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The Coming Betrayal of Israel: Cal Thomas, Fox News, Nov. 12, 2013 — In Geneva, Switzerland, The United States and other major powers appeared close to a deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting some economic sanctions against the terrorist-sponsoring state.
U.S. Issues Belated Condemnation of Khamenei After Israel Protest: Yuval Bagno & Sof Hashavua, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2013 — Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, condemned on Thursday Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks in which he referred to Israeli officials as those who “cannot be even called humans” and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a “rabid dog.” Loving Us To Death: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Nov. 01, 2013 — In the first half of the 20th century, the political and social perspective of the American Jewish community was deﬁned by its collective experience of anti-Semitism—both in the countries from which Jews had emigrated and, in far more muted form, inside the United States. In Argentina, Catholic Supporters Opposed to Pope Francis Challenge His Legacy of Jewish Relations: In Argentina, Kristallnacht has come to be known as “el pogrom de noviembre”—the “November pogrom.” Pollard Supporters to Mark 28 Years Since Israeli Spy’s Arrest: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2013 —Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard will enter the 29th year of his life sentence Thursday, the 28th anniversary of his arrest outside the Israeli embassy in Washington.
Unless You Are Antisemitic, Consider This Before You Promote Boycotting Israel: Ari Lesser, Tent of Abraham, Nov. 18, 2013
Israel: It’s Time to Stand Up: Jerrold L. Sobel, American Thinker, Nov. 22, 2013
10 Tel Aviv Apps, Startups and Alternative Vehicles That Will Make Travelling So Much Easier: Adam Van Heerden, No Camels, Nov. 11, 2013
Saul Kagan Pursued a Relentless Quest for Justice: Paul Vitello, Globe & Mail, Nov. 19, 2013
Fox News, Nov. 12, 2013
In Geneva, Switzerland, The United States and other major powers appeared close to a deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting some economic sanctions against the terrorist-sponsoring state. Negotiations, however, fell apart at the last minute when France and Iran balked at the final wording on the interim draft. Talks are expected to resume within a few weeks, but it is worth pausing to consider what was nearly agreed to and what the outcome could likely be.
President Obama has pledged to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that America has Israel’s “back.” Who knew he had a knife? An agreement that trusts Iran’s promises and allows it to surreptitiously complete development of nuclear missiles would stab Israel in the back. North Korea promised former President Jimmy Carter during his 1994 visit to Pyongyang it would close a nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in exchange for food and humanitarian aid. The reactor was subsequently re-opened. Memo to the Obama administration: tyrants lie. Unlike North Korea, an officially atheist state, Iranian mullahs have repeatedly said they have a religious duty to annihilate Israel, not to mention America. How do secular diplomats negotiate with people who, in their minds, would be violating “Allah’s will” by making deals with the “great Satan”? While the negotiations between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran were taking place in Geneva, Ynetnews.com claims, “…the Iranian government sent a different message with a broadcast on state television of a simulated missile attack on Israel.” How much more evidence of Iran’s intentions and ultimate objective are needed?
Last month, Kerry and Netanyahu met for seven hours in Rome. Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post, citing the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, writes, “The secretary of state told the prime minister that he heard from his European friends … that if the negotiations (with the Palestinians) fail, Israel can forget about participating in the European research and development program ‘Horizon 2020’.” Kerry is then quoted as saying, “And that will only be the beginning.” Doesn’t Kerry have this backward? Sanctions might be lifted against Iran for a promise that won’t be kept, but possibly imposed on Israel if it won’t agree to what amounts to assisted suicide? It would also appear that this “deal” had been in the works for at least several months before the Geneva meetings. The Daily Beast reports: “The Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran’s new president in June, well before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva or the historic phone call between the two leaders in September.” The administration pledges to watch Iran closely and if it violates any provisions in a final agreement, sanctions would be re-imposed. If sanctions and other means, such as the introduction of the Stuxnet virus into Iran’s computers, failed to deter Iran’s nuclear program, why would anyone think additional threats and more sanctions would produce the desired results? Iran is playing for time and it appears the United States is willing to give it to them.
