel."

Yet, it is a commitment that Yoffie has himself suppressed at times. In June 2001, when terror attacks in Israel were increasing, The Los Angeles Times reported that "the U.S. Reform movement… announced last week that it was canceling its summer youth programs in Israel. Politicians in Israel denounced the cancellations… as an abandonment of the Jewish state in its hour of need by those who should be its biggest supporters. 'If at this hour Jews do not come visit here, what is the significance of their solidarity with Israel?' Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh said."

In ordering the cancellations, Rabbi Yoffie's actions as head of Reform is troubling. The Reform Jews I know stand steadfastly and unswervingly behind Israel, especially when it is under attack. Why did Yoffie make this decision for 30% of American Jewry without consulting them?

Rabbi Yoffie has taken a similarly curious posture toward Israel more recently, with his June 2013 column entitled, "Why U.S. Jews must embrace Kerry's appeal to put pressure on Netanyahu." Rather than objecting to our President's diplomatic overtures to Iran while the rogue state continues to fund Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists that kill Jews and Americans, enrich uranium, and prior to Rouhani's repudiation of Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad's genocidal threats against Israel, Yoffie believes that it is Bibi who is the problem. I do not believe that the majority of Reform Jews would agree with Yoffie's appeal to pressure the Israeli government into concessions that would endanger its security.

I have no problem with Rabbi Yoffie criticizing Chabad, Sheldon Adelson's comments about a nuclear detonation in an empty Iranian desert, or me for that matter. Lord knows, all three come in for their share of reproach, and Judaism thrives on healthy intellectual debates. But it would be nice to see Yoffie as committed to rescuing Judaism from decline as he is to knocking fellow Jews down.

 

 

Here is an earlier item of my own from 2008:

 

 

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Message.aspx/2690#.UnIqO_k9HEQ

 

Oh, shut up, Yoffie

 

From "Back to Sanity" - Arutz 7 Analysts

I think we should hold a contest for the most imaginative ways to shut up "Rabbi" Eric Yoffie, the leader of the American Reform synagogue's political SWAT team, the "Union for Reform Judaism."  It is a political movement that seems to want to replace the Torah with Tikkun Magazine.  You know the the sort, Jews who consider Palestinian statehood and gay "marriage" to be the highest priorities for Judaism.  Yoffie evidently wants the Ten Commandments to be replaced with Barack Obama's campaign platform.

"Rabbi" Yoffie is a leading theological practitioner of Political Liberalism as Judaism, a form of pseudo-Judaism and "liberation theology."   Yoffie has a long track record of issuing anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian pronouncements.  This past week he is calling for a Jewish jihad against Christian evangelists, because the latter are guilty of supporting Israel.  Who does not need to be criticized, according to Yoffie?  Islamofascists, of course.  Last year, "Rabbi" Yoffie sucked up to them at the Islamic Society of North America's 44th annual convention in Chicago, IL.  While still president, Moshe Katsav made a point out of refusing to call Yoffie a Rabbi. 

So imaginative suggestions for ways to shut Yoffie up are being solicited.

So far we have:

1.  Stick the stockings from a Reconstructionist Christmas tree into his mouth.

2.  Borrow a giant reefer for him from Arthur Waskow.

3.  How many Kafiyas can he swallow in an hour?

4.  Get him the seafood platter from a progressive egalitarian California Reform "temple" we know about.

5.  Two words: fur balls.

6.  Get him to recite fatwas from the Religious Action Center of David Saperstein at the speed of an old 45 record being played at 78.

7.  Make him give all his liberal speeches in Hebrew.  (Or Aramaic)

8.  Make him give a class on the Daf Yomi before any political speech he plans to give.

9.  Get him to a dentist who was admitted to dental school via affirmative action.

10.  Let him drink every day as if it were Purim. 

 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Israeli academia is crawling with anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic propagandists.  But few come close to Ilan Pappe in their sheer malevolence.  Having fled from the University of Haifa a decade ago, Pappe is today the professor of Israel Bashing and Hate Propaganda at the sixth rate University of Exeter in the UK, a silly imitator of an academic institution.   Pappe is a fraud and an open liar, and indeed has bragged that he sees no reason to stick to facts when pursuing the sacred mission of Israel's annihilation.  He openly calls for Israel to be destroyed.  He supports Arab terrorism.  He has done more than any other pseudo-scholar in inventing the fiction of Israeli "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians in 1948-9.  Pappe is the moral equivalent of a Holocaust Denier, a pseudo-historian devoted to falsifying history and proliferating Arab falsehoods.

 

Pappe may also be best known for his fabrication of an imaginary massacre of Arabs that he claims took place in Tantora near Haifa in 1948.  The evidence that such a massacre took place consists entirely of Pappe's insistence that it took place.  None of the journalists, including Arab journalists, who witnessed a battle that took place there in 1948 for control of the road leading from Tel Aviv to Haifa saw any massacre.   Neither did any of the Hagana fighters who participated in the battle.   There are no mass graves or other physical evidence of anything like a massacre. 

 

Back when Pappe was still mysteriously employed at the University of Haifa, he recruited a communist student named Teddy Katz, an activist in Meretz, to compose a MA thesis that would assert that Jews massacred Arabs at Tantora.  The entire set of "evidence" used by Katz was some recordings of oral interviews with Arabs, who claimed to have been in the town at the time of the battle (some as children).  Hardly reliable evidence.  But then when the tapes used by Katz as his "oral history" were examined by others, it turned out that none of the Arabs being interviewed even claimed any massacre took place at Tantora.  Instead, the "witnesses" described how the Hagana fighters protected them and fed them and provided them with medical treatment.

 

Later the surviving Hagana fighters from the Alexandroni Brigade (which was later incorporated into the IDF) sued Katz and the University of Haifa for libel.  Katz hired the radical leftist lawyer Avigdor Feldman to defend him (Feldman is famous for defending Arab murderers of Jewish children in court).   In court, Katz admitted, with Feldman present, that the entire story of a massacre at Tantora was a fabrication.  He agreed to publish a public retraction and apology at his own expense.  When Katz then failed to do so, the Alexandroni people published it for Katz and sued Katz for the cost of the ads.  Katz then declared bankruptcy, and ever since has been a small-fry communist activist and propagandist.

