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don muntean

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We hear so much about religion and this topic and there are as many perspectives as there are observers - so these are some of my own informal insights into some well known texts...while there are no certainties with anyone's interpretations of these texts - there are some points obvious enough to need little interpretation.

Zechariah 12.3:

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it."

There is still talk of dividing the city of Jerusalem - as a means to placate opposites in what seems like an impossible resolution within irreconcilable claims to the city...

Of course - Jerusalem was divided once - sixty years ago - in 1949 - as predicted in Zechariah chapter one:

"14 so the angel that spoke with me said unto me: 'Proclaim thou, saying: Thus saith the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy;

After some duration of the exile God again turns His attention to Jerusalem and His people in the exile and is desirous of again calling His people there.

15 and I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped for evil.

This describes [His attitude regarding] the many pogroms following the exile in 77 C.E. - culminating in the holocaust which was ensuing as He again puts His attention on Jerusalem.

16 Therefore thus saith the LORD: I return to Jerusalem with compassions: My house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem."

His attention on Jerusalem is set - first He mentions compassions then a promise that His House will later be re-built [and we learn from Isaiah it is to be a "House of prayer unto all the nations"] - only - there is to be a temporary 'division' of the city.

We can see in Micah chapter five the time lines for the official end of the exile and - the re-unification of Jerusalem [1967] by a description of the re-capture of Bethlehem just five miles from Jerusalem - the verse makes light that there is a connection to this 'town of no mention' and the ancient linage of the promised future king of Israel - whose birth is directly hinted at in the verse - as happening just prior to the recapture:

"2 Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth; then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel.

Saying "He will give them up 'until the time' that she who travaileth hath brought forth" tells us that the exile of 'the nation' lasts 'until the time of the birth of' the future king - [and that 'sometime' following his birth - the king initiates the return to Israel of the last of the exiles - along with the remnant of the king's family] - "then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel" When he returns is not mentioned.

So move forward it's now 1967 - it is now some 18 years since 'the exiles' [having been long unjustly victimized by the nations] fought to regain 'the nation of Israel' and 18 years since the 'green' line was stretched over Jerusalem with Arab/Israeli halves and - meanwhile the 'mother of this king is in labor' [in the exile] - she delivers her son - and God then gives the miracle of victory to the fledgling state - Bethlehem is captured and Jerusalem is re-unified [Therefore will He give 'them' up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth].

Move forward still more - it's 2009 - now 42 years later - we're still waiting for this king 'to come to power' so to speak in Israel - he shall be the one to cultivate an era of promised peace in Israel and the region...only some 42 years later...Jerusalem has become as "a stone of burden"...[while still technically reunified].

The real resolution comes through the promised king [though we don't know how long it will be from his birth to this point] - of course [no offense to him or his abilities] - it will not be Obama [or any other outside leaders] who brings this peace...if he tries to divide Jerusalem to enforce peace it will only exacerbate the situation. Besides this facilitatory 'king' - only the two sides themselves could make this peace a lasting reality.

So it would seem [if one believes ancient Hebrew prophesy has some merit] that Jerusalem will not be literally 'divided' again - despite what plans some leaders might have.

It seems that the ancient Hebrew prophesies are coming true and with that - a specific result - after the world reaches a point of no return [with Israel] - something that could be sooner than we think.

It shall be interesting to see if this king emerges in Israel at some point...for the first part of his life his identity is unknown...the circumstances of how he goes from being considered a wretch - 'a nobody' - to a leader negotiating at the center of this mess - should be more interesting than any Hollywood script!

Last edited by don muntean on Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
don muntean

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last edited by don muntean on Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
don muntean

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

don muntean

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New York Times
By William J. Broad and David E. Sanger
June 6, 2009

A week before Iran's presidential election, atomic inspectors reported Friday that the country has sped up its production of nuclear fuel and increased its number of installed centrifuges to 7,200 - more than enough, weapon experts said, to make fuel for up to two nuclear weapons a year, if the country decided to use its facilities for that purpose.

In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it had found no evidence that any of the fuel in Iran's possession had been enriched to the purity needed to make a bomb, a step that would take months.

But it said that the country had blocked its inspectors for more than a year now from visiting a heavy-water reactor capable of being modified to produce plutonium that could be used in weapons. It also said that Tehran had continued to refuse to answer the agency's questions about reports of Iranian studies obtained by Western intelligence agencies that suggest that its scientists had performed research on the design of a nuclear warhead.

Iran is required under three United Nations Security Council resolutions to cease the enrichment of uranium and to provide answers to those questions. The Iranian authorities have vigorously denied the authenticity of the studies on warhead design.

The report, one of a series made quarterly to the agency's board, described how the pace of enrichment and the installation of new centrifuges is accelerating at an enormous underground bunker in the desert at Natanz. It said that nearly 4,920 centrifuges were currently enriching uranium, and that 2,300 more were ready to go. That represents an increase of 30 percent in the total number of installed centrifuges since a February report.

Campaigning for re-election next week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed that he will never bend to demands from the West or the United Nations that Iran halt its uranium enrichment. His political opponents have largely agreed, but have urged a more cooperative attitude.

Meanwhile, Israel is constantly assessing Iran's capability of producing a nuclear weapon. Last year, it asked the Bush administration for the equipment needed in case it decided to take unilateral military action against Iran. Mr. Bush declined to provide the equipment.

In a separate report released Friday, the agency said it had found new evidence to support the claim that the complex that Israel bombed in the Syrian desert in 2007 was in fact a clandestine nuclear reactor. The clue, it said, was information uncovered on Syria's procurement of "a large quantity of graphite," a material that American intelligence officials have said was central to the reactor's operation.

The agency also reported its discovery of particles of uranium in a Damascus laboratory and their "possible connection" to uranium traces already discovered at the bombed desert site. Firming up that link, it added, would require further analysis.

Significantly, the agency's Iranian report disclosed an expansion not only in the number of centrifuges, but also in the production of nuclear fuel, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation. "They're improving the output," he said. "And they can do better" by feeding uranium into the 2,300 machines that now stand empty.

Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a research organization in Washington, said Iran's 7,200 centrifuges, if suitably arranged, could annually produce enough nuclear fuel for up to two bombs. "The facts on the ground continue to change," he said in an interview, "and not in our favor."

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency noted that Iran is refusing not only to let inspectors visit a heavy-water reactor that Tehran has under construction, but also to let them verify design information about the sprawling project, as the agency's statutes require.

The report also said Tehran had refused to give access to "relevant Iranian authorities" who could address allegations surrounding Iran's research on the design of nuclear warheads. In the absence of that cooperation and enhanced powers of inspection, the report said, the agency "will not be in a position to provide credible assurance" about nuclear materials and activities.
don muntean

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much of the American press is steeped in sheer ignorance.
Debunking these misconceptions with facts is a good start.

Sixty-one years after the birth of the State of Israel, the Jewish state continues to be assailed by its enemies. From the halls of the United Nations to the classrooms of major universities and in the pressrooms of major newspapers and magazines, attacks on the legitimacy of every move by Israel -- and even of the state's existence itself -- continue to be made.

What lies behind the calumnies and canards that are constantly thrown at the one Jewish state on the planet? In the Arab and Islamic world, the notion that any portion of the Middle East could be placed under Jewish sovereignty is anathema. Elsewhere, some of the brickbats thrown Israel's way stem from prejudice and hatred rooted in classic anti-Semitism.

But what about the American press, much of which is Jewish, and other American opinion-makers for whom the anti-Semitic tag doesn't really apply? The reasons for much of the slanted commentaries about the Middle East and biased news coverage has less to do with the ancient hatreds based in Europe than it does with sheer ignorance.