History is a great teacher, but not everyone pays attention. In The Guns at Last Light, Rick Atkinson’s chronicle of World War II, the author recalls President Franklin Roosevelt’s view of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin following their meeting at Yalta in February 1945: “‘Stalin doesn’t want anything other than security for his country,’ the president said. ‘He won’t try to annex anything and will work for a world of democracy and peace.’” Winston Churchill similarly misjudged Stalin, writes Atkinson, telling his war cabinet, “‘Stalin I’m sure means well to the world and Poland. … He will not embark on bad adventures.’ He added, ‘I don’t think I’m wrong about Stalin,’ whom he had called ‘that great and good man.’” Times and dictators change, but human nature remains the same. Roosevelt and Churchill were wrong about Stalin and the Obama administration is wrong about Iran.
Yuval Bagno & Sof Hashavua
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2013
Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, condemned on Thursday Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks in which he referred to Israeli officials as those who “cannot be even called humans” and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a “rabid dog.” In an interview with CNN, Power said the remarks were “abhorrent.” Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “obviously we disagree with [Khamenei’s statements] profoundly.” "It's inflammatory and it's unnecessary, and I think at this moment, when we are trying to negotiate and figure out what can and can't be achieved, the last thing we need are names back and forth," Kerry said.
Israeli officials expressed shock Thursday that world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, and the US in particular, remained silent in regard to the scathing comments by Khamenei. Khamenei took swipes at Israel and France during a speech to tens of thousands of volunteer Basij militiamen in Tehran, broadcast live on Iran’s Press TV. “Zionist officials cannot be called humans, they are like animals, some of them,” said Khamenei. “The Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation,” he said. The Iranian leader referred to the "Zionist regime" as the "rabid dog of the region."
Jerusalem awaited condemnation of the comments from senior officials of the states taking part in nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva, but such a reaction was not forthcoming. The P5+1 group of world powers negotiating with Iran consists of the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany. "We knew the Americans were eager, even more so than the Iranians themselves, to reach an intermediate deal in Geneva, but we did not estimate to how great an extent," a senior official in Jerusalem told The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew-language sister publication Sof Hashavua Magazine. The official added that "the West is choosing not to direct its gaze at Khamenei, who is the true face of Iran and its de facto ruler, and to accept the "pretty face" of Iran's new diplomacy instead. The comments by the supreme leader, who cursed America and France at the height of the talks, constitute spitting in the face of the enlightened world, not just Israel, but the world remains silent, thinking it is rain, and continues to talk with this leader's emissaries, who are masters of deception. They then blame us for making comparisons to the 1930s." An official in the US delegation to the Geneva talks skirted questions Thursday from journalists on the issue, saying, "Naturally, there are still expressions of the deep lack of trust between us and the Iranians – which stem from more than three decades of severed relations. We are trying to reach an agreement whose goal is to peacefully prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, while dealing with this atmosphere, and it is not easy."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who flew to Russia on Wednesday to appeal for tougher terms, said Khamenei's comments showed Iran had not changed since so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected as president in June. "He called Jews 'rabid dogs' and said that they were not human. The public responded to him with calls of 'Death to America! Death to Israel!' Doesn't this sound familiar to you? This is the real Iran! We are not confused. They must not have nuclear weapons. And I promise you that they will not have nuclear weapons," the premier said.
Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary, Nov. 01, 2013
In the first half of the 20th century, the political and social perspective of the American Jewish community was deﬁned by its collective experience of anti-Semitism—both in the countries from which Jews had emigrated and, in far more muted form, inside the United States. Four percent of Americans were estimated to be Jewish at mid-century, twice as many as at present. But the Jews of that time were insecure about their place in American society and often unwilling to make a show of their background and faith. They felt themselves a people apart, and they were. It was difficult if not completely impossible for them to live as American Jews entirely on their own terms.
Now the situation is reversed. As an explosive new survey of 3,400 American Jews reveals, 94 per-cent say they are proud of being Jewish. That data point dovetails neatly with the current place of Jews in American society—a society in which they make up 2percent of the population but in which there are virtually no barriers to full Jewish participation. American Jews can live entirely on their own terms, and they do. But the stunning ﬁnding of Pew’s A Portrait of Jewish Americans—the most comprehensive portrait of the community in 20 years and, in the richness of its detail, perhaps of all time—is the degree to which American Jews are now choosing not to live as Jews in any real sense. Secularism has always been a potent tradition in American Jewry, but the study’s analysis of what being Jewish means to its respondents reveals just how much irreligion has taken center stage in American Jewish life.
