Thursday, May 03, 2018

The disintegration of American Jewry

From Isi Leibler, 2 May 2018:

American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding.

Paradoxically, this is taking place at a time when support for Israel among the American people is at an all-time high and traditional anti-Semitism is at its lowest level. Jewish education among non-Orthodox Jews is catastrophic with widespread ignorance of Judaism and understanding about Israel. Assimilation is rampant with intermarriage levels reaching 70%.

Although right-wing racist anti-Semitism has made headlines, the real threat emanates from the viciously anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Left and the growing numbers of Muslim extremists.

Under normal circumstances, a proud Jewish community supported by most Americans could neutralize these negative elements.

...the crisis is largely internal. In the past, American Jews, with valid historical justifications, have always had a penchant for liberalism. Their attachments to Israel and Judaism were synonymous and liberal political forces were Israel’s strongest supporters, while conservatives were less inclined to support the Jewish state.

However, over the past two decades, the far Left has become viciously anti-Israeli, even supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and depicting Israel as an imperialist occupier.

This trend reached a climax under U.S. President Barack Obama, who made overtures to the Iranians and treated Israel politically as a rogue state.

Aside from ZOA head, Morton Klein, not a single mainstream Jewish leader had the courage to stand up and protest Obama’s bias against Israel and his constant bracketing of Israeli defensive actions as morally equivalent to the actions of terrorists.

Despite this, incredibly, aside from African-Americans, the Jews remained consistently Obama’s greatest supporters.

When Donald Trump was elected president, the hatred manifested against him from the bulk of the Jewish leadership reached hysterical levels.

Many of the so-called leaders intensified the anti-Israeli hysteria by falsely accusing Trump of fascism and even anti-Semitism – despite his Jewish friends and family members and outstanding support for Israel. In fact, the administration’s wholehearted ongoing support for the Jewish state even seemed to intensify their anti-Israeli inclinations.

The Anti-Defamation League, headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, relinquished any pretense of being apolitical. It continuously lashed out against the administration and behaved like an extension of the extreme anti-Trump opposition. The ADL frequently seemed more inclined to defend Muslim extremists than Jews, maintaining that organizations like Canary Mission, which exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, are Islamophobic and racist. It also ignored or dismissed much of the left-wing anti-Semitism and soft-pedaled its criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and exaggerated the influence of far-right radicals, seeking to link them to Trump. The ADL also took upon itself to repeatedly condemn Israeli policies and the so-called “occupation.”

The Reform movement leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, behaved similarly, usually with the support of leaders of the Conservative movement. Jacobs initially even condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In this environment, the anti-Israeli-government J Street was absurdly promoted by sectors of the establishment as a moderate and a legitimate vehicle to soften the more delusional Jewish groups openly seeking the demise of Israel and even defending Hamas.

By remaining silent and appealing for tolerance even toward groups castigating Israel like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Jewish establishment created a defeatist climate, paving the way for the chaos currently prevailing in the Jewish community.

This has impacted on large numbers of Jews, especially youth with virtually no Jewish education and for whom Israel has already become a marginal factor.

In turn, this has strengthened the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and created an atmosphere in which it is chic for unaffiliated Jews to distance themselves from, or in some cases even publicly condemn, Israel.

Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have any other than delusional Jewish fringe groups attacking Israel. Today, especially on campuses, it requires courage to even stand up against these perverted anti-Israeli Jews.

These self-hating Jewish deviants have combined with Muslim extremists and the far Left to intimidate Jews committed to Israel, making life for them unbearable particularly on campuses. They are at the forefront of the BDS movement, deny Israeli spokesmen the right to speak, disrupt their lectures and support the depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The extent of the madness is reflected in groups of Jewish radicals publicly reciting kaddish for Jihadist Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers defending their borders.

Sadly, many Jewish leaders urge supporters of Israel to be tolerant of these hostile Jewish groups and, rather than confronting them, entreat them to engage in dialogue. Regrettably, many Hillel groups encourage and provide venues for such dialogue.

It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment encouraged by the anti-Israeli media and the radical wing of the Democratic Party, whereas in the past Jewish support for Israel was almost a given, today the preponderance of liberal Jews – especially their leaders – feel awkward supporting Israel. Wishing to conform to their self-image as “enlightened,” in most cases they feel comfortable publicly condemning the Israeli government.

The current, almost unprecedented unity of the Israeli people transcends politics over issues such as war and peace, defense of the borders and deterring terrorism, including the violent efforts by Hamas to breach Israel’s borders. This is ignored by many liberal American Jews living in an atmosphere in which they not only feel the need to conform and condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his democratically elected government but in many cases, go even further, castigating the IDF for allegedly responding disproportionately to terrorists who use human shields as a tactic in their warfare.