 

Meanwhile, Pappe fled from the University of Haifa to his current British perch, and continues to serve there as an anti-Israel propagandist.  As you know, it takes great courage to bash Israel on British campuses these days.  He also continues to claim that Katz' original contention (which of course was just an aping of Pappe's) was correct all along and there really was a massacre at Tantora, just one for which there is no evidence.

 

The "Tantora Massacre" has long been a staple of anti-Semitic, jihadist, and Neo-Nazi web sites.   The PLO web sites feature it as the result of "research" by an Israeli "historian."  The fact that Pappe was employed for years at the University of Haifa as a faculty member pretty much tells you all you need to know about academic standards in Israeli universities.

 

Now a radical anti-Israel "playwright" named Motti Lerner is staging a "play" about the entire affair, essentially one written from Pappe's point of view.  Lerner has a long history of trashing Israel and Jews.  He staged a play that misrepresented Hanna Senesh (or Szenes), the famous heroic paratrooper in World War II, as a traitor and informant.   (For more on Lerner, see this: http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=75781)

 

Lerner's play is from the same genre as the propaganda play about Rachel Corrie.   And like with the Corrie play, leftist Jewish asslibs in America are rushing to promote any Israel bashing blood libel.  The so-called "Theater J" is a Washington DC "theater" run by Jewish assimilationist Far Leftists.  It has a history of propaganda on stage.  The problem is that it is propped up and financed with funds from the organized Jewish community of Washington, the DCJCC.   Many a real Jew is demanding that the DCJCC cut off all funds to the "theater" permanently.   The Theater J can say whatever it wants to but has no entitlement to any funding from the Jewish community.   Naturally, the Left is bellowing about how any criticism of this "theater" is McCarthyism and an assault on freedom of speech.  If Motti Lerner's play is a legitimate form of art, why not some nice Holocaust Denier plays or Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the same theater paid for by JCC funding?  You know, in the name of freedom of speech.

 

Caroline Glick does a wonderful job at exposing this whole story – see below.   The Chief Executive of the DCJCC is Carol R. Zawatsky and her email is carolez@washingtondcjcc.org.    You can get the names and other emails of officers at the DCJCC here:     http://washingtondcjcc.org/about/.   You might want to let them know what their chances are for ever again getting a dime from any Jewish contributors if they do not immediately defund the Theater J completely and absolutely.

 

Meanwhile, here is the Glick article from the Jerusalem Post.

 

 

 

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Our-World-The-bothersome-annoying-truth-328715

 

Our World: The bothersome, annoying truth

By CAROLINE B. GLICK
14/10/2013

Israel's rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn't worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists.

 

A controversy is raging in the Washington, DC, Jewish community involving the local JCC (DCJCC) and its in-house Theater J. While a local tale, it is a distressing encapsulation of Israel's predicament.

Israel's rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn't worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists. Those who trounce it are congratulated for being open-minded and fair.

Last month Theater J announced its Spring 2014 schedule.

The schedule includes a play called The Admission.

Authored by an Israeli named Motti Lerner, the play is a dramatization of what is euphemistically known as the "Tantura Affair."

In 2000, Maariv published an article describing the Master's thesis of a student at the University of Haifa named Teddy Katz. Teddy Katz's thesis purported to document a previously unknown massacre during Israel's War of Independence. He alleged that in May 1948 the IDF murdered 250 Arab civilians after winning a battle in the town of Tantura.

The article caused an uproar. Veterans of the battle sued Katz for libel. They won. Indeed, in testimony before the district court judge Katz admitted his thesis was a fabrication.

Katz later recanted his admission and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling that Katz had libeled the soldiers. The university appointed a panel of scholars to review his research materials. They found Katz had fabricated statements he alleged came from interviews with eyewitnesses.

The university cancelled its acceptance of Katz's thesis.

Had that been the end of that, the "Tantura Affair" – that is, Katz's blood libel against the IDF – would have been long forgotten. But Katz's academic supervisor, then-senior lecturer at Haifa and celebrated anti-Israel propagandist Ilan Pappe, refused to let the truth get in his way.

Pappe rewrote the history of the "Tantura Affair." In Pappe's telling, Katz heroically revealed the truth about the evil core of the Jewish state, and was then persecuted for going against Zionist orthodoxy.

Pappe has won international acclaim and prestige by being among the most outspoken, virulent foes of Israel in academia with an Israeli passport. He has openly called for Israel's destruction.

He is also an admitted liar.

Benny Morris wrote of Pappe that his "contempt for historical truth and factual accuracy is almost boundless."

As Pappe sees it, truth is only important if it is aligned with his ideological goal. The French newspaper Le Soir quoted him saying, "The struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers."

For his part, Lerner, who has dramatized Katz's blood libel, was quoted by The Washington Post saying that his purpose wasn't to tell the truth, either. "The play is trying to suggest that these historical memories [of what happened at Tantura] have to be explored and revised continuously in order to create a solid basis for reconciliation between the two people."

The "revised" – that is, false – memory Lerner seeks to create serves a clear purpose. By portraying the Jews as murderers and as the aggressors in 1948 and the Arabs as their victims, he wishes to convince everyone that it is okay for the Arabs to continue seeking Israel's destruction, and for the world to keep pressuring the Jewish state for more unilateral concessions. Only if justice is solely on the side of the Arabs is it possible to promote "compromises" in which the Jewish state makes endless concessions to the Arabs, and in return receives terrorism, war and hatred.

The true history of Israel's War of Independence in which local Arabs, assisted by invading Arab armies attacked the Jews of Israel with the declared purpose of annihilating them, is inconvenient for the likes of Lerner and Pappe. They have no use for the fact that every area conquered by the Arabs was rendered Jew-free, by massacre or expulsion. They certainly don't want anyone to know about the heroism of Jews who defended themselves and their nascent state, and prevailed, albeit at great cost.

Recognizing the propaganda effort at play with The Admission, a group of local Washington, DC, activists launched a protest. Volunteers with a group called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA) have demanded that the Jewish Federation of Washington, DC, defund Theater J and the DCJCC for spreading anti-Israel propaganda whose goal is to defame Israel and romanticize its enemies.