For all too many members of the press (as well as other Americans who like to think of themselves as being informed about the great issues of the day), lack of knowledge about the underlying facts of the Middle East conflict is commonplace. Myths about the State of Israel, its origins and its actions have found their way into general discourse in the academy and the media. Those who seek to stand up for Israel need to recognize that many of the problems that Israel has in getting its case across stem from a failure to debunk these myths and to answer them with the truth.

So here is a list of the top ten myths about Israel and the Middle East conflict. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good start to understanding the heart of the problem.

Myth #1: Jews have no historic connection to Israel/Palestine.

A key element of Arab and anti-Zionist attacks on Israel is the notion that the Jewish presence in the country is a remnant of 19th century imperialism in which Europeans colonized and exploited parts of the third world. But far from being outsiders there, the Jewish ties date back 4,000 years to the very beginning of Jewish history recounted in the Bible and verified by much of the evidence of archeology that has been discovered.

Though the Romans expelled most of the Jewish population from the country, Jewish settlement continued without interruption throughout the last 2,000 years. In all this time, the Land of Israel remained a constant in thoughts and the hearts of Jews throughout the world, as it was remembered in their daily prayers and in their dreams.

Myth #2: Jews have no unique claim to the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem.

Though both Christianity and Islam have holy sites in the city, the Jewish ties predate that of any other existing religion. King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago -- 1,700 years before Islam was even founded. Jerusalem never served as even a provincial capital during the centuries of Muslim rule. The entire city is sacred to Jews; only the Dome of the Rock has religious significance to Muslims. Moreover, in the modern era, Jews have been the majority of the population of the city since the 1840s.

As for freedom of worship, the only period during which all faiths have been free to worship in peace has been since 1967 when the city became unified under Israeli sovereignty.

Myth #3: The Zionist movement was never prepared to share the land.

From the very start of the Jewish return to their historic homeland in the late 19th century, it has never been the goal of the Zionist movement to uproot the Arab population or to create a state where only Jews could live. In 1922, the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine was partitioned by Britain, with the east bank of the Jordan River reserved for Arab rule (it eventually become the Kingdom of Jordan), and the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan being designated as the Jewish National Home. Dating back to the 1930s, every subsequent peace plan that has been proposed involved some sort of partition of the Western portion of Palestine. Though all of these schemes involved painful concessions for the Jews, the leadership of the Zionist movement and subsequently the Jewish state always accepted this principle of sharing the country.

Myth #4: The lack of an independent Palestinian Arab state is the fault of the Zionists.

In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine between a Jewish state and an Arab state. The response of the Palestinian Arabs, as well as the rest of the Arab and Muslim world, was a categorical rejection of any scheme that allowed a Jewish state on any part of the land, no matter what its borders might be. No effort was made to set up an independent Arab state in the part of Palestine allotted for that purpose. In the aftermath of Israel's War of Independence, in which it repelled the invasion by five Arab armies, the West Bank, Gaza and half of Jerusalem, were left in Arab hands. But for the next 19 years when these territories remained under Arab control, there was never any consideration given to creating an Arab state there. On the contrary, the focus of the Arab world was on extinguishing the fledgling state of Israel that existed in the truncated borders left by the 1949 armistice lines.

In the years after the 1967 war, Israel has maintained a willingness to negotiate a peace deal based on the concept of "land for peace." Indeed, at Camp David in July 2000 and the following January at Taba, Egypt, Israel offered the Palestinians a state in these lands as well as part of Jerusalem. The answer from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was "no," and he followed up that refusal by launching a terrorist war of attrition that resulted in over a thousand Jewish deaths and even more suffering on the part of his own people.

Myth #5: The plight of Palestinian refugees is a special case of dispossession that must be redressed by international action.

In the aftermath of World War II, millions of refugees were created by the partition of India, the re-drawing of the map of Europe, as well as by the war brought on by the Arab refusal to accept the UN's partition of Palestine. Only in the case of Palestinians who fled their home during the course of Israel's War of Independence, was there a failure to re-settle the refugees. The Palestinian refugees, whose exit from the country was caused more by a general fear of the war sweeping over the land than by any action on the part of the Israelis, were the only refugees who were kept in camps and not allowed to integrate into the populations of the Arab countries that received them. They were kept homeless as a means of maintaining the illusion that the creation of Israel could be undone. Subsequent generations of this population have been raised in these camps and inculcated in an irredentist ideology whose premise is the rejection of any Jewish state. They remain the wards of a UN agency (the United Nations Relief Works Agency) that is devoted to perpetuating their status as refugees at a cost of billions of dolllars on international aid.

On the other hand, several hundred thousand Jews living in Arab countries were evicted from their homes during this same era and forced to flee to safety in Israel or the West -- where they were integrated into society.

Myth #6: The occupation of eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in 1967 was the result of an Israeli war of aggression.

In May 1967, Egypt launched a blockade of Israel's southern port of Eilat. Egyptian and Syrian forces massed on Israel's borders. Egypt demanded, and got, the UN peacekeeping force that separated their army from Israel in the Sinai, to withdraw. Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser and other Arab leaders told their peoples that they would soon launch a battle of annihilation that would result in Israel's destruction. When international diplomacy failed to get the Arabs to back down, Israel decided that it would not wait to be attacked and launched a defensive war to forestall the Arab assault.

After the war ended in a sweeping Israeli victory, Israel stated its willingness to make peace, but an Arab summit conference a month later answered with three no's. No peace. No recognition. No negotiations.

Myth #7: Jewish settlements are the main, if not the sole, obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Though many legal sources claim that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal, the fact remains that the right of Jewish settlement in those lands was guaranteed by the Mandate for Palestine of the League of Nations. This territory was never part of any other sovereign state and its final legal status is subject to negotiations that must be concluded between the competing parties. Until such time as there is a peace accord which gives one side or the other sovereignty in this territory, it is inaccurate to refer to this land as belonging to one side or another.

Twice before, Israel has shown a willingness to uproot Jewish communities for the sake of peace: in the Sinai (given back to Egypt in the 1979 Peace Treaty) and in Gaza (from which Israel withdrew unilaterally in 2005). The existence of settlements in these areas is no bar to a peace deal under which they might be withdrawn.

Myth #8: The failure of the Oslo peace process was the result of actions by hard-line Israeli governments.

The Oslo process was embraced by Israel in the hope that an offer of land would be met with genuine peace. However, the result of years of negotiations and various Israeli withdrawals has not been peace. From the start of Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank and Gaza in 1994, Palestinian leadership has encouraged terrorism against Israel and fomented hatred against the Jewish state -- while "peace education" is promulgated in Israeli schools. Throughout the 1990s as Israel signed several agreements that gave the Palestinians more autonomy, the corrupt PA leadership continued to tolerate and even fund terror groups. In 2000, Yasser Arafat refused Israel's offer of a Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza as well as part of Jerusalem -- and launched the terror offensive known as the Second Intifada.

Though all Israeli governments have, at times, been forced to reply with force to terrorist attacks from Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank, all have stated a willingness to negotiate a peace. Today the Palestinians are split between the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas which is too weak to make peace and Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, who reject it under any circumstances. Both factions reject the legitimacy of a Jewish state.

Myth #9: The Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to all of America's political, diplomatic and military problems in the Middle East.

The battle over Israel/Palestine is but one of many disputes in the Middle East. The rivalry between the two great Muslim religious strains, Shia and Sunni, has been the source of more wars and more bloodshed than any battle between Arabs and Jews. Similarly, the tensions between Persians (modern day Iran with its Islamist rulers and nuclear ambitions) and Arabs is another perennial conflict that predates the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the region.

