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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘american’

White House Silent on Terrorist Murder of 13-Year-Old American Girl

Friday, July 1st, 2016

The White House is still silent in the face of a gruesome murder that has rocked the State of Israel from one end of the religious Jewish spectrum to the other.

The parents of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, hy’d, face a nightmare of paperwork when they rise from the seven-day “shiva” mourning period next week following the death of their daughter.

The young teen was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist while sleeping in her bed at home in Kiryat Arba at 8:44 am Thursday morning. The killer, a resident of the nearby Arab village of Bani Naim, had climbed the security fence surrounding the community and which was located next to Ariel’s home. He entered her room through the open window, and stabbed the young girl dozens of times in her upper body.

She was an American citizen, the U.S. State Department confirmed to journalists after the murder.

But with the exception of a strong statement of condemnation of the killing by State Department spokesperson John Kirby, the Obama Administration has been silent on the matter.

Among the most painful duties to be carried out by Ariel’s parents is the necessity of reporting the death of their daughter to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

The report of the death of a U.S. citizen abroad is required by U.S. law in order to obtain an American death certificate from the U.S. government. For Americans who have made aliyah to Israel, the U.S. form is essential when conducting any government business regarding a deceased individual.

The death certificate soon to be issued by Israel’s Interior Ministry won’t be enough to help Hallel Yaffa’s parents deal with American bureaucracy involving any insurance claims they might have — let alone any lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority they might file in future.

Hana Levi Julian

Goldstein on Gelt: What Kind of Economy Will the American President-Elect Inherit?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Financial expert Peter Schiff returns to The Goldstein on Gelt Show with some advice for the 2016 president-elect on the American economy.

Whether Clinton or Trump is elected, the American president must take America out of the current recession and restore America’s greatness.

In his message to the president-elect, Schiff explains the effects of a weak dollar on stock prices and much more.

The next U.S. president will inherit an economy in shambles. But what happens when you inherit a stock position from your parents? How will that inheritance affect your finances?

Find out what you need to know when you inherit assets. What questions do you need to ask yourself when deciding whether to sell inherited stocks or keep the original positions?

The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

 

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World–A Parable

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Once upon a time, in a large, gloomy palace high on a mountain, where the night wind howled outside its massive walls, there lived a king—a real one. He had a beard as long as a silver waterfall and a voice that boomed like thunder. A king needs no more.

His name was Teuton, though some called him Germania. Wherever he traveled, his citizens groveled before him in the dust; and if they failed to do so, they were beaten to the ground. So you see, dear reader, how mighty our king was.

In the course of time, King Teuton produced a son called Democratio. This prince had one remarkable feature – he possessed a hollow head. It was completely empty. There was nothing between his ears, absolutely nothing. It is hard for us to grasp this idea because our heads are so full – though, were they otherwise we would find it even harder. For a long time, even the prince himself was not aware of his peculiarity. For one thing, he could not tell that his head was empty precisely because it was empty. For another, nobody could let him know, because it was impossible to tell just by looking at him how empty his head really was. What a stroke of luck! Most of all, however, nobody dared tell him, because it is not wise to tell the king’s son the truth unless, of course, it is a pleasant truth.

But the truth will out. One day, when the prince was thirteen, he went running pell-mell up the stairs and banged his royal head against a wooden beam. It rang audibly, just like an empty champagne glass. The prince was most surprised. He tapped gingerly on the side of his skull and indeed it emitted a light, clear echo.

“Dear me!” exclaimed the astonished prince. “Could my head, this valuable head of state, really be empty?” He hurried to the royal physician. Now, this physician was a wise man. “Examine this head,” commanded the prince, and so the wise physician did. It was a tricky task indeed to tell the prince the truth about his head, especially because the physician desired to keep his own. But, as I mentioned, he was a very wise man. He took his small silver hammer and tapped gently on the important head. It made a clear, beautiful, empty sound.

“Your majesty,” the physician announced, “I congratulate you. It is quite empty.”

“Really?” said the prince, suddenly very pleased. “Is it really hollow?”

“Oh yes, Sire,” and the physician bowed low. “It is extremely rare, especially with such a magnificent sound!”