This is not COPMA's first run-in with Theater J. COPMA was formed in 2009 following Theater J's decision to produce the anti-Semitic diatribe Seven Jewish Children. The work portrays Jewish parents as monsters who train their children to become murderers. In a mere 1,300 words, it criminalizes as mass murderers the entire Jewish population of Israel for crimes that were never committed.

Ari Roth has served as the artistic director of Theater J for the past 17 years. He decided to produce Seven Jewish Children, and another libelous anti-Israel play written by a Palestinian terrorist in 2011. And he decided to produce The Admission.

From Roth's statements since COPMA raised the current outcry, it is apparent that he holds truth in the same contempt as Pappe and Lerner. Roth wrote on Theater J's website, "At least three Israeli historians wrote different versions of the conquest of Tantura: from the right, Yoav Gelber; from the center, Benny Morris, and from the left, Ilan Pappe."

As COPMA pointed out, however, Pappe admits to prizing the cause of Israel's destruction above truth, and Morris and Gelber have stated unequivocally that there was no massacre at Tantura.

Roth's statement then is the equivalent of a person saying that since a dozen professors have written about the tooth fairy, she must exist, (even though they wrote that there is no tooth fairy).

Rather than weigh COPMA's truthful claims against Roth's obscene distortions and block the production of the play or fire Roth, the DCJCC's leadership and the Federation have circled the wagons around Roth and Theater J.

Speaking to The Washington Post, DCJCC's chief executive Carole R. Zawatsky defended Roth and attacked COPMA.

"COPMA," she said, "would love to see us close down the conversation, and our intention is to open up a conversation."

In other words, a blood libel depicting Israeli soldiers – and the society that supports them – as mass murderers, is not beyond the pale. It is the beginning of an important conversation regarding whether or not Israel is a criminal state born in war crimes.

From the perspective of those who place ideology over facts, this is the best of all possible outcomes. Supporters of Israel – and of truth – are forced to spend hours gathering evidence to prove that a lie is false. Meanwhile those who propagate it are free to play the victim of a McCarthyite attempt to silence them. And then, they can have a debate that places on Israel the burden of proving that the lie you just watched on stage is untrue and maliciously so.

The saga of The Admission is the saga of Israel in our upside down world today. Here we are, we truthtellers, maligned for our attachment to facts by those who in the service of their goal to destroy what is most important, have convinced themselves and their followers that truth is nothing special. Indeed, that it is bothersome and annoying.

 

 

 

 


Monday, October 14, 2013


 

 

1.       This is an interesting article worth reading in full:  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/an-israeli-soldiers-call-to-american-jews/   But note in particular this segment:

And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60's stood up and yelled at me, "You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!" A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, "You IDF soldiers don't rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won't touch them."

As you know, this is the mischief of the Hebrew University and its awarding a special prize to a Masters thesis carried out under the supervision of Prof. Eyal Ben Ari, since then fired for raping his students, claiming that the absence of rape of Arab women proves that Israeli Jews are racists.  More reasons why the Hebrew University is undeserving of your support.

 

 

2.       Once again, an Israeli military hero and army officer smeared by Israeli leftists has been threatened with arrest in Europe.  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4440561,00.html

 

Here is the full story: 

Former Navy chief Marom detained at Heathrow

Ynet learns commander of Israeli Navy during Operation Cast Lead and raid on Gaza-bound Marmara ship held for questioning upon arrival in UK
Aviel Mengazi

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eli Marom, who served as the commander of the Israeli Navy during Operation Cast Lead and during the raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel, was held for questioning at around noon Monday at London's Heathrow Airport upon his arrival in Britain, Ynet has learned.

 Marom was held for a short time, during which he phoned the Justice Ministry in Israel.

The threat of being arrested in Europe has concerned senior Israeli military officers and politicians for a number of years now in light of lawsuits filed by pro-Palestinian organizations, although in most cases, at least in Britain, the measures taken against Israeli officials have been largely symbolic.

This threat appeared to have been reduced in 2011 when the UK amended its universal jurisdiction law, which allows private citizens to obtain arrest warrants for war crimes against foreigners visiting Britain. The law was amended to require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions in case a warrant was issued.

 The amendment made it possible for Tzipi Livni to visit London that same year despite an arrest warrant issued against her for her role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Livni served as foreign minister during the military operation in the Hamas -ruled territory.

 In 2005, as he was landing in Britain for fundraising purposes, former IDF Central Command Chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog was informed by the Israeli ambassador in London about an arrest warrant against for alleged "war crimes" committed under his command in the Gaza Strip. Almog remained on the plane and flew back to Israel.

In another incident, Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who in the past held command of the Gaza Division, was forced to avoid entering Britain and cancel his planned studies in the UK.

In May 2011, an additional incident occurred when the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's military secretary, Brig.-Gen. Yochanan Locker opted out of joining Netanyahu on a state visit to Britain – also because of his involvement in Operation Cast Lead , when he served as the head of the IAF's General Staff.

Former IDF Spokesperson Avi Benayahu revealed he had recently flown to Britain using a fake identity in wake of the de-legitimization campaign being waged against Israel.  

 

****

    The incident involving Kochavi described above was caused by the campaign of defamation against the hero by Ben Gurion "University's" anti-Israel fanatic Neve Gordon. who had longed smeared Kochavi as a "war criminal."   See http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=10510 .  Here is yet another reason why Ben Gurion "University" is not entitled to your support.   I suspect that all the other attempts at indicting Israeli officers as "war criminals" are similarly the direct result of defamation campaigns by Israeli anti-Israel leftists.

 

 

3.        The following article is a bit long and appeared in "Jewish Magazine" more than 15 years ago.  http://www.jewishmag.com/9mag/plaut/plaut.htm  It is too long to reproduce in full here but I think you will find it still timely.  In any case, here is but one segment, and if you find it interesting you can read the full piece at http://www.jewishmag.com/9mag/plaut/plaut.htm :

 

 

How Did Liberalism Become Judaism?

By Steven Plaut

  Beyond simple persecution, the Diaspora Jews have long suffered from serious psychopathologies, and in particular a sort of assimilationist self-hatred. While the early Zionists were rebelling against the religious authorities in Eastern European communities, it became clear fairly quickly that Zionism was also a rebellion against the tendencies by many assimilationist Jews to advocate national self-destruction. The Jewish socialist and communist Left in Eastern Europe, but also many Jewish liberals elsewhere, promoted radical assimilationism, where Jews would cut themselves off altogether from their Jewish culture and roots and assimilate aggressively into the surrounding majority cultures of the Russians, Poles, Hungarians, etc….

