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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘American Jews’

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.

 

Alan Gross Credits Jewish Efforts for His Release From Cuba [video]

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Newly released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross thanked his wife, his lawyer, the Jewish community, President Obama and numerous others in helping secure his freedom.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, Gross opened his statement with a Hanukkah greeting and a thank you to the president.

“Chag sameach,” he said. “What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. Thank you President Obama for everything you have done today.”

He credited the advocacy by his wife of 44 years, Judy Gross, and his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, for getting him out of prison. He also thanked the Jewish community.

“To the Washington Jewish community, Ron Halber in particular and his staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council, all of the executive directors, staff and volunteers of participating JCRCs, federations, synagogues, schools, and other Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations nationwide, God bless you and thank you,” Gross said. “It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten. Your prayers and actions have been comforting, reassuring, and sustaining.”

In a deal that American officials said was technically separate from Gross’ release, the United States and Cuba agreed to exchange the three remaining incarcerated members of the “Cuban Five,” a Florida-based spy ring, for an American spy held in Cuba for 20 years and whose identity remains a secret.

It came, too, as the United States and Cuba agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties that were severed in early 1961.

Gross, a Jewish-American who had been in detention in Cuba for five years of a 15-year term for crimes against the state, originally went to the island nation to do contract work for the U.S. government and help connect Cuban Jews to the outside world.

He suffered health problems during his imprisonment, and in his statement referenced his significant weight loss and the loss of some teeth.

“Ultimately, the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the Oval Office. To President Obama and the NSC staff, thank you,” Gross said. “A judicious lesson that I have learned from this experience is that freedom is not free.”

Gross expressed fondness for the Cuban people, saying they were not responsible for his ordeal and that he is pained “to see them treated so unjustly as one consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies.”

He hailed Obama’s announcement that Havana and Washington now would resume diplomatic relations.

Clinton Plays Up ‘Two-State Solution’ for the Liberal Jewish Vote

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Hillary Clinton went overboard claiming in a speech Saturday at the Saban Forum how much the Obama administration supports Israel and that there is nothing “personal” in differences between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

Saban, an Israeli-born millionaire, has said that he is willing to give “as much as needed” to make sure Clinton will be the next president of the United States. She has not said one way or the other if she will run, but she acts and talks like a candidate in the last week of an election campaign.

The former First Lady and Secretary of State is the same woman who said “F—the Jews” when her Oslo Accords hubby Bill was in the White House, where he was about as faithful to Hillary as he was to Israel.

“The relationship between the United States and Israel is solid, and will remain solid, and will be part of our foreign policy and our domestic concerns, our values, ideals, forever,” Clinton said at the 11th annual Saban Forum.

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party, is scheduled to speak at the Saban Forum Saturday night. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has to cancel his speech because he is sitting Shiva for his mother, who died on Thursday.

It was only two years ago that Hillary Clinton used the Saban Forum as a stage to accuse Israel of a “lack of generosity” and a “lack of empathy” towards Palestinian Authority Arabs.

With two eyes on the 2016 presidential election, she said Saturday night, she pushed negotiations for the “two-state solution.” Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas already has said several times negotiations, as he calls them, were finished long ago because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not accepted his demand that Israel accept his demands at the table or under the dictate of the United Nations.

Netanyahu has said there is nothing to talk about since Abbas won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Until the Netanyahu government collapsed this week and he decided to call for new elections, even the center-left leaders had said the “two-state” solution is nothing but theoretical.

But the American liberal Jewish community, the bulk of American Jews who still realize they are Jewish, are very happy with Israel being the country they dream as a Jewish state that exists to make them feel comfortable as Americans.

They don’t want to hear international criticism of Israel, and if their president says “settlers” are “illegitimate and illegal,” then those settlers should do as Washington says and live in Tel Aviv.

“Now I’m well aware of everything going on and the increasing tensions in the region, in Israel, in the West Bank to say nothing of the continuing aggressive behavior from Hamas coming out of Gaza,” Clinton said. “But the absence of negotiations leaves a vacuum that gets filled by problems, bad actors, threats, other kinds of behavior that are not good for Israel and not good for the Palestinians.

“There is a necessary imperative to continue to try to achieve a resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Clinton is “aware of everything going on”?

Is she aware that the Palestinian Authority has educated an entire generation of Arabs to hate Israel, to hate Jews and to become “martyrs?”

Is she aware that official Palestinian Authority documents show a map of Israel with the word “Palestine” scrawled over it from, Lebanon to Egypt and from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea?

She is not aware of it because she, and John Kerry, and the entire American liberal Jewish establishment do not want to be aware of it.

They love to hear talk about a “two-state solution” because it makes them feel good that all of those Jews living in Israel won’t upset their breakfast by doing anything that might endanger American security, such as building homes for Jews smack dab next to Arabs in eastern Jerusalem.

Clinton knows that the right-wing Jews are not going to support her. She doesn’t need to sell herself for the votes of the liberal Jewish community, but she wants their money.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/clinton-plays-up-two-state-solution-for-the-liberal-jewish-vote/2014/12/07/

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