“But, when my wicked father dies,” said the king’s son, suddenly worried, “then I shall have to reign. How can I, with an empty head?” The physician tiptoed silently to the door and locked it. He bent towards the royal ear and whispered:

“Thou hast a most unique head to reign! Whenever there is a conflict of opinion in the land, do as follows: Listen first to one party and send it away.”

“All right,” said the prince.

“Then hear the other party and send it away as well.”

“Fine,” said the prince.

“That is all,” said the physician, smiling.

“But, which party is right?” asked the prince.

The physician carefully looked around, to make sure nobody would hear, and quickly replied: “The larger.”

Cruel old King Teuton died. It was a marvelous day of flag-waving and rejoicing. But amidst all the festivities, the nervous new king ascended the throne with his heart full of foreboding. But he needn’t have worried. In fact, he managed to the satisfaction of nearly everyone. His reputation as a wise king rapidly spread beyond the country’s borders, and the secret of his hollow head stayed right in that head—which shows, dear reader, how easy it is to hide nothing!

One fine day, the king made a grand dinner. I cannot begin to tell you how magnificent this feast was. It was of such stately splendor that even the British guests were impressed. It was a spectacle of incredible proportions. The tables were laden with the most expensive gold cutlery and the finest bone china. The aristocracy trod softly, and in awe, as though the messiah himself was expected to attend. There was soft music, so gentle that it could barely be heard, yet its absence would have been noticed. Few words were spoken; little was eaten. After all, the guests were too genteel to display their base inclinations. The conversations, although quite meaningless, were held in the most elegant Latin. In short, a delightful evening was had by all, even by standards of the nobility. King Democratio could hardly contain his joy. His glittering eyes disclosed great satisfaction. Such a success with an empty head!

Then, by chance, the king glanced into the reception hall. His facial expression became suddenly severe. Framed by the open palace door, an old, unkempt man stood gasping for breath.

“Hey!” called the king, waving his scepter. “What is this?”

“Sire, Sire…”

“What?” called the king, descending from his royal throne.

“A crisis, Sire!” he exclaimed. “A crisis has come over the land!”

“A what?” asked the king.

“A crisis, Sire…”

“Well,” said the king, “that is bad.” He did not know what a crisis was, but he understood that it was something sad, so he looked as a king should look at such a moment.

“This is a great pity,” he declared, and in his heart was a growing sense of unrest.

The next morning, when the king awoke in his stately bed, he stared up at the satin canopy and thought about the crisis. What a pity it had to come and spoil everything. It had all been going so well, despite his empty head.

“First of all,” he said to himself, “I must find out what a crisis is.” He dressed quickly and summoned all the wise men of the land. Majestically, they walked through the streets to the palace, their long beards flowing before them, sighing from the weight of their wisdom. Some of them had heads so heavy with wisdom that they nearly tumbled off their shoulders, right in front of the populace! They told the king the meaning of a crisis.

It took three days before they finished, though after barely a few minutes the king’s eyes filled with tears, since his heart was good and compassionate. He listened carefully all three days. Then the wise men fell silent.

“Are you finished?” asked the king.

“Yes, Sire.” the wise men said. “That is all.” They straightened their beards and left. And the king sat on his throne, alone. Evening came, and he sat in darkness. He thought, and thought some more, and began to cry – a small, sad figure.

Confusion and emotion seized the country. There had to be a solution!

A royal decree was issued, to write as many books as possible about the crisis; a command to anyone who could wield a pen. The books did not have to be completely true, but they did have to be fat and cheap. It was also necessary to hold many meetings, each with at least two speakers, an introductory discussion, a concluding debate, a vote of thanks and, if possible, a word of sincere tribute. Filled with courage, the citizens began their work. As far as the books were concerned, the nation split into two groups: those who wrote about the disaster and those who read about it, agreeing with the authors on how disastrous the disaster really was. Most of the time, however, was spent at meetings. Evening after evening, the citizens listened, applauded and asked intelligent questions.

The king worked even harder. He did nothing but read what was written, wading through the growing piles of literature from early morning until late at night. He spent the whole day in pajamas; there was no time to dress. He learned what money was, who owned it, who did not own it, and who should own it. He learned about laborers and how they worked. He learned the laws of supply and demand, of price and value. And an amazing thing began to happen. Slowly his head filled up. It gradually became heavier and heavier, as the crumbs of wisdom collected and combined, until it was completely filled.