Even more to the point, the conflict between radical Islamists who seek to impose their religious and political views on the rest of the Muslim world, and those who oppose them in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, has nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinians. It is this schism which is at the core of the rise of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is this battle for the soul of Islam that gave the impetus to the 9/11 attacks, not the dispute over the borders of the Jewish state.

Though Israel's foes claim that resentment over its creation fuels Arab and Islamic resentment of the West, such sentiments long predate the rise of Zionism. The clash of civilizations between Islam and the West was the cause of wars between European nations and Muslim countries for centuries with no Jewish involvement. Linking world peace to a resolution of the Palestinian conflict is just another tactic of rejectionist groups bent on perpetuating the conflict and diverting attention from the real issues.

Myth #10: American support for Israel is the result of the manipulations of the U.S. government by Jews.

Support for the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland dates back to the very beginning of American history. Sympathy for the idea of a renewed Jewish state is rooted in the faith of most Americans, as well as in their belief that the persecuted Jewish people were entitled to find a new life in their old home. From the very beginnings of the Zionist movement, it found both a welcome and support from large numbers of Americans. In the aftermath of the Holocaust that support became even greater.

Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans of all faiths and both major political parties see Israel as a friend and an ally. They need no prodding from a Jewish lobby to understand that the alliance with the Jewish state is based on common values and a shared belief in democracy. While Israel's supporters in Washington are vocal and proud of it, their financial clout is dwarfed by that of an oil industry and other factions with a vested interest in appeasing Arab dictators and monarchs. But the American people's identification with Israel and their sense of solidarity with it have prevailed because these ideas are rooted deeply in American history and tradition.

For even more information about myths and facts about Israel go to: http://jewishvirtuallibrary.com

don muntean

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last edited by don muntean on Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:19 am; edited 4 times in total
don muntean

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following speech was given June 9, 2009 at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, by Moshe Yaalon, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs

Once the mainstream media starts to believe something is true -- or, more troubling, where it fails to even investigate, but simply parrots someone else's narrative -- and then refers to this as fact or uses it as an underlying assumption, it becomes extremely difficult for anyone to ever thereafter question the veracity of that purported "fact" or the assumption, let alone to uproot and replace it with a different concept. Simply put, it becomes conventional wisdom.

The media is pervasive. It affects our perception, and nowadays perception is a major component of the complicated, asymmetrical conflicts in which our weaker foes depend primarily on cognitive warfare, especially in the changing Middle East.

There are three examples of this phenomenon that I want to discuss today. One relates to the Iranian issue, the second relates to tensions between pragmatists and radicals in the Middle East, and the third, to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Iranian Issue

There are two problems with the way the media frames the Iranian issue.

The first one is the notion that the Iranian problem is first and foremost a conflict between Iran and Israel. Here we can see, for example, the setting of Fareed Zakaria 's discussion on Iran on CNN. Look at the definition of the subject on the bottom of the screen: "Iran vs. Israel".

The second troubling manner in which the media frames the Iran issue is the recurring suggestion in the media that a combination of a sincere dialogue and non-military sanctions will peacefully persuade the Iranians to change their policy and give up the military nuclear program. Unlike the previous example, which has some relationship to reality, this mistaken assumption is based primarily on wishful thinking.

If, as much evidence suggests, dialogue and non-military sanctions will not work, then there may indeed be a need to resort to the military option in order to halt the Iranian project. Yet, those in the media who frame the issue as one that requires negotiations and diplomacy do the world a disservice by failing to present to their audiences the evidence that such a strategy in fact won't work.

The media approaches this issue with the assumption that Iran is a rational actor, very much like Western states, and that its primary concern is American behavior towards it.

While I believe this is unlikely, let's assume that it may be true. But shouldn't the media nonetheless inform their public of an alternative view?

That alternative view suggests that the Iranians have a completely different agenda and set of motivating factors. Those facts will not only sound strange, but very uncomfortable to the Western ear, yet there is substantial basis for them. All the media has to do is take note of them and report them to the public.

For example, many key Iranian players, in particular the Mullahs, consider the destruction of Israel as just a step on the way to changing the entire world order. The Iranians want to bring about this change, and they have many allies who, though they may not share Iran's Shiite goals, nonetheless share its desire to bring down American-led global liberalization. Syria and Chavez are of course key active partners in this. The goal of such an alliance is not just the conquest of Israel, but the entire Western world as well.

To appreciate the fallacy of this notion of Iranian "rationality," it is crucial to understand that the Iranian leadership, just like all the other radicals, is not interested in contributing to stability. On the contrary, they are interested in turbulence and instability -- as long as it doesn't threaten their survival and their ability to stay in power -- because stability would shore up the very world order they want to replace. Furthermore, the Iranians view the West's reluctance to use force against them as a lack of will and proof that Iran is moving in the right direction.

There are so many examples of this mindset in the rhetoric of the Iranian leadership that it is quite amazing to consider how little of that affects the way the media refers to the Iranian issue.

Let me just mention some of President Ahmadinejad's declarations in recent weeks. For example when he paid a visit to his Syrian counterpart, President Bashar Al Assad, in early May he said that "Alongside the resistance and steadfastness, we must also strive to create a new world order; otherwise new oppressive regimes will emerge." He called the West's fundamental values "inhuman and belonging to past decades," and insisted that "The philosophy and order that emerged after World War II have come to the end of their road, and [the West] is unable to offer solutions for the world's problems."

Now granted, this may sound silly to Western ears - that we are inhuman and oppressive in comparison with Syria and Iran. But the media censors this material because they either don't take it seriously, or they don't want people to draw the wrong conclusions from it.

Ahmadinejad also added: "today the circumstances in the world and in the region are rapidly changing. Those who, for many years, said that Iran and Syria must be pressured, and wanted to prevent [them] from defending the rights of the peoples in the region, now openly declare that they require the help of Tehran and Damascus in solving their problems. Today we are beginning to move on the path of triumph, and even greater victories lie ahead." Note how Ahmadinejad interprets US desire to negotiate as a sign to press their own advantage.

In a recent speech in Kerman Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was drawing up a new package of proposals for negotiations surrounding the country's nuclear program. He emphasized that the West was weak, and could not force anything on Iran. "If the United States wants dialogue, there must first be a withdrawal of all Western forces, the destruction of the West's entire nuclear arsenal, and respect for Iran's right to its nuclear program," he said, and added. "Nearly 7,000 centrifuges are spinning today at Natanz, mocking you."

"The Iranian nation will not accept domination from oppressive powers," said Ahmadinejad, dressed in his trademark lightcolored jacket and dark trousers as young men and women chanted "Ahmadi! Ahmadi!" "We have to build an Iran that will have a role in directing the future of the world," he added as the crowd kept shouting. Again, some may wish to dismiss this as "mere rhetoric," but is the media acting responsibly when it suppresses the public's awareness of the problem?

There are so many examples of this mindset in the rhetoric of the Iranian leadership that it is quite amazing to consider that none of this gets reported to the Western public in the mainstream media and, more troubling, that the media doesn't even stop to reevaluate their positions.

How can the American public intelligently discuss major policy decisions that could have major consequences for the entire world, when the mainstream media withholds basic information that would enable them to conduct a serious analysis of the problem?

Moderates vs. Radicals

The second area that deserves our attention, where the mainstream media misrepresents the evidence, is in addressing the tension that exists between the radicals and the pragmatists in the Middle East. The mainstream media almost unanimously adopts two basic approaches.

One is the dramatically unempirical notion that the radicals are but a tiny minority, while the vast majority of Muslims embrace the same moderate principles of peace, prosperity and coexistence that we exalt in the West.

