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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Brotherhood’

Reb Elimelech’s Ascent To Leadership (Part XIII)

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

In 1648 and 1649 Bogdan Chmelnitzky and his hordes of Cossack warriors perpetrated an annihilation campaign against the Jews of Poland and the Ukraine. Almost 100,000 Jews and 300 communities perished at the hands of these murderous mobs. All of the Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder; the general populaces nearly always joined in the attacks, and the torture and degradation of Jews was an integral aspect of the murderer’s procedures. None of those who survived were spared pillage and plunder, looting and larceny.

The Chmelnitzky massacres were a holocaust – no different than the Holocaust we are all familiar with. Only the techniques were not as efficient and modernized, as it was not captured on film.

After these devastations it was only natural to hope for – indeed to expect – the arrival of the Messiah to redeem the tattered masses from their misery and squalor. Their desperation was so great that they were ready to believe the outlandish assertions of a Greek Jew named Shabbetai Zvi, who claimed to be the messianic redeemer.

But Shabbetai Zvi was an imposter, a persuasive one with a good public relations team, but no more than a charlatan that misled an anxious and desperate people. And if his deceit was not great enough, he dealt a crushing blow when he converted to Islam to avoid punishment.

The Shabbetai Zvi debacle brought on its heels a subsequent fiasco with the emergence of Yaakov Frank, who claimed to receive Divine revelations. Against the warnings of the rabbis, Frank managed to keep Shabbetainism alive until he encouraged his followers to adopt

Christianity.

The debacles in the Jewish community were concomitant with Poland’s inner convulsions that followed the Chmelnitzky massacres. There were the Tatar incursions from Crimea, the Moscow War and the Swedish War, each one ratcheting more bloodshed, suffering and destruction to the beleaguered Jews of Poland. Thousands were killed, thousands were forcibly converted to Christianity, and the remainder were uprooted, scattered, persecuted and exiled.

It was at this time that the Church renewed and strengthened the blood libels, accusing entire Jewish communities of having murdered a Christian child so that the victim’s blood could be utilized as an ingredient for matzah. From 1700-1760 not a single year passed when a libel was not attempted, and dozens of court cases were brought to trial in order to further aggravate the hatred of the Jew.

Eventually, the central institution of the Eastern European Jews, the Vaad Arba Artzos (Council of Four Lands), was compelled to send a delegation to Rome to appeal to the pope to issue a decree clarifying that Jewish law does not require the sacrifice of a Christian child prior to Passover for the purpose of matzah-baking.

The governments of the region could barely have been more anti-Semitic. There was a stiff head tax on every single Jew, a communal tax and additional taxes and fines were periodically imposed. The inability to pay one’s tax to a local landowner meant imprisonment – often for the entire family.

The ability to earn the most modest livelihood, let alone the execrable taxes and fines Polish Jewry was burdened with, was no easy feat. Vast numbers of professions were forbidden to Jews, leaving only a few realms of despised employment available, such as moneylending and running taverns for the local Polish landowners.

For the simple, peasant Jews, and even for the modestly more successful ones, the situation was extraordinarily bleak. The only person that had offered any hope was Shabbetai Zvi, and the aftershocks of that disaster were still palpable.

The rabbinic leadership was unable to relate to the masses and offer solace or comfort, the consequence being a disconnect between the rabbis and the people. The few rabbis that dared to speak out about the corruption that prevailed among their colleagues who had acquired their positions by bribing officials faced punishment or banishment. The less courageous blamed the suffering on the diminishment of Torah learning. The solution to the privations, the torment, the poverty and the false accusations, they pressed, lay, as always was the case, in repentance.

The rabbis had no novel ideas to suggest or a formula that was specifically adapted to the times. On the contrary, anything that seemed to vary in even the minutest detail from age-old tradition was viewed as dangerous and squarely verboten.

Obama Apologizing for Egypt’s Failure to Protect our Embassy

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Egypt tells us everything we need to know about the horror of Obama’s Middle East policy. The latest development is that a group of several Salafist and Jihadist groups–including the local affiliate of al-Qaida–announced a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. This was explained as a protest against some obscure film made in America by a crackpot that criticizes Islam but has never actually been shown to an audience and probably never will be!

But note well that everyone–except the Western media–understands that holding such a demonstration on September 11 means supporting the September 11 attack. The Egyptian government knew the time of the demonstration and the participants–it was all publicly announced–yet Egyptian security forces did not protect the embassy.

And so the demonstrators scaled the wall, entered the compound, tore up the American flag, and put up the historic revolutionary flag of Islam (the eighth century black, not the seventh century green one) in its stead. Why didn’t Egyptian security forces stop them? It was a deliberate decision no doubt taken at the highest level.

