Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Column: Sukkot

It looks like we are at the beginning of another wave of terror.

The attack at French Hill by a 19 year old female islamo-kazi that left 2 dead and 16 wounded was followed by the killing of three soldiers and the wounding of a fourth when terrorists penetrated the southern Gaza community of Morag. This was followed by yet more mortars falling on the western Negev town of Sderot that caused light injuries, anxiety and hysteria.

Encouraged by PM Sharon's determination to go ahead with the "disengagement" plan, the local terrorists may be planning to keep step with the heightened threats of Osama bin Laden on America. Bin Laden is apparently hoping to pull off another Madrid before the November elections and get a "sensitive" administration into the White House.

It won't work.

The latest beheadings of two Americans in Iraq by Zarkawi have only made an angry America angrier. Kerry's latest "position" on Iraq has not helped him in the polls which have strengthened steadily since the GOP convention in New York City. The CBS/Dan Rather/Joe Lockhart/Bill Burkett scandal is just beginning to completely unfold and where it will leave Kerry is a matter of speculation that probably has him up nights.

The debates that are upcoming are being billed as a match of heavyweights. I think that President Bush will bury Senator Kerry. Without knowing what the format is, it seems to me that asking Kerry some form of the following question might cause his wiring to frazzle:

"You have been criticized for flip flopping on issues and casting yourself in different ways at different times regarding things you have done in the past. Is there anything you have said or done that you regret?"

If Kerry says "no" then he looks enormously arrogant and deceitful considering the fact that he has contradicted himself so many times on many an issue. An iota of humility would demand the admission of some error somewhere at sometime, but I suspect it would not be forthcoming, bringing to light the true nature of his makeup.

If, on the other hand, he says "yes" he is immediately caught in a tangle of contradictions and lies that may make him wish he was still in Cambodia -- or not -- or near by. It just looks like a swamp to me. Just how will he answer any question without contradicting himself?

That brings us to President Bush's Speech at the UN. I listened to it over the Internet.

Bush addressed that silent crowd of thugs and told them exactly what he has been telling Americans since the beginning of the WOT. He laid it out on the table and spoke of such things as democracy and good and evil and he even finished by saying "G-d bless you." In short, he said to the world that he believes in America and democracy and the bible and that he will see the war through until the enemy is defeated. He never wavered. He is who he is.

Of course, I take exception to some of President Bush's remarks regarding Israel. His repeating of the offer to reward the "Palestinians" with a state within the land of Israel for their embracing some form of democracy is wrong. It is wrong because even if the "Palestinians" were to find their own version of Thomas Jefferson to lead them, the 1967 borders are not defensible and wars can and have erupted between democracies. One of the important arguments made in the Federalist Papers for the need for a Union was to avoid just that possibility between the democratic States -- and the States had a history of friendship and cooperation -- not war.

President Bush also unfortunately misses the point that just as concessions to terror worldwide only encourage it, all of Israel's concessions do precisely the same thing. For Bush to apply different logic when addressing Israel looks like a double standard and sends the wrong message to terrorists everywhere who are encouraged by any concessions anywhere and especially in Israel.
Writing now, on erev Yom Kippur, an article that will appear on erev Sukkot, I want to wish everyone a Chag Samayach. May the holiday bring us all the joy and peace we hope for.

The Newest Shimon Peres

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

Compare that to this ... http://www.gamla.org.il/english/peres/3.htm

I think his latest morph is in reaction to Bush leading in the polls and Peres' attempt to look as Texas as he can. Peres could give Kerry lessons in flip flopping and nuancing. It's pathetic -- but don't expect him to be called on this by anyone.

Monday, September 27, 2004

FrontPage magazine.com :: Rubbing Elbows with Arafat by David Bedein

FrontPage magazine.com :: Rubbing Elbows with Arafat by David Bedein

"According to the Palestinian tourist publication THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE, plans are under way to build a new Palestinian casino and resort for tourists in "Southern Gaza", in place of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif that now reside there.

And who stands to profit? None other than Dov Weissglass, the architect of the Sharon plan to withdraw those very Jewish communities from Gush Katif."

Friday, September 24, 2004

Column: Yom Kippur

On erev Rosh Hashana, N'vei Dekalim, the largest community in Jewish Gaza, was bombarded overnight with 19 mortar shells. That brings the number of shells and rockets that have exploded in Jewish areas of Gaza in the past four years to 4,409 -- according to a Arutz 7's source in Gush Katif.