 

There emerged a new form of Jewish assimilationism, the "Liberalism-as-Judaism" form of pseudo-Judaism. Especially in the United States, this "school of thought" held that Judaism was nothing more nor less than the American liberal political agenda, including the advocacy - in the name of Judaism and "Prophetic Ethics" - of liberal fashionable political ideas. The beginnings of this were in the New Deal era, when American Jewish support for Franklin D. Roosevelt was nearly unanimous. It continued after World War II.

  The "Liberalism as Judaism" School argued that all of Judaism and Jewish tradition could be boiled down into a search for civil "justice" and secular "freedom". Since it was axiomatic, in the eyes of Jewish liberals, that the liberal political agenda was synonymous with justice, freedom, and righteousness and that the opponents of liberalism were evil and unjust, "Judaism" itself could be conscripted in the cause of promoting liberal partisanship.

  In the era when liberalism meant civil rights, anti-poverty programs, basic social welfare "Safety Net" programs, etc., that is from the 1930s through the 1960s, such a set of axioms seemed plausible to a great many. By aligning themselves with the forces of progress and enlightenment, Jews would promote their own acceptance and reputation, at least among the thinking progressive majority of Americans.

  They would join the "good" Americans in their struggle for a better society. It would be a society in which Jews were appreciated and honored as comrades in arms in the battle for freedom, a society of general tolerance in which Jews would be amongst those tolerated.

  Numerous institutions developed in the American Jewish community devoted to the new "Liberalism as Judaism" orthodoxy. The raison d'etre of the many Jewish Community Relations Councils was first and foremost to pursue the liberal political agenda, to conscript organized Jewry behind liberal social programs and civil rights. The community "federations" also pursued liberal causes, and often operated as the Jewish analogue to Christian charity groups, funding general community hospitals and social services. The Jewish weeklies that formed the main communications network of American Jews, generally owned and published by the "federations", were invariably liberal.

  The "defense organizations," such as Bnai Brith, American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Committee, originally founded in large part in order to battle against anti-Semitism, joined the struggle for

  Liberalism and often devoted the bulk of their resources and energies to the promotion of liberal causes. Large parts of the Reform and Conservative synagogue movements, and to a much smaller extent some Orthodox as well, jumped on to the "Liberalism as Judaism" bandwagon. Many Reform and Conservative Rabbis devoted their weekly synagogue sermons to the advocacy of liberal causes. "Social action" committees abounded in synagogues and other Jewish community institutions, where "social action" meant only one thing - the liberal political agenda.

  From the start, there were of course problems with the formula of "Liberalism as Judaism," that is, with the assertion that the essence of Judaism is nothing other than moral sentiments that may be conscripted in support of liberal ideological fads. The first problem was that if one accepts this assertion literally, there is no reason at all for anyone to remain Jewish. Surely, Jewish tradition speaks nobly and highly of the search for justice and peace, but so does virtually every other religious or non-religious humanist tradition. After all, like that famous old advertisement for eating Levy's Rye Bread, you don't have to be Jewish to be a liberal. There were plenty of folks advocating liberal causes and civil rights who ate pork, prayed in churches or not at all, celebrated Christmas, etc. So if the whole point of Judaism was thought to be to inspire liberalism and devotion to "social justice", Judaism was superfluous. There were far easier ways to express and advocate liberalism and social justice.

  Thus what had begun as a mass public relations scam and as a sort of play-acting by insecure Western Jews seeking a method for making themselves appear more acceptable to the non-Jewish majorities surrounding them quickly metamorphosed into an avenue for assimilation. For the new generations of Jews growing up in Western freedom and tolerance, there was little if any reason to retain their Jewishness. As secularism and higher education spread, approaching universality for Jews, religiosity diminished in general among the educated classes in which Jews were concentrated. Once national identity and ritualistic observance were abandoned, there was little - if anything - to motivate retention of Jewish identity, whether religious or secular. The result was rampant assimilation. By the 1970s large segments of the non-Orthodox Jewish community in America (and to a somewhat smaller extent the non-Orthodox in other Western countries) had for all intents and purposes assimilated and ceased to be [performing] Jews. They no longer regarded themselves as Jewish in any meaningful way. They had no formal ties with any Jewish institution, religious, cultural, political, nationalist or otherwise.

  This was especially notable among the young Jews in America. Intermarriage rates crossed the 50% barrier. Jews whose Jewishness plays some dominant role in their self-definition and life are a small fraction of that number. Assimilated American Jews do not define themselves as Jewish in a purely religious or national sense. With astronomical intermarriage rates, complete assimilation for the non-Orthodox is now simply a matter of time, and sufficient time has already transpired to have eliminated much of American Jewry altogether. So the "party line" or public relations formula for Western Jews has long been that they are nothing more than a religious minority, having jettisoned claims to constituting a Jewish "nationality" or ethnic-nation.

 

 

 


Thursday, October 10, 2013


 

 

    Afterword on the earlier piece on assimilationist liberalism:

 

    A number of people chose to misinterpret the message there as some sort of call for  American Jews to replace the liberal agenda with the Tea Party conservative agenda.   That was decidedly NOT the point of the article.

 

    Let me be clear.   My criticism of assimilationist liberalism is mainly a rejection of the assimilationist misrepresentation of the liberal political agenda as Judaism.   This is pseudo-religion and political theology, it is not Judaism.  I would however be as opposed to anyone suggesting that the conservative political agenda should similarly serve as a substitute or replacement for Judaism.

 

     I am as opposed to conservative assimilationism as to liberal assimilationism.   Assimilationist conservatives do exist.   I happen to agree more with the conservative political agenda than the liberal one, but I would be just as repulsed by the idea that Jews should jettison their Jewishness and embrace conservative politics as a substitute for Jewishness.  To their credit, I am not aware of any assimilationist conservatives who are reductionists like the "Tikkun Olam" liberal pagans and who claim that all of Judaism can be reduced to pursuit of the conservative political agenda.  