Rather than expose the phony excuse for the demonstration and condemn the Egyptian government’s behavior, the U.S. government groveled. It issued statements in English apologizing for the fact that someone had exercised his right of free speech within its country. The tweets it sent out in Arabic were even worse, pitiful pleas of the we-are-on-your-side-against-this-terrible-Islamophobia variety. And will Egypt’s failure to protect the embassy–because it is on the side of America’s enemies–have any effect on the Obama Administration’s helping the Egyptian government get two German submarines (against Israel’s efforts); take $1 billion off Egypt’s debt; and have a nice meeting with the visiting Egyptian president (while refusing to meet Israel’s prime minister, this supposedly super-pro-Israel president)? You know the answer.

This is a policy of institutionalized cowardice unprecedented in U.S. history.

Last week, the U.S. government asked its good buddy Egyptian President al-Mursi to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime. But it is also possible that the U.S. government blundered, or was badly timed, since international agreements dictate that Egypt is not supposed to inspect ships in the Canal itself. The Egyptian government despite three decades of massive U.S. aid, licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment, strategic backing, and an invitation to Washington to meet Obama—refused to help out, since he possibly could have done it outside of the canal itself.  Indeed, al-Mursi headed for Tehran to attend a “non-aligned” conference, albeit admittedly one with broad international support.

Did I mention that the al-Mursi government is about to retire 70 generals? Get it? Just as the Islamist government broke the Turkish army because Obama would not back America’s old allies, now the Egyptian Islamist government is going to break Egypt’s army. Who will replace these generals? Two types: opportunists and Islamists. [Here’s a good analysis of the army situation.] And then the army will be completely transformed. And then the state Islamic institutions, And then the courts.

Meanwhile the Western media and U.S. government will stand by and not comprehend a fundamental transformation unfolding before their eyes. Or will they comprehend it but think that it is a good thing? The first possibility is total incompetence and ideological blindness. The second possibility approaches the equivalent of criminal conduct in the destruction of U.S. interests, not to mention democracy, human rights, and the maintenance of peace.

Did I mention that the al-Mursi government is installing several Brotherhood leaders as provincial governors, members of the media council, and–yes, they do have a sense of humor–leaders of human rights’ commissions? And now al-Mursi is controlling what is going to be in Egypt’s new constitution, too.

As I noted previously:

Does this mean Egypt will ally with Iran? Only if Iran surrenders to radical Sunni Islamism ruling every Arab state. Since Tehran will never agree, in the end Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two anti-American countries will kill the others’ surrogates. But it means al-Mursi feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless by doing so the Egyptian Brotherhood advances its own cause of putting more Sunni Islamists (anti-Americans, of course) into power.

Reb Elimelech’s Ascent To Leadership (Part XII)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Wandering from town to village, the Holy Brothers neglected their physical needs and were sustained by meager coins or scraps of food that were donated along the way.

One Sunday night they found themselves in a new town on a cold wintry night. The tavern keeper offered to lodge them behind the fireplace that heated the pub. The two of them took their places on the floor, with Reb Zusha, as always, offering his older brother the preferred spot nearer the fire.

No sooner had Reb Elimelech and Reb Zusha retired their weary bones when the tavern began to fill up with non-Jews who had come to celebrate nothing other than their inebriated state. Wobbling and singing as drunkards do, they made themselves merry until they stumbled across a real cause for celebration.

Right before their eyes, innocently sleeping on the floor, was a Jew who could serve as the evening’s entertainment. As many of them were wagon drivers, they were equipped with whips and staffs that could be enlisted to acquire the sleeping Jew’s expeditious cooperation.

“Up and dance!” they ordered, as they snapped their whips and beat their staffs to ensure immediate compliance. Reb Zusha sprang to his feet and danced energetically for the leering drunks. The wagon drivers were not looking for a quick performance – they had all night – and they unsparingly utilized their appurtenances to assure protracted amusement.

Eventually, the drunkards grew tired and allowed Zusha to collapse to the floor. But it wasn’t just one Jew that they had savagely beaten. Reb Elimelech felt every blow on his own back and urgently pressed his brother to exchange places with him. “They’ll be back and then it will be my turn to suffer their indignities.”

But in no way did Reb Zusha feel that he was getting the worse of the deal. Being beaten simply because he was a defenseless Jew was good for the soul, he maintained. And he knew his brother did not dispute this point.

Still, Reb Elimelech would have none of it. He was insistent that they switch places so that when the drunks would decide again to be entertained, he would be the butt of their vile behavior.