“And now,” said the king, “we shall apply all that we have learned.” Laws began to spew forth from the palace. Good laws, intelligent laws, refined laws. But the unthinkable happened. The crisis remained. The misery increased, and the citizens became impatient. The king was not as wise as some had thought! When he heard of this, he laughed and proclaimed new laws, more intelligent, more refined and sophisticated. But still, the misery continued. The king grew a beard, which turned gray. Every night he lay in bed awake, tossing and turning, slowly going mad. Until one night when he suddenly sat bolt upright. Struck by a blinding flash of inspiration, he shook his head in wonder, marveling at his own wisdom. Then he lay down again and slept a pleasant sleep.

The next day, royal couriers on horses hastened to the neighboring countries. They blew on brass trumpets and sang a great song: “The king has found a solution!”

One hundred and twenty monarchs were invited to Democratio’s kingdom. One hundred and twenty mighty kings came to put everything in order in one final meeting. Flags were hoisted, and people took to the streets to see the mighty kings. There they were! They came from the north, the south, the east and the west. Only one king was not invited. His territory was too small, and one could do without him. So, all the great kings came together. After appearing on the palace balcony, receiving a rapturous welcome from the crowds, they withdrew to deliberate. Each king naturally had a vast retinue of chroniclers, scholars and private secretaries who formed themselves into upper-committees, middle-committees and lower-committees. These were divided into main-committees, then again into sub-committees, which were further divided into bodies of legal advisers, sub-advisers and sub-sub-advisers. It became an enormous crowd. At the end of this momentous day, King Democratio offered his people a few words of reassurance from the royal balcony, and the populace went to bed satisfied.

The next morning, the 120 kings rose early, ate a hasty breakfast, and carried on, creating sub-sub-sub committees. In this fashion, many days passed, until the web of committees became so complicated and intricate that further branching became impossible. In the meantime, King Democratio had become very tired. Each evening he came out to his balcony to reassure his good people of the progress being made. In fact, there were special people appointed to distribute papers throughout the land on which the reassuring words were printed.

But this terrible tale of woe gets no better. All of the king’s words and all the papers were of no avail. The crisis remained, and indeed worsened. King Democratio could no longer sleep at all. His beard went totally white. He met with the sub-committees and the sub-sub-committees. He told the authors of the papers about their responsibilities. He dined with the kings. And, most difficult of all, he continued to speak about the fantastic results of the conference, which would no doubt lead to a solution. But his eyes were sad, and his hands trembled.

The people began to grumble, slowly but surely, like tormented creatures. They expected bread but received only papers and strange statements. One evening, a crowd gathered beneath the royal balcony. Theirs were stark, silent, white faces. Soldiers came and dispersed the gathering, but the next evening they came back. The soldiers were cruel, and people were tortured. But they still came from all the directions, more and more people, forming an enormous crowd. They called out for the kings. They wanted to see the monarchs.

So the kings came out to the balcony. Thousands of fists were raised, a mighty cry arose from the crowd, and the kings stood with bowed heads. They tried to speak, but were not heard. They asked for silence, but were refused. Suddenly, one sharp voice rose above the tumult of the people:

“There was another King, who was not invited!”

King Democratio peered down over the balcony. “And who is that?” he asked mockingly.

The crowd was silent for a moment; then the same voice called out: “You kings, fools, jesters of wisdom and intellect! Who gave you crowns on your heads and ermine-trimmed robes on your shoulders?”

And the hundred and twenty kings fell silent. The lonely voice had spoken.

“We, with all our one hundred and twenty kings, are powerless if One more King is not invited.”

And, dear reader, if you will ask why some kings thousands of years ago managed so successfully, remember that they invited the other King as well.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Why are American Jews and Israel Drifting Apart?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

In the last few weeks a number of pundits have proposed similar reasons for the divide between Israel and what is now, unfortunately, a majority of American Jews. They point to the extent to which Jews in America now identify more with their Americanism than with their Judaism, manifested both by intermarriage and by a lack of understanding of what Israel means as a Jewish state.

I want to suggest that the reason is somewhat deeper: the loss of Jewish identity is due to an attenuation of Jewish self-esteem.