The second, perhaps more realistic approach, rests on the following principles: (1), Radicals are the true representatives of the Middle Eastern society while the pragmatists are too weak to be expected to do anything; (2), the reason for this unfortunate situation is because of the Western policy of confrontation; and, therefore (3), the way to stop the radicals is to engage in dialogue with them and simultaneously strengthen the pragmatists by giving them concessions.

This approach does begin correctly by recognizing that the radicals have succeeded to a large extent in influencing the way Middle Easterners perceive themselves and how they relate to the rest of the world. But then it errs by suggesting that the radicals are ascendant primarily because of the behavior of the West which has supposedly alienated a potentially moderate public. This type of reporting works to the advantage of both the radicals and the pragmatists. Indeed, it turns the weakness of the pragmatists into their most valuable asset.

Both the radicals and the pragmatists take full advantage of the Western response to avoid accountability and expect the West to keep feeding them with more and more money and concessions, especially those that come at Israel's expense. Since this policy has proven quite successful in recent years and since Middle Easterners consider the new administration even more committed to this set of assumptions than its predecessors, the Middle Easterners have bigger expectations and less readiness to change their way of action.

The reaction in the Arab world to President Obama's reconciliation speech last week was very indicative of this approach. The audience was very receptive and supportive to those words they considered a move towards them but very cold at any mention of the need to give up the use of violence or to accept Israel's right to exist. The pragmatists show no intention to adopt these advices but expect the administration to follow up on its demands from Israel.

In fact, the pragmatists constitute quite a large part of the Middle Easterners and, with proper encouragement; they can play a major role in controlling the radicals. This was proven again in the impressive victory of the opponents of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria in the Lebanese elections. I would like very much to see the Lebanese leadership follow this achievement, that reflects their understanding that Israel is not their enemy, with an initiative towards normalizing the relations with Israel, but I doubt if this is going to happen, bearing in mind that the main reason for the pragmatists' animosity towards the United States and to some extent even towards Israel has very little to do with the reality of the way they are treated by the Americans or the Israelis, and much more with their being persuaded by the radical's propaganda which portrays all shortcomings of Muslim society as the outcome of a Western plot against them.

Thus, despite the best of intentions, it is counterproductive for the West to make more and more concessions and to continue to express regret and contrition, since this "mea culpa" attitude just plays into the hands of the radicals and strengthens their claim about the plot. In the West, we expect that concessions and apologies will lead to reciprocal moves on their part. In the Middle East, it just strengthens their convictions of victimhood and their resolve to restore their honor.

One case which illustrates the dangers of this media-promoted approach is the claim that the Palestinian Israeli conflict is the most important issue for Middle Easterners and that it has to be solved in order to convince the pragmatists to overcome the radicals and help the West and Israel in confronting Iran. But let's seriously look at that claim. In fact, radicalism in the Middle East began long before the establishment of the state of Israel, and was always characterized by anti-Western feelings and was the reason for many wars between rival Arab and Muslim camps that had nothing to do with the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

To sum up these issues, Iran is the main reason for instability in the region. The combination of the strengthening of the radicals and progress on the Iranian nuclear project, both of which are emboldened by the media's selective coverage of these issues, are the main threat to Israeli and American security and other interests. As long as the radicals feel that they are marching towards victory we can not afford to show signs of weakness. They will only make our job harder.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is again a set of so-called facts that have become a conventional wisdom that largely goes unchallenged.

The first is that this is primarily a territorial conflict and therefore there must be a solution for this conflict that can be achieved within a short period of time. The media, and with it most Western politicians, wish to believe that if the obstacle for achieving this solution will be removed - such as by conceding territory - a solution will be easy to reach.

Second, the only possible solution is a 'two state solution' - in which one state is a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria as we call it, and the other is the state of Israel.

And third, the Israeli "occupation" and settlement activity are major obstacles for moving towards this inevitable solution and - as I mentioned before - for mobilizing the pragmatic states to the fight against the radicals.

These assumptions stood behind the Oslo process, and its failure indicates that they deserve to be reexamined. Such examination will reveal that, whereas the Israelis were really ready for this kind of a solution, including myself, the Palestinians do not accept that 'the two state solution' refers to two states for two peoples. In their view one state should be the Palestinian state and the national identity of the other state should remain undefined, so that in the future it can become a Palestinian state as well. Abu Mazen's public statement a few weeks ago that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, (just as he refused to recognize a Jewish state before Annapolis), was but another, more recent manifestation of this approach.

This means that there's an asymmetry between the Israeli recognition of the Palestinian demand for self determination and the Palestinian recognition of the existence of Israel. As professor Bernard Lewis has put it before the Annapolis summit: "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence. If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime. If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist."

It is obvious that a solution cannot be realized before there is a change in the Palestinian position and the Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state. The reason the Palestinians refuse to accept this is because for them this is not a territorial dispute, but an existential conflict. The media's failure to report this most basic point, the evidence of it, and the implications of it, creates a dangerously misleading portrayal of the situation and prospects for its resolution. Peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were signed without addressing this fundamental issue because unlike the case with the Palestinians, we do not share the same land with them. Regarding the obstacles that prevented the implementation of 'the two state solution' I would argue that the settlement activity was never a serious obstacle to peace. Israel proved several times that it is ready to reverse its settlement activity both in the framework of an agreement or unilaterally. In contrast, the Palestinian reaction to Israeli withdrawals has demonstrated time and again that the dismantling of Israeli settlements or the Israeli withdrawal from territory does not yield peace, but rather more warfare.

Instead of using the implementation of the Oslo agreement as an opportunity to prepare the state institutions, Arafat preferred to establish an authority of gangs, without accountability, allowing freedom of action to terror organizations, and so did Abu Mazen, who turned his weakness into a strategic asset that enabled him to escape accountability.

Following Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, which uprooted nearly ten thousand Jewish people from more than twenty living communities, leaving not a single Israeli settlement or person remaining on Gazan territory, Palestinians had another opportunity to prove that ending the Israeli occupation would lead to fundamental change and bring peace. Yet, the opposite occurred. Terror activities continued and proved that the problem is not the occupation or the settlements. The lessons that we can learn from all of this are that a permanent settlement of the conflict is not easy to achieve as long as the Palestinians do not remove the real obstacles to peace: namely, by accepting Israel as a Jewish state, by stopping terror activity and incitement, and by addressing the lack of preparedness of the Palestinian authority to assume the responsibilities of a state - governability, monopoly over the use of force, security and economic stability. Without these issues being fully addressed, the creation of a Palestinian state will lead to the establishment of an unstable terror entity on the border of Israel that will threaten not only Israel's security but the stability of moderate states in the region, especially Jordan and American interests in the Middle East.

So, what is the Israeli policy in view of these realities? First, Israel considers itself a part and parcel of the free world and is committed to its strategic friendship with the United States. Just like the new administration, we too believe that friends should be candid with each other. We also believe that since we are living in the Middle East and that we will face the consequences of any policy most directly; it is our duty to explain to our American friends our concerns.

Practically we believe that the radical threat to the world order is the most dangerous challenge of our time. North Korea is a big challenge but the repercussions of a nuclear Iran are much more severe. We consider the prevention of this dangerous development a necessity. If this can be achieved through negotiations and dialogue it's wonderful, but since we doubt it very much we believe that the free world, under the leadership of the United States, has to prepare all the options to deal with this problem and make it clear that it will be ready to use them if it deems it necessary. A credible threat is probably the only effective way to make the Iranians carefully reconsider the direction of their project, and may make them choose another course.