In the Western Negev city of Sderot, which has also been hit over the past several months by Kassam rockets, a warning and announcement system has been installed. The system identifies a launching of Kassam rockets, including time and place, and passes the information on to Sderot within two seconds. The automatic announcement that is then sounded gives the residents 20 seconds in which to find shelter before the rocket explodes.

As Sharon bulldozes ahead with his "disengagement" plan are Israeli's supposed to ignore what is happening in Gush Katif and be encouraged by a warning system that gives 20 seconds to run and hide for residents of Israel proper -- inside the "green line?" One can only ask and wonder who is Ariel Sharon and what possesses him to proceed with this madness that will bring newer and better rockets and mortars within striking range of areas even deeper within Israel?

For those of us that may have forgotten and have come to think that Sharon has no choice because Bush is pressuring him I offer the following from a letter of April 14, 2004, sent from Sharon to Bush:

..."I attach, for your review, the main principles of the Disengagement Plan. This initiative, which we are not undertaking under the roadmap, represents an independent Israeli plan, yet is not inconsistent with the roadmap. According to this plan, the State of Israel intends to relocate military installations and all Israeli villages and towns in the Gaza Strip, as well as other military installations and a small number of villages in Samaria. ... Upon my return from Washington, I expect to submit this Plan for the approval of the Cabinet and the Knesset, and I firmly believe that it will win such approval."

As we now know, Sharon never got any real approval for his "Israeli plan." It is also clear that President Bush was not the architect of this mess. Is he pressuring Sharon nonetheless? Is there any evidence of that? So what is motivating Sharon? Perhaps it is the EU? Perhaps he hopes to win favor with the fading and wilting powers that be in Old Europe before its sun sets? Does that make any sense? Bush is up clearly in the polls and with Dan Rather crashing in disgrace to earth what does Sharon care about Old Europe with a Bush win looking more and more likely?

Maybe some light can be shed on Sharon's motivation -- or maybe not -- by this recent story related by Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin to HaTzofeh newspaper last week:

"On my last visit in Strasbourg [site of part of the European Parliament], at a convention of parliament leaders from around the world, the heads of the French Parliament invited me to visit them in Paris. I came, and after a few words of courtesy, they asked me, 'Tell me, Mr. Israeli Parliament Chairman, you are known as one of Prime Minister Sharon's close friends, so why is it that you do not support his disengagement initiative?'

"I said, "Well, the truth is that I should ask you. He has been trying to convince me that the moment we disengage, Europe will give us at least 15 years of quiet and won't put pressure on us [to make further concessions], and during this time we will be able to stabilize our control over areas on which we cannot compromise, such as the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. So tell me: Will you in fact give us 15 years of quiet?'

"They started to laugh and said that they now understand why I don't support the Prime Minister. Later on, I asked them if they would give us 15 months of quiet? They laughed. I said, 'How about 15 weeks?' and they continued to laugh. '15 hours?' - and they still laughed. Regarding 15 minutes, they didn't laugh, but neither did they nod."

Well, if we still don't know what Sharon is up to at least we know how to make the French laugh.

Does that clear things up?

Gmar Chatima Tova

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

President Bush's Speech at the UN

I liked the speech very much with the exception of the part that dealt with Israel. Rewarding the "Palestinians" with a state within the land of Israel is wrong even if they were to find their own version of Thomas Jefferson to lead them because the borders are not defensible and wars can erupt even between the purist democracies. One of the arguments made in the Federalist Papers for the need for a Union was to avoid just that possibility between the States.

Of course the land of Israel was promised to the people of Israel by G-d and I believe that that is to the benefit of the whole world -- if only we could remember why it was given to us and act accordingly. Putting aside the biblical claim, which should be honored by all nations, the fact is that Israel has a right to defend itself and the duty to defend its people. In order to do that it must have defensible borders.

Another point: all of Israel's concessions to date have only encouraged terrorism -- worldwide and on all fronts. Further concessions would only make it worse.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Next Year in Ashkelon?

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News

That's what the withdrawal from Gaza could mean.

"N'vei Dekalim, the largest community in Jewish Gaza, was bombarded with no fewer than 19 mortar shells over the night between Tuesday and Wednesday - and "thank G-d, no one was hurt," reports Katif.net. The attack began at 2:30 this morning, and continued for almost an hour and a half. Nothing like this unprecedented barrage is remembered in the past four years of warfare, say the locals."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A French leader with an American dream - What Will the Post - Zionists Do???

Column: Rosh Hashana

It's almost Rosh Hashana and I am searching for something to write about that will be inspiring without being preachy. I think I might have something that will work. It starts with a personal story from years ago and I guess it will wander where it will.

