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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘American Jews’

Obama Cashes in on Separating Israel from American Jews’ Concerns

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Obama knows how to capitalize on the bulk of American Jews, who want Israel to be a nice Jewish boy that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable

President Barack Obama declared that American Jews’ concerns are like those of Afro-Americans and other Americans, indicating that Israel is not one of those worries.

He unsurprisingly chose the left-wing and secular Forward to be the first Jewish newspaper ever to interview him.

Having embraced J Street and trying to manipulate public opinion into believing that it is speaks for mainstream American Jews, his choice of The Forward was natural. The newspaper for more than a century was known as “The Jewish Daily Forward.”
This year it became simply “The Forward.”

Its editor Jane Eisner told the Observer earlier this year that the newspaper has been trying “to understand who we are, who are readers are, who are readers ought to be….What we know is that most American Jews today are living a very pluralistic life—there’s a lot of intermarriage and interfaith relationships.”

The same Jane Eisner on Friday interviewed President Obama, who also likes to see American Jews as any other hyphenated ethnic community that views their old homeland as a fond memory that it relives, in the case of American Jews, by eating gefilte fish.

The president knows, as Eisner indicated to the Observer, that American Jews are a vanishing through an assimilation rate approaching 70 percent and that the number of Jews in the United States rises only by changing the definition of a Jew to embrace pluralism, the melting pot that is supposed to erase any outward indication that belies the belief in Mom, Flag and Apple Pie.

He knows that the hard-core pro-Israel Jews, those who view Judea and Samaria as a part of Israel, Jerusalem as the capital, and a strong Israel good for the security United States, are a minority.

Deep down in the interview with Eisner, President Obama said:

American Jews, like African-Americans or any other cohort of Americans, have a wide range of concerns. They care about student loans; they care about housing; they care about poverty; they care about women’s health issues. And so it’s not as if the American Jewish community makes decisions solely on the basis of a single issue

The “single issue,” of course, is Israel. He does not, nor do most American Jews, think too much about Israel, especially when it comes to the nuclear agreement with Iran, which was the focus of his comments to the Forward.

He explained:

I do get disturbed sometimes when I hear folks suggesting that those who oppose the deal are pro-Israel. We’re all pro-Israel. The issue is, how do we solve this very particular problem of making sure Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon….

I think we have to steer away from incendiary language that suggests that either those who are in favor of the deal are appeasing Iran or, conversely, that those who are opposed to the deal are not thinking about America’s interest.

If anyone has used incendiary language, it is President Obama, who has implied, as Eisner reported that she told him, “that even some of his supporters say that he has contributed to the incendiary language by implying that opponents of the deal are ‘warmongers.'”

She said that was the only time in the interview “that I saw him bristle and his back stiffen.” He replied:

What I said is that if we reject the deal, the logical conclusion is that if we want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, military strikes will be the last option remaining at some point. It may not be under my administration; it might be under the next one. And that is something that has to be taken into account.

She did not respond, “What about more sanctions instead of war?

Obama Warns US Jews ‘Israel Will Bear the Brunt’ If Nuke Deal Nixed

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

President Barack Obama warned American Jewish leaders Tuesday if the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran is shot down, Israel eventually will pay the price in rocket fire on Tel Aviv.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met in the White House Cabinet Room with 20 Jewish leaders several hours after an Internet address to North American Jewish leaders by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader followed his speech with a question-and-answer session drawn from some 2,000 pre-submitted questions from the 10,000 who had registered to participate in the webcast, sponsored by the Jewish Federations and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

During the two-hour meeting with Jewish leaders from across the religious and political spectrum that followed Netanyahu’s plea for American Jews to fight the deal, Obama tried to debunk the prime minister’s arguments.

Sources at the meeting said Obama said a discussion focused on “personal attacks” – rather than the “merits of the deal” – could threaten the unity of the American Jewish community and also the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

But Netanyahu specifically said in his own address – emphasized, in fact – that he was not making a personal attack. “A huge majority of Israelis oppose the deal,” he said. “So this is not a partisan issue in Israel. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the United States either.

