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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘criticism’

Sharp Rightwing Criticism of Supreme Court Ruling on Demolishing Gush Etzion Homes

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Following a Supreme Court Ruling Thursday ordering the evacuation and demolition of 17 structures in the Netiv Ha’Avot outpost in Gush Etzion, rightwing politicians called for a Regulation Act that would set out to legalize thousands of Judea and Samaria properties about which there are now or may be future claims. The general outline of the proposed regulatory legislation will authorize the Israeli government to compel proven claimants to receive market-value compensations, in comparable land or in money. A coalition move back in July to start work on the Regulation Act was thwarted by the AG Avihay Mandelblitt, who said the law is not constitutional and would be knocked down by the high court on appeal.

Thursday’s ruling, by a three-judge panel, evoked sharp criticism on the right, with Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett condemning the ruling, saying extreme leftwing elements who have given up on their ability to ever persuade the people to accept a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria are bypassing the public and usurping the legal system to force their policies on the majority. “When the Supreme Court collaborates with them this erodes the public trust in the court,” Bennett warned.

Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), who is a resident of Gush Etzion, said the high court’s “scandalous decision” constitutes the crossing of red lines, revealing the court’s utter disconnection from common sense and from the historic values and the legacy of the nation of Israel. Elkin called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) to lead a far-reaching reform to regain the public’s trust in the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s ruling was an uncompromising order to destroy homes that “were built illegally on private lands.” Considering the fact that the ruling required forcing residents out of their homes, and the large number of homes in question, Court President Justice Miriam Naor gave government and the residents 18 months to prepare for the evacuation/demolition.

Naor wrote that the court ignored on principle the fact that the outpost had been established with government endorsement and support, saying government does not enjoy a special status when it comes to standing before the high court. “In the judicial process government is equal to other litigants,” Naor emphasized, adding that the fact that government had been aiding in a long-term illegal enterprise does not make it kosher.

According to the petition by Peace Now, which dug up the Arabs who are now claiming to be the original owners of Netiv Ha’Avot, the lands of the Al-Khader village near Bethlehem and Gush Etzion, in Judea, had been undergoing regulation by the Jordanian government at the time the IDF conquered the land in June 1967. The Israeli court opted not to rule whether or not the Jordanian government had the legal authority to carve up and hand out the land to local Arabs, land it had acquired through an act of war, invading the “West Bank,” including Jewish Gush Etzion, in 1948.

Davidi Pearl, who heads the Gush Etzion Regional Council, responded to the High Court’s decision saying the court had opted to belittle the government which had presented a vast array of legal alternatives that had been confirmed by the AG. Pearl called on the government to act immediately to enact a law to protect the honor of the Israeli government and the Judea and Samaria residents who had acted in good faith with the government’s encouragement.

JNi.Media

Kaine’s 2007 Appointment Of Jihad Supporter Draws Renewed Criticism After VP Pick

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

A controversial appointment made by Senator Tim Kaine during his tenure as governor of Virginia has come under new scrutiny in the wake of his selection by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as her running mate.

Kaine has what some are calling a “nuanced” position on Israel. While amassing a generally pro-Israel voting record, he emerged last year as a particularly robust supporter of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal and was one of the first Democratic lawmakers to announce he would boycott Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on the subject.

And while the left-wing NGO J Street was a major financial contributor to his Senate campaign committee and he was one of 13 Senate Democrats who earlier this year chose not to sign a strong bipartisan letter urging increased annual military aid, Kaine grilled U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power during her confirmation hearing, using his entire question time to elicit assurances from Power that she would defend Israel at the UN.

But the 2007 decision by then-governor Kaine to appoint Esam Omeish, a Libyan-born physician and then-president of the Muslim American Society, to Virginia’s Immigration Commission is what immediately raised red flags in the pro-Israel community after Clinton’s announcement that Kaine was her vice-presidential choice.

Kaine’s appointment of Omeish came despite the latter’s ties to and expressions of support for radical Islam and Jihadist terrorism.

Omeish is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Dar Al Hijrah mosque, which two of the 19 terrorists responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks attended as friends of the mosque’s imam.

That imam was Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Salafist cleric who later fled the United States and joined al Qaeda after settling in Yemen. In 2010, President Obama placed al-Awlaki on the CIA “kill list,” citing his orchestration of deadly terror attacks against Americans. In 2011 a U.S. drone strike killed al-Awlaki in southeast Yemen.

Omeish was not merely a congregant at the mosque where al-Awlaki preached; in 2000, as vice president of the mosque, he was responsible for vetting and hiring the radical cleric as the mosque’s imam.

The Muslim American Society, then headed by Omeish, had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2004, a description later confirmed by a federal report describing the group as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”

In addition to Omeish’s ties to radical Islam, his recorded comments prior to the appointment by Kaine made his support for Jihadism even more explicit.

During a December 22, 2000 speech at a Jerusalem Day Rally in Lafayette Park in Washington D.C., Omeish praised “the Jihad way” to “liberate your land.”