We believe that the pragmatists in the Middle East should, and are ready to, contribute to halting the Iranian nuclear program and to countering the strengthening of the radicals, and that Western concessions are counterproductive toward that process. Likewise, the Palestinian issue has no relationship to it either.

On the other hand, we do believe that such pragmatists have an important role to play in the Palestinian context by adopting the solution of two states for two peoples' and helping to promoting the preparedness of the Palestinians to assume responsibility. Finally, in regard to the Palestinian issue, we have no intention or will to govern the Palestinians and run their daily life. We want to have a stable peace and for that purpose we are ready to consider further ways to disengage and contribute to the ability of the PA to control the territories under its responsibility in a way that does not threaten the state of Israel. At the same time we believe that an almost exclusively top down approach that characterized the way the Palestinian issue was handled under the Oslo and Annapolis processes should be replaced by a determined performance based, bottom up approach that characterized the road map, which would focus first on building the necessary infrastructure for peace. We have spoken much over the past few years about dismantling the infrastructure of terror. Let us begin to talk about building an infrastructure for peace.

This should include five reforms within the Palestinian authority, which at this stage can be performed only in the West Bank:

1. Educational reform, whereby the PA will stop educating its people to deny any connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, stop treating Zionism as a colonialist movement and every Israeli town or village (including Tel-Aviv) as an illegal settlement. This reform has to include stopping the incitement in the media, the mosques and the public discourse as well as an end to raising kindergarten children to hate Israelis and to carry out suicide bombing attacks against the infidel.

2. Economic reform that would focus on strengthening the role of the private sector in the economy and fight corruption. The irresponsible system in which money collected from poor people in rich countries helps rich people in a poor area to become even more rich has to stop.

3. Political reform that would promote an adequate governing culture by strengthening civil society and emphasizing the values of free speech, human rights, and other universal values.

4. Law and order reform which should lead to the implementation of the concept of "one authority, one law, one weapon" - namely, the existence of a strong police and law enforcement system. We fully approve and support in this respect the efforts led by General Dayton.

5. Security reform under which there will be a unification of the security apparatuses and a full range of activities against terrorism including: intelligence collection, thwarting activity, investigations, putting to trial of suspects and imprisonment of convicted terrorists. It's not clear whether this process is going to be successful. Its success depends first and foremost on the Palestinian leadership, which until now failed in establishing an accountable political entity. The international community should encourage the Palestinians to make progress in this direction through the use of carrots and sticks and not via the provision of unconditional economic aid and blanket political and diplomatic support. Only when the Palestinians give up this hope of destroying Israel and accept Israel's right to live in peace as a Jewish state will there be a chance to have peace between us and the Palestinians. This is the essence of the change that Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to promote.


But if we are to succeed in bringing about this change and advancing peace, we must all be ready to challenge the conventional wisdom. I know that challenging conventional wisdom is not easy and that there is a price to pay for it. But I do not demand of others what I do not demand myself.

As head of military intelligence, I, a member of the Kibbutz movement, was a believer in Oslo, a believer that it could bring about the peace for which we have waited so long. But when I looked at the evidence, at all the facts, I could not turn my back on the truth. And when I saw the dangers that the disengagement from Gaza would pose to Israel's security, I could not turn my back on the truth.

I believe that we always have to look reality squarely in the eye and that we must let the evidence lead us to our conclusions, however difficult those conclusions might be.

The reality may be difficult for us to accept. It does not lend itself to simple answers. But if we are prepared to face it honestly, then I am convinced that we can begin to change it for the better -- and we can start heading down the path to a genuine and lasting peace.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


One could argue the ideology of the Islamic revolution has for decades been steadily losing legitimacy with its own people and has rarely cared what the outside world says about its image or legitimacy. When you host an international Holocaust denial conference or dispatch your president to bait Jews and bash Israel at a UN anti-racism conference, you've made it clear how you feel about the international community. In fact, one could assume that any country with a "supreme leader" whose power is handed down by God probably has a regime that doesn't care about the beating they'll take on Facebook forums.

It's true that in this day and age we are all correspondents; we are all equipped 24 hours a day with a camera, a cell phone, and the ability to transmit messages globally within an instant. This technology makes us feel connected to breaking news stories on a personal level. It inspires our despair and outrage, and on some level, makes many of us feel that by telling the story, we will help ensure a happy ending.

But when the bullets and the truncheons really begin to fly in Tehran, an iPhone or a Twitter account won't make you bulletproof. Facebook won't evacuate you from the rooftops, and an emboldened authoritarian regime will have a direct digital trail to hunt you down when the purges begin. To misquote Stalin, how many battalions do the reformists and their online compatriots have?

In a country like Iran, with its massive state security service, work stoppages and peaceful protests in the streets face a ruthlessly stacked deck. Chances are, if the protests continue without any sort of breakthrough or without mass defections among the state security services, the stage will be set for the real crackdown, the one that won't be televised at all and will make the violence up until now look like child's play.

If that happens, we will all see - once reporters are allowed back in - an emboldened authoritarian state which has proven to itself and the world that it can protect the revolution by force, and no level of international condemnation or peaceful protest can stay its hand. The despair among the Iranian people will worsen immeasurably and Tehran's Hezbollah and Hamas proxies on Israel's northern and southern border will have the renewed support of a rogue state that has purged its dissenters, jailed its reformists and shown the entire world the true face of the Islamic Republic.

Pray for the Iranian people, because it will take much more than a handful of martyrs and an endless stream of online flotsam to set them free."


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don muntean

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


It remains to be seen how women, particularly after the days of violence, will demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the regime, especially if its headed by a man whose earlier actions were seen as limiting their rights.

Under Ahmadinejad's first term, rules were set in place that made it difficult for women to work late or take on extra hours, and pushing many into part-time jobs. Last year, his government proposed a law that would have made it easier for men to take additional wives - a practice allowed under Islam but generally frowned upon in Iran. More than 60 women activists who took part in the signature campaign were arrested, some of whom are still in jail, said Nayereh Tohidi, a professor at California State University, Northridge.

Then, there is the issue of clothes. Under Ahmadinejad the rules are being tightly enforced, women are required to cover their hair and wear loose and long garments over pants. They face arrest if their fashion is deemed too risque - a qualification that has even included pants tucked into boots during the winter.

"It is the biggest insult to a woman that somebody can tell her what she should wear," said the 34-year-old Tehran woman active in the protests. "Nowadays many people can see the world easily, how they live peacefully in their countries without any enforcement, so we know our basic rights as a human and especially as a woman." (emphases added)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are talking here about war and terrorism but only few of us know the exact condition of countries like Palestine and Israel .They are facing war as well as terrorism from a long period of time. And they also have to suffer the pressure over them from the world. I saw the situation and I am very much disappointed by the scene.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Third Jihad


A must-see 12 minute clip from a new documentary on the cultural jihad already taking place in America.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

by Sara Yoheved Rigler

Esther Jungreis was eight years old when, as an inmate of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, starved and humiliated, she would hear the daily shouts of the Nazi officers: "Line up, you Yudishe shwinehunt [pig-dogs]!"

And, as she obeyed their commands, little Esther would think: "I'm glad I'm a daughter of the people who stood at Sinai and sealed a covenant with God to be his eternal people and live by his Torah. I'm glad I'm not a daughter of this nation of brutes."

This summer, *Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, one of the most charismatic speakers in the Jewish world, did a speaking tour of Europe. "I'm sorry to tell you," she declared last week in a Jerusalem interview, "that the atmosphere in Europe today is just like it was in 1938. In every country I went to, Jews told me that they are afraid, that they are experiencing virulent anti-Semitism."