And indeed the wagon drivers returned, eager for another dance performance. Not for naught had they entered a tavern.

But in a display of uncharacteristic egalitarianism, they announced that it would only be fair to wake the Jew lying nearer to the fireplace, for the outer one had already made his contribution to the night’s festivities.

Reb Elimelech stood up and explained, or at least tried to explain, that the outer Jew was previously the inner one, for they had switched places. But his entreaties fell upon drunken ears.

Reb Zusha sanguinely accepted his lot and commented, “Melech, don’t feel bad. You see that one who deserves to be beaten cannot avoid it. Your desire to switch places was willed from Heaven.”

Eventually the wagon drivers tired of their entertainment and they crashed to the floor in a drunken stupor. The brothers arose to recite tikkun chatzos and to thank the Almighty for having been separated from inhumane derelicts. Blessed were they to be servants privileged to worship the Almighty.

The Holy Brothers never forgot those that extended themselves on their behalf while they were in their period of exile. One such individual was Reb Aharon in the village of Ludmir who served as their host whenever they visited the village. Reb Aharon lived in abject poverty, but this never stopped him from extending hospitality and sharing his meager crumbs.

Once Reb Elimelech and Reb Zusha were revealed as famous tzaddikim, and their followers were everywhere to be found, they returned to Ludmir – this time in a horse- drawn carriage. Just as in the past, they turned to Reb Aharon for lodging, which he graciously offered, as always.

Overnight, Reb Aharon’s modest hovel became the focus of the town, and masses formed outside the door to seek blessings from the tzaddikim and their intervention in a host of matters.

One of the wealthy merchants in the town felt that he deserved the honor of hosting these famous guests, and he extended his invitation for them to come to his richly apportioned house where they could dwell in perfect comfort. But the brothers flatly refused.

Egypt Kicks Sand in Obama’s Face

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

I could write a 300-page book on how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged Israel. I could write an 800-page book about how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged U.S. interests. But why bother?

This is all you need to know:

The U.S. government asked its good buddy Egyptian President al-Mursi to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime. But it is also possible that the U.S. government blundered, or was badly timed, since international agreements dictate that Egypt is not supposed to inspect ships in the Canal itself.

The Egyptian government despite three decades of massive U.S. aid, licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment, strategic backing, and an invitation to Washington to meet Obama—refused. Indeed, al-Mursi headed for Tehran to attend a “non-aligned” conference.

Does this mean Egypt is going to ally with Iran? No, Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two countries will kill the others’ surrogates. But it means al-Mursi feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless by doing so the Egyptian Brotherhood advances its own cause of putting more Sunni Islamists (anti-Americans, of course) into power.And right now that means Syria. Indeed, at the Tehran meeting al-Mursi called for the overthrow of the Syrian regime while the Iranian media mistranslated that as a statement of support for Syria’s government. (Wow, that will make the Egyptians mad!)

In other words, under Jimmy Carter’s watch we got Islamist Iran—and, yes, things could have turned out very differently—and under Obama’s watch—and, yes, things could have turned out very differently— we got Islamist Egypt.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America against the Iranian threat into, at best, a neutral between Washington and Tehran that will do nothing to help America.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America—albeit an imperfect one of course—in maintaining and trying to extend Arab-Israeli peace into a leading advocate of expanding the conflict and even potentially going to war.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America in fighting international terrorism into an ally of most international terrorist groups except those that occasionally target Egypt itself.

But here’s one for the 600 rabbis who front for Obama: The destruction of the Egyptian natural gas pipeline and deal, as a result of the instability and revolution that the U.S. government helped promote, has done as much economic damage to Israel as all the Arab and Islamic sabotage, boycotts and Western sanctions or disinvestments in its history.
But wait there’s more, lot’s more.

After meeting Egypt’s new president, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “I was convinced that President Mursi is his own man,” adding that the new president is committed to democratic reforms and to representing all Egyptians.
Question: How does Panetta know this?

Answer: This is what Mursi told him.

Of course, by endorsing Mursi before he does anything, the U.S. government puts its seal of approval on the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Shouldn’t it have to do something to prove itself before Obama gives up all that leverage? What next? Perhaps Mursi will get the Nobel Peace Prize after a couple of months in office.

Note the phrase “his own man.” What does that mean? Why that Mursi won’t follow the Brotherhood’s orders. He will even stand up against it, presumably to be more moderate, right? There is no reason to believe that this is true.

Panetta added: “They agreed that they would cooperate in every way possible to ensure that extremists like al Qaeda are dealt with.” Of course, they are more likely to cooperate against al-Qaeda, a group they don’t like. But will they cooperate against Egyptian Salafist terrorists, Hamas, and lots of other terrorists? Of course not.

