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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘america’

The School That Set The Standard For Jewish Education In 20th-Century America

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The original Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, or RJJ, no longer exists in Manhattan, but during its existence it long served as an important and successful model for Jewish education in the United States.

This reminiscence is based on one alumnus’s memory and appreciation of his experience there more than 65 years ago, and on his many years of service as a professional in Jewish life in the United States and Israel.

Organized in 1903, RJJ was located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which was the major area of first settlement for Jews immigrating to the United States from Europe.

It graduated from its elementary and high schools thousands of alumni who were or are still active in important leadership roles in Jewish life and Jewish communities in the U.S. and Israel.

What made RJJ unique was that many, if not all, of the initial components of its educational model were initially integrated into many of the day schools and yeshivas that were organized all over the United States. RJJ’s principal for many decades, Rabbi Hillel Weiss, had studied at the Pressburg yeshiva in Hungary and assigned major priority to the limudei kodesh curriculum, supported by the excellent faculty and roshei yeshiva Rabbi Weiss recruited.

What was also very special about RJJ is that it maintained a balanced dual secular program, led for many years by Herman Winter, a faculty member at Stuyvesant High School, one of America’s top secondary public schools. The graduates of RJJ’s high school were, as a result, well fortified to pursue excellent professional careers in the Jewish and secular worlds.

One of the best examples is Robert (Yisrael) Aumann – Nobel laureate, professor at Hebrew University, and outstanding talmid chacham. During the ceremony and dinner at which he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he publicly acknowledged his teachers at RJJ, including Joseph Ganzler, his teacher of mathematics, and Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik, his rosh yeshiva. All the guests that night were served the same kosher dinner enjoyed by Professor Aumann.

It was quite a Kiddush Hashem on the part of Dr. Aumann and the school he credited for his success.

The evolution of institutions, including yeshivas, is not always characterized by ascent. Some of the right-wing yeshivas have in recent years deemphasized or emasculated their secular programs. This reflects some of the political and ideological changes in parts of the Orthodox community (changes that were already underway even before the establishment of the state of Israel). RJJ also operated a successful ivrit b’ivrit program in its elementary school – a rarity in American day schools today. This diminution of Hebrew in the day school curriculum has had regrettable consequences for the status and knowledge of Hebrew among Orthodox youth in America.

Rabbi Weiss’s relationship with the students made for a very unique ambiance at RJJ. For some of us it only became evident and appreciated long after our graduation. The student body was a considerable challenge. Some students were what in those days was considered rowdy or mischievous.

I remember once making a shiva call for the mother of two RJJ alumni who had become outstanding Jewish educators. The small group present was comprised of outstanding alumni whom had attended RJJ decades earlier. Much of that evening was spent sharing, accompanied with huge gales of laughter, their experiences as students at RJJ – a common occurrence when RJJ alumni gather.

But a smaller number of students, some from religious families, were out of sync with yeshiva life. I was startled to find one of them, an alumnus and neighbor of mine, standing next to me at Rabbi Weiss’s funeral (he had died suddenly in 1954) in front of the yeshiva building. He told me that all the years he was a student at RJJ he was invited to Rabbi Weiss’s office just before Passover. Rabbi Weiss would inquire if he had a new suit for the holiday – which he always subsequently arranged for him.

There were several pool halls near the yeshiva, one just around the corner. They were absolutely off limits to all the students because of the low-class clientele they attracted. The administration once learned that a number of students had been seen shooting pool there. A noisy scandal followed but no students were expelled by Rabbi Weiss, as had been expected. Their names weren’t even released.

What Rabbi Weiss did do, after advising the parents of the boys who were involved, was call a meeting of all the high school students, which took place in the yeshiva’s synagogue just before Shavuot. His theme, very powerfully presented, was that the study of Torah was intended to create principled, moral personalities, not pool players. (Just last year I met one of those students. He was retired and living in Israel after a distinguished career in the rabbinate).

In many right-wing yeshivas today, admission is preceded by an interview, which includes questions about the family’s religious observance. Rabbi Weiss’s approach was to welcome any student to RJJ whatever his age and religious background, provided he believed the boy and his parents were genuinely interested and would benefit from their RJJ experience.

