Latest update: July 2nd, 2013
The Train (I)
I was gripped by Steven Plaut’s July 20 front-page essay “The Train.”
I had read similar accounts before but for some reason had never thought through the implications of what it meant that the Nazis had arbitrarily defined a whole world for Jews different from that of most other people – a world in which they had to spend their nights and days thinking only of how to somehow survive.
The Train (II)
Steven Plaut is such a versatile writer. I always enjoy his sharp and often wickedly humorous political essays and never fail to be moved by his occasional human-interest stories. His talent is an invaluable weapon in the intellectual arsenal of Israeli and American right-wingers.
Bibi’s Coalition (I)
Re “Israeli Political Constellation Realigns As Kadima Quits Government (front-page news story, July 20):
I have long given up trying to understand Israeli politics and its system of government. So I’m not sure what the full consequences of Kadima’s exit from the Netanyahu coalition will end up being. But I am somewhat relieved that Netanyahu, no longer enjoying an overwhelming majority or having the luxury of writing off the right-wing parties, will have a harder time making concessions to the Palestinians. Because – make no mistake – if Bibi has shown us anything in his political career, it’s that he has no lasting principles.
Bibi’s Coalition (II)
Did anyone think the Kadima-Likud marriage, brokered as it was by two such untrustworthy politicians as Shaul Mofaz and Bibi Netanyahu, would last very long? I gave up on Bibi during his first term as prime minister, when he broke almost every pre-election promise he ever made and was roundly punished for his poor performance by the Israeli public, which resoundingly booted him out of office in 1999.
My skepticism about Netanyahu was only confirmed by his opportunistic behavior while Ariel Sharon was prime minister, specifically regarding the Gaza disengagement fiasco. Bibi, unlike Natan Sharansky, chose not to resign his cabinet position in protest until the disengagement was a forgone conclusion. Many on the Right had urged him to resign as finance minister to force a government crisis, but Netanyahu refused until such a move meant nothing.
The Levy Report
The Levy Report , definitive as it is, was too long in coming (“Nostrums and Clichés,” editorial, July 20).
The Palestinians have enjoyed a virtual public-relations monopoly on the issue of entitlement to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. As you note, the Israeli position is at least as arguable as the Palestinian narrative to which people have until now given visceral legitimacy.
What many seem to forget is that Palestinian claims are based on the 1948 armistice lines which were the result of Arab invasions designed to alter the 1948 UN Partition Plan to end the British Mandate in Palestine that commenced after Turkey’s defeat in World War I.
Before that the area was under the total and longtime control of the Ottoman Empire , i.e., Turkey, where the Arabs had no sovereignty whatever. There has been very little factual basis to the extravagant Palestinian claims other than Arab petrodollars and broad anti-Jewish sentiment around the world.
The President And The Law (I)
What boggles the mind is that President Obama’s blatant disdain for the American system of government has not rendered the failure of his reelection bid a foregone conclusion (“The President and the Rule of Law,” editorial, July 20).
Every day brings new revelations to the effect that our president thinks he knows what’s right and he will brook no insubordination from a pesky Congress – that incidentally is empowered by the Constitution to legislate on such issues as taxes, immigration, private enterprise and assistance to the needy, to name just several areas where Mr. Obama has overstepped his authority. He is acting more and more like some banana republic dictator.
The President And The Law (II)
I don’t know what angers me more, President Obama’s unilaterally gutting established law or Bill Clinton’s supporting his reelection and ignoring what is, as you note, an assault on his legislative legacy. The latter may actually explain some of the off-the-Obama-reservation comments Clinton has made concerning Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital.
Why Such Disdain For Obama?
Although I voted for John McCain in 2008 and will probably vote for Mitt Romney in November, I have a difficult time understanding the disdain – nay, the absolutely pathological hate – for Obama found in many frum circles.
(To the credit of The Jewish Press, you’ve always voiced your disagreements with Obama in a calm, fact-based manner; your editorials, as far as I can recall, have never resorted to the kind of name-calling and baseless charges that have become almost routine on the Right.)
In visiting Orthodox websites and listening to casual conversations in pizza shops and on the street, one constantly reads and hears things like “Obama is a secret Muslim” and “Obama wants to destroy Israel” and “Obama is an anti-Semite.”
On what grounds can anyone make any such assertions? Is it because Obama doesn’t get along with Netanyahu? Neither did Bill Clinton when he was president and Netanyahu was prime minister in the late 1990s, and nobody accuses Clinton of wanting to destroy Israel. (Clinton, if you’ll recall, disliked Netanyahu so much that he actually sent political aides to Israel to work against Netanyahu’s reelection. Can you imagine the outcry if Obama would try something like that?)
Is it because Obama has increased the level of military aid and intelligence sharing with Israel to unprecedented levels?
Is it because even in his 2009 Cairo speech that everyone loves to criticize, Obama told an Arab audience in the heart of the Arab Middle East that the U.S. will never abandon its close ally Israel?
Is it because Obama stood by Israel during the Goldstone Report and Gaza flotilla controversies?
Is it because Obama single-handedly stopped the UN from proclaiming a Palestinian state last year?
If those are the actions of a man who wants to destroy Israel, I’d like to know how one spots a real anti-Semite.
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