“Nor is it a personal issue. This isn’t about me. And it’s not about President Obama. It’s about the deal. I’m asking you to rise above partisan politics as we in Israel have risen above it. Judge the deal on its substance and on its substance alone. The more people know about the deal, the more they oppose it,” Netanyahu said pointedly.

Obama also said that he truly believes that if the deal will be rejected by Congress, the ultimate result will be a military strike. “But the results of such a strike won’t be war with Iran,” the president allegedly said.

Iran isn’t going to aim its weapons at the United States, pit its annual budget of $15 billion against the U.S. military and the American budget of $600 billion, he said. Obama went on to describe instead a terror scenario similar to that which awaits Israel and the U.S. as described by Netanyahu, given the billions of dollars to be infused into the Iranian economy as a result of the soon-to-be lifted sanctions from the deal.

American and Israeli targets will be attacked by armed terrorist groups on Israel’s borders, and Iranian proxies who will ram aircraft carriers, the president allegedly said. “They will fight this asymmetrically. That means more support for terrorism, more Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv.

“I can assure that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical response that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”

In his speech, Netanyahu was clear and to the point on this: “There’s one claim that is the most outrageous – that those who oppose this deal want war. That’s utterly false. We in Israel don’t want war. We want peace. Because it’s we who are on the front lines.

“We face Iran’s terror on three borders. We face tens of thousands of Iranian rockets aimed at all our cities. We face Iran, whose regime repeatedly calls for the destruction of the Jewish State.

“We face Iran whose terrorist proxies try to kill Jews every day.

“Israelis are going to be the ones who pay the highest price if there’s war and if Iran gets the bomb.

“I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war, and this deal will bring war. It will spark a nuclear arms race in the region and it would feed Iran’s terrorism and aggression. That would make war, perhaps the most horrific war of all, far more likely.

Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Hillary Clinton has promised that Israel will have her as a better friend than President Barack Obama if she is elected President next year.

She also exclaimed that Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel, as if any serious presidential contender thinks otherwise.

While strongly supporting attempts for a “good” deal with Iran, she is trying to reassure wealthy Jews that they can safely contribute to her campaign coffers and can sleep safely last night knowing that she will be good for Israel, even if Israelis spend the night running to bomb shelters.

That is what President Obama also said in 2008. That is what every presidential candidate says, but American Jews lover to hear because they want to believe it.

When it comes to the deal being negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, Clinton is playing both sides of the fence, and it is not clear where she stands. Politico interviewed 10 donors and fundraisers and reported:

Donors who see a deal as important to world peace have come away thinking that Clinton shares their perspective, but so, too, do donors who oppose any prospective agreement as compromising Israeli security.

Clinton is no different from Obama and every other politician. “No deal is better than a bad deal,” she said, but what is a bad deal? Is it possible to make any deal with Iran can call it “good?”

Since no one yet knows if a deal with Iran will be reached and if so, what it will contain, Clinton can safely hedge her bets.

At stake is $2 billion that Clinton’s aides hope to raise for her campaign and super PACs.

in the meantime, she is boasting that her personality and experience as Secretary of State are guarantees for Americans Jews that she will be a lot friendlier than Obama when it comes to relations with Israel.

She started name-dropping, referring to former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren as “Michael” whom she said she knows well.

The penchant for American Jews to buy assurances that the American-Israeli relation will be just fine and dandy was summed up by Politico’s report on a fundraiser last month at the home of Democratic party donor Jay Jacobs. An Orthodox rabbi asked Clinton about threats to Israel, and Jacobs told Politico:

She did stress in no uncertain terms her full and fervent support of the state of Israel and the defense of the state of Israel. And the people in the audience who heard it seemed to be comfortable with her answer.

Good grief!