They were not the ba’al teshuvah types of our time. But many succeeded, some in spectacular fashion. One of them, while still at yeshiva, tutored Talmud to weaker students and eventually became one of the leaders in the eida hachareides in Jerusalem. Two of my classmates, star students, went on to complete their graduate studies and settle in Israel, where they worked in Jewish education.

The combination of Rabbi Weiss’s approach and emerging communal demographics produced a very diverse student population at RJJ. Many were from working families or the city’s projects on the Lower East Side. With RJJ’s growing success after World War II, students were enrolled from more established Jewish families living on the East and West sides of Manhattan and in New Jersey. Aside from class differences, there was a vast range in religious observance. The school was also enriched by a small number of Sephardic students.

There was no official or informal dress code at RJJ; each student dressed in his own fashion. This both reflected and fostered their latent individualism (and differed substantially from some of the later right-wing yeshivas with their standard uniform for students of black yarmulkes, pants, white shirt, and black fedora on Shabbat). At that time, the majority of RJJ students were far from being or becoming Xerox copies of one other. It was, I believe a marvelous gift RJJ bestowed on its students. Within the parameters of American Orthodoxy, they could do their own thing religiously while appreciating and respecting the behavior and attitudes of other Orthodox Jews.

One final personal experience. In my freshman year in high school my teacher was HaRav J. Goldman. Like almost all the RJJ rabbis at that time, he was born in Europe, but he maintained a capacity to relate to his American-born students – no small achievement. In class we were studying Bava Kamma, which deals with the arba avot nezikin, the four major sources of damages inflicted on others for which we are responsible. One of them is fire. The Talmud debates the underlying source of our responsibility for damage by fire. One view holds it is damage caused by our property, esho meshum mamono. The other view is esho meshum chitzo, that it’s comparable to one who shoots an arrow – the damage is connected to the individual’s action.

Rav Goldman posed the question of the Ran, a commentator on the Talmud. If fire is esho meshum chitzo, connected to the individual through his action, anyone who lights Sabbath candles should be guilty of desecrating the Sabbath. Once Shabbat has begun, the fire he lit continues to be linked to that individual.

Rav Goldman turned to the class for a reaction. I stood and responded. I have no recollection of what I said that day. All I remember is that he approached me and kissed me gently on my cheek.

That sweet expression of his love more than half a lifetime ago has sustained and inspired me through the vicissitudes of a blessed religious life.

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum

Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate Revealed in Diary of Former KGB Chief

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

For the first time ever, historians finally know, without doubt, what happened to the Swedish diplomat who saved so many thousands of Jewish lives from the Nazi hordes in Hungary during World War II.

In the 632-page tome, “Notes From a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First K.G.B. Chairman, Found Over 25 Years After His Death,” one finds the memoirs of one of the most important men in Soviet history, and the answer to one of the most painful questions of the last century.

“I have no doubts that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947,” wrote state security chief Ivan A. Serov, head of the KGB from 1954 to 1958, in a memoir not only rare but in fact probably entirely forbidden to write.

Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest in 1945, and although there have been countless searches for clues to his fate, none have turned up the slightest breath of evidence as to what happened to him.

But his fate is found in this text, because the grandaughter of Ivan A. Serov, 57-year-old retired ballerina Vera Serova was wise enough, and kind enough, not to throw away the papers discovered by workers in suitcases as they renovated a garage four years ago at a “dacha” left to her in northwestern Moscow by her VIP grandfather.

The soldiers of the Soviet Union were occupying Budapest at the time of Wallenberg’s disappearance, and it was known that as a Swedish diplomat, he had strong ties with the Americans and the highest echelons of the Third Reich. That made him suspect to the Russians.

Neither ever gave up a clue, however, until this summer when the diaries of the original head of the clandestine KGB, found tucked into the wall of a little vacation cottage in Russia, were published.

Although few indeed are memoirs written by Kremlin officials – for obvious reasons – this one, penned by Serov, contained a treasure.

The multiple references to previously unknown documents on Wallenberg definitively put to rest the endless questions about the fate of the heroic diplomat. The most important of all is the fact that Wallenberg, though dead at the time of the posthumous investigation, was ultimately found by the USSR not to have been a “spy” after all.

It was Serov who carried out that probe at the behest of Nikita S. Khrushchev, who requested the inquiry after Stalin, telling Serov to respond to Sweden and help in the purge of Molotov. Although he failed to uncover the full circumstances of Wallenberg’s death, he said, he found no evidence of espionage.

