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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘chris christie’

When Israel Supporters Use the Language of Delegitimization

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

When U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said it was a “mistake” for Israel to demand recognition as the Jewish State, it shows how deeply the language of delegitimization has been adopted by even the most ardent of Israel supporters.

Another example of this was New Jersey Governor, and potential Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie. In front of a crowd of Jewish Republican fundraisers in Las Vegas, hosted by Sheldon Adelson, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Christie said, “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories and felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

When challenged by the head of Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, Christie apologized, saying his remark was not meant as a statement of policy.

We increasing see well-intentioned, powerful and influential people, who have the close attention of the media, make misplaced statements that feed into the adoption of a viewpoint that Israel has no legitimate right to be where it is.

The misuse of language is an indicator not only of the general public’s views, it also displays how pro-Israel influential voices are chasing a narrative that is driven by the Palestinian side of the conflict.

One perfect example of terminology drift can be seen with the area once known as Judea and Samaria becoming “disputed territory,” then the West Bank, and now “illegally occupied Palestinian land.”

Any staunch Israeli, or dispassionate neutral, would argue that it is neither illegal, nor occupied, and certainly not Palestinian land, according to international law and binding resolutions going back as far as the League of Nations Mandate of 1922. All this has not stopped the flow of terminology becoming accepted language.

How did this state of affairs come about? Well, it boils down to two major factors;

1) A highly successful pro-Palestinian publicity campaign. 2) A dereliction of duty by consecutive Israeli governments and prime ministers. Some say the demonization and delegitimization of Israel began at the infamous 2001 UN Conference on Racism at Durban in South Africa which produced the hateful “Zionism is Racism” resolution, and gave birth to the accusations of an apartheid Israel.

However, the refusal to accept Jewish rights to an independent state was forcefully demonstrated back in 1947 when the Arab nations violently rejected UN Resolution 181 which called for recognition of a Jewish state. They unsuccessfully launched major wars against the nascent Jewish state which led them in anger, following yet another defeat in 1967, to gather in Khartoum and declare three “No’s” against Israel. No peace, no negotiations, no recognition. This was reconfirmed by the Arab League as recently as March 25, 2014, when Arab leaders again declared that they will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. So much for the Arab Peace Initiative!

But, to go back in time, out of Egypt came Yasser Arafat to cloak himself in the mantle of Palestine. Initially, he saw himself as the spearhead of the Pan-Arabic aggression against Israel. As he said in a 1970 interview with Italian journalist Arianna Palazzi, “The question of borders doesn’t interest us. Our nation is the Arabic nation. The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine.”

This hatred of Israel coalesced into what is known as the Palestinian cause. By portraying Israel as a colonialist, powerful, aggressive, oppressive, racist, occupier of a poor, defenseless, weak, indigenous Palestinian people a picture is painted that, to the impressionable, inevitably leads to a negative opinion of an Israel accused of the worst examples of war crimes and human rights abuses, and a sympathy for the weak Palestinians. That is the perception today.

Hillary ‘F.’ Clinton Way Ahead of the Pack in Poll

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a 6-1 lead among Democrats answering a Washington Post-ABC News poll on their choice for president in 2016.

Clinton, whose middle name easily could be “F.” considering how many times she has been reported as using the “f—“ word,  has virtually no competition in both areas – the nomination for presidency and an uncouth vocabulary. She has used the four-letter word not only as an adjective for Jews but also as an adverb for almost every subject imaginable.

For better or worse, Clinton has 73 percent backing of Democrats, according to the poll. The second most popular is Vice President Joe Biden, with only 12 percent.

On the Republican side, the nomination is up for grabs, and the party does not look like it is any better shape than it was in 2012, when it failed miserably to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s sagging popularity.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aura has been blackened by the recent bridge-traffic scandal, and he is in third place with 13 percent support, behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. None of the potential candidates has solid backing from the Tea party.

After Christie, there are senators Ted Cruz of Kentucky and Marcio Rubio of Florida.

The Republicans have a year or so to get their act together and unite, a distant possibility at this stage of the game.

Clinton, if she runs and wins,, would be the first woman president of the United States and the first president whose husband held the office.

Beyond Christie’s Bridgegate: Ignoring the Sharia Elephant in the Room

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Originally published at The American Thinker.

