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Standing with Israel

Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu

Chutzpah!

I try very hard to keep my cool while going through the process of reading many articles each week and deciding which ones are the most relevant for that week’s newsletter. But three pieces posted on Ynet.com this Saturday nearly made me blow a fuse.

The first is ‘Israel must mend regional relations‘. At a speech given to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Israel against viewing the Arab uprisings rattling the Middle East as an excuse to enter a defensive crouch.” Panetta is encouraging Israel specifically to reach out more to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Could it be that Mr. Panetta is deliberately ignoring the fact that Egyptian elections have assured Islamist domination in that country? According to Israel National News The Muslim Brotherhood captured more than 40% of the vote and the hardline Islamist Salafist Nour Party received 20%. According to Middle East expert Dr. David Buk’i, “Israel’s worst fears regarding its relationship with Egypt are coming true before its eyes!”

Second, Panetta exclaimed, “With full confidence that the United States is willing and capable of ensuring that Israel can safeguard its security as it takes the risks needed to pursue peace, now is the time for Israel to take bold action and to move towards a negotiated two-state solution.”  Full confidence? With these reassuring words, meant to hold onto the Jewish vote back home, Mr. Panetta is obfuscating the feeble track record of the United States when it come to ensuring Israel’s security in times of crises. As P. David Hornik put it, “There’s an inglorious history of the United States and Europe leaving Israel to fend for itself against threats, sometimes even existential ones.”

Third, demanding that Israel take risks for peace and bold actions is getting old. These ultimatums have been aimed at Israel for years, yet when is the last time that you heard, “the Palestinians must take risks and bold actions for peace”?  Could there be a bit of a double standard here?

Finally, Panetta saved some choice language for Israel. Asked specifically what Israel should do first (in taking bold actions), Mr. Panetta replied, “Get to the d★✗✲ table” — that is, return to negotiations. This statement totally defies all logic given that Mahmoud Abbas has done everything in his power to avoid negotiations with Israel including unilaterally going to the UN to secure Palestinian statehood.

The second article also relates to Panetta’s speech at the Saban Center:  US cautions Israel against solo military op in Iran.  Adrian Blomfield, Jerusalem correspondent for Britain’s Telegraph, reported on a private meeting with Panetta, PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. Panetta said that President Obama demanded an unshakable guarantee that Israel would inform the United States before taking any military action against Iran. In Mr. Blomfield’s words, “The two Israelis were notably evasive in their response, according to sources both in Israel and the United States.”  This obviously does not sit well with the Obama administration, but given the existential dangers Israel is now facing, she cannot afford to depend on a “friend” who behaves like an enemy.

The third article is another reality-bender:  ‘Jew-hate stems from conflict‘. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of course! Ignoring historic Muslim hatred of Jews which dates all the way back to Muhammed himself, Howard Gutman, American ambassador to Belgium,

Howard Gutman

theorized that, “growing global anti-Semitism is linked to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians.” He even invented a distinction between what he labels “traditional anti-Semitism” and “Muslim hatred for Jews” which hypothetically stems from the ongoing strife between Israel and the Palestinians. In his view “an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism.”

Gutman is a lawyer by training, is Jewish and played a major role in fundraising for the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the post by President Obama. It is clear that Mr. Gutman is only parroting the party line of the Obama administration.

The American envoy’s above speech to a group of Jewish lawyers from across Europe was poorly received. The speaker who followed Gutman, German attorney Nathan Gelbart, sharply rebuked the ambassador when he said: “The ‘Israel critic’ will never state ‘Jews go home’ but is questioning the legality of the incorporation of the State of Israel and therefore the right for the Jewish people to settle in their homeland. He will not say the Jews are the evil of the world but claim that the State of Israel is a major cause for instability and war in the region. There is no other country, no other people on this planet the ‘Israel critic’ would dedicate so much time and devotion as to the case of Israel.” 

Despite the obvious antipathy of this administration toward Israel, President Obama defended his Middle East policy at a recent fundraiser in New York:

      “I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama said. “We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security … and that will continue.”

The only attendees at that event who might have really believed the president’s words are those who get their news exclusively from The New York Times or mainstream network news. The better informed public (like you, dear reader) can draw its own conclusions.  I would encourage all of you to view the latest Youtube video from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Obama – The Anti-Israel President.