There is a mention of the cremation of Wallenberg’s remains. And there is a reference to something said by Serov’s predecessor, Viktor Abakunov, who was tried and executed in 1954, in the final Stalin purge. During the interrogation of the former head of state security, his torturers learned that it was Stalin and then-foreign minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov who had issued the order to “liquidate” Wallenberg.

Serov also said he had read a Wallenberg file — despite the fact the Soviet Security Service had for years denied that any such files existed. Hans Magnusson, a retired senior diplomat interviewed by the New York Times, directed the Swedish side of the Swedish-Russian Working Group and said there should have been a file created for every prisoner. But, he said, “The Russians said they did not find one.”

Vera Serova has one, however, in her grandfather’s memoirs. She has published them now to restore his reputation, she said.

Serov did many evil things in his life: he established the secret police that were used to terrorize the population in Poland and East Germany; he helped deport thousands of minorities considered a threat to Soviet rule in Russia; he wielded enormous power as head of state security.

Hana Levi Julian

At Democratic National Convention Day 2, Sanders Supporters Still ‘Feeling The Bern’

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Day One of the Democratic National Convention began with utter chaos in the wake of a scandal over the revelation that the party’s leadership had tilted the primary elections in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton against her contender, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

But the ink on the resignation letter of Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was barely dry before Hillary Clinton hired her as a “surrogate” national chairwoman to lead her presidential campaign — in effect, promoting her for her loyalty, corruption notwithstanding.

Speeches by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Senator Corey Booker, First Lady Michelle Obama and then “rock star” runner-up candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont helped defuse some of the tension, but there was still plenty of bitter energy to spare.

The house was packed to the rafters for the Sanders speech, with thousands of signs — ironically, in the colors of the Israeli flag — waving frantically with slogans like, “Stronger Together” and “A Future to Believe In.”

The entire hall was on its feet as Sanders walked to the podium, and the cheers shook the building for at least five full minutes, with the former candidate repeatedly trying to begin his speech, only to give up laughing. “Thank you, thank you,” he said. The applause lasted longer than that garnered by the First Lady.

Supporters with tear-filled eyes chanted, “Feel.the.Bern! Feel.the.Bern!” But when they finally allowed their hero to talk, the message he delivered was not the one they wanted to hear, despite his obvious effort to let them down gently.

The longest-serving Independent Senator in the history of the nation told his supporters they must work to defeat Donald Trump — and they MUST support Hillary Clinton to do so.

He thanked Michelle Obama for her “incredible service to our country.” And he thanked “the 13 million americans who voted for the ‘political revolution’ who gave us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight!” He also thanked the delegates for “being here” and for “all the work you have done,” telling them he looked forward to their votes in the roll call on Tuesday.

After thanking his family, friends and others who have seen him through his entire political career, Sanders said, “I understand that many people here and around the country are disappointed … I think it’s fair to stay that no one is more disappointed than I am.”

The blunt reference to the rigged system that had lost him the primary to Hillary Clinton was unmistakable. But equally clear was the fact that Sanders, a seasoned politician, recognized there was little he could do about it. Knowing when to fold the cards, Sanders clearly now hopes to keep as many people on board as possible, despite the obvious corruption that has been exposed.

“I hope you take enormous pride in the accomplishments we have achieved,” he said. “Together my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution, our revolution, continues.”

“Election days come and go but the struggle of the people to create a government that represents all of us, and not just the one — that struggle continues… I look forward to being part of that struggle with you.

“This election is not about and has never been about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates that have sought the presidency,” he declared.

“This election is about and must be about the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and our grandchildren.”

Hana Levi Julian

RNC Night 2 Devoted to ‘Making America Work Again’

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The theme for Tuesday’s Republican National Convention was “Make America Work Again,” and each speaker included an element devoted to the economy in their speeches regardless of what else was on the plate, and to bringing the country together.

It was “domestic policy night” at the RNC, with no mention of foreign policy, let alone Israeli politics, save a nod towards the sacrilege of Hillary Clinton’s role in helping to secure the Iran nuclear deal, and a swift passing mention of the nightmare at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump Jr. were the two heaviest hitters of the evening, both in their oratorial elegance and in their ability to deliver the goods in terms of content and impact at the microphone.