Her words are underscored by last week's judicial verdicts in France of the Muslim thugs who tortured Ilan Halimi to death because, in the words of the gang leader, "he was Jewish." Most of the co-defendants got off with such light sentences that France's Minister of Justice was embarrassed into calling a retrial. But perhaps even more ominous was the audacious statement of the French prosecutor, who accused the defendants of turning "normal anti-Semitism into hateful anti-Semitism." What, indeed, defines the line between "normal" (therefore ostensibly acceptable) anti-Semitism and the "hateful" variety? Had his Muslim attackers killed Ilan without torturing him for 24 days, would that have been acceptable in 21st century France?

"Europe is becoming Eurabia," Rebbetzin Jungreis avows. "The continent is being dominated by radical Muslims who are vehemently anti-Israel. And," she cautions, "anti-Israel means anti-Jewish. It's politically correct today to be anti-Israel or anti-Zionist, rather than anti-Semitic. But if anyone has any doubts about the intentions of radical Islamists, just remember Daniel Pearl. He was not a settler, nor an Israeli, nor even actively involved in Judaism. In fact, he was married to a non-Jew. What was his crime? What his murderers made him say before they decapitated him: ‘I am a Jew.'"

The word "afraid" cannot be applied to this petite powerhouse of a woman, who at age 73 can speak on four different continents in a week and whose teaching, writing, and counseling schedule, on less than three hours of sleep a night, would wear out a person half her age. Yet, as a Holocaust survivor, Rebbetzin Jungreis is clearly troubled by a sense of déjà-vu as she regards a world silent in the face of rising anti-Semitism.

"Before and during the Holocaust, there was not one nation who spoke up for us. And today there is not one nation speaking up for us. The whole world is negotiating with despicable dictators. The more vicious the Muslim nations become, the more olive branches are thrown at their feet, and the more pressure is placed upon Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. This pressure emanates not only from traditional anti-Semitic sources, but from our American government as well. The concessions that Washington demands of Israel are nothing short of suicidal. And yet, very few seem to care. Additionally, the administration has given the green light to Iran's nuclear power program, provided, of course, it is used only for peaceful purposes! If it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable. Don't they realize that we....nay, the entire world, heard Ahmadinejad openly proclaim his intention to wipe Israel off the map?"

Rebbetzin Jungreis cites Ahmadinejad's September, 2008, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he proclaimed: "The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner... This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will."

Although the Iranian dictator's canards differed from Hitler's similar diatribes only by replacing the title "Juden" with "Zionists," not one member nation of the United Nations (except Israel) walked out of Ahmadinejad's speech. In fact, points out Rebbetzin Jungreis, Columbia University invited Ahmadinejad to speak. "Can you imagine inviting Hitler to speak at Columbia University?" she asks ruefully.

The very night following his U.N. invective, Ahmadinejad appeared on Larry King Live. Rather than challenging Ahmadinejad's accusations, Larry King (himself a Jew) amiably asked his guest, "How old are you? You look so young, but you already have married children." Rebbetzin Jungreis, her voice soft but her eyes flashing fire, declares: "I would have asked him some very different questions."


If you were a Jew in Europe in March, 1939, and somehow, magically, you knew all the horrors that were about to be perpetrated against Europe's Jews—the ghettoes, the starvation, the cattle cars, the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the death marches--, what would you do to stop it?

This was the question I recently asked a group of American college students being primed for leadership in the Jewish community. One woman raised her hand and answered, "I would alert world leaders."

I replied: "The world leader who was most sympathetic to the Jews was FDR, but as late as 1944, when he knew the worst, even FDR, as we now know, refused to bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz, an act that would have saved hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews." I turned to the group and asked: "How many of you think that the Jews could have been saved by alerting world leaders?" Not a single hand went up.

I invited other suggestions, and a young man offered: "There were mercenary armies in those days. I would have used Jewish money to hire a mercenary army to defend us."

"A mercenary army? Not a single standing army in Europe could defeat Hitler's juggernaut. How many of you think that the Jews could have been saved by a mercenary army?" Not a single hand went up.

"I would have warned the Jews of Europe to flee," a young woman suggested.

"To where?" I asked. "We all know that not a single country in the world, including the United States, was willing to take Jews who could still get out of Germany in 1938. Besides, numerous accounts attest that the Jews who were warned by those who escaped from cattle cars and death camps simply refused to believe that it was possible, in the 20th century, in enlightened Europe, for Jewish men, women, and children to be murdered in factories of death. As we continue to see today, the Jewish capacity for self-deception as to the intentions of our enemies is limitless."

The college students sat there silently, looking grim.

We had just viewed a clip from "The Third Jihad," a documentary about the dangers of militant Islam. "I wasn't really asking you how you could have prevented the Holocaust," I explained. "Really, I was asking you how you'll prevent the next holocaust. Is there anyone here who thinks that diplomatic or military solutions can save the six million Jews of Israel who will imminently face an Iranian nuclear bomb?"

The group was silent.


The approaching fast day of Tisha B'Av commemorates the core tragedy of Jewish history: the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples in Jerusalem. Not only was Tisha B'Av a spiritual tragedy, for the Divine Presence retreated into the inaccessibility we all experience, but also all of the physical tragedies of the 2,000-year exile, all of the Inquisitions, Crusades, pogroms, and holocausts issue from the calamity of Tisha B'Av.

The sages of the Talmud posed a curious question: What caused the Temple's destruction? These sages were chronologically as close to the destruction of the Temple as we are to the Holocaust -- a single generation. They all knew that the Romans had set fire to the Temple. Yet, they understood that whatever befalls the Jewish People is determined by God in response to our own actions. Thus the sages famously concluded that the Temple was destroyed because of our spiritual failure, because of sinat chinam, baseless hatred among Jews.

Likewise, Rebbetzin Jungreis points to a spiritual solution for our dire predicament. When asked how Jews today can use the rising anti-Semitism to embrace their Judaism instead of running away from it, Rebbetzin Jungreis replies: "If a Jew tries to escape his covenant with God, then God takes out wanted ads in all the newspapers: ‘WANTED: ANTI-SEMITES TO REMIND MY PEOPLE WHO THEY ARE.' And unfortunately there are always millions of volunteers. In every country, wherever you go, you will find anti-Semitism. No matter what a Jew does, his obligation to the Covenant will pursue him. Many Jews in Hungary before World War II had converted to Christianity. When we were being shoved in the cattle cars a woman was screaming to the Nazi guard, 'I'm not a Jew!' He just pushed her with his rifle butt into the cattle car."

"God is not punitive; He's corrective," Rebbetzin Jungreis explains. "A loving father will discipline his child when he has to -- not out of anger, but out of genuine care for what's best for the child. God is our loving Father. We are experiencing the tragedy of a nation that has forgotten who they are, so God uses anti-Semitism to remind us."

She illustrates with a searing example: According to the Talmud, one of the reasons God saved us from bondage in ancient Egypt was that we didn't change our Hebrew names. "Fast forward," Rebbetzin Jungreis declares, pointing out that in Germany before the War assimilation and intermarriage were rampant. Most Jews forgot about Hebrew names. They became Otto and Eva. Then, in 1938, Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws. One of those laws demanded that all Jews must assume a Jewish name, that every Jewish man must add the name "Israel" and every Jewish woman must add the name "Sarah." Thus, if a Jew's name was Otto Schwartzbaum, he had to become Otto Israel Schwartzbaum. Jews had forgotten who they were, but Hitler reminded them.