Once, when I was in my early teens, I was walking home at night from a friend's house and I looked up at the stars and the most extraordinary thing happened to me. Somehow, as I gazed above, I found myself speaking softly to Heaven. These are the words that came unexpectedly: "I don't know if You are there or not, but if You are then please show me." At that moment I had the very powerful sensation that the stars drew nearer to me.

For me the stars had always been a mystery that some -- like my star gazing and science loving neighbor -- believed could be understood through the study of astronomy. On a soul level I didn't quite go for astronomy and the mystery remained and while what had happened, it seemed to me, came from nowhere there were many questions in the air and I guess inside of me.

Carl Sagan would not be on television for almost ten years but his "billions and billions" were in the air. The spirit of the 1960's had brought both a curiosity in the mysteries and if not an outright rejection of the Creator, a consigning of Him to the realm of ancient and forgotten history. Yes, what Sagan would bring to the PBS in 1980 in his series "Cosmos" was already thick in the air on that night when I looked up at the stars -- but I didn't know it. I also didn't know that his astronomy had an underlying philosophy that he summed up in this statement: "The Cosmos is all that is or ever will be."

It appears from this statement that Sagan was an atheist although I seem to remember reading a quote of his that was straight from the Greek philosopher Epicures (341-270 BCE) -- which would make him an epicurus. The difference is significant if one is interested in such things. Atheism is the denial of the existence of the Creator. Epicures accepted his existence but removed him so for back into the past -- eons upon eons -- and so far from our lives -- meaning that he pays no attention to us and has no connection to us -- that He might as well not exist. Where Sagan's constellation precisely rested I am not prepared to say -- perhaps it was a mix of both -- I doubt he was familiar with the distinctions of Maimonides.

Let's get back to that night in Lawrence. If you had asked me at that time if I believed in the Almighty I would probably have said with some difficulty, yes. It's not that I thought about Him a lot or prayed at all (other than at shul) but to say that I didn't believe seemed somehow a betrayal of myself and my family -- especially my grandparents and great grandparents. If you had asked me if I believed that the Almighty had revealed himself at Sinai and had taken us out of Egypt and spoken to Moses and the prophets I would probably, for the same reasons, have said yes. However, if you had asked me if the Almighty heard my prayers I would have been hard pressed to claim so. I simply felt that while he probably did exist he was very, very far away -- and probably pretty busy.

Looking back at that night now I see it as a sort of miracle. I had never addressed Heaven before and it would be years until I was to do it again, but the words that came out of my mouth were so true to where I was spiritually that I believe they affected my whole life. I believe that He began to show me that He does exist.

What, you may be asking by now, has all this to do with Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashana is the day that Adam was created -- completing the creation on that sixth day. It was literally "the beginning." Each year we get to start anew as the world itself does. For a new beginning it is my belief that there is nothing like a real, true prayer from the heart -- wherever that heart might be -- which is I guess what my story is all about.
Shana Tova.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Jay Nordlinger is in Israel

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online

"Horovitz confirms that the Left in Israel has dwindled over the last few years. One hears reports of embarrassed, newly-seeing citizens scraping Peace Now stickers off their cars. That maxim of Irving Kristol's is invoked: "A neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." Muggings in Israel have been ferocious."

Obvious and Orthodox at the convention

israelinsider: Views: Obvious and Orthodox at the convention

"It is official. We have ushered in a new era.

The age of the Jewish Republican, even more precisely, the age of the "frum" Republican has arrived. Not only have orthodox, observant, immediately identifiable Jews entered the enclave called the Republican Party, but they are welcomed. I'm not speaking of Republican voters, I'm referring to people who help in the decision making process, people whose voices are heard, people whose opinions are valued. It is a status that has been evolving over the past decade, it is a phenomenon whose time has come."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sharon Embraces Leftist Tactics -- Warns of Civil War

Mark Steyn on the Forgery

Friday, September 10, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on the War

Hamas: Left-Wing Encouraged Us to Attack

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News

Is it not as clear as day that the Right is right?

"Yisacharov told Channel 1 Television yesterday that Hamas leaders had told him clearly: "It was the Israeli left and your peace camp that ultimately encouraged us to continue with our suicide attacks."

Podhoretz on CBS Document Scandal

New York Post Online Edition: postopinion

Bloggers reveal that documents implicating G.W. Bush are fraudelent. Should CBS have known?

Column: September 10, 2004 -- Tali Fahima and Administrative Detention

A new administration detention decree has been issued in Israel. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz signed the decree last week which will deny Tali Fahima the right to face her accusers before a judge prior to her incarceration. Under this decree she will be held for four months. A further decree can be ordered at that time -- extending her incarceration indefinitely.