 

    There are conservatives who have abandoned any Jewishness and who pursue conservative political ideological goals.  I think we all know of such people.  I pity them.   These asscons (assimilationist conservatives) are as likely to intermarry and raise non-Jewish offspring as are the asslibs (assimilationist liberals).  A Jewish Republican with a Christmas tree in the parlor is as repulsive to me as a Noam Chomsky or a Tony Judt.

 

     I happen to think that on most political matters conservatives are correct more often than liberals are.  I also think that whether or not this is so or whether or not you agree with me  is irrelevant to my thesis that American non-Orthodox Jewry committed national suicide when it abandoned Judaism and substituted for it the pursuit of political fads.   And this mis-representation of Judaism as political fads, this pseudo-Jewish substitution, is what ultimately lies behind the massive existential threat to American non-Orthodox Jewry from intermarriage.

 

 

 

By the way, here is an interesting article that makes some of the same points as mine did:  http://thefederalist.com/2013/10/10/how-liberalism-destroyed-the-american-jew/    Note that even the author here misinterprets "Tikkun Olam."


 

Assimilationist Liberals Reap What They've Sown

By: Steven Plaut
 
The recent study of U.S. Jews by the Pew Research Center reports that 58 percent of American Jews marry non-Jews. Since few of those who intermarry are Orthodox, the percentage rises to 71 percent when Orthodox Jews are taken out of the equation.

The fact is, American non-Orthodox Jews are intermarrying their way into post-Jewish oblivion, and they're doing so as a direct result of having emptied their version of Judaism of all meaning.

Having jettisoned traditional Judaism, non-Orthodox Jews by and large adopted political liberalism as their alternative pseudo-religion. The replacement of Judaism with political liberalism explains the creeping disappearance of the non-Orthodox Jewish community through intermarriage.

Intermarriage among the non-Orthodox is rampant because it is not really intermarriage at all. Putting romantic fantasies aside, the simple truth is that people tend to marry those with whom they have things in common and with whom they can share the things they regard as critically important in their lives. For the vast majority of non-Orthodox Jews, Judaism is simply not one of those things.

Since Judaism is not an important factor in the lives of assimilated Jews, there is nothing that stands in the way of their sharing with a non-Jewish spouse the things that are important to them. If one's "religion" consists of nothing more than political liberalism, a non-Jewish liberal and a Jewish liberal already share the same faith. The Pew survey says large numbers of intermarried couples are raising their children "culturally" as Jews. All this means is they are raising them as liberals.

For two or three generations now, many American non-Orthodox Jews have insisted that the essence of Judaism is nothing more or less than the agenda of political liberalism. The mantra is familiar: All of Judaism boils down to "Jewish ethics," which in turn can be reduced to tikkun olam, which in turn means nothing other than the pursuit of liberal political fads.

True Judaism, according to such reductionists, is the pursuit of environmentalist goals, Obamacare, affirmative action, and homosexual marriage. The "essence" of Judaism is not ritual or traditional texts, the reductionists argue, but being nice. And niceness, they insist, means being liberal.

On Internet search engines the combination of the terms "Judaism" and "social justice" yields a considerably greater number of web-page hits than a search for "Judaism" with "kosher" or "Judaism" with "Passover," and nearly all of these are sites proclaiming the quest for "social justice" as the essence of Jewish ethics.

Many of the websites are, unsurprisingly, associated with Reform and Conservative synagogues or organizations. It would be an exaggeration, but only a small one, to say that nothing in real Judaism directs us to the pursuit of social (as opposed to judicial) justice. It is therefore an absurdity to claim that "social justice" is somehow synonymous with Judaism.

Countless "social action" committees operate in nearly every non-Orthodox synagogue in America, and invariably the agenda of such committees involves promoting political liberalism. The equation of tikkun olam with liberal political activism is so commonplace that it is recited as an ethical basis by many of the same liberal activists who cannot recite the Shema prayer correctly, who practice little or no Jewish ritual, and who have never been to Israel.

Even identification with Israel for many non-Orthodox American Jews is nothing more than an extension of their political liberalism. When Israel behaves in a manner that embarrasses liberals, like using armed force to defend its citizens, Jewish liberals flee in droves. When an anti-Israel liberal candidate runs in an election against a pro-Israel conservative candidate, we all know how assimilationist Jewish liberals vote.

The point here is not that political liberalism is simply wrong about a very large number of things, which it is, and that by and large it advocates what it does because liberals refuse to study economics or consider the matter of tradeoffs in policy and in life. The point here is that even if one agrees with the entire gamut of political liberalism at the ideological level, it has nothing at all to do with being Jewish.

Like those old advertisements for Levy's rye bread, you don't have to be Jewish to pursue social justice. Christians, Muslims, Hindus and atheists are just as capable of caring about social justice and pursuing it as Jews. (Of course, pursuing social-action fads is hardly the same thing as pursuing justice.)

So what does all this have to do with intermarriage? Everything. Since a non-Jewish liberal shares a Jewish liberal's pseudo-religion, and since liberalism is the defining element in how Jewish liberals see themselves, there is nothing of importance in life that a potential non-Jewish partner is incapable of sharing.

To the contrary, the real difficulty, the real barrier to sharing the important things in life, would arise if an assimilated Jewish liberal were to marry a Jew who voted Republican! They adhere to different theologies.

Once Judaism has been misunderstood as the pursuit of the agenda of political liberalism, it should come as no surprise when intermarriage rates zoom to the sky. American non-Orthodox Jews faced a choice between Jewishness and political liberalism. Most chose the latter and now must live with the consequences.
(Note:  In a bizarre twist, the internet site of Jewish Press inadvertently runs this piece of mine under the byline Steve Maas from Brookline.  I am sure Mr. Maas is a delightful fellow who probably had nothing to do with the glitch or perhaps the editor is trying to protect me from violent crazed Reform synagogue liberals, but - as you can tell from the style and content - the piece is indeed by me.)
 
 
 

The Weekly Standard

Liberal Dogmatism

How a far-out idea becomes orthodox.