What did the rabbi think she would say? Did he really believe that Clinton would say, “Well, you know all the talk about threats to Israel is just talk to get more money from the military-industrial complex. Israel can fend for itself. Let’s talk about the economy and immigration.”

Of course she fervently supports Israel. That is what J Street also says.

At least she was honest when she stated, “I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the U.S.”

That is what any president of the United States should do. He or she should be “pro-American” and not “pro-Israel.”

The kicker is that being pro-Israel usually is the best thing for the United States, even if presidents can’t admit it.

Six Million Excuses NOT to Make Aliyah

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Approximately 5-6 million Jews – depending on your definition – live in the United States, and almost every one has his or her own personal excuse to stay put.

The one overwhelming reason to leave the Diaspora, whether it is in North America, Europe or elsewhere, and join the Jewish People in Israel is the obvious one. This is home, admit it or not.

This year, I am celebrating my 32nd personal Yom Ha’Atzmaut since I left Baltimore on a one-way ticket to Israel during the Ten Days of Repentance in 1983.

After landing, and after 39 years of swallowing a non-Jewish culture and society to the point that I finally suffered from spiritual indigestion. I developed a very more-righteous-than-thou attitude that looked down on Jews who find reasons, or excuses, not to come to Israel.

I have since realized that I was imitating the good intentions but self-defeating methods of many Jews who return to Judaism and then demand that everyone else to do so, forgetting that others may have to get there their own way.

During one of my visits to Baltimore to be with my parents (z”l) for a few days, someone who attends a national religious synagogue offered me the most memorable response to my usual nudge of, “Nu, what is your excuse not to come home and live in Israel?”

He answered:

I know I should be living in Israel, but I like my ‘gashmus’ – meaning the material life and plush comforts.

Whoever argues that one can easily succeed very well at living a comfortable American life in Israel is whistling Dixie.

There are many Jews who come to Israel with lots of money, and there are same who come with little cash and have made a fortune. They do not lack much in the materialistic world, and they have their own Israel-style comforts and even their imported American comforts and habits.

The overwhelming majority of us, who have come to Israel from elsewhere, simply “get by” or do even better; but in any case, we are satisfied with what others might not consider a comfortable life.

I recall one American expatriate in Israel fielding questions from a group of people in Baltimore who were interested in making Aliyah. I already had moved to Israel, but on one of my visits to Baltimore, I was curious to hear what people asked about making the move.

One person inquired how much money he would need in his bank account before making Aliyah.

The answer was amazingly succinct and honest:

If you have to make an account of how much money you need, you never will have enough.

Of course, that is a generality that is not always true. It was easy for move to Israel because I was single at the time. I figured $500 for a ticket and $500 in my pocket from driving a cab for three months would be enough to keep me going, and it was.

A family with children certainly has to multiply that figure. The older the children are, the more Aliyah becomes problematic, financially and otherwise.

I suggest that the amount of money one thinks he needs to make Aliyah is in inverse ratio to how much he knows Israel is home.

And that is the crucial question, especially for Orthodox Jews who pray every day for the return to Israel.

It took me 39 years, over a long and winding road, before concluding:

If I am Jewish, and Israel is the Jewish home, then I am not a Jew if I am not home.

I cannot preach that to anyone else. Every single Jew has his or her own reasons – may I call them excuses? – not to make Aliyah.

Obama’s Jewish Support Sinks to 50 Percent

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Jewish voters’ support for President Barack Obama has sunk from 61 percent in January to only 50 percent in March, according to a new Gallup poll.

The gap between approval of the president by Jews and by the national average has narrowed to only 8 percentage points for the first three months and 4 points for the last month.

The emerging deal with Iran and President Obama’s attacks and affronts to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are the reasons for the drop in support among Jews.

Among Orthodox Jews, defined as those who attend synagogue at least once a week, the approval rating is only 34 percent.  Support among Jews who do not have a college degree was only 39 percent compared with 62 percent among those with a higher education degree.