The political flap over Chris Christie’s role in “Bridgegate” has thrown a spotlight once again on the rough-hewn, plain-speaking New Jersey governor.  But the drama of the current brouhaha has drawn attention away from the governor’s more serious, ongoing missteps — namely, his cultivation of relationships with those associated with known terrorist groups.  Remarkably, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie appears more contrite about Bridgegate than he is about these associations that threaten national security.

Muslims & Political Influence in New Jersey

New Jersey has the second-largest Muslim population of any state, after Michigan.  Paterson, the county seat of Passaic County, is home to a controversial Hamas-linked mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC), and contains the largest population of Palestinian Muslims in the United States.  The Muslim community in South Paterson is referred to as “Little Ramallah.”

This past year, Paterson’s mayor, Jeff Jones, was the first U.S. city official to host a “Palestinian-American Day,” with a Palestinian flag hoisted over City Hall on Israeli Independence Day.  Astonishingly, the event organizer, Khader Abuassab, a convicted criminal who pled guilty to fraud and swindling, is on record telling local Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement.  Further, Abuassab served on the Paterson Board of Education, ran for City Council, and now serves on Governor Christie’s Muslim Outreach Committee.

Christie & Mohammed Qatanani

But Christie’s record of political support for Muslims dates back to his days as U.S. attorney.  It was then, in 2006, when he came to the aid of a radical Muslim imam, Mohammed Qatanani, who was on the verge of being deported from the United States for failure to disclose terrorist affiliations.

The little-known details are that Qatanani arrived in the United States in 1996 to take over the ICPC, one of the largest mosques in the state.  Housed in a former synagogue, the ICPC was founded in 1989 by Imam Mohammed El-Mezain, a convicted Hamas operative and fundraiser who publicly boasted of raising close to $2 million for the organization.  In 1996, Qatanani arrived to succeed El-Mezain.

Given the mosque’s affiliations, it’s not surprising that Qatanani also has a background littered with terrorist associations.  He was arrested and convicted in Israel in 1993 as a self-admitted member of Hamas.  As a Muslim Brotherhood operative, he had provided financial support for terrorist activities and continued to send large cash transfers to the West Bank once he arrived.

These activities raised suspicions by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which in 2006 began attempts to deport Qatanani for failure to disclose his 1993 arrest in Israel for involvement with a terrorist group.  Despite the charges for his terrorist activities and very real security concerns about the Hamas-affiliated imam, a spokesman for Qatanani, Aref Assaf, called the deportation effort “vindictive,” implying that the investigation was ill-conceived and baseless.

Then, then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie came to the aid of the imam.  In response to a 2008 DHS court filing, Christie defended the imam as a “man of great goodwill” and sent his assistant U.S. attorney, Charles McKenna, to court to serve as a character witness.  As a result of Christie’s efforts, Qatanani was granted legal permanent residency.

Christie & Sohail Mohammed

In 2011, as governor, Christie aggressively endorsed and appointed Qatanani’s lawyer, Sohail Mohammed, as a New Jersey Superior Court judge.  Some speculated that the post was a payoff to Imam Qatanani for ICPC and Muslim community support for his gubernatorial campaign.

Sohail Mohammed is a board member and general counsel of the American Muslim Union (AMU), an organization co-founded by a former executive for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history.  Several AMU executives have held leadership positions at the Hamas-linked ICPC.  Sohail Mohammed publicly defended convicted terrorist and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al-Arian and criticized the U.S. government for shutting down the Holy Land Foundation for its support of Hamas.

The Apotheosis of Chris Christie

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Turn on the television and wait five minutes and it begins playing. “It’s in our blood, our DNA,” the painfully high voice sings, “Because we’re stronger than the storm.” The ad closes with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his family playing on the beach.

The 25 million dollar ad campaign feels like it has been in rotation forever.  The earnest warbling of the song can be heard everywhere. It probably isn’t doing much to move tourists to the Jersey Shore, but that isn’t what it’s there for. It’s there to remind everyone that Christie is the guy who flew over the state in a helicopter after Hurricane Sandy. We’re not stronger than the storm, is the message. Christie is.

The 25 million dollar ad campaign like the 24 million dollar special election is about the Governor of New Jersey.