“We, the Muslims of the Washington metropolitan area, are here today in subfreezing temperatures to tell our brothers and sisters in Filastine [Palestine] that you have learned the way, that you have known that the Jihad way is the way to liberate your land. And we, by standing here today, despite the weather, and despite anything else, we are telling them that we are with you, we are supporting you, and we will do everything we can, inshallah [Allah willing], to help your cause.”

And in 2004, Omeish explicitly praised Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Kaine’s selection of Omeish was criticized by state Republicans, who said the governor had failed to properly vet the appointee. Kaine and his administration brushed off the criticism as stemming from Islamophobia, but Omeish’s activities and beliefs quickly became apparent and Kaine forced him to step down. Critics were left to wonder why Kaine had made the appointment in the first place.

Combined News Services

Misguided Criticism by American Jewish Liberals

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

27 Jewish “social justice organizations” recently wrote a widely-publicized open letter calling upon “political candidates to put an end to the racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia” which “has emerged in this year’s campaign.”

Naturally, all Jews – and decent people anywhere – agree racism of any form is unacceptable, and none of us approve of what these organizations describe as “hurtful characterizations of entire ethnic groups as criminals.”

All Americans can agree that “The Jewish community knows all too well what can happen when particular religious or ethnic groups become the focus of invective. We have witnessed the dangerous acts that can follow verbal expressions of hate.”As such, it was disappointing that a radical, extremist organization such as The New Israel Fund, which openly supports a boycott of Israel were among the organizations who signed this letter.

It is quite clear that today’s Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of old.

Israel must always be a bi-partisan issue and sadly we’ve recently seen that historic bond between Israel and the Democratic Party erode and weaken. Shamefully, elements of the Democratic Party are anti-Israel and doing all they can to destroy the pro-Israel consensus, as they stand shoulder to shoulder with those who boycott Israel.

Further, why did this letter not urge all candidates to stand with Israelis across the political spectrum who say no to dividing Jerusalem and a no nuclear Iran?

Naturally, all of us stand with the letter writers in condemning Anti-Semitism.  Therefore, why did this letter not urge all candidates to “shun advisors and close family friends” (i.e. Max Blumenthal) who are Anti-Israel, compare the Israel Defense Forces to Nazi Germany, refer to Israel as an “apartheid state” and harm the Jewish State.

As Alan Dershowitz—a Clinton supporter – notes, “Max Blumenthal is well outside the acceptable range of rhetoric about Israel. His constant comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state establish him as an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to anti-Semites and others who apply a double standard to the Jewish state.  Any political candidate who would associate himself or herself with such views would be unacceptable to Americans… I hope that the Clintons ask Sid to expressly disassociate himself from his son’s views–and if he refuses to, that they no longer work with him on any matters.”

 

The reality is that this letter was about what Jeff Jacoby, the op-ed editor of the Boston Globe has written namely that “liberalism has superseded Judaism as the religion of most American Jews.” As Author Norman Podhoretz wrote in “Why Are Jews Liberal” that “where the Torah of contemporary liberalism conflicts with the Torah of Judaism, it is the Torah of liberalism that prevails and the Torah of Judaism that must give way.”

While Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League claims this letter is not about “..a liberal or conservative issue”, he neglects to mention his recent embrace of J Street and to mention the fact that he is a former senior advisor to the most Anti-Israel President in modern history, Barack Obama.  That says it all.

Yes, we must all condemn Anti-Semitism – and we must also remember as Jacoby has written, “This liberalism isn’t rational. It isn’t sensible. It certainly isn’t good for the Jews.”

Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian

Definition of Insanity: Slaughtering Jews Invokes Criticism of Israel

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Rising website}
Last Wednesday a murderous terror attack took place in Tel Aviv, ripping four innocent lives away from their loved ones forever. One moment they were sitting in a café enjoying themselves, and a split second later they were gone, lifeless, leaving only precious memories behind.

When did Tel Aviv become “disputed territory?”

In the wake of this latest in a lengthy wave of despicable attacks we are left once again to wonder when will it end? When will those who support and perpetrate such acts realize there exists no moral equivalence between murder and justice? Do these murderers actually think the Jews are going to be intimidated into giving up their rightful homeland? It’s high time they accept this and find another cause to vent their hatred toward. Their goal will not be realized.

Israel is the one single nation whose people were dispersed throughout the world for two millennia, only to be reborn in its original location. That cannot be coincidence.

After the attack we’re witness to the typical reaction coming in from around the world voicing outrage and condemnation, while expressing solidarity with Israel and its need for security. Having been the victim of more terror attacks than they wish to admit, Israel is quite used to seeing such empathetic statements.

Frankly, while not attempting to speak on behalf of Israeli leadership, I’d be willing to bet they are sick and tired of hearing and reading such reactions. Why? Not because they aren’t appreciated. I’m sure they are. However, they’re sick and tired of having to endure such horrific tragedy which engenders said reactions. Frankly, I wouldn’t blame Israel one bit.

However, while sympathetic statements poured in condemning the terrorism, there exists another chorus of voices. These voices minimize the murderous attack on innocent civilians and use the tragedy as a platform for their own agenda. At a moment when grief and shock resounds throughout the country, especially with the bereaved families, they take the opportunity to launch criticism of Israel.