Christie in particular had the audience literally on its feet repeatedly throughout his speech.

“The facts, and just the facts, lead you to the same verdict,” he repeated to the crowd. “Guilty… ” he inquired at the podium, “or not guilty?”

And the crowd roared back, “GUILTY!”

The verdict delivered by the delegates at the convention, over and over, about the various actions of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State.

“We know what four years of Hillary Clinton will bring,” he said. “Four more years of Obama with less charm and more lies.”

As for Trump’s oldest son, “father of five, son of my father,” he told the audience that he and his siblings got their education as apprentices “from the time they could walk, learning from those with doctorates in common sense” who worked for Donald Trump.

“As for ‘impossible’ … well, ‘impossible’ was always just the starting point for my father,” Trump Jr. grinned from the podium. “And when they told my father it would be ‘impossible’ for him to succeed in running as a candidate for president 11 months ago,” chuckled the son, “well here we are…”

Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson also spoke, underlining the importance of a candidate who is proud to acknowledge “the Creator” as opposed to one who “acknowledges Lucifer.”

Carson went on to say, “One of the things that I have learned about Hillary Clinton is that one of her heroes, her mentors, was Saul Alinsky. Her senior thesis was about Saul Alinsky… This was someone she greatly admired and that affected all of her philosophy subsequently.

“Are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer?” he asked the crowd — which roared back, “NO!”

Alinsky dedicated his book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ to “Lucifer, the very first radical” in a sly swipe along with a dedication to his wife Irene.

Carson had abandoned his own run for the White House in March, instead pledging support for Trump’s campaign.

Each of the speakers devoted a portion of their remarks to the issue of unity: unity of the party, and unity of the country. Republican National Convention chairman Paul Ryan emphasized the issue of equality in his own speech, which was focused primarily on keeping the party message itself front-and-center.

“Everyone is equal, everyone has a place,” Ryan. “No one is written off…that is the Republican ideal. And if we don’t defend it, who will?”

Hana Levi Julian

Defining the Problem

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

I spent the last 3 weeks in the US and Canada on a speaking and fundraising tour for Standing Together 24/7 IDF and realized Israel, America, Canada and the entire world are in the same predicament when it comes to fighting terrorism. It seems all our governments are having a hard time defining right and wrong. It seems our countries and many of our people have given up on the idea that we are the good guys.

A month or so ago an Islamic terrorist pledged alliance to the Islamic State and murdered 50 people in a gay bar in Orlando.

It was like there was contest on who can better deflect the fact that this was a radical Islamic terrorist attack! Some immediately called the attack a homophobic attack while others were screaming about gun control. The President seemed to be flexing his executive muscles in order not to say three simple words; RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM

Some tried what I call the ’emotional escape’ and said, ‘what difference does it make! People died and I should be more sensitive.’ It is actually those who refuse to clearly define the Orlando attack as a radical Islamic terrorist attack who are being insensitive and cruel. Those who were murdered can no longer be helped, but to ignore the ideology that brought about the attack is cruelty to future victims.

Is there a gun control problem in America? Absolutely! How else do you explain how a guy who was investigated by the FBI TWICE for his radical Islamic views was still able to attain a gun legally.

Why was he able to attain a gun legally? Because, although the FBI saw red flags waving all over the place, they did not have anything incriminating and did not want to offend the terrorists “religious” beliefs by suspecting his radical views were actually dangerous. The wouldn’t want to offend him!

The liberal way is to defend the rights of all people except those that are actually being threatened by the people liberals are defending and if you dare point out the radical religious views and call them dangerous….you’re a racist!

Yes, there is a gun control problem in the U.S.A, but that is not what murdered the victims in Orlando. The radical Islamic terrorist did not murder people because he had a gun, he had a gun because he was looking to murder people! Read that again and internalize it!

What’s the difference?

Well, if Orlando is a result of a gun problem, is a 17 year old Muslim terrorist who broke into a Jewish home in Hebron and stabbed a sleeping 13 year old Jewish girl 35 times (!!!!) a knife control problem? Was the Boston bombing a pressure cooker problem? The terrorist in France a truck control problem?

Don’t people understand that by calling this a gun problem they are exonerating the perpetrators themselves! Would any of those gun-control people say in 1942 there was a gas problem in Germany? It’s ridiculous!