Some Democrats have criticized both moves as cynical elections ploys and that’s true and it isn’t. The election, against a placeholder candidate, is no threat to Governor Christie who is running 60 to 28.

No matter how many minority voters Cory Booker brings to the polls (and it’s no sure bet that he will bring any, Booker for the moment is far more popular among white liberals than among the inner city voters he is deserting in Newark)  there is no conceivable way that Christie could lose this election.

But it’s not just about winning another four years. It’s about 2016.

Christie doesn’t just want to win. He wants to win by a landslide. And he doesn’t just want to win by a landslide. He wants to win as many Democrats and Independents as he can to make the case that he is the sure thing for 2016. The candidate who is bound to be electable because he has a track record of winning over blue voters.

The 2012 election involved two deals being cut for the 2016 election. Obama cut a deal with Bill Clinton to endorse Hillary for the Democratic nomination in 2016 in exchange for Bill coming out there and campaigning for him and another deal with Chris Christie to give him an easy election now and a clear path to the Republican nomination 2016.

Unprecedentedly the deals made in 2012 are supposed to lock down the nominations for both parties in the 2016 presidential election.

Christie considered jumping into 2012, before deciding to stay out of it. But that didn’t mean that he had any interest in Romney locking down the job and preventing him from running until 2020. And he gave Romney exactly the kind of help you would expect from a man who ran ads in 2008 touting his compatibility with Obama.

New Jersey politics has always been cynical. Its last governor was responsible for a monumental financial scam. The governor before him resigned after a gay affair spilled out into the tabloids. The President of the New Jersey Senate doubles as the General Organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers.

In carefully culled soundbites, Christie’s brazen attitude can seem like a reformer’s breath of fresh air, but it actually reeks of the contempt for voters and everyone else that is typical of Jersey politicians who pride themselves on not even pretending to give a damn.

When it comes to carefully cultivating the attitude of not giving a damn, Christie has been ahead of the pack. And that’s still his attitude while planning for a national election as the candidate from a party whose base and activists and even fellow politicians despise him. It’s not an unreasonable attitude. The Romney ticket was met with groans and distaste, but was sold on electability. If Christie can nail down a huge percentage of Democratic voters, then he has a much better case for electability.

Christie is running for election on liberal training wheels. The media sings his praises and liberal donors send him big checks. His real opponent, Cory Booker was pressured by his own party into running for a senate seat that unfortunately happened to be occupied by Lautenberg, who to everyone’s relief passed away conveniently clearing a path for Booker and Christie. But if Booker were going up against Christie, then Christie wouldn’t be planning to use all those Democratic vote totals to make his case for 2016.

In 2009, Christie squeaked by with 3 percent. This time around he’s running against a non-candidate as the man who got New Jersey through the storm. Whatever numbers he gets won’t translate to a national election against Hillary Clinton. And the glowing media profiles will shut off once he gets the brass ring and becomes the fat man standing in Hillary’s way. And then the hero will become the villain. That’s what happened to moderate mavericks like John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Learning from history isn’t really a specialty for Republican operatives. And unlike his prospective opponents, Christie will be able to show that he won Democratic votes in a recent election. And he expects that with a few tough talking videos the base will learn to love him while the party will come around the way that they did on amnesty for illegal aliens. Everyone wants to win, don’t they?

Christie certainly does. The Governor of New Jersey is many things, but a loser isn’t one of them. Unfortunately he’s also opportunistic, unprincipled and completely cynical. Christie went from being a US Attorney prosecuting terrorism cases to using his office to pander to terrorists once he ran for public office. He spent his first term releasing punchy video clips of him yelling at people to give the impression that he was dramatically turning things around, when he was actually slapping band aids on the bruises. And in both elections, he used Obama as his political trump card to win a blue state.

The real Christie isn’t a reformer. He’s not really any different than Governor Cuomo next door in New York or Jerry Brown in California. He’s a Republican by registration in a region where that doesn’t mean very much except connections with a particular political machine. It says nothing about his beliefs and values. And assuming that he has any may be a very generous interpretation.

We know that Christie likes Bruce Springsteen and the image of him crying over getting a hug from New Jersey’s second most overrated aging rocker while families in his state were mourning loved ones and living in tents may say all that there is to say about the authenticity of Christie’s Sandy tour.