It is in this context that Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman’s outburst, a symptom of the current climate, was a public relations gift to Israel’s enemies despite her subsequent mealy-mouthed utterances. She would never have contemplated such behavior a few years ago, before the atmosphere had become so poisoned that criticism of Israel by Jews barely raises eyebrows.

It is time for those committed to Israel to be courageous and stand up and be counted. They should dismiss the absurdity of promoting the “big tent” and attempts to engage in dialogue with Jews condemning Israel’s right to defend itself.

They should publicly demand the resignation of leaders who criticize Israel’s security policies, which are supported by a broad Israeli consensus. They should call on their leaders to publicly castigate Jews who denigrate Israel and expel from their ranks those who support or tolerate groups promoting BDS or defend those seeking Israel’s destruction.

...Until there are Jewish leaders who are fully committed to supporting Israel during these critical times rather than those who are primarily concerned to display their tolerance toward those who seek our destruction, the disintegration of the non-Orthodox American Jewish community will proceed unimpeded.

Distorted Statements of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas

From Yad Vashem, 2 May 2018:

In his address on Monday, 30 April 2018, to the Palestinian National Council, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, sought to teach the Palestinians, and the rest of us, a purported "lesson in history", replete with antisemitic tropes and distortions of historical facts. Sadly, Abbas has chosen to assault Holocaust remembrance by attempting to convert the Shoah into a propaganda tool, blatantly falsifying history to the point of accusing the Jewish victims as being responsible for their own murder, and transforming Hitler into a Zionist.

In his remarks, Abbas claimed that the Holocaust did not result from antisemitism, but rather from the "social behavior" of Jews who dealt in loans and banking, activities which allegedly aroused opposition towards them by the peoples of Europe. In order to substantiate that claim, Abbas relied upon quotes from Karl Marx, Stalin and others. However, his own argument is itself fundamentally antisemitic, insofar as it incorporates a centuries-old antisemitic narrative that equates Jews with monetary greed. Even basic acquaintance with Jewish history would teach Abbas not only that the Jews pursued, then and now, a wide variety of professions and occupations, but that the majority of them at that time were impoverished. Even basic acquaintance with European history would inform Abbas about the escalation of antisemitism throughout Europe during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th, and that this was in effect the prime context for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. 

Abbas claims that a transfer agreement signed by representatives of the Zionist movement with the German government ostensibly one month after Hitler's rise to power supposedly proves that Hitler was lenient towards the immigration of Jews to Mandatory Palestine, and in effect supported Zionism. Actually, Hitler concisely articulated his attitude towards the Zionist endeavor in his book Mein Kampf, where he wrote that the purpose of Zionism is "the establishment of a central organization for their [the Jews'] worldwide swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks." In other words, Hitler's actual position towards Zionism was totally opposite that which Abbas baselessly ascribes to him

As for the transfer agreement between the Jewish Agency and the German Treasury, signed more than six months after Hitler's rise to power, it of course did not constitute intentional Nazi support for Zionism. Rather, it was the result of the initial stage of the Nazis' anti-Jewish policy, which at that time sought to bring about the emigration of all Jews from Germany, as rapidly as possible. The German "escape tax" had been in existence prior to the Nazis' takeover, and was aimed at preventing the loss of monetary capital. The Jewish Agency's negotiations secured a complex financial agreement that enabled some Jews emigrating from Germany to Mandatory Palestine to eventually receive a portion of the funds they left behind. Relatively few Jews emigrated within this framework, and Hitler was not involved whatsoever in its formulation.

The Holocaust resulted from the Nazi belief that Jewish existence must be totally eliminated.  In May 1941, as the Holocaust was taking place, Hitler made clear to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, that once German forces had broken through from the southern Caucasus region into the Middle East, "Germany's goal will be the extermination of the Jews who reside in Arab territories under British rule" (as noted in the meeting's minutes).

The historical facts of the Holocaust are available to Chairman Abbas, and other speakers of Arabic around the world, on Yad Vashem's website     

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Iran Lied

Published on 30 Apr 2018, by Fox News

JCPOA - fix it or nix it

This CNN interview with former Deputy Director General of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Ollie Heinonen, suggests that the JCPOA must at least be fixed, if not abandoned...

Bracing for an Israel-Iran Confrontation in Syria


Published in American Interest on: April 30, 2018
Ehud Yaari is an Israel-based Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Middle East Commentator for Israel TV 12/13.
The United States has options for preventing—or at least limiting the scope of—a regional showdown in Syria.