Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lame-duck Hagel unopposed by weak Jewish leadership

 From an Op-ed in Ynet News, 20 Feb 2013:
...The Republicans in the Senate succeeded in delaying the vote to confirm Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense to the week of February 26 but did not yet succeed in defeating his nomination. If the vote will proceed, Hagel will need only a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed.
The Democrats have 55 senators supporting Hagel including 11 Jewish senators.
If only five of the 11 senators will stop their blind worship of President Obama and decide to abstain, the nomination will be defeated. If only the Jewish establishment would stop being frightened and decide to join in the campaign against Hagel, his nomination would be withdrawn.
The Americans Jewish Committee ( AJC), AIPAC, Anti -Defamation League (ADL), the Conference of Presidents and the National Jewish Democratic Council all decided after the nomination not to oppose Hagel and not to campaign against him even though they all raised concerns about his voting record. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Republican Jewish Coalition have been the only major Jewish groups to publicly oppose Hagel.
Morton Klein, the ZOA president said in a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper that he was personally called by major Jewish leaders and was told to "stop his organization campaign against Hagel." Klein stated that his counterparts at the other organizations told him that he "was making this a Jewish issue" which they considered "bad for the Jews."
But in reality, Hagel made this a Jewish issue when he stated that "the Jewish lobby intimidates people" and when his voting record revealed his willingness to appease the Jewish state's enemies like Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran .The Washington Free Beacon just reported that in a 2007 speech at Rutgers university Hagel remarked that "the State Department was becoming an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry."
The fault also lies at Obama's feet for obsessively deciding to choose Hagel , while knowing that his notorious record will raise the ugly head of anti -Semitism and old age Jewish stereotypes..
But much worse, it was the fault of the Jewish senators, other Jewish Democrats and the major Jewish organizations for being silent despite their concerns. First, by being afraid to voice their objections to the president when his nomination was suggested at the trial balloon phase more than 10 days before the public nomination, and second, by dropping their objections to the nomination.
But this is not the first time the US Jewish leaders and establishment have been shamefully self -indulgent and frightened to speak up for the sake of their fellow Jews.
Scholarly research has revealed that the American Jews were not powerless during the Holocaust, but merely weak. They were like a muscle never fully flexed. The evidence shows that the Jewish leaders and organizations were silent even though they could have pressured President Franklin Roosevelt, to enter World War II earlier and rescue millions of Jews or bomb the death camps and railroads.
As with President Obama, President Roosevelt was considered as the god of American liberalism and of the American Jewish community. The American Jews constituted the most loyal and loving of Roosevelt's constituencies and the vast majority of Jews voted four times for him. No president till then had appointed so many Jews to public office and surrounded himself with so many Jewish advisors.
However, even when Roosevelt closed US doors to Jewish refugees prior to and during the Holocaust, the Jewish establishment refused to confront Roosevelt. Moreover, as Rafael Madoff explains in his book The Deafening Silence, the Jews were also silent because of "their fear of lifting the lid off a simmering American anti- Jewish backlash."
The only Jewish group in the US who struggled against the silence of America and the passivity of Roosevelt were the Jews on the political right which included the Zionist Revisionists, and strictly Orthodox Jews. Instead of joining them the liberal Jewish establishment fought against them.
Consequently, the question must be asked by every American Jew as to what red lines must be crossed before the Jewish senators, congressmen and major Jewish organizations will stop being silent in regard to President Obama's policies? When will they flex their political muscles?
What will they do if Obama decides to try to cut military aid to Israel, or lets Iran become a nuclear power? What will happen if Obama recognizes Hamas and Hezbollah and forces Israel to establish another Hamastan in the West Bank? What will happen if Obama tries to force Israel to dismantle its nuclear weapons or votes with the Security Council or the UN General Assembly to boycott Israel?
Barack Obama should not be coddled by the Jews but should be persuaded and confronted, if necessary, to withdraw the Hagel nomination.
If Obama sought to start the "fight" in order to weaken the pro-Israel support in Congress and to create "daylight" between the US and Israel, he failed miserably. Even if confirmed, the pro- Israel supporters, led mostly by Christians, have already won because Hagel has been weakened and ridiculed to the point that he will be ineffective. The vote in the Senate was the first successful filibuster of the nomination of any secretary of defense in US history.
After that humiliating event , and given how narrow his base of support seems to be in Congress, no one truly believes that Hagel will be able to implement any major changes in US foreign or military policy including trying to appease the Arab world and Iran, and weakening the close US-Israeli alliance.