Indeed, at the precise moment Panetta was meeting Mursi, the new president was releasing Islamist terrorists from Egyptian prisons. These include terrorists from Islamic Jihad which is part of the al-Qaeda coalition! How do you square that one, Secretary Panetta?

And finally, Mursi pointed out to Panetta that his own son was born in California, when the future Egyptian president was studying there. His son, Mursi pointed out, could be the president of the United States one day.

I’ll let you, dear readers, pick up on that previous paragraph.

Of course, the Obama Administration can claim one success in Egypt: the regime pulled its forces out of eastern Sinai in accord with the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The problem is that it has been reported in the Egyptian media—a good source though not confirmed—that the regime made a deal with the al-Qaida terrorists who attacked Israel. If they promised to stop fighting (for how long?) the Egyptian government would release all of their gunmen.

Meanwhile the most important (formerly) pro-Islamist moderate intellectual in the Arabic-speaking world has defected, an event of monumental importance that is being ignored in the West. The Egyptian sociologist Saad ed-Din Ibrahim hated the Mubarak regime so much that he joined with the Islamists as allies and insisted that they were really moderate.

Now here’s an interview he just gave (view this clip on MEMRITV) spoke as follows:

Interviewer: “You indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood are hijacking the country, not merely the top political posts. Is the Muslim Brotherhood indeed about to hijack the country?”

Ibrahim: “Well, this is how it seems to me, as well as to other observers, some of whom are more knowledgeable than me about the Brotherhood,” long-time members, who have now helped him understand the Brotherhood’s “desire to hijack everything and to control everything.”

I assume Ibrahim is referring to relative moderates in the Brotherhood–and some of these individuals have also spoken publicly–who have either quit the Brotherhood in disgust or been expelled.

I suggest Ibrahim and these people, not to mention the liberals packing their bags and the Christians piling up sandbags, know better than Panetta.

A Layman’s Guide to Revolutionary Sunni Islamism, the World’s Greatest Threat

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s Blog Rubin Reports

It sure isn’t the age of Aquarius or of Multicultural, Politically Correct love-ins. It’s the age of revolutionary Islamism, especially Sunni Islamism. And you better learn to understand what this is all about real fast.

(Shia Islamism, important mainly because of Iran and especially due to its nuclear ambitions, is number two on the threat list. But that’s not our topic today.)

There are three types of the Sunni revolutionary Islamism and they are all bad, very bad. A lot of people are going to be misinforming you about this and getting others—never themselves, of course—killed.

Sometimes people ask me why I use the phrase “revolutionary” Sunni Islamism. The reason is to remind everyone that this is a revolutionary movement like those of the past that seek to use a variety of strategies and tactics–of which violence might only be one–to seize, hold, and use state power to transform societies.

Some ask why I use the word “Islamism” and the reason is because this is a specific, conscious set of organized political movements. However theology is related to this issue the problem is political, not theological. If you saw as I did over decades how the radicals had to work hard to sell the idea that “jihad” today meant picking up guns, cutting off people’s heads, overthrowing governments, and assembling mobs of thousands screaming for death and destruction, you’d have no illusion that they had an easy time of it.

This didn’t happen because somebody just pointed to some verses in the Koran and everyone said: Oh, now I get it! We must seize control of the world and kill everyone else. They murdered or intimidated into silence Muslims who disagreed with them. Even today hundreds of millions of Muslims oppose revolutionary Islamism. And if you don’t play it smart to have those people as allies–some out of mutually cynical self-interest and some as true brothers who want to live in freedom just like you do–and help them save their lives and countries you will never achieve anything.

The three types are the al-Qaida style groups; the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are all equally dangerous and some are more dangerous in different ways. Have no illusions.

UNDERSTANDING AL-QAIDA, which goes under many names and regional local groups, is simple. It has one strategy: kill! Its only tactic is terrorism. It is like those nineteenth-century revolutionary movements that always failed and for which the Marxists had so much contempt.

These small groups were always persuaded that if the workers would only be roused to a general strike or that enough officials would be assassinated the revolution would come like a nuclear explosion. Now, these movements always failed but sometimes they laid the basis for others to succeed. Remember, the People’s Will helped launch the Russian revolutionary movement; an anarchist assassinated an American president; the Serbian state-sponsored terrorist cell set off World War One in 1914, and of course al-Qaida created September 11.

Al-Qaida and its various versions in Morocco, Gaza (the Palestinian Resistance Committees), Iraq, Somalia, Europe, Yemen, and a dozen other places is dangerous in that it can stage terrorist attacks. In a place where no government exists—like Somalia—it might conceivably seize power. But al-Qaida is not the great threat of the twenty-first century. It is a problem for counter-terrorism and relatively lightweight counterinsurgency.