"Fast forward to 2009," Rebbetzin Jungreis says. "When I speak on college campuses, I give out my books gratis, and I inscribe each book to the recipient. I ask each student, ‘What is your Jewish name?' Most of them reply, "I don't know.' I tell them, ‘You have to find out your Jewish name.' If they don't have a Jewish name, I tell them to go to their rabbi and ask for a Jewish name, or I give them a Jewish name. Because your Jewish name is not simply a name. Your Jewish name is your roots, your heritage, your identity. Through your Jewish name you are linked to your life's mission."

A few years ago, she was invited to meet with ministers of the Hungarian parliament. One of the ministers asked her: "Are you angry?"

Rebbetzin Jungreis inquired, "What do you mean?"

The minister explained: "During the Holocaust, this same Hungarian parliament passed all those anti-Semitic laws."

The Rebbetzin replied: "We are not a nation that indulges in anger. But let me tell you a story. My ancestors in ancient Egypt suffered slavery and degradation. If you had asked who has the greater chance of surviving the millennia, the Israelite slaves or the Egyptian empire, everyone would have laughed at you. But all that is left of the Egyptian empire is relics in the British Museum, and we, the Jewish People, are still here. And this holds true for all the mighty empires of the world, from the Babylonians to the Romans. The great Roman Empire killed hundreds of thousands of Jews. The Emperor Titus built a victory arch in Rome to commemorate the conquest of the Jews. I moved through the Arch of Titus going from Hitler's concentration camps on our way to freedom. Hitler claimed to give the world ‘the final solution.' He even built a museum in Prague to exhibit the artifacts of the extinct Jewish people. But his ‘thousand-year Reich' survived 12 years, and we Jews are still here."

Jewish survival, explains Rebbetzin Jungreis, is God's part of the Covenant. Our part is to keep the Torah's commandments.

"If we would only allow a moment of truth to illuminate our hearts," grieves Rebbetzin Jungreis, "we would readily concede our pitiful state. Just consider that we, the nation that taught a pagan world about God, we, the nation that introduced the language of prayer to humanity, we, the nation that has lent meaning to the concept of faith and trust, has forgotten how to turn to God, how to trust Him, how to have faith in Him."

With obvious pain, she quotes a recent article in the New York Times. The article maintained that in these depressed economic times people cannot afford to go to psychotherapists, so instead they go to their religious counselors. A Muslim businesswoman interviewed by the journalist complained that it's difficult to find a good place to pray five times a day when she's in the business world. A Catholic woman complained that the sexual mores of the Church are very restrictive. What was the complaint of the Jewish woman? She finds it very stressful to have a Jewish last name and to be identified with Israel. So she assures her date that she eats pork and that Israel has nothing to do with her. "What has become of us?" laments Rebbetzin Jungreis. "God looks upon His children and weeps."

Rebbetzin Jungreis ends on a powerful note:

"Hitler needed ghettos. I know. I was in one.

"Hitler needed cattle cars. I know. I was in one.

"Hitler needed oncentration camps. I know. I was in one.

"Hitler needed gas chambers. I know. I was in one, although that time it sprayed water instead of gas.

"Ahmadinejad doesn't need ghettos, nor cattle cars, nor concentration camps, nor gas chambers. He can accomplish the same thing just by pressing a button. Heaven forbid!"

What will you do to stop him?

*Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis is the founder and president of Hineni, and author of four best-selling books: Jewish Soul on Fire, The Committed Life, The Committed Marriage, and Life Is A Test. For Rebbetzin Jungreis's schedule of appearances,click here.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

by Yaakov Astor

Between 1939 and 1945 hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in death marches. This was especially true in the last year of the war as the Third Reich crumbled. Even when it was clear that Hitler's Germany was doomed, the Nazis continued to march hapless Jewish prisoners aimlessly and mercilessly from one place to another.

This is the story of one of those "death marches" as related by Mr. Reuven. [1]

In Auschwitz

Mr. Reuven was a teenager in 1944 when the Germans arrived in his town and sent him to Auschwitz. While the Red Army rampaged west in the summer of 1944, the Nazis sent him and other able-bodied prisoners to Warsaw as slave labor to help the Germans build fortifications to defend the city. They worked at a furious pace and many people died of exhaustion, but they were fed relatively well. The Germans knew their own lives depended on these fortifications.

From the gunfire that lit up the sky each night, it was becoming more and more obvious that the Russians were coming. With the Russians on the verge of breaking through, the Germans decided to march Mr. Reuven and his fellow prisoners some 100 miles east to the concentration camp at Dachau.

It was a boiling day when the Germans marched them out. They gave them meager rations of dry bread and thirst-inducing salted cheese. In addition, everyone had to carry his own bowl and cover. No one was allowed to leave them behind -- it would be considered "sabotage."

Sick prisoners who couldn't walk anymore were offered the "opportunity" by the Germans to travel by bus. About 240 prisoners volunteered and were told to step over to the side of the road. They were all shot.

Mr. Reuven and the others walked from morning till late afternoon before the Germans told them to halt. The commander of the march and his assistants rode in cars and on bikes in the rear to make sure there were no stragglers. Those who did not keep pace were run over and/or shot to death by the soldiers who marched alongside the prisoners, taking turns so as not to get tired.

When some non-Jewish farmers tried to give the prisoners pails of water, they were attacked by the SS guards, who chased them away and spilled the water on the ground. In the afternoon, the group reached a river. The Nazis told the prisoners that they could go and drink. However, this was a ruse only to torment them; when the first group approached the river, they let their attack dogs loose and opened fire, shouting at them to stop.

Soon after, the march continued, their throats parched. Toward the evening, they stopped for the night at a field, which was soaked with water! They bent down on their hands and knees, scooping up water. But with so many people trying to grab some, the water quickly became muddy and undrinkable. Most barely got their lips wet.

That first day they marched about 20 miles. That night, as they slept under the sky in an open field, someone said, "Tonight is Friday night, Tisha B'Av!

Tisha B'Av -- the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, the most infamous day on the Hebrew calendar. As the Sages taught:

On the ninth of Av it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land, [2] the First and Second Temple was destroyed, Beitar [3] was captured and the City [Jerusalem] was ploughed up. (Mishnah Taanis 4:6)

The infamy associated with Tisha B'Av did not stop with Biblical and Talmudic times. On Tisha B'Av in the year 1290, Edward I issued an edict of expulsion for the Jews from England. Tisha B'Av, 1492, is also the day of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. On Tisha B'Av 1942, the first Jews of Warsaw were gassed in Treblinka.

Since Tisha B'Av in 1944 occurred on a Shabbos, the fast was pushed off till Sunday. And, indeed, as bad as things were for Mr. Reuven and his fellow Jews, they were about to get even worse.

Tisha B'Av

The next day, they were awakened early to gain time before the sun became fiery hot. The Nazis also wanted to walk while it was still cooler. As the poor prisoners marched, the Capos and SS shouted, "Run! Run!" and called them, "Loafers."

Theirs tongues stuck to their palettes. Water was their obsession, their longing.

Their ordeal reached a peak by the third day, Sunday, observed as Tishah B'Av. People were so weak they removed their shoes to make it lighter and easier to walk. All they could think about was their thirst. Theirs tongues stuck to their palettes. Water was their obsession, their longing.

After marching what seemed like an interminable amount of time, they were told to rest near a river. Again, it was only to taunt the Jews; they didn't let them drink. Some Jews didn't wait for permission and approached the water. The Nazis shot them.

The Germans drank to their heart's content in open mockery, never allowing the Jews even a sip from the river. Instead, they marched them back to the road to a nearby field to sleep.

Hidden Water

That night was particularly dark. Clouds obscured the moon's silver light. The beaten marchers slept surrounded by armed SS guards who dozed off.