There has been a startling increase over the past quarter century of Jews who say they regard themselves as having “no religion.” Intermarriage rates are now at 70 percent. And the proportion of families raising their children as Jews by religion is 59 percent, while only 47 percent are giving them a Jewish education. Jews are not being driven from Judaism due to social difﬁculties. Fewer than 20 percent claimed to have experienced even a snub in a social setting, let alone an anti-Semitic epithet, in the last year. Such numbers are not only without precedent in American history; they are without precedent in the millennia-long history of the Jewish people. The Pew survey paints a portrait of a group that feels none of the shame or fear that once played a major role in deﬁning Jewish attitudes toward other Americans. But this loss of shame, and the concomitant growth of pride when it comes to having a Jewish heritage—these have come at a heavy cost, it appears. It is now inarguable that American Jewry, or at least the 90 percent that does not hew to Orthodox practice, is rapidly shrinking, and the demographic trend lines are stark.
The same American Jewish community that is bursting with pride also now regards Jewish identity as a matter of ancestry and culture almost exclusively. Forty-two percent think a good sense of humor is essential to being Jewish; almost exactly the same number, 43 percent, think it means supporting the State of Israel. When asked about the fundaments of Judaism itself, Jews speak of values and qualities that apply equally to other faiths and are followed just as readily by those who have no faith at all. After all, there is nothing distinctively Jewish about believing one should lead an ethical and moral life or about working for justice. And yet these are the deﬁning characteristics of Judaism for American Jews. Only 28 percent think being Jewish has something to do with being part of a Jewish community. Only 19 percent think it means abiding by Jewish religious law.
This is what happens after several generations of the most highly educated minority group in the United States have allowed themselves and their children to become functionally illiterate about Judaism itself, its belief system, its history, and the obligations of Jewish peoplehood. The Pew data make it abundantly clear that the cultural values of secular Jews have proved to be perfectly portable—they can carry their liberal political and cultural beliefs everywhere without having to carry the Jewish trappings that go with them.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link – ed.]
Tablet, Nov. 22, 2013
In Argentina, Kristallnacht has come to be known as “el pogrom de noviembre”—the “November pogrom.” Last week, on the 75th anniversary of that tragic night, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, a cavernous space in the symbolic center of the city, hosted an interfaith commemoration of the violence of that November pogrom convened by the archdiocese of Argentina and the nation’s B’nai B’rith.
Diana Wang, the daughter of survivors and president of the Argentine group Generations of the Shoah, was at the cathedral for the event and did not expect it to be different from any previous commemorations, including the one last year, which was led by then-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio—now Pope Francis—and his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka. As in other years, the cathedral was full, crowded with representatives of various Christian denominations, rabbis, Jewish community leaders, politicians, and Holocaust survivors.
But this year, for the first time in the nearly 20-year history of such memorials in Argentine churches, a protest erupted: Members of a far-right religious group, the Society of St. Pius X, staged a group prayer to oppose what they called “the profanation of this space.” According to Wang, it started as a murmur of “Our Father” and other prayers, and then the protesters began chanting the rosary louder and louder. Between 20 and 40 young men, some just teenagers, kneeled down and began praying fervently, their eyes fixed straight ahead. The Society, an international organization formed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council by Catholics who opposed the liberalization of church doctrine, rejects the promotion of interfaith dialogue—strongly promoted by Pope Francis, who from Vatican City described Jews as “big brothers” to Catholics in his own observance of the Kristallnacht anniversary. It has gained a particular reputation for anti-Semitism. One of its bishops has been convicted of Holocaust denial in the German courts. In October, the Italian branch offered to hold a funeral for Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who had been extradited to Italy from Argentina.
The Kristallnacht protest at the Metropolitan Cathedral was a disruption of remembering, an assault on a key moment in Jewish history and Holocaust memory. But it was also a challenge to Pope Francis, on his home turf, and to the entire post-Vatican II infrastructure of interfaith dialogue Francis has reinvigorated since his election as pontiff earlier this year. Wang—whom I first met through my fieldwork as an anthropologist working with survivor groups in Buenos Aires—told me she felt a sensation of fear. She worried that violence might erupt, in a church filled with elderly survivors. But they surprised her: The survivors in the cathedral, she told me, stood their ground “like soldiers,” refusing to leave. “I am not going anywhere from here,” they said later. “Ni loca”—not for anything—“would I go.” Others in attendance tried to intervene and stop the protest. Martha de Antueno, president of the Argentine Judeo-Christian Confraternity, decried their use of the rosary—a holy prayer—as a “weapon” against the memory of Holocaust victims being remembered that evening. But the men continued their prayers, murmuring louder and louder as they stared ahead. “They then confronted me, asking, how can I as a Catholic be supporting an event with those who had killed Jesus?” de Antueno told me afterward. One of the protesters took over the microphone and called out, “Leave, and stop this profanation.” After nearly an hour, the protesters finally left.