Aug 12, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 45 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER

 
3.  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/172706
 
Shock in Samaria: Israeli Leftists at Anti-Semitic Rally

EU-funded Israeli group, PA official at anti-Semitic Arab celebration where revelers called to murder Jews.
Maayana Miskin

Israeli leaders in Samaria were horrified to learn this week that Israeli leftists with the Yesh Din organization took part in an Arab celebration on the ruins of the Jewish community of Homesh.

During the celebration Jewish symbols at the site were replaced with PLO flags, and a banner was waved that depicted a man in religious Jewish garb with a spear through his mouth.

Yesh Din was instrumental in causing the celebration. The group's lawyers filed the lawsuit that lead the government's legal adviser to declare that the government would transfer Homesh to Arab hands.

Acting head of the Samaria Council Yossi Dagan - who himself was expelled from Sa-Nur, near Homesh - was appalled to hear that Yesh Din had been at the rally. "The extreme left has hit an unbelievable low," he said.

There were people at the celebration rally who called to murder Jews, he noted.

"We're used to incitement and even libel from extreme-left organizations. But even for an extremist group like them, this crosses a red line, and brings them to depths I wouldn't have dreamed they would reach," he continued.

"I'm trying to picture how they have the audacity to seek donations from Israelis on the one hand, and to participate in anti-Semitic rallies where people call to murder Jews on the other," Dagan said. In contrast to the group's self-definition as a peace-seeking organization, "the security situation is likely to deteriorate due to its activities and provocations" in the region, he warned.

He called on the government to take a strong stance on the matter by stripping Yesh Din of its NGO status.

Yesh Din gets roughly 94% of its funding from foreign sources, among them the European Union. In 2012 the group got over 1.1 million shekels from the EU, 1.2 million from the Norwegian foreign ministry, 120,000 from Holland's embassy in Israel, and 120,000 from the British Foreign Ministry.

Also Present: PA Legal Official
The Palestinian Authority also played a troubling role at the rally. One of the men who held up the anti-Semitic poster depicting a dead Jew has reportedly been identified as Samir Dausha, a senior PA legal official in the Shechem region.

Yesh Din: It's the Occupation
Yesh Din director Haim Erlich admitted that the group had representatives at the Arab rally in Homesh, but denied that the overall tone of the rally was anti-Semitic. "During the event celebrating the restoration of lands, one anti-Semitic banner was indeed displayed by a Palestinian man who does not live in the area. After a short time, at the request of various people, the banner was taken down," he said.

"Unfortunately, the reality of occupation creates mutual hatred between some Israelis and some Palestinians, and sometimes it spills over into hostile expressions and cruel actions," he continued. "As a human rights organization, Yesh Din is trying to fight for a different reality, a better reality."

 

4.  The fall is Nobel Prize season and as usual lots of the Nobel Prize winners are Jews, some with ties to Israeli institutions.  One of the new Nobel Prize winners in physics however is the Brit Peter Higgs, as in the Higgs particle, and he is not Jewish.  Higgs has long boycotted Israel and endorsed the "BDS" economic warfare campaign against Israel.  See 

http://www.kadaitcha.com/2012/07/06/professor-peter-higgs-supports-academic-boycott-of-israel/

Besides a Nobel Prize, perhaps what he deserves is a chair just like Stephen Hawkings'? 


Wednesday, October 09, 2013


 

 

    All of Israel is in convulsion this week over the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yossef.    His funeral was the largest in the history of the country.   Yossef was indeed a distinguished Torah authority and "Posek."   Unfortunately he was also a politician.   Many of the gushing praises being tossed out about him and his career are ignoring the many negative sides of that career.   Yossef was not only a Rabbinic giant, he was also a vulgar and foolish dabbler in politics who turned "Lashon Hara" or "the evil tongue" into something of his calling card.

 

    An example of the imbalanced praise being heaped upon Yossef is the column by my friend Seth Frantzman in Jerusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Terra-incognita-The-Rav-and-his-detractors-328184 .   By and large I agree with Seth's thesis, which is that much of the hostility towards Rabbi Ovadia and his SHAS party always came from bigoted Ashkenazi secularist leftists.  Seth documents many such cases of bigotry in a convincing manner and his article is worth reading.   But he too chooses to overlook the negative sides of Ovadia's behavior and personality.   For full disclosure, I should point out that there is even an indirect connection between Ovadia's career and my own family.  My wife's grandfather was a leading Rabbi in Egypt.  When he made aliyah in 1947 (by train!!)  to Haifa he was replaced by the young Ovadia Yossef, whose rabbinic career developed for a while in Egypt.  (Many web sites are attributing the Ovadia the rabbinic ruling that a Jew may marry a Karaite without the Karaite converting, but in fact this was a ruling by my wife's grandfather, Rabbi Nissim Ohana.)   

 

   On halakhic questions, most of Ovadia's rulings were intelligent and sensitive.   He was the authority who ruled that Ethiopian Jews are bona fide Jews.  He issued rulings making it easier for wives of MIA soldiers to remarry.  He issued rulings that allowed farm owners to evade the economic damages of "Shmita" years.  He ruled that brain death is death and so it was not necessary to keep a brain dead body alive.  He opposed wearing of wigs and hair shaving by religious women.   A Palestinian terrorist group attempted to assassinate the Rabbi  in 2005.

 

   Ovadia was born in Iraq and his family moved to Israel when he was quite young.  He was ordained a rabbi at age of 20.   He was obviously extremely bright and possessed enormous analytic power.   He served as Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel beginning in 1973.  On matters of rabbinic discourse or halakha, his rulings tended in most cases to be tolerant and moderate.   In general, Sephardic religious tradition has long been calmer, gentler, less extreme, and more moderate than that of Orthodox Ashkenazim, and Sephardim are renowned for their sensibility.   Traditionally it would be rare to find Sephardic Jews who eat pork or openly violate Yom Kippur restrictions, and at the same time it would be unusual for Sephardim to choose to spend their entire lives as yeshiva students living off the dole paid by others who work, or to behave rudely towards people who attend soccer matches on the Sabbath.   