Suddenly, a young boy whispered he had found water beneath the swampy soil using a tin pan. As soon as people saw water they came running and everyone started digging. Some had a spoon, some a shovel, and some dug with their hands. Indeed, just beneath the surface was water!

Just then, an SS guard awoke. He stared for a few long moments until he understood what was happening. Quickly, he called out to the other guards. They jumped up immediately and ran to the crowd of prisoners to see what was going on. But they were too late to do anything. And they were afraid of starting a commotion in the middle of the night in unknown territory, out of concern that the prisoners would attack them. So they did nothing.

In the morning, when the commander and other officers were brought to the camp and saw the miracle of the water, they were fuming. The night guards shrugged their shoulders and hurriedly left the area in shame.

Day Four

The next day, day four of the ordeal, everyone had renewed energy from the water. They were even given some bread, sausage (horse meat), and dirty water they called "coffee." They marched long and hard, subjected to the usual beatings and verbal abuse.

That night there was a huge storm. It poured and thundered, and it was cold. Five or six people spread a cover underneath themselves. The cold wind carried away many of the thin blankets and left the prisoners chilled to the bone. There was no place to take cover. If they tried to raise their heads they were greeted immediately by a barrage of bullets. The prisoners huddled together and tried to warm up, covering themselves with whatever they could find -- rags, torn coats, leaves. But to no avail. Rain poured down, filling the entire valley. The guards, armed with clubs and revolvers, stood ready to strike or shoot anyone who tried to get out.

Feverish from the intense heat of the day, the prisoners were now shivering from the sudden cold. Just the day before they had yearned for a drop of water, and now were almost drowning in it.

In the morning, there was steam rising from the wetness, humidity, and heat of the new day. Unfortunately, many didn't wake up.

Day Five: The Cattle Car

On the fifth day they arrived at a train station and were boarded into cattle cars with a capacity of 40 people. Instead, the Nazis squeezed in 90-100 people, 45 people on each side, and Capos in the middle.

If someone slept, he remained standing and supported by those around him. Some people died and remained standing. If someone fell he was usually trampled and unable to get up.

People relieved themselves where they were. The torture was unbearable. There was a terrible stench from both the living and dead bodies. Many of the prisoners died on the train, either from starvation or by being trampled in the overcrowded car. The dead bodies were piled in the corner so that the living could spread out or sit on the pile of corpses. There was simply nowhere else to sit. They stood the entire journey, awake, asleep, eating, and relieving themselves.

Occasionally the train stopped at a station. The guards would go out and return with jugs of water, which they put in the middle of the cars. The prisoners raced to get some water, but most of it spilled on the floor because of the chaos.

At other times, when the train stopped near springs of water some of the prisoners were allowed to go out. At the end of their strength, they ran toward the water but the Germans let their attack dogs loose, claiming that they had to prevent the prisoners from escaping. The dogs viciously attacked the prisoners and many did not survive.

Dachau and Beyond

It took about two and a half days for the train to arrive.

Nearly 6,000 Jews left Warsaw on the march. Less than 2,000 arrived at Dachau. They came off the train half naked, filthy, smelly and wounded. Some of them were crazed. The fresh air revived some of them, making them drunk with giddiness. But as they disembarked the train, they saw a stark reminder of their predicament: draped over the gates to the camp were the notorious words, "Arbeit Macht Frei" – work will set you free.

Mr. Reuven survived Dachau, as well as the labor camp they sent him to from there. He also survived typhus and numerous other harrowing life-and-death situations.

On May 5, 1945, he was liberated and went on to live a full life, seeing children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all raised as observant Jews. He also became a great philanthropist, despite arriving in the United States penniless and unable to speak English, helping countless people and institutions in ways that became legendary.

Tisha B'Av is a day of national mourning when we fast. People often wish each other to have an "easy and meaningful fast." The moments during the fast when I invariably feel hungry or thirsty and wish I could take a drink of water or reach for a small snack, that's when I stop and think to myself:

"People in the Holocaust had it so much worse. Here I am dying for a cup of coffee after only a few hours of fasting. They were starving or felt they were dying of thirst day after day – often with a sadistic guard standing nearby. They had to deal with fear and the death of loved ones and friends on a daily or even hourly basis. Throughout history Jews have suffered horribly at the hands of anti-Semites for their beliefs or for no other reason than that they were Jews. Thank God I do not live in those times. Please God, protect us from ever having to experience those times ever again. The least I can do is take this moment of hunger or thirst to feel a solidarity with their plight, with what it means to be a Jew, a people who stand for values and morality. I am part of a great chain stretching back 3,000 years. And although to be a Jew means much more than to suffer, sacrificing for our values has often been part of it. May this moment of deprivation I am feeling now link me to my ancestors in both body and soul so that I may merit to be considered part of that great chain."

Such thoughts do not necessarily take away the hunger or discomfort, but they connect me to those who suffered and my heritage in a way no intellectual exercise can equal.

Mr. Reuven's story accentuates the meaning of Tisha B'Av. The Jewish people may go through enormous tribulations, but the Jewish spirit and its message to humanity survives, rising from the ashes to rebuild and live on. At the end of the day, this is arguably the greatest message of Tisha B'Av.

[1] The family of Mr. Reuven commissioned me to write their father's biography. Although they gave me permission to publish the content of the death march for this article, they did not want me to mention their family name or that of their father. The name "Mr. Reuven" is a pseudonym. The story of this death march is also related in "The Klausenberger Rebbe: The War Years," translated and adapted by Judah Lifschitz, published by Targum Press. Some of the information from that book has been incorporated into this article's account of the same event.
[2] "Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. Rabbah said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: That night was Tisha B'Av; The Holy One, blessed be He, said: They cried for naught, I will establish for them [this night as] a weeping for generations." (Sotah 35a)
[3] [About 65 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, Beitar was] a city where tens of thousands of Jews lived who were led by a great king whom all of Israel and its Sages thought was the Messiah. The city fell to the Romans and all its inhabitants were killed. It was a catastrophe akin to the Temple's destruction. [Maimonides, Laws of Fasting 5:3


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iran might be alot of things, but it ain't Nazi Germany.

If we're going to deal with this issue we should stop using fallacious comparisons to 1930's Germany and use Biblical prophecy lest we sound like the cretinous John Hagee.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Libertas wrote:
Iran might be alot of things, but it ain't Nazi Germany.

If we're going to deal with this issue we should stop using fallacious comparisons to 1930's Germany and use Biblical prophecy lest we sound like the cretinous John Hagee.

Well it seems that you have missed the point entirely and that is the fact that pogroms and antisemitism are far older than nazism and now islamism - but these two do share that one unique idiosyncratic tendency - hatred of Jews. They both have antisemitic attitudes at the core of their ideologies and they both have this from the inception of their groups.

Hitler managed to kill a huge percentage of European Jews. That pogrom we now call the holocaust was the culmination of centuries of pogroms - throughout Europe!!

Now here in 2009 Iranian Islamists - following the same antisemitic mindset the Nazis did 70 years ago are looking to wipe out six million more Jews - if they can - and to do it in an instant!

Naturally the Iranian regime has Russian ICBM's and will no doubt target north America at some point as well...

Who cannot see that Russia and [more covertly involved China] North Korea and a segment of the Arab World want to target the west and end what they see as western domination.

The Communists foolishly think that they can later contain the Islamists after they serve their purpose and the Islamists think that they can later terrorize the Communists into domination after they have served their purposes. Who cannot see that the world as we know it is facing serious disaster.

The nazis planted these seeds in the Arab world and now the results are fully manifest in the Islamists....wake up! Hitler's menacing hatred is alive and well...
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Iranian president "Israel will soon disappear"

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