America has been very good for the Jews. The generations who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries found a land of great opportunities, and their offspring benefited from access to higher education and the booming economy, such that there are few areas of life in which American Jews have failed to excel.

But the State of Israel represents the ‘specialness’ of the Jewish people, which started with the Patriarchs and the M, and has continued through the enslavement in Egypt and the Exodus, the giving of the Torah at Sinai, and the conquest of the Land of Israel, and the Temple service. Despite millennia of exile from the Land and of anti-Semitism, Jewish ‘specialness’ persists to this day. Despite attrition, not only by attempts at genocide, forced conversion but also by assimilation and intermarriage, the Jewish nation has survived and flourished. None of the efforts of nation after nation have succeeded in erasing the underlying identity of the Jews, which is based on the self-esteem of each Jew and the communal self-esteem of the Jewish people.

Throughout the generations and in all the places in which they lived, in the Land of Israel and around the globe, the Jews preserved and continue to preserve their particularity, by means of the use of the Hebrew language for prayer and learning, and, for the last century or so, in Israel, as the vernacular.

Authentic Judaism requires that Jews respect and draw inspiration from the past, that they live in the present and use their abilities for the benefit of mankind, and plan for the future age of the ingathering of all Jews to the Land of Israel and the restoration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In this way they kept their particularistic national identity in all those centuries in which the vast majority of Jews lived outside the Land.

Authentic Judaism requires devotion of time and energy to learning and performing mitzvoth. It also requires Hebrew literacy, stable family life, and an understanding of the links between Jews of the current generation with those of all past generations and their obligations to the future and to the world. Self-esteem is created and preserved by the strong family, communal and national connections, which are ensured by common identification with the Torah. Authentic Judaism rejects postmodernism, with its distrust and deconstruction of any ideology which is clear and lasting.

In the absence of one or other of these features of Jewish identity and self-esteem, the road to assimilation and the disappearance of a connection with the State of Israel and its Jews is wide open.

Modern movements in Judaism base their content on selected ideas which are taken from parts of the Jewish sources (“prophetic Judaism”) and, translated into terms which purport to be universal, appear to be consistent with values which are deemed to be politically correct: equality, human rights, non-discrimination, internationalism and Tikkun Olam (a misrepresentation of a complicated halachic concept, by which the Rabbis of the Talmud preferred certain rabbinical interpretations over others in the light of specific exigencies).

By doing so, the adherents of these movements are deprived of exposure to the texts and ideology of Judaism, in all their depth and breadth, their dynamism and the interrelationship between each part of the Torah (in the broadest sense) and each other part. In this way, these movements deprive Jews of their self-esteem, their distinctiveness, and ultimately their identity.

Those who identify Judaism only as a national liberation movement, with Israel at the center, may become disenchanted with this or that policy of the Israel government, and their Jewish identity reveals itself only in a hubristic attempt to dictate to Israel how it should behave, usually without sufficient knowledge of or regard for the history, geography or the exigencies of daily life in Israel.

Those whose Jewish identity is centered on commemoration of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism have chosen a negative narrative in which a specific period of Jewish victimhood is central and Jewish self-esteem is absent. The specific anti-Semitism of the Nazi exterminations is often subsumed into a general universalization of racism, without a specific Jewish context.

Those whose Jewish identity is manifested only by attendance at occasional Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, and visiting houses of prayer once or twice a year, or eating “jewish” foods, or having a particular sense of humor, or even donating large sums to Jewish institutions, which are at most nostalgic expressions of loyalty to past generations, are unable to pass a love of Judaism and the Jewish people to their children.

Those for whom the history and authentic ethos of the Jews mean nothing will act and think no differently from the gentiles with whom they mingle, and are at risk of becoming indistinguishable from them (except to anti-Semites).

So the repair of the distancing of American Jewry from Israel requires rigorous rethinking of the relationship between each Jew and his heritage, and between him and his American identity. Reestablishment of Jewish self-esteem is the key to this.

