Rabbi Jonny Roodyn discusses the background of the shofar blowing throughout Elul from the rooftop of Aish Hendon! Followed by a Shofar blowing!Video of the Day
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Against her best judgment and because she’s been slipping in the polls in trying to capture the support of her opponent’s followers once she is crowned Queen of the Democrats, candidate Hillary Clinton agreed to give Bernie Sanders 5 out of the 15 spots on the Democratic party’s platform committee. She took 6, and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz got 4. So then Senator Bernie Sanders went ahead and appointed his peeps, and now two of them, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday condemned Israel for its “occupation” of Judea and Samaria and Gaza (Gaza? Really?) and let the world know they plan to get their views into the platform at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, the NY Times reported.
“Justice for Palestinians cannot be attained without the lifting of the occupation,” West said in an interview, adding that with all due respect to thousands of years of persecution, the platform should reflect “the plight of an occupied people.”
Nothing there about the plight of half a million Syrians being butchered by everyone and their uncle only a fee miles away. Nothing about weekly hangings in Iran, flogging and beheading in Saudi Arabia, the tyranny of Islamic terrorism in Syria and Iraq, those are not the important injustices in Cornel West’s Middle East, it has to be a defunct plan from 1993 that has been rejected so many times by the PLO leadership, it brought to near-tears three, count them, three US presidents.
Dr. Zogby, who is the president of the Arab American Institute and a career advocate of “rights of Palestinians,” said in an interview, “Any honest assessment would say that the debate on this issue has shifted over the last 30 years and the platform has reflected that but lagged slightly behind, and it’s now time to catch up. Clearly most Democrats agree. But we will see what happens.”
Republican candidate Donald Trump has good friends in Cornel West and James Zogby, who will surely rattle and shake one of the Democratic party’s most third-ralish third rail issues, in public, while Clinton is trying to unify the troops against Trump. There’s no other issue more likely to turn away middle class voters than the Democrats criticizing US support for Israel. But the left is not concerned. In fact, the NYT cites an April Pew Research Center survey showing liberal Democrats are twice as likely to sympathize with Palestinians over Israel than they had been two years ago. 40% of liberals sympathized more with Palestinians, only 33% sympathized more with Israel.
In the Wednesday interview, Dr. West, who once called President Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of “war crimes.” He also blamed “the role of money and lobbies” for the absence of “a candid dialogue” on Israeli-American relations.
Of course, Hillary will do the only sensible thing and ignore the party platform as best she can. Otherwise, as Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations told the NYT, the party could be perceived as adopting “positions that could be seen as hostile to Israel.” (You think?)
Hoenlein was unhappy not just with the presence of Zogby and West on the DNC platform committee, but also with a third Sanders appointee, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim. It’s as if Sanders had decided to force Hillary to touch that rail, or look bad jumping over it. “For us, the concern is that it legitimizes and potentially puts into a major party platform” the extreme left’s view “that undermines the principles of the Israeli-US relationship that have been bipartisan for decades,” Hoenlein warned.
And all Donald Trump has to do is sit back and watch his opponent disintegrating on an unwinnable issue. Former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, a Clinton supporter, who served on the platform committee back in 2012, told the NYT, “My concern is that the Democratic platform is not the venue in which to litigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Ah, a lucid voice in a sea of crazy. How refreshing.JNi.Media
Kickboxing champion Abderrahim Moutaharrik, 28, who was arrested on Thursday with his wife, Salma Bencharki, 26, in Lombardy, northern Italy, for allegedly planning to flee Italy for Syria with their two children, ages 2 and 4, is insisting they were only planning to go to Syria to help the suffering children there, La Repubblica reported.
Moutaharrik also denied that he was planning an attack the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome.
The couple was arrested as part of an investigation conducted by the Italian anti-terror squad and the Special Operations Group fighting organized crime. Police released pictures of Moutaharrik in his kickboxing kit and a keffiyeh, and a black shirt styled after the ISIS flag.
Talk about the fashion police…
“I saw images of children being tortured and I wanted to go to Syria to help the people and not to enrol with ISIS,” Moroccan born Moutaharrik told a magistrates at Milan’s San Vittore prison.
The couple’s lawyer told reporters his clients had “told the magistrates that they grew up in Italy and would never want to seriously hurt anyone.”
Did we say the accused is a kickboxing champion?
Arrest warrants were also issued Thursday against Alice (Aisha) Brignoli, 39, and her husband, Mohamed Koraich, who have allegedly left Italy a year ago to join ISIS in Syria. Koraich’s sister, Wafa, was arrested in the town of town of Baveno, Piedmont, and Abderrahmane Khachia, 23, a Moroccan, was arrested in Varese, Lombardy. Police say Khachia’s brother was a jihadist who died in Syria.David Israel
A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes. The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.
Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo. The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.
But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place. This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).
It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes. It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism. Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over. Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.
Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method. And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution. I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.
I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with. The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more. The answer leaves Roth in the dust: whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.
I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future. This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course. The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.
In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009. Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up: al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.
The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it. Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?J. E. Dyer