Will a Notorious Anti-Semite Become The Pope?

If Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga were to be elected pope, much of the good work done by recent popes in building bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be endangered

Among those being considered to succeed Pope Benedict XVI is a notorious anti-Semite, Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. His name has appeared on various media short lists and his photograph was featured, along with other possible candidates, on the front page of the Miami Herald. He was also under consideration the last time around, and his Latin American heritage is considered a plus this time. He is very charismatic and popular in his home country and was recently invited to speak to Latino Catholics in the United States.
To put it most simply, Rodriguez Maradiaga is an out and out Jew-hater. He has said that "the Jews" are to blame for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! The Jews? How did Rodriguez Maradiaga ever come up with this hair-brained idea? Here is his "logic." He begins by asserting that the Vatican is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian (as he says it should be). It follows, therefore, that "the Jews" had to get even with the Catholic Church, while at the same time deflecting attention away from Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. The Jews managed to do this by arranging for the media—which he says they control—to give disproportionate attention on the Vatican sex scandal. Listen to Rodriguez Maradiaga's own words:
"It certainly makes me think that in a moment in which all the attention of the mass media was focused on the Middle East, all the many injustices done against the Palestinian people, the print media and the TV in the United States became obsessed with sexual scandals that happened 40 years ago, 30 years ago. Why? I think it's also for these motives: What is the church that has received Arafat the most times and has most often confirmed the necessity of the creation of a Palestinian state? What is the church that does not accept that Jerusalem should be the indivisible capital of the State of Israel, but that it should be the capital of the three great monotheistic religions?"
Rodriguez Maradiaga then goes on to compare the Jewish controlled media with "Hitler," because they are "protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against The Church."
The prime media culprit in Rodriguez Maradiaga's bizarro world is the Boston Globe, which has won numerous journalistic awards for its exposure of the sex scandal and cover up. The Globe is owned by The New York Times, which is controlled by the Sulzberger family.
Hence the Jewish conspiracy. The problem (among so many) with this cockamamie theory is that the Jewish community of Boston was very close to, and admiring of, Cardinal Bernard Law, who presided over the archdiocese during the scandal. Cardinal Law had built bridges between the Catholic and Jewish communities of Boston, and when the scandal was exposed by the very un-Jewish Boston Globe, the Jewish community remained largely supportive of Law.
None of the leading media critics, lawyers or politicians who railed against the church were Jewish. Most were Catholic. But that didn't matter to the bigoted cardinal, who -- along with other classic anti-Semites -- believes that if there is a problem, "the Jews" must be to blame for it. As James Carrol, the distinguished columnist for the Boston Globe who is himself a Catholic, has characterized Rodriguez Maradiaga's "crackpot" mindset: "when the church has a problem—here is the oldest move of all—blame the Jews."
When asked whether he wanted to reconsider his attack, Rodriguez Maradiaga replied: "I don't repent... sometimes it is necessary to shake things up." He later promised Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League that he wouldn't repeat his conspiratorial nonsense, but he has refused to publicly apologize or "repent."
The Vatican has rightly called anti-Semitism a "sin," and yet an unrepentant sinner is on the short list to become the leader of the Catholic Church.
Is it because the other cardinals are unaware of Rodriguez Maradiaga's anti-Semitism? Unlikely, because he has made no secret of his bigotry against the Jews. Or is it because not enough of them care as much as they should? As a Jew, I have no standing to, or stake in, whether the new pope is conservative or liberal on Catholic doctrine, but I and all other people who care about Catholic-Jewish relations do have standing and a major stake in assuring that an anti-Semite is never considered for such a high calling.
Just as there was a universal outcry when the former Nazi Kurt Waldheim was elected to the presidency of Austria, so too should there be a universal outcry if this cardinal, whose rants could comfortably have been published by Der Sturmer, were to be elected head of the Catholic Church.
If Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga were to be elected pope, much of the good work done by recent popes in building bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be endangered. This should not be allowed to happen. The campaign against this bigot must begin now before his candidacy develops more traction.