When it comes to Israel, we are seeing the same inability to define the actual base of the conflict. Many claim this conflict is about land. The fact of the matter is there was a time when all the “disputed” land was already in Arab control.

Between 1948-1967 the entire WB including Jerusalem, the entire Gaza strip and the Golan heights were in Arab control, was there peace? Anyone with any historic integrity should be able to admit that this conflict has nothing to do with the land. Radical Islamic terrorists were murdering Jews long before there were settlements or even a State of Israel. Just ask the Jews of Hebron in 1929 or those who attended the meeting between the Muslim Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler in 1942!

Those that advocate a Two-State solution are actually strengthening the radical Arab (Mostly radical Muslim) narrative that was created in order to disguise their blind hatred for Jews and the Jewish country with a fabricated historic and political claim. There was no conquering or occupation of Palestine from the Arabs! Can we please stop making believe it happened and can we please stop making believe the solution will come as a result of our adopting a false historical national claim called Palestine! Not only will masquerading the real issue not stop terrorism, it will strengthen it!

Before discussing a solution one has to ask themselves what is the real cause of the problem. Why have Arab countries attacked Israel time and time again? Why did Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and some of their friends attack Israel in 48?

Was it because they were missing land in their countries?

Have you see a map of the Middle East lately!

Why did Nasser call for Israel’s destruction in 1966? Was it because of settlements that did not exist yet?

Why did Arafat start a terrorist organization called the PLO in 1964 with the soul purpose of destroying Israel when there were no settlements or “occupation”? (1964 was 3 years before the Six Day war and before the settlement block existed! The Arabs were under Arab control)

Israel left Gaza completely in 2005 with no demands from the Arabs, did it bring peace? Why did the Arab population democratically vote for a terrorist organization with a clear call to murder Jews? Was it because they wanted Gaza to be free?

When you answer these 5 questions, you will understand what is the source of the conflict and what it is not.

Jerusalem an Arab capital? Really! When was Jerusalem ever an Arab capital or even an important city before the Jews came home? Do I know what the solution is?

The real question is, do you know what the problem is!

So why is the world and some Israelis so blind to this obvious reality? Why can’t Obama say the words radical Islamic terrorism? It’s not really about offending someone and whether you think Obama is a Muslim or not is totally irrelevant. The real issue is the belief in a fantasy word where everything can be solved with diplomacy. See, if Obama would call it radical Islamic terrorism, there would be no diplomatic solution. He knows as well as anyone else that the solution to a terrorist is a bullet.

Calling it a gun control problem basically throws the blame on all of us instead of on the terrorist and makes believe if we just work harder Orlando will not happen again.

Israeli leaders have been apologizing and bending over backwards in order to make offers to those who want us destroyed. Don’t you dare call it a radical Islamic terror problem because that would make the Two State solution as immoral as the Munich agreement that Chamberlain signed with Hitler.

Don’t you dare admit this is a religious war because that would make you a racist! It doesn’t matter that the only people blowing up buses, shooting fathers in front of their family, stabbing little Jewish girls in their sleep and firing rockets at Israel are 100% of the time radical ISLAMIC terrorists!

Forget all those facts. Take a big gulp of the Kool-aid and a puff of the peace drug and make believe all the terrorists want is a small sliver of Israel and they will stop murdering Jews Oh, and while you are apologizing for a crime Israel did not commit, make sure to uphold real apartheid by not allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount which is being occupied by radical Islamic terror supporters. We wouldn’t want to God forbid offend them and their beliefs and allow actual freedom of religion! That would have the UN condemning us and calling us racist…. Anyone else see the irony here?

What’s my solution? Let’s say I don’t have one. Does that mean we should adopt one that is historical, national and religious suicide? Doctors don’t know what to do, so they start cutting off limbs?

DEFINE THE PROBLEM!

Solution to radical Islamic terrorism?

A bullet!

Solution to a fabrication of history called Palestine used in order to justify starting wars with Israel and murdering Jews?

FIGHT!

Those who support the Palestine Arab narrative are either completely ignorant or intentionally aiding and abetting terrorism! No room for diplomacy there and it’s not because I want war, it’s because they do!

What’s the solution? Let’s start by reminding ourselves that we are the good guys. The fact that the Arabs lost the wars they started does not make them victims, it makes them losers and maybe they should get the hint. #AllahIsAZionist.