Philip Marcus

Jewish State Police Arrest American Who Gave D’var Torah on Temple Mount [video]

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

If we were to describe the following scene as having taken place anywhere else on the planet, the report would have been followed by several news cycles involving angry Jewish organizations, rabbis, Israeli rightwing politicians and, undoubtedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu, condemning the blatant act of anti-Semitic repression on the part of police, carrying out the anti-Semitic policies of the national government. (See American Jew Arrested for Murmuring Prayers, 2nd Warned to Close Prayer App)

On Sunday morning, a Jewish American tourist wearing a yarmulke stood with a group of fellow Jewish tourists and spoke about the meaning of a biblical verse. A group of black-uniformed police converged on him and accused him of engaging in Jewish prayer, which is against the law in that country. The Jewish man tried to defend himself, arguing that he was merely explaining a biblical verse, “Please, God, save [us], Please God, give [us] success” (Psalms 118:25).

The cops rushed to the man and his group as soon as they heard the words “Please, God” pronounced in Hebrew. The rest of the lecture was in English. The man insisted, in English, that he was merely explaining the verse and not praying. The cops had no patience for lengthy arguments with a Jew and arrested him.

Several other Jewish tourists tried to intervene, explaining that it was a misunderstanding, they wouldn’t have even dreamed of praying there, in a country that punishes Jews who engage in public prayer, it was merely a mention of a verse in the context of a talk. At which point the arresting officer declared:

“On the Temple Mount I decide what’s prayer.”

Yes, the entire scene took place in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish State, where black uniformed police decide what’s prayer and what’s not. On Temple Mount, as part of decades of government policy, state police violate the human right to free worship Jews are entitled to like all the other humans on the planet.

The legal aid society Honenu said in a statement: “The conduct of the State of Israel and Police regarding the suspicion of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is, first of all, ridiculous, and in addition it is discriminatory and predatory. It is inconceivable that a law-abiding man would be arrested like the lowest criminal for explaining a verse from Psalms. In any other country such an arrest would have been called anti-Semitic.”

We now begin waiting for the angry condemnations from Jewish as well as from human-rights organizations demanding an apology and a quick mending of the gross violation against Jews by the local government.

JNi.Media

Nothing Legitimate about Antisemitic Slur

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw is pleading innocent. Called out for comments made during a Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum held at the House of Commons last week, Straw insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about raising points that he says are merely matters of genuine concern.

As the Times of Israel reported, former Labor Party Knesset member Einat Wilf, who took part in the debate, described Straw’s presentation in the following manner:

Wilf participated in the debate and posted some of what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page, saying she nearly fell off her chair when she heard them: “Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem. I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”

The British politician is right when he says criticizing Israel’s policies is not anti-Semitic. But, like many others who want to bash Israel without being branded as Jew-haters, he crossed a very important line when he injected traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish money and insidious attempts to control the policy discussion into the question of how best to advance the cause of peace.

That’s why someone like Wilf, who opposes the Netanyahu government, was so outraged. In doing so, he not only demonstrated ignorance of how American politics works as well as insensitivity to Israel’s position, but also showed the way disagreements with the Jewish state quickly morph into conspiracy theories that are thinly veiled new versions of traditional myths about Jews.

While Straw is neither the first nor the last member of Parliament or prominent Briton to play this game, the fact that someone who was a former foreign minister would not only feel free to vent this nasty stuff, but also think there’s nothing wrong with it, tells you all you need to know about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.

As for Straw’s charges, they are easily dismissed. Contrary to the Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” conspiracy theory thesis, the vast, wall-to-wall bipartisan coalition that supports the Jewish state is a function of American public opinion, not Jewish money.

As frustrating as it may be for Israel’s critics, support for Zionism is baked into the DNA of American politics and is primarily the function of religious attitudes as well as the shared values of democracy that unite the U.S. and Israel.

Other lobbies (oil interests, pharmaceuticals, et al) have far more money. Hard as it is for some people to accept, the reason why American politicians back Israel’s democratically elected government is because opposing them is bad politics as well as bad policy.

Making such accusations is offensive rather than just wrong because, as Straw knows very well, talking about Jewish money buying government policy is straight out of the anti-Semitic playbook of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The purpose of such claims is not to argue that Israel’s supporters are misguided so much as that they are illegitimate.

That Straw is similarly frustrated with German refusals to try and hammer the Israelis is equally appalling. Germany’s government has, contrary to Straw’s comment, often been highly critical of Israel, but if officials in Berlin have some sensitivity to Israel’s position as a small, besieged nation it is because they understand that the underlying factor that drives hostility to Zionism is the same anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust.