Jews have long occupied a tenuous position in Argentina, home to the seventh-largest Jewish population in the world, and the largest in Latin America. They built an array of synagogues, schools and social service organizations, but the country where they found refuge also became an infamous haven for Nazis, many living under assumed identities—including, of course, Adolf Eichmann, who was known as “Ricardo Klement” until his capture by the Mossad in 1960. At the time, neo-Nazi groups responded by unleashing violence that included the kidnapping of a young Jewish student named Graciela Sirota; they tattooed a swastika onto her body. Since then, Jews have experienced waves of anti-Semitism, especially during the political repression of the military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, and the trauma of two terrorist attacks that targeted Jewish sites in the early 1990s. But today, three decades after the collapse of the junta, Argentines memorialize the Holocaust through museums, monuments, archives, and commemorative programs like last week’s, as well as through active outreach to society at large, Jews and non-Jews alike, undertaken by the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires and survivor groups, like Generations of the Shoah. Argentina, as the only Latin American member nation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, also gives official state support for Holocaust commemoration in the national school curriculum. Holocaust remembrance ceremonies like the event at the cathedral are generally not controversial affairs—simply part of the landscape of memorial practices in Buenos Aires.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link – ed.]
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2013
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard will enter the 29th year of his life sentence Thursday, the 28th anniversary of his arrest outside the Israeli embassy in Washington. Pollard’s wife Esther said she and her husband had not lost hope that US President Barack Obama would commute his sentence to the time he has already served.
“It is a terrible blow to Jonathan and to me that all the anguish and suffering he has endured for a full 28 years in prison now continues into year 29,” Esther Pollard said. “We had such high hopes that this nightmare anniversary would not occur again. After all the recent developments, we really hoped that by now we would be recovering from our ordeal and rebuilding our life , that we would finally live together here in Israel and get on with our life together.” She said she was encouraged by the numerous ranking American officials who have come out in support of her husband’s release, the declassification of materials exonerating him and many other factors. She called upon Obama to commute the sentence of her husband, whose health is deteriorating, as a matter of compassion and mercy.
MKs Hilik Bar (Labor), Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and David Azulay (Shas) jointly called for Pollard’s release in a special discussion in the Knesset plenum. Bar said the effort to bring Pollard home crossed party lines. He complained that the US, which did not want Pollard’s deeds to be seen positively, had made him a hero by holding him so long. “Pollard paid a price for his actions that is higher and heavier than usual,” Bar said. “He should be allowed to go home to Israel and his family.” The government’s liaison to the Knesset, deputy minister Ophir Akunis (Likud) rejected charges that the government was not doing enough to bring Pollard home. He said the issue was not in the hands of the Israeli government, but of the president of the United States.
CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!
Unless You Are Antisemitic, Consider This Before You Promote Boycotting Israel: Ari Lesser, Tent of Abraham, Nov. 18, 2013 — Friends and supporters of Israel, even those of us who don’t believe the Jewish State is beyond criticism, always find ourselves wondering why so many people support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that encourages consumers, countries and the private sector from doing business with Israel.
Israel: It’s Time to Stand Up: Jerrold L. Sobel, American Thinker, Nov. 22, 2013 — Growing up in a tough Bronx neighborhood further back than I like to think, it was good to have an older tough friend.
10 Tel Aviv Apps, Startups and Alternative Vehicles That Will Make Travelling So Much Easier: Adam Van Heerden, No Camels, Nov. 11, 2013 — Tel Aviv is a hub of innovative transportation solutions that will help you get from A to B efficiently and in style.
Saul Kagan Pursued a Relentless Quest for Justice: Paul Vitello, Globe & Mail, Nov. 19, 2013 — Saul Kagan, a former refugee who for decades led the Jewish service organization that was primarily responsible for securing more than $70-billion (U.S.) in restitution for Holocaust survivors and their heirs, died Nov. 8 in Manhattan. He was 91.
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