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The Handwriting on the Wall

The year is approximately 540 BCE. Belshazzar, king of the great Babylonian Empire is hosting an opulent feast for 1000 of his lords. Oriental monarchs frequently indulged in extravaganzas like this one with the sole purpose of showing off their wealth, their power, their wives or anything else they could think of to make others think they were the greatest human beings (maybe even bordering on the divine) to ever walk the earth. But Belshazzar made two fatal mistakes. First, he was so mesmerized  by the myth he had created about himself that he was oblivious to the storm that was brewing around him. Even worse – he messed with the God of Israel. He and his entourage decided it would be a really cool thing to bring out the gold cups and other vessels that had been looted from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and use them to toast the power of the king and the greatness of his pagan gods. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote what was, to all those assembled in the hall, an unintelligible message. The mood in the room changed from drunken festivity to utter terror. The only one able to interpret the message was the prophet Daniel. This is what it said…

God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it
    You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting
    Your kingdom has been divided… (Dan. 5:26-28)

That very night the king was assassinated and his kingdom was handed over to others.

Is the handwriting on the wall of our world today? Are our leaders, like King Belshazzar, blithely going along, too enchanted by the fantasies of their own making to pay attention to the looming catastrophe that may not be as far in the future as many of them hope? More direly – are more and more people and nations messing with the God of Israel? Scripture warns, he who touches you (Israel and the Jewish people) touches the apple of His (God’s) eye. (Zech. 2:8)

• Is a worldwide cataclysm brewing in Iran? A report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows strong, “credible” evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Rather than being a shock, this was simply confirmation of facts that have been known but ignored or withheld for a long time. According to Caroline Glick, “Since Iran’s nuclear weapons program was first revealed to the public in 2004, Israel has provided in-depth intelligence information proving Iran’s malign intentions to the likes of Sarkozy, Obama and the UN.”    

Won’t sanctions and diplomacy work? NO! First of all, we’re not dealing with rational, albeit evil, political leaders. The Iranian mullahs and their puppet, Ahmadinejad, are demonically-driven, fanatical theocrats whose ambition is to bring about the apocalypse so that the long-awaited 12th imam will come to earth. No big deal if most of their nation perishes in the process!! And now it seems that they have China on their side. According to Fox News, “The Chinese-Iranian relationship has, in fact, been deepening over the last few years.”

So what are Israel’s options? Will she “go it alone” against Iran in what would be a very risky mission? Many feel such actions would precipitate a regional war involving Hezbollah and Hamas along with Iran. Analysts predict that in the event of such a war, the cost of a barrel of oil could dramatically rise to $175 – $200 a barrel. This would not only inflame passions against Israel but against the Jewish people as a whole. It doesn’t take much to arouse Jew-hatred these days. Remember Israel’s Operation Cast Lead offensive in December 2008/January 2009? What was a totally justifiable action meant to protect innocent civilians in the south of the country from incessant rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza  became an excuse for virulent world-wide demonstrations against the “hateful Jews”. For an excellent power point of the anti-Semitic repercussions of Cast Lead, click here and then click on General (in the right hand column and then click on January 2009 – In the wake of Operation Cast Lead). Then there’s this Youtube video of a female Hamas sympathizer in Fort Lauderdale screaming at Jewish people “go back to the oven.”

• Is the world poking God in the eye by their treatment of Israel and its leaders? No one claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is any kind of a prophet or a holy man – but he is the representative of the nation, and when he is the recipient of undeserved antagonism it’s a symptom of a deeper problem. While we hear empty rhetoric claiming, “Israel remains our important partner and key strategic ally,” the truth comes out from behind closed doors. The following exchange took place during a break at the G20 summit in Cannes, France. Presidents Sarkozy and Obama thought the mics were turned off and were having a confidential little chat about Bibi.

Sarkozy: “I can’t stand to see him any more, he’s a liar.”
Obama: “You are fed up with him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”
The White House refused to confirm or deny the exchange between the two.

Far from being an aberration, the above unscripted comment is part of a continual pattern of disrespect from President Obama. When Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the White House in March 2010, he was given third-world treatment. Obama followed that up at various times by outrageous demands. Israel should cease all construction in Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem, even on land that is not being contested. And Israel should begin discussions with the PA based on a return to the  pre-1967 borders, also known as the “Auschwitz Borders.” Obviously this is the most anti-Israel president the U.S. has ever had!

• Is the handwriting on the wall in the U.S.? Not yet to the extent that it is in Europe but universities, the institutions that are training the next generation of national leaders, reek with Jew-hatred.

On October 28 at Kent State University, Professor Julio Pino felt obligated to exercise his First Amendment right by shouting out “Death to Israel” at a lecture given by guest speaker, Ishmael Khaldi, a former Israeli consul official who is a Bedouin. Four days earlier Khaldi appeared at the University of Michigan where approximately 60 students walked out on his message. One of the leaders of the protest, Bilal Baydoun, was quoted in the Arab American News, our goal is to prevent someone like this from even arriving on campus in the first place and we feel confident that we will be able to accomplish this as we continue to spread awareness.” Free speech and free exchange of ideas on the university campus have become a thing of the past as Arab petro dollars increasingly flow in to fund these bastions of learning and as hard core leftists serve in tenured positions of power.