 

    Much of the traditional sensibility of Sephardim came under attack by the politicized religious institutions erected by Rabbi Ovadia, and in particular by the SHAS party.  Originally set up by Yossef and others as a "revolt" against the Chareidi Ultra-Orthodox parties and their attitudes towards Sephardim, SHAS itself developed into its own manifestation of politicized religion, in many ways as bad as the Ashkenazi Chareidi parties.  SHAS was first and foremost a party for extortion of funding and favors from the secularist-dominated governments of Israel.   While parasitic non-working yeshiva study had always been absent from the Sephardic religious world, SHAS embraced the idea and expanded it with a vengeance.   Like the Ashkenazi chareidim, the "flour" from the famous religious mantra of "flour with Torah" was ejected, replaced by welfare distributions at taxpayer expense, enraging and alienating the secular Israeli.   SHAS yeshiva students adopted the black chareidi clothing of the Ashkenazim, a manner of dress with no basis in Sephardic tradition.  As the party morphed into a mechanism for extraction of "rents" from the taxpayer, its involvement in dubious financial affairs increased.   The SHAS underboss Aryeh Deri may have been unfairly targeted for prosecution by an Attorney General with an axe to pick against SHAS, but Deri was hardly an epitome of purity, hardly a Tallis that is entirely azure (tachelet).  Deri and Yossef collaborated with Shimon Peres in the now infamous 1991 "stinky trick" attempt to topple the national unity government in which Peres sat  (for details, see this:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dirty_trick_(Israel) ).

 

    Even worse was the cynicism with which SHAS dealt with the national challenges and political issues Israel faces.  SHAS was willing to oppose Oslo appeasement or to endorse it, depending on whether doing so would serve its transient appetite for public funding.  An old joke held it that SHAS would vote for turning the Golan Heights over to Syria if it earned SHAS some funding, just as long as the withdrawal would not take place on the Sabbath.  While Rabbi Ovadia's own brothers served in the Irgun or Etsel before Israel's independence, he and SHAS joined the chareidi campaign to grant wholesale exemption from the military service of all yeshiva students.  Yossef attacked vulgarly any politician, even religious ones, who supported recruiting yeshiva students into military service.  In his last weeks of life, Yossef's vulgar and ad hominem defamations of Naftali Bennett because of the latter's proposals to draft yeshiva students will haunt Yossef into his grave.   While shifting its position back and forth, SHAS by and large aligned itself with the Left and endorsed Oslo appeasements.  To its credit, it opposed the Gaza "disengagement."  The ugly squabbling of the SHAS party hacks and their positioning for power even as the Rabbi's body was being borne to the grave illustrates SHAS values wonderfully (see http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yishais-men-accuse-deri-of-overtaking-shas-with-force-and-cynicism/2013/10/09/ ).

 

   Yossef had a foul tongue and thoughtlessly defamed anyone whose opinions were not to his liking in often-obscene and disgusting rhetoric.   He would dismiss those he disliked as "men who have sex with menstruating women."  As such, he was a disgrace and was committing sacrilege.  He played into the hands of the anti-religious secularists who could paint him as a foul-mouthed buffoon sitting at the pinnacle of Rabbinic authority.  He also tossed out silly comments, such as his claim that Hurricane Katrina was a Divine retribution for insufficient study of Torah.   He was misogynist as the day is long.   At times, his acid tongue was at least focused in the correct direction, such as some comments he made about MERETZ or the "Reform" synagogue movement.

 

   The SHAS party is his legacy of demagoguery and cynicism. 


Thursday, October 03, 2013


 

 1.    A few years back one of the worst incidents of leftist suppression of freedom of speech took place in Israel.  If you were not back then on the distribution list for these Plautisms, you probably never heard about it, because the leftist media in Israel all but ignored it.

 

    The incident involved a high school teacher named Yisrael Shiran.  He was fired by the Labor Party's Minister of Education serving under the government headed by Shimon Peres.  Tamir may be best remembered for her campaign to defend "female circumcision" in the Third World (for details see http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Message.aspx/2274).   She fired the hapless teacher because he had dared to express objections to the indoctrination of students into the ideological positions of Yitzhak Rabin, or what the Ministry was calling the "Rabin Legacy."  Shiran was all in favor of teaching the students about the horror of the assassination itself and the violation of Israeli democracy that it represented.  But Rabin's political ideas, especially the Oslo debacle, were a matter of partisan controversy and debate and should not be rammed down the throats of students.  Unlike clitoridectomies, Tamir saw no reason why such opinions should be tolerated in civilized society.  Shiran was fired.   It will not surprise you to hear that Yuli Tamir is still on the faculty of Tel Aviv University.

 

    At the time, I issued a challenge through Isracampus and on some chat lists for academics calling on all of the law professors in Israel to speak out against the firing of Shiran and its anti-democratic implications.  You can see my challenge here:  http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Israeli%20extremism%20-%20challenge%20to%20Israeli%20Law%20Profs%20-%20%20Rabbi%20Shiran.htm  Not a single law professor was willing to do so.  Law schools in Israel are the occupied territories of the Left.  One prof in particular rejected the appeal in vulgar terms (see http://www.isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/HebrewU%20-%20Alon%20Harel%20-%20refuses%20to%20support%20freedom%20of%20speech.htm).  It goes without saying that not a single leftist in Israel objected to the firing of Shiran for expressing his political opinion.  Leftism in Israel is by and large a form of fascism and Israeli leftists never defend freedom of speech for non-leftists.  

 

     Now, years later, the legal matter involving the firing has come to its denouement.  Shiran successfully sued the Israeli Ministry of Education and was awarded 400,000 NIS this week.  This is a GREAT victory for Israel's (semi-) democracy.  Here is the full story    

  

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/172478

 

Man Who Wouldn't Teach 'Rabin Legacy' Wins NIS 400,000

 

Assistant Principal fired for objecting to program exalting former PM Yitzchak Rabin has been awarded 400,000 shekels.

Maayana Miskin

An Assistant Principal who was fired for objecting to a program extolling the legacy of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin has been awarded 400,000 shekels.

Yisrael Shiran expressed strong disagreement in the year 2000 to a proposed program to honor Rabin and teach students about his "legacy of peace" on the occasion of the annual Rabin Day memorial.

Rabin led Israel into the Oslo Accords, under which the PLO terrorist group renounced terrorism and was allowed to settle in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as the Palestinian Authority, and to obtain weapons. He was assassinated in 1995 by Yigal Amir, who said his objection to Rabin's agreements with the PLO was the motive for the slaying.