Jewish women approve of President Obama by 11 percentage points more than men over the past 15 months, while the national average is only 6 percent points between women and men.

The question is whether President Obama’s drooping popularity among Jews will be translated into support for a Republican presidential candidate at the polls.

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, Jewish support for her is expected to rise sharply.

Republicans should not jump for joy too soon, author Josh Zeitz told Politico.

“As was the case then, today, most American Jews cast their votes as concerned American liberals and moderates, not as foreign proxies for the Israeli government,” he said.

Zeitz added:

But that doesn’t stop the GOP from hoping.

There’s always a place for tradition. Every year during Passover, Jews open the door in expectation of the Prophet Elijah, who will someday herald the coming of the Messiah. And every four years, the pundits await the great Jewish embrace of the Republican Party.

As it was said then, so it is said now: Next year in New Hampshire.

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami Appoints Himself New American Jewish Rep

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

J Street is apparently indulging itself in a deliberate attempt to twist both the intent and words of Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks on his upcoming trip to Washington next month.

The group’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, writes with a Left wing bent that has in the past positioned him as one who sometimes walks the thin line separating support for the State of Israel from that for the border-free, terrorist-riddled entity endorsed as “Palestine” by the United Nations General Assembly.

And in a display ad appropriately bearing turquoise blue and black (like a bruise on the landscape) on its logo, J Street runs with the slogan, “The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.” A graver misnomer could not be.

“Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that when he comes to Washington next month, he’ll be speaking “not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representatiave of the entire Jewish people.” I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t speak for me. Help us let his Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, know: as an American, as a Jew – Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t speak for you.” the ad reads.

It then goes on to claim: “In the coming Israeli election, less than a quarter of Israelis will vote for him. More than half the Israeli public disapproves of his performance.

“And, here in the United States, where Jews overwhelmingly support diplomacy with Iran, the Prime Minister is deeply out of step with our community politically. “Make clear that no one person – even the Prime Minister of Israel – speaks for us all by signing our petition today.”

A link to J Street’s petition is embedded in the web campaign ad, which is also found in a “P.S.” that reminds, “Ambassador Dermer needs to hear from us.” and urges the reader to recruit “friends and family” to visit “DoesNotSpeakFor.me.”

Pretty slick. But the problem is, the statistics are really off. And Netanyahu never claimed to speak for every Jew. He said he is “representing” all Jews when he stands up to fight against the existential threat to Israel posed by anti-Semitism and Iranian nuclear technology development.

This writer wonders why Ben-Ami is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister. In fact, it seems that over the past six weeks, everyone is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister, and doing so with really cool, sophisticated slogans alongside. Sure looks like a well-funded fancy American-style ad campaign to me. American Jewish leaders organized to lobby Israel’s political leadership over Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress?

American Jewish heavy hitters coming out with weighty, well-thought-out statements offering sage advice to the prime minister on various ways to back out of his commitment to the Speaker of the House?

Vice President Joe Biden and a panel of top Democratic lawmakers notifying media about their plans not to attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress?

A boycott on meetings with Netanyahu when he arrives in Washington by the White House, the State Department and all the rest of the U.S. top leadership, casually brushed off by President Barack Obama as “protocol” since the Israeli elections follow two weeks later?

Leaks to international media about meetings at the Munich Security Conference between Israeli opposition leader, Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog and a host of top leaders – including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and European Union foreign policy chief Federico Mogherini among them?

Not to mention frequent references by the U.S. president to his differences with Netanyahu on the “Iran issue” and most recently – yesterday, in fact – an outright plea not to “sour” a deal with Iran on its nuclear development activities under discussion between Tehran, the U.S. and world powers.

Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Jewish Agency is making plans to settle 120,000 Jews — one in every five French Jews — over the next four years.

The project sounds fanciful if one looks at recent history, but radical Islamic terror and country-wide anti-Semitism have cast a shadow of the Nazi era over Jews in France.