Fahima, a Jewish woman from Tel Aviv is suspected of terrorism. She is the girlfriend of Zacaria Zbeidi, the commander of the al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin. She was in custody for about three weeks prior to the issuing of the decree. The defense establishment claims that she transferred an explosive charge that detonated at the Kalandia checkpoint three weeks ago. Three border policemen were seriously injured and Zbeidi claimed responsibility.

Long time Kach activist Baruch Marzel came out in support of the issuing of the decree. "Now, the left, which kept quiet while (right wing activist) Federman was in administrative detention (for eight months) will understand what we went through," he said.

While Marzel's reaction is understandable considering the recent incarceration of Federman and the repugnancy of the accusation against Fahima, it is mistaken because the law should not be used against any citizen in a democracy.

In the year 1765 Blackstone addressed the issue:

"Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty: for if once it were left in the power of any, the highest, magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought proper … there would soon be an end of all other rights and immunities. … To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom. But confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to gaol (prison), where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten; is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government.

"To make imprisonment lawful, it must either be, by process from the courts of judicature, or by warrant from some legal officer, having authority to commit to prison; which warrant must be in writing, under the hand and seal of the magistrate, and express the causes of the commitment, in order to be examined into (if necessary) upon a habeas corpus. If there be no cause expressed, the gaoler is not bound to detain the prisoner. For the law judges in this respect, … that it is unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not to signify withal the crimes alleged against him." 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 132—133 (1765)

Significantly, Blackstone traces the earliest use of habeas corpus to the year 1305 -- under King Edward I of England and in 1679 the principles of habeas corpus were put into an Act of Parliament in the Habeas Corpus Act. The administrative detention law being use in Israel dates back to the British Mandate and was used by the British not against its own citizens but as military law to put down rebellion. It was used widely against the Etzel and Lechi when the British closed the gates of Palestine to Jews fleeing the holocaust and Etzel and Lechi fighters began to attack the British to drive them out and open the gates.

The law has been abused in recent decades to silence the right wing and for this reason Marzel is pleased to see it used against Fahima -- giving the left a taste of its own medicine. However, besides the fact that use of the law denies rights that were recognized almost 700 years ago in England, supporting the use of the law in this case will not change the fact that it has been used almost exclusively to silence and intimidate right wing activists -- and will continue in all likelihood to be used almost exclusively in that way against citizens.

Furthermore, by granting Fahima the right to face her accusers, various government policies of appeasement and the ideology of the left would almost certainly come before the court and the press. Fahima would in all likelihood defend herself as a mere peace activist who was wrongly accused of actual terrorism by a hypocritical government that armed Arafat and plans to pull out of Gaza. Whether she made this argument or not, government policies and actions of appeasement would be revisited in a new way by the world press that would surely pay much attention to the sensational trial. As it is, little will be know or heard of the whole matter.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Judicial Imperialism and the Fence

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News

If you have any question as to who runs Israel then picture this:

Sharon became almost emotional when discussing Gush Etzion. "I don't want to see even one caravan [mobile home without wheels] in Gush Etzion outside the fence," he said, as quoted in Yediot Acharonot today. "If the Supreme Court judges question this, tell them to go to Mt. Herzl and see the mass graves of the people from the Gush who were murdered by Arab mobs during the War of Independence."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Cheney's Warning About Kerry is Exactly Right

My Way News

No doubt that experience in Israel shows that weakness is an invitation to terror.


BESLAN [John Derbyshire]
In the midst of our horror at what happened in Beslan, let's not forget that this isn't the first time Islamic terrorists -- Whoops! Sorry! I mean "rebel insurgents" -- have invaded a school and deliberately murdered little children. From the "Letters" section of America's Newspaper of Record today:

"On May 15, 1974, Yasser Arafat's terrorists took over a school in the northern Israel town of Maalot. They murdered 22 children and wounded 60 before they were killed by Israeli commandos. An American doctor who was vacationing in Israel treated many of the survivors. He reported that the Arab gunmen aimed at the faces and heads of the children.

"The objective of Islamist terrorists is to inflict the most sadistic death possible on the victims. If the Republicans and Democrats in Washington don't get serious about securing our borders and controlling immigration, we can expect to see a repeat of the school takeovers by terrorists in Russia and Israel right here in the United States.