What really moves Christie isn’t the opportunity to do good for the people of his state, but the nearness to celebrities like Springsteen and Obama. And perhaps that is why Christie has tried harder to be famous than to be a good governor.

Politics for Chris Christie was a celebrity audition. Now finally the cool kids have let him into the club and made him one of them.

On television the show ends and the commercial break begins. Once again the high voice begins warbling. “Stronger than ever. Whoaaah. New Jersey is stronger than the storm.” The song, like so much about Christie is a fake. It comes from BANG, a New York City music production company run by a former ad executive who donated six thousand dollars to Obama. New Jersey isn’t stronger than the storm. Chris Christie’s political career is.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Lakewood’s $10 Million Coup

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

This is one of those stories that worry me. VIN and NJ.com report that Lakewood Yeshiva (BMG) has been approved by the State of New Jersey for an over ten million dollar grant in what Governor Chris Christie is calling a “new era” for the state’s institutions of higher learning.

I’m sure that Lakewood applied for that grant legally and truthfully. I do not believe for a second that there was any fraud involved. And I congratulate them on a successful outcome. Lakewood certainly needs the money. But I remain with some serious concerns.

The grant was given for the construction of a library and research center. Governor Christie’s goal is “keeping New Jersey’s “best” and “brightest” in-state, while attracting new research and business partners who will bring new and better paying jobs.”

What worries me is that in spite of what I am sure was a completely honest presentation of Lakewood’s plans to the state; I am not convinced that the state’s purpose in granting them that money is even a dream in the back of the minds of Lakewood’s leaders. Nor do I believe for a minute that such a library will serve any other purpose than the stated mission of such an institution – Torah study. The kind of research that library will offer will no doubt be only in that vein. Neither am I convinced that it will result in anything near attracting new business partners.

This project will help to retain some of the finest minds in Torah Judaism. Lakewood is the premier “Torah Only” Yeshiva in the United States. It attracts the best and brightest among its constituents. Expansion means attracting more of the same. Some of whom may settle there and eventually have good jobs (and some – not such great jobs).

But even so, Lakewood cannot claim that as its goal. It can only say that this is a by-product of their ‘Torah Only” system. This is a yeshiva that forbids its students to take any secular courses while enrolled there and discourages it even after they leave. This is a yeshiva whose rosh yeshiva (dean) made disparaging remarks about someone who has been a pioneer in providing higher education for students of yeshivos like Lakewood so that they could get decent jobs… basically referring to him as a second class citizen (…full time students of Torah being first class citizens). One might even say that the rosh yeshiva would view someone like that as undermining the goals of Lakewood!

It is also no secret that Lakewood uses the welfare system legally for students who qualify for aid. Most of them probably do – since they do not have jobs but do have large families. Even those whose wives work (most of them, I’m sure) do not make enough money to disqualify them from some sort of government assistance. Again, nothing legally wrong with that.

I have to ask, is there not a moral or ethical issue of misrepresenting yourself to the world in this way – even if you qualify legally? Is there not something wrong with able bodied people choosing not to work and using the welfare system as a means of income?

And by the same token, is there not something wrong with taking over $10 million knowing what the government thinks you are going to do with that money – and using it for something else – even though it technically qualifies? A Beis HaMedrash may be a library. But is a $10 million Beis HaMedrash going to attract business partners who will bring new and better paying jobs?

Even if it truly a research library and not a Beis HaMedrash – it will certainly only contain Seforim – religious books – even if some of them will be in English. What kind of research will this foster – other than research in Torah studies?

I of course have no problem with such a library. I think it will be a valuable resource for student of Torah. But is this what the State of New Jersey had in mind in approving $10 million dollars to Lakewood?

Lakewood’s goal is not Governor Christie’s goal. Lakewood wants to expand its student base. The enormous growth in the numbers of Orthodox Jews, especially among Haredi Jews of the “Torah Only” persuasion, demands such an expansion. For some time now, Lakewood has been talking about doubling its capacity to over 10,000 students!

I guess they have found a way of doing that. But is it ethical? Will the state be happy with the results? And how will this be perceived by the secular public? Will they not see this as being unethical? Is this ultimately the wisest way of raising money for their cause? Will the potential negative fallout be worth it if it happens?

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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