Those Arabs who want to live in peace in Israel as a Jewish State? Welcome! Those who want a new State called Palestine on land they think was an Arab country called Palestine?

1. Learn history!

2. Jordan sits on 70+% of British Palestine and has a majority of 73% Arabs who call themselves Palestinians. Make Jordan Palestine!

I love when people hear that they call me unrealistic or say the Jordanians would not agree.

Let me get this straight. Hashemites who have absolutely no connection to this land and who came from Mecca and took over the area of Trans-Jordan don’t want to give the area to Arabs who call themselves Palestinians is an acceptable excuse but it is ok to demand of Jews who have a long history to give up land to those who advocate the destruction of Israel?

You think it is realistic that Israel, which is smaller than New Jersey, split up more of its land to hand it over to those who seek to destroy it but it is unrealistic to demand the Hashemites from Jordan, which is hundreds of times bugger than Israel, give up land to their own brothers? ENOUGH!

Realistic? The ‘peace’ camp gave guns to Yasser Arafat and the world awarded that terrorist the Nobel Peace Prize!

Don’t tell me about being realistic!

No more risk taking, no more concessions to those who start wars and justify terror! Israel is ours by right and it’s time we stop making believe we are the bad guys!

Three choices for our enemies:
1. Leave

2. Fight

3. Accept Israel as the Jewish homeland and live happily.

Ari Fuld

Who Do Bigots Blame for Police Shootings in America? Israel, of Course!

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted the following on its Facebook page:

“In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police…. We must remember that many US police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.”

Even in moments of national mourning such as these, SJP bigots cannot help but exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda, namely to delegitimize and demonize the nation state of the Jewish people.

By implicating Israel in these killings, SJP is engaging in the old trope of blaming Jews for systemic and far-reaching societal problems. This practice was anti-Semitic when some Christian communities used it to blame Jews for plagues, poisonings, and murders; it was anti-Semitic when the Nazis used it to blame Jews for the failing German economy; and it is still anti-Semitic today. There is no more evidence that any of the police who killed Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling were in fact trained in Israel than there was that Jews were responsible for any of the other crimes that formed the basis for traditional blood libels.

The oppression of black Americans long predates the founding of the state of Israel; contrary to the claims of SJP and like-minded groups, Zionism did not beget racism, nor is Zionism a reflection of racism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. But the twisted logic on the part of SJP should come as no surprise, given that the same organization blamed Zionism for rising tuition costs in the City University of New York college system. The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews — and now Zionists — must be its cause.

Addressing the structural causes of racism in the United States will take more than scapegoating Israel — it will require the type of far-reaching legislative action of which our current Congress seems incapable. By morphing the discussion about criminal justice reform and systemic racism in the United States into a polemic against Israel, SJP makes progress even more difficult.

That said, the reaction by SJP is reflective of a broader trend in hard left politics. Increasingly, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), MoveOn, Code Pink, and Occupy Wall Street have embraced intersectionality — a radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked.

This radical concept has led to the linking of disparate left-wing causes, no matter how tenuous their connections. Some intersectional feminist activists, for example, insist that feminists must oppose drone strikes (and by extension, Hillary Clinton), because they negatively impact women in the developing world. Even more absurdly, Jill Stein — the Green Party candidate for president — has come out in favor of the bigoted Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, partly on the grounds that support for Israel furthers the interests of the military-industrial complex, and by extension the fossil fuel industry.

Those activists that do not sufficiently embrace the new intersectional orthodoxy, meanwhile, have been targeted by protests: the 2016 Gay Pride parade in Toronto, for example, was broken up by Black Lives Matter for including a police float, and for not sufficiently prioritizing the concerns of black trans women. Similarly, a gay rights event in Chicago was broken up by activists, who insisted on the exclusion of an Israeli organization, which they claimed was co-opting the gay rights agenda and “pinkwashing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Intersectionality seems to be driving hard left activists towards a “No True Scotsman” worldview: increasingly, they insist on a package of unrelated left-wing causes that must be embraced by anyone claiming the label of progressive — including the demonization of Israel as a racist, apartheid state.

Perhaps more worryingly, intersectionality tends towards the conclusion that the existing social, political, and economic system is flawed in so many profound ways, that any attempt at remaking it through democratic means is unacceptable. Activists have become increasingly obsessed with “Shut it Down” protest tactics, and a proud politics of “disrespectability,” that prioritizes resistance to a “corrupt,” “rigged” socio-economic system over respectful discourse and political compromise.