But the main point to be gleaned from this story is the way Straw has illustrated just how mainstream anti-Semitic attitudes have become in contemporary Britain. It is entirely possible that Straw thinks himself free from prejudice. But that is only possible because in the intellectual and political circles in which he and other members of the European elite move, these ideas have gone mainstream rather than being kept on the margins as they are in the United States.

The ease with which Western European politicians invoke these tired clichés about Jewish power and money is a reflection of the way attitudes have changed in the last generation as the memory of the Holocaust fades and people feel empowered to revive old hate. Chalk it up to the prejudices of intellectuals, especially on the left, as well as to the growing influence of Muslim immigrants who have brought the Jew-hatred of their home countries with them.

Straw may not be alone in not liking the Netanyahu government, but he can’t get out off the hook for the anti-Semitic rationale for his views that he put forward. The pity is, he’s speaking for all too many Europeans when he speaks in this manner.

Jonathan S. Tobin

US Losing Middle East Coalition

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Ever since the seventies, the world has become accustomed to the split in the Middle East, between those countries that support the West – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, and we might add Turkey to this list as well, and those countries that were members of the opposing, Soviet, coalition: Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen. Lebanon was then between the democratic hammer and the Syrian anvil.

Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the eighties, there were no big shifts in political orientation, and the countries that were faithful to the Western bloc led by the United States remained faithful to it until recently, mainly because a new hostile bloc was formed, led by Iran and supported by Russia and China. The stronger the Iranian threat became, the more the pro-Western countries depended on America for support.

Lately, however, the pro-Western coalition has begun to crumble, and two key countries – Saudi Arabia and Egypt – are searching for a new political crutch, ever since it became clear to them that the American crutch is nothing but “a broken reed” (Isaiah, 36:6). A few more countries can be added to this list, mainly Turkey and the Gulf Emirates.

Saudi Arabia

In an unprecedented move, the Saudi kingdom has refused to become a member of the most powerful body in the world, the Security Council of the UN, a body authorized to deal with the world’s security problems and, with the power of the authority vested in it, can even declare war as a world body on a country that violates its resolutions. The question that immediately arises is: why did Saudi Arabia refuse to become a member of the body that is perhaps the only one capable of dealing with Iran’s military nuclear project? Why did Saudi Arabia reject the opportunity to influence events in Syria from within the Security Council? Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia take advantage of the most important stage in international policy in order to take action against Israel?

The superficial reason is that which the Saudi foreign office published, expressing an ethical position: the kingdom will not agree to enter the Security Council until the Council undergoes reforms that will enable it to fulfill its role, which is to maintain world peace. The obsolete apparatus, the wasteful practices, and double standards used by the Security Council all prevent it from fulfilling its role. There are many examples of this: the Palestinian problem has not been solved despite it having been created 65 years ago, and despite the fact that the wars stemming from it have threatened the peace of the entire region and the world several times. The Council allows the Syrian dictator continue slaughtering his citizens for almost three years without imposing effective sanctions, and the Council has failed to achieve the goal of turning the Middle East into an area free of weapons of mass destruction because it has not managed to create an effective method of oversight for military nuclear projects.

Despite the fact that the Saudis do not speak specifically about Iran in their official announcement, it is clear that their reference is not to Israel, from whom they fear no danger, but to Iran, whose nuclear plans do keep them awake at night. However, it is specifically the Iranian nuclear issue which should have pushed Saudi Arabia to become a member the Council; membership could have granted them an active role in making decisions against Iran, so why not join?

In part, the reasons relate to the way that the Saudis see the international alignment of countries recently but is also connected to the customary culture of honor in the Middle East, without which it would be impossible to understand the behavior of the Saudis, proud sons of the desert.

First of all, a person of honor does not join a club where he is considered a class ‘B’ member. In the Security Council there are class ‘A’ members – the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) who have nuclear weapons and veto power, and there are class ‘B’ members – the ten countries with temporary membership, who are not allowed to attain nuclear weapons and do not have veto power. Saudi Arabia would in no way agree to be a class ‘B’ member of any organization, and would prefer not to join because honor is more important to it than anything else.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/us-losing-middle-east-coalition/2013/10/25/

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