"We can't let that happen."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Barbara Lerner on Beslan & Terror on National Review Online

Barbara Lerner on Beslan & Terror on National Review Online

"The world began to change on September 1, 2004, the day the Russia-held-captive ordeal began in a little school in a little southern town called Beslan. When it ended on September 4 after an agonizing three-day orgy of Islamofascist torture and slaughter, it changed Russia, much as September 11, 2001, changed America, and in the end, that will change the world."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Column: September 3

US troop withdrawals from Europe should in my estimation have a powerful effect on Israel by helping to finally put to an end the Israeli Left and their aping of Old Europe, pro-Arab, appeasement antics. In order to understand the effect the withdrawals will likely have it is necessary first of all to look at some of the changes that are sweeping Europe and to then look at the troop withdrawals within the greater context of those changes.

Let's look at some recent appointments within the European Commission (EC), the European Union's executive arm, that give evidence to these changes in Europe:

For one, the EC's new president, Jose Manuel Barroso, is considered a "sworn Atlantacist" -- a clear sign that a "new sensibleness" has already taken root in Europe. His influence should be significant upon the EC. Being an Atlanticist, his attitudes toward Israel more closely reflect those of America and are seen as moving the EU to a more balanced position -- as opposed to the familiar pro- Arab animosity.

Other recent appointments also reflect the growing strength of Atlanticist "New Europe" and the waning of "Old Europe" Those nations that support President Bush in the war on terror and the war in Iraq; Britain, Italy, Poland, Spain (until the bombing and subsequent election), the Netherlands and Denmark -- all received choice appointments. On the other hand, France was humbled as it received the minor transport portfolio and Germany, which was hoping to receive the "super-economic" post was disappointed when it merely received the industry portfolio.

Another important change is the appointment of a British Jew, Peter Mandelson, to the post of trade commissioner.

These are important changes and show that a trend of Atlanicization in Europe is clearly in place. The withdrawals will push that trend forward as they signify the beginning of the end of the Cold War presence of the US Military in Europe. There is reason for cautious hope that the anti-Americanism of Old Europe will fade at this juncture and with it the anti-Zionism that is coupled with it as Old Europe reconciles itself to the new reality.

I quote again from Victor Davis Hanson's NRO column "Welcome Back, Europe" ...
"So it is also with some trepidation that we are seeing the inevitable end of the old, and the beginning of a new, transatlantic world, as troops on the ground at last reflect the reality of the past 20 years. And as we begin to leave Europe, as NATO mutters and shuffles in its embarrassing dotage, as cracks in an authoritarian and unworkable EU begin to widen, ever so slowly we here in the United States shall start to witness all over Europe both a new sensibleness — and a new furor."

Regardless of whether Old Europe chooses a path of "new sensibleness" or furor -- or some combination of both, the Israeli Left will be left out in the cold. A "new sensibleness" will mean the fading away of Old Europe and with it the Israeli Left which clings to its coat tails of appeasement. If a "new furor" were to unfortunately emerge, the Israeli Left would run for cover at the prospect of openly antagonizing America. Either way, the Left goes the way that it should, making Israel a much safer place as the insanity of appeasement goes the way it must.

It follows that the end of the Israeli Left is dependent on the continuation of the trend in Europe that the troop withdrawals represent and promote. In turn, this trend is largely dependent on the reelection of President Bush and a continuation of the war on terror.

Perhaps the last hope of the Left and appeasers everywhere is that John Kerry will be the next President of the United States. For Israel, I believe his election would be a disaster. Kerry has said many contradictory things and it is hard to know what course he would take on any issue, but he has made it as clear as he seems capable of that mending relations with France and Germany is a priority of his and that his war on terror would be somehow "sensitive."

A reversal of the ascendancy of New Europe by Kerry would likely mean a new breath of life for the Israeli Left. That could easily cost Israel more than Chamberlain's policies of appeasement cost Czechoslovakia.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Europe's Iran Fantasy

Europe's Iran Fantasy

This quote from the article describes Europe but could just as easily describe Israel's Left, and as is becoming more evident daily, America's Left.

"Of course the horrors of war are beyond comparison, and it is a mark of civilization to deploy military force only with extreme caution. But most Europeans no longer realize that to avoid taking a path that may in the end lead to violent conflict--to avoid opposing totalitarian ideologies--can result in even greater suffering and more casualties. Today's Europeans seem unable to accept the idea that bowing to tyranny is sometimes worse than going to war to resist it. Indeed, to judge from the way European appeasers have handled the threat of a potential Iranian nuclear bomb, it seems that Europe would rather accept its own demise than sacrifice its sons to the dogs of war, which make no distinction between good and evil."