They may be the worst guys but they are not the West’s main global strategic problem. Everybody who isn’t basically a supporter of an al-Qaida group hates al-Qaida except for the Taliban which is really the same. Why? Because al-Qaida wants to overthrow every regime (they do play a little footsy with Iran but even that’s limited). Oh, and they also loathe Shia Muslims which makes for even more enemies and fewer potential allies.

It is “stupid” to have no friends because that means everyone has a motive to get you and nobody has a reason to help you or give you safe haven. Doesn’t sound like brilliant strategy, right? But there’s more.

Al-Qaida, although the name means in Arabic “base,” ironically, has no political base. It sets up no real mass organizations; it doesn’t do social welfare work capable of rallying whole countries behind it. There is no way that hundreds of thousands or millions of people will rally to its cause. Imagine someone in 1917 saying in Moscow, “Forget about those moderate Bolsheviks. It’s the anarchists we have to fear.”

Planned August 24 Mass Protest to Impeach Morsy, Terminate Muslim Brotherhood

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

“Egypt Independent” reports that debate continued Wednesday among political groups and activists over the merits of the planned August 24 protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy.

Former MPs Mohamed Abou Hamed and Mostafa Bakry, as well as anti-Brotherhood media host Tawfiq Okasha, had called for protests outside the group’s headquarters in Moqattam, a suburb in southeastern Cairo, and in front of the presidential palace. The protests are to demand Morsy’s impeachment and the end of the Brotherhood’s political domination.

Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin said Wednesday that the ministry respects all rights and freedoms, especially the right to peaceful protest.

Except that the Union of Revolutionary Youth, a group of political activists, declared Wednesday that the protest was called for by supporters of former Prime Minister and losing presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq as a counter-revolutionary ploy, and accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of backing the protest.

The group added that it recognizes Morsy as the legitimately elected president, despite political disagreements with the Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party.

URY spokesperson Tamer al-Qady did agree publicly, however, that it is unacceptable to issue a religious edict ordering the protesters to be killed, referring to a recent statement by Al-Azhar official Sheikh Hashem Islam, who was quoted by press reports as urging citizens to fight against the August 24 demonstrators to the death.

The statement also stressed the right to peaceful protest, while denouncing calls to burn Brotherhood offices.

The Coalition of Coptic Egypt has announced that it will participate in the protest. In a statement Wednesday, the groups said that it will protest to stress the goals of the revolution and stress the preservation of the secular state, rather than to demand Morsy’s impeachment. It added that it would also oppose the domination of state institutions by one political ideology.

The Hayat Party, which has yet to gain official recognition and is led by Coptic activist Mikel Mounir, also announced its participation, saying it would attend the demonstrations to inform the Brotherhood that “the country is not theirs alone.”

Egypt: There Goes the Free Media

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/egypt-there-goes-free-media.html

So can you write “Arab Spring,” free elections, democracy in Egypt, and such things 100 times? Might this be somewhat in contradiction to the fact that:

Muslim Brotherhood President al-Mursi has just named the editors of the top Egyptian newspaper and other media outlets. They are state-owned, you know, there are a half-dozen good little independent newspapers.

But one of them, al-Destour (ironically meaning, The Constitution) has just had a full issue seized on charges of “fueling sedition” and “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law.” We know this through a report in the Middle East News Agency, the state owned monopoly.

And what was the inflammatory report? That the Brotherhood was going to seize power and that liberals and the army should join together to stop the country from being turned into an Islamist regime.

Seems to me that if it weren’t true there wasn’t any need to confiscate the issue, right? After all, everybody would have seen that it wouldn’t happen and all would have shared a good laugh!

Other columnists are charging that the Brotherhood is trying to turn their newspapers into reliable house organs rather than let them be free.

Reminds me of a personal experience I had in Cairo over thirty years ago. An al-Ahram newspaper editor was well-known for being the highest-ranking Christian in journalism. I went to see him and mentioned that I knew he was a Christian. He launched into a long lecture about how wonderfully Christians were treated in Egypt, there was no discrimination against them, etc.

After a while I mentioned that I heard he had been on the television the previous evening but I had missed it. For no particular reason, I just asked, “How long were you on, fifteen minutes?”

Without missing a beat, he shot back: “Fifteen minutes! You’d think they’d let a Copt be on for fifteen minutes! I was on for three minutes.”

Reported by me word by word as it happened.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/egypt-there-goes-the-free-media/2012/08/12/

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