Pro-Islamic speakers can spout their venom with impunity at campus venues but even questions from the audience are carefully screened. When Gail Rubin, co-chair of the University of California Davis chapter of StandwithUs, a pro-Israel organization, attempted to challenge lecturer Professor Gilbert Achcar’s skewed opinion that the Grand Mufti’s (Haj Amin al-Husseini) anti-Semitism had only a minimal impact on both Jews and Arabs, two professors angrily told her “the questions were insulting and to either stop or leave the room.” As she described it, “So much for free speech and scholarly discourse in academia.”

• Incitement eventually leads to violence. This past Friday (November 11) residents of Flatbush, Brooklyn were awakened to find that three cars had been torched and the area had been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

The big danger in the western world is that it’s easy to become so comfortable or so involved in our daily lives that we simply pass everything off thinking things have to get better – it’ll all go away eventually. But maybe it won’t.

Shortly after Operation Cast Lead, Douglas Davis wrote an article in the Spectator entitled, The terrible warning of a Holocaust survivor:

As tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Europe, the chants are modified but the message remains substantially intact: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas — Jews to the Gas’. Or, more simply: ‘Death to the Jews’. Many European Jews, even well-established, affluent Jews, have been checking the suitcase they keep packed under the bed. They have been here before and many are (albeit reluctantly) reading the writing on the wall.

The writing on the wall may be a little more faint in the U.S., but perhaps it’s time we begin reading it.

Gilad Schalit’s Return: Victory or Capitulation

Back in 1995 an Israeli political leader penned the following words, “The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmail situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best.

   “Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse.”

That writer, if he were Prime Minister and faced with the kidnapping of one of his soldiers by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, would have appeared on television and announced that all food, water, electricity and other goods that had been flowing into Gaza would be stopped until the soldier was released. He would have announced that, should anything happen to the soldier, the consequences to Gaza would be devastating.

That leader was Benjamin Netanyahu. Only now, instead of standing firm for the courage of his convictions, he has capitulated to Hamas and struck a deal with them for the release of one Israeli captive, Gilad Schalit. Schalit was abducted in a cross-border raid while serving in a tank unit near the Gaza Strip and has been held, virtually without contact to the outside world, for five years. Israeli left-wing media during those five years waged an unremitting battle, blaming the Israeli government for his plight and emphasizing the suffering of his family. Only surrender to Hamas would suffice – nothing less. To the media, heroism was no longer important; in fact, it was the remnant of a more barbarous age. Now only sensitivity counts. In fact what they were doing is confusing the micro (feelings of the family) with the macro (what’s good for the country as a whole). That’s fine for ordinary people. All of us were concerned for Gilad Schalit and all of us sympathized with his long-suffering family. But it’s not alright for a government to think and act in those terms. Our leaders are entrusted with the duty of defending the nation as a whole.

So, while on a micro level, all of us are overjoyed at the prospect of Gilad Schalit coming home today (Tuesday), on a macro level many of us are horrified at the price our government has agreed to pay:

In return for Gilad Schalit’s freedom Israel has agreed to release 1027 Palestinian prisoners in two stages: 450 men plus 27 women in the first stage and 550 men in the second, approximately two months later. What makes this deal so problematic is the following:

1. The sheer number of Palestinian terrorists being released represents a victory for Hamas. The huge celebrations being held by both Hamas and the PA should tell us something.

2. Many of the terrorists being released have blood on their hands. They are directly responsible for the deaths of Israelis. Among those to be released in the first stage are 279 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. Families who lost loved ones feel completely betrayed by their government as they imagine seeing the killers smiling from their busses holding up the V sign for victory.  According to Dan Greenfied (Sultan Knish), “The Shalit deal will release some of the worst murderers in Israeli history, including those responsible for the Dolphinarium disco bombing which killed over a dozen teenagers, the Sbarro pizza bombing which wiped out an entire family, the lynchers of two Israeli reservists and the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel.”

3. The prisoner swap will encourage more terrorism. Why not kill as many Jews as you can if you know that you’ve got a “get out of jail free” card waiting for you? You’ll most likely only serve a short jail sentence and then return home as a conquering hero.

4. History proves that the majority of those released will go on to attempt further acts of terrorism. For example, Ahlam Tamimi, who drove the terrorist responsible for the 2001 suicide bombing of the Jerusalem Sbarro Pizza Restaurant, when asked whether she regrets the act, responded to a reporter that she was saddened that she could not kill more than 15 Jews. Is anyone naïve enough to think that someone with her attitude won’t return to jihad? While there are those who believe that Israel is much better equipped today to defend itself against terrorist attacks, time will tell whether or not these assertions are true.

It’s Sukkot. We are commanded to rejoice. So let us rejoice that our captive son is coming home. But let us also pray that God will restore some backbone in our spineless leadership so that the rest of our sons may grow up free and strong.