This helps to explain the sympathetic attitude of Black Lives Matter activists towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of “resistance” (in their view) against Israel. Indeed, Black Lives Matter activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures. While Black Lives Matter claims to disavow violence in securing its political objectives, many of its most prominent members are far more eager to criticize the “Israeli genocide of Palestinians” than to criticize Hamas for using rockets to target Israeli civilians. Black Lives Matter and other hard left groups have been notably silent about other oppressed ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Chechens, and Kurds. The only alleged “oppressors” they single out for condemnation are the Jews. This double standard raises legitimate questions about their real motivations.

Moreover, the conflation of police actions in American cities with Israeli military actions in Gaza raises a disturbing question: if the so-called oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the oppression of people of color in the United States are two sides of the same coin — as the SJP implied in its tweet — are the violent tactics employed by Hamas, and perversely supported by many on the hard left, an appropriate model to emulate in the United States? One hopes that the answer is no, and that the intersectionalist radicals will make that clear to their followers.

 

Alan M. Dershowitz

1941: Baseball In America, War In Europe

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The year 1941 brought a season of baseball excellence from Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. It was also a year of anguish for Jews on both sides of the ocean.

Radio provided escapism from the war in Europe and most Jewish males, like most males in America, were following the adventures of the Lone Ranger.

Broadcast from the Detroit radio studios of WXYZ, the three-times weekly Lone Ranger program was more popular than ever. National surveys indicated that 63 percent of the listening audience was made up of adults.

The deep, authoritative voice of Earle W. Graser was perfectly suited for the role of the Lone Ranger. Tragically, as he was returning home from the studio late one night, Graser fell asleep at the wheel. His car veered into a parked trailer, and one of America’s most popular radio voices was forever silenced. He was only 32.

National publications carried obituaries and editorials. Time magazine called the Lone Ranger “the most adored character ever to be created on the U.S. air.”

Graser was gone but the Lone Ranger galloped into America’s homes the following evening as WXYZ announcer Brace Beemer assumed the role of  the masked man. Beemer would fill the radio role for the next 13 years.

Eight days later, on April 18, 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany. Nazi bombing squadrons soon targeted Belgrade, causing 700 Jewish casualties. Yugoslavia’s chief rabbi, Dr. Isaac Alcalay, was among the victims.

Hundreds of Jews were killed and more than 2,000 wounded during a five-day pogrom in Romania. Hundreds of Jews sought and were granted shelter at the American consulate. Jews trying to escape to Hungary were machine-gunned, as were others who tried to flee in small boats. Criminals were released from jail in Romania by Iron Guardists to help butcher the Jews.

In America, meanwhile, superstar Hank Greenberg, who over the previous four seasons had averaged 43 home runs and 148 runs batted in, was inducted into the United States Army in May.

Less than a month later, Lou Gehrig died. Gehrig, who retired from baseball two years earlier after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, had set a record for endurance that would stand for decades, playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. His fatal neuro-muscular disease would become known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig was only 38.

In her book My Luke and I, published 36 years after her husband’s passing, Eleanor Gehrig told of her bedside vigil as her celebrity husband lay dying.

“I often had to look out the window to find out whether it was night or day. The heavy breathing was slower and slower, like a great clock winding down,” Mrs. Gehrig wrote.

“Then on the evening of June 2, 1941, suddenly everything was still, and the doctor was by my side. The most beautified expression instantly spread over Lou’s face, and I knew the precise moment he was gone.

“The expression of peace was beyond description. A thing of ecstatic beauty, and seeing it we were awe-stricken and even reassured. We seemed stronger, and not one of us left that room without feeling: There is a better place than this. Wherever it is.”

Jewish baseball history was made by the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds on Sunday, September 21, 1941, as the team had four Jews in its starting lineup – the first and thus far only time that’s happened in the major leagues.

Bronx-born Harry Feldman was making his second big league start after spending most of the season in the minor leagues. Thirty-year-old catcher Harry Danning was calling the pitches for the 21-year-old rookie. (The game marked the first time a Jewish pitcher and a Jewish catcher formed the battery.)

Irwin Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/1941-baseball-in-america-war-in-europe/2016/07/07/

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