Whilst nearly all Israelis, from left to right, condemn the assassination, many also reject the lionization of Rabin by the Israeli left, saying that the Oslo Accords were in fact a disaster for the Jewish State and resulted in a wave of terrorism which killed and injured thousands.

Mourning his murder is one thing, they say, but promoting his legacy is something else entirely.

In a letter to his superiors, Shiran echoed such sentiments:

"Ever since the horrible murder of the belated Prime Minister, the Education Ministry has been ordering that we hold memorial rallies and talk to students about Rabin's legacy of peace…. We cannot in any way agree that a man who gave weapons to enemies who are seeking to destroy us is someone whose legacy, path and personality we should be discussing."

After he was fired, Shiran sued the Education Ministry, the former Haifa District administrator Yaakov Weisel, former National Head of Bible Studies Yissaschar Goelman, and the former director of elementary education, Sara Reuter.

On Thursday morning, the Jerusalem District Court ruled in Shiran's favor, and ordered that he be given 400,000 shekels in compensation.

"This is an important day," Shiran told Arutz Sheva. "There's no joy like that of having things resolved after a hard period, even a very hard period."

"I'm grateful to G-d and to my attorney for this ruling," he added.

 

2.  Speaking of victories in the courtroom, here is how SLAPP suits are dealt with in actual democracies:

 

  • OPINION
  • October 2, 2013, 7:55 p.m. ET

An American Blogger vs. Palestine's First Family

A writer who detailed Yasser Abbas's business holdings found himself being sued—in the U.S.

·                     SOHRAB AHMARI

Jonathan Schanzer has been documenting abuses by the Palestinian Authority for years. Little did the counterterrorism analyst expect to find himself at the sharp end of the PA's spear—not in the West Bank but on U.S. soil.

It began with a blog post. In June 2012, Mr. Schanzer, a vice president at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote an online opinion post for Foreign Policy magazine about allegations of corruption surrounding the sons of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Tarek and Yasser.

The response came quickly: In September 2012, Yasser Abbas filed a libel suit against Mr. Schanzer and Foreign Policy in a federal court in the District of Columbia. Following a yearlong legal saga, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan tossed out the case last week, concluding that Mr. Schanzer's statements in the article "are either not capable of defamatory meaning or are protected statements of opinion" under the First Amendment.

Judge Sullivan applied the District of Columbia's anti-SLAPP statute, which aims to curb "strategic lawsuits against public participation"—in other words, suits intended to silence critics. The decision is a significant victory against foreign poobahs who use Western judicial systems to muzzle commentators.

Mr. Schanzer had detailed Yasser Abbas's business empire for Foreign Policy, noting that it includes a monopoly on the distribution of some U.S. cigarette brands in the Palestinian territories; an engineering firm with offices across the Middle East that in 2005 built a sewage system in Hebron, with almost $2 million paid by the U.S. government; the chairmanship of a publicly traded insurance company; and a construction firm that has also received U.S. taxpayer funds.

Yasser Abbas is not just a successful businessman. He has served in official capacities in his father's regime: Last year Yasser delivered a message from his father to the emir of Kuwait, according to the Kuwaiti government. The Kazakh government in 2008 described him as a "special envoy" of the PA. Though Yasser's younger brother, Tarek, is less politically involved, according to Mr. Schanzer he "is just as ambitious in the business world."

All this led Mr. Schanzer to ask, regarding the Abbas brothers: "Have they enriched themselves at the expense of regular Palestinians—and even U.S. taxpayers?" Mr. Schanzer paraphrased the allegations of a former PA adviser, Mohammed Rashid—who himself was convicted in absentia of corruption by a Palestinian court last June—that President Abbas has "socked away $100 million in ill-gotten gains." Mr. Schanzer also said that "several Palestinians told me that the Abbas family dynasty is common knowledge" in the territories.

As Judge Sullivan noted in his opinion dismissing the case, the Abbas brothers "have filed defamation lawsuits or threatened to sue for libel on three separate occasions against an Israeli television channel, Reuters and Al Jazeera." In his suit against Mr. Schanzer and Foreign Policy, Yasser Abbas accused the defendants of "posing libelous questions and printing innuendos." The questions Mr. Schanzer asked regarding the Abbas brothers' wealth, Yasser argued, didn't constitute opinions but false assertions of fact. (Tarek Abbas didn't sue in this case.)

In his complaint, Yasser Abbas disputed some of Mr. Schanzer's assertions about his businesses. But after the defendants' lawyers filed their anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, Yasser Abbas responded by arguing that "the article's reference to these businesses is not the basis for Plaintiff's libel claim." The focus of the case was thus narrowed: Were Mr. Schanzer's pointed questions about the source of Yasser Abbas's wealth libelous, as the plaintiff argued?

Judge Sullivan's answer was no. He held that the case involves claims made about a public figure and implicates an important issue of public interest, namely, "the relationship between the United States and the Palestinian Authority." The case thus fit within D.C.'s definition of a "strategic lawsuit." As a result, the defendants were entitled to a speedy dismissal unless Yasser Abbas could produce evidence early on that showed his claims are viable.

Such evidence was wanting, the court said. The questions Mr. Schanzer raised about the Abbas family's wealth were just that—questions—"however embarrassing or unpleasant they might be" to the plaintiff. Even if they amounted to assertions, the judge went on, Mr. Schanzer's questions were opinions protected by the Constitution since they appeared online in Foreign Policy's "Arguments" section and referred to other outlets' reporting.

"This decision was a strong affirmation of the First Amendment right to raise questions about public figures," Nathan Siegel, Mr. Schanzer's lawyer, told me. Louis Adolfsen, who is representing Yasser Abbas, said in an emailed statement that his client is currently reviewing the decision. Mr. Adolfsen added that "reasonable minds can differ as to whether the anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court."

The battle against SLAPPs goes on. Judge Sullivan's decision in the Abbas case was the latest among several in which federal judges applied state anti-SLAPP statutes in federal court. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has yet to weigh in on the question. There is no federal anti-SLAPP law on the books, and just over half the states have adopted such laws. Other writers criticizing powerful figures remain vulnerable to malicious suits.

Exercising free speech in the U.S. hardly is as risky as doing so in the West Bank. But it isn't without peril. Just ask Jonathan Schanzer.

Mr. Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Journal.

 

 


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