The Jewish People Policy Institute, the Jewish Agency’s think tank, is drawing up plans for opening up job opportunities to attract French Jews, who enjoy a relatively high standard of living.

The number of Jews from France who moved to Israel last year was 7,000, a small number by itself but a dramatic jump from previous years. Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has said he anticipates 15,000 Jews from France to make Aliyah by 2016, but the Agency’s think tank has bigger plans.

If history repeats itself, the project for mass Aliyah will create lots of work for Jewish Agency , inflate its budget and bring in only a trickle of results.

Aliyah from Western countries never has been very impressive except in the hey-day of Israel’s victory over Arab enemies in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Since the 1970s, the only really impressive Aliyah has been from what was the Soviet Union, from where more than 1,000,000 Jews — and 300,000 people who were not Jews according to Jewish law — moved to Israel.

But Jews have a tradition of enjoying a good life in the Diaspora, hanging on until they are expelled or often trying to flee after it is too late.

Fear and loathing have not yet sent shivers down the spines of American Jews, most of whom consider Israel a place for hapless Jews who cannot survive elsewhere. The “Golden Medina” has been a tough nut for Aliyah ever since the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

On a trip to Baltimore in 1951, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion told rags to-riches millionaire Jacob Blaustein of expectations of the Aliyah of thousands of Jews every month, to which Blaustein retorted, “American is our home.”

Just think if one in every five American Jews were to make Aliyah. The economy would boom. The so-called “demographic problem” of an Arab and Bedouin population dominating Jews would disappear.

If even 10 percent of 1 million American Jews were to settle in Judea and Samaria, there would be no question about its place in Israel.

But Americans do not face the imminent threat that has caused French Jews to panic and fear.

The Jewish Agency plans are not a pipe dream.

“I was in Netanya this past Shabbat, and everyone is talking about the Aliyah of Jews from France,” French expatriate Yisca Maimon told The Jewish Press Sunday.

She explained:

They are afraid to go to the supermarket and to synagogue and get killed. The Aliyah movement starts with one friend, and then another friend, and everyone influences one another. Jews in France are very close to one another. People are afraid of Islamic terror because there is absolutely no security there. Yes, there are attacks in synagogues and supermarkets in Israel, but here we have the IDF. We are in our own home.

Jews in France feel they cannot stay there anymore. They know they have to leave. There are nearly 8 million Muslims in France, and their presence is increasingly overwhelming. Everyone is afraid.

There is another reason for Jews to flee France, if they want their children to remain Jews. The assimilation rate is nearly 70 percent, which raises the question of which Jews will move to Israel.

Haredi rabbis who are not raving Zionists — except for the fact that they live in Israel — already have objected to mass Aliyah because of problems of Jewish law.

They say they are afraid of more secular Jews but  in truth they also are afraid of the growing national religious community in Israel, which in the past two decades has become very influential in the IDF, professional fields and now in the Knesset thought the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, which has opened up its doors to secular Jews who also are strong nationalists.

The Jewish Agency will have to deal with the problem of “Who Is a Jew” when the time comes. It also will have to streamline the absorption process to allow professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, to practice in Israel without some of the obstacles that have no logic but simply exist from the earlier days of the modern State when old-line Israelis expected everyone to be like them.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday, “We must prepare to absorb large-scale immigration to Israel. To this end we are working to remove the impediments to [recognizing] diplomas and professional degrees in Israel. At the same time we will prepare an emergency plan to cancel bureaucracy so as to enable massive construction to absorb the immigrants, just as we did previously to absorb the major immigration from the Soviet Union.”

If the Jewish Agency can succeed, it might even begin to attract more Americans, not enough to make baseball the Israel National Pastime but enough to at least make hamburgers as popular as falafel.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-agency-planning-for-massive-aliyah-of-120000-french-jews/2015/01/26/

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