For example, French Foreign Ministry Jean-Marc Ayrault said this in reaction to Israel’s decision to revoke permits for thousands of Muslims planning to enter Israel during Ramadan- “the decision by the Israeli authorities today to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits could stoke tensions which could lead to a risk of escalation….we must be careful about anything that could stoke tensions.”

Moreover, while Palestinian Arabs danced in the streets celebrating the brutal murders MSNBC ran a report on the attack, which included the following comments- “the siege that continues in Gaza….there’s a tremendous amount of frustration on the part of the Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank…..further oppression in the occupied West Bank.” New Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was referred to as an “extreme right winger…he’s a settler himself.”

Adding insult to injury is the ever friendly United Nations. During their 2015 session for example it passed 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism. The number of resolutions passed against the rest of the world- 3.

Plus, the office of the UNHRC High Commissioner (United Nations Human Rights Council) Zeed Ra’ad Al Hussein released this statement- “We are deeply concerned about the response from the Israeli authorities, which includes measures that may amount to prohibitive collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice felt by the Palestinians at the very tense time.”

If the issuers of these statements will permit me, I would like to offer what some might consider to be a much needed pragmatic reaction to their comments- Are these people living on planet earth? OK, so this isn’t very pragmatic.

In all seriousness where is their collective conscience? They have the audacity to sit in judgement of the Israeli government’s policies and while simultaneously minimizing the murder of innocent civilians.

In the totality of their collective untimely salvos at Israel where were any comments regarding the responsibility of the Palestinian Arab leadership? For example, Hamas was eager to take responsibility for the attack, offering praise to the murderers. Mahmoud Abbas provided a general statement which criticized violence, yet offered no specific condemnation of the attack.

Am I the only one who thinks that after such an event, it might be an appropriate time to suggest Mahmoud Abbas publicly condemn the murderers and announce strict measures to prevent such attacks, since the terrorists came from territory he is responsible for? Is it unreasonable to expect that mainstream media such as MSNBC include comments about how little is done by the Palestinian leadership to prevent ongoing terror? Moreover, would be reasonable to expect that MSNBC state that murdering innocent civilians is unacceptable, period, even if their network disagrees with Israeli policies.

Might one expect that the UNCHR urge the Palestinian leadership to act more like a genuine peace partner by cracking down on the extended intifada which has pushed the prospects for peace further away than ever. Where are such voices?

Statements from the EU, Britain and even the US did not mention a word about the need for the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership to do a better job of policing their own. General statements condemning the violence do nothing to prevent similar murders from reoccurring. This is inexcusable.

When the response to terrorism is viewed as less acceptable than terrorism itself, it’s a welcome mat for more.

Sometimes I wonder if two Israelis were sitting in a café in Ramallah or Gaza City and suddenly without warning started shooting indiscriminately at Palestinian Arabs, murdering them in cold blood, what might world reaction be to such horror?

On second thought maybe it’s not such a good idea to wonder such things.

Dan Calic

UN: Ban Ki-moon Did Not Mean to Retract Statement on Anti-Israel Bias

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry attempted to clarify Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s seemingly conflicting statements regarding anti-Israel bias at the world body, stating that Ban did not retract his original statement confirming the existence of that bias.

On Aug. 16, Ban told university students at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem, “Unfortunately, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination.”

But when later pressed by reporters in New York about his statements regarding UN discrimination against Israel, Ban answered, “No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations. The Israeli government in fact, you know, raised this issue that [there is] some bias against Israel.”

In an interview on Israel Radio on Sunday, however, Serry said that Ban meant what he originally said.

“I’ve been in touch with the Secretary-General’s office in New York, and I can assure you that what he said there in New York was not meant as a retraction,” Serry said on Israel Radio.

“[Ban] has said, unfortunately, because of the conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism, and suffered from lies and sometimes even discrimination,” Serry added. “This is what I know he has been saying here, and I know this is what he stands for.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed Serry’s clarification of Ban’s comments.

“We are pleased that Mr. Serry has reiterated the Secretary-General’s belief that Israel is not treated fairly, and does indeed suffer from ‘lies’ and ‘discrimination’ in the world body,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement.

JNS News Service

Can One Be a Shomer Torah u’Mitzvos and Accept Bible Criticism?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Another voice has entered the online discussion about Bible Criticism and orthodox Judaism. Professor Jacob L. Wright is an orthodox Jew who has studied, taught, and written extensively on Bible Criticism.

He made waves Pesach time when he published a provocative article on the Huffington Post where he talked about “The Myth of Moses.” In his article he explained that his view of the Bible is that it is a composite work with each layer added for a specific reason. In the Moses story, there was a need to justify the existence of an Egyptian prince named Moses who saved the Israelites and establish him as a bona fide Israelite. So the Bible tells the story of a boy who was cast off by his mother into the Nile. This story has very obscure references as the names of the major players in the story are not mentioned. Later, the story was viewed as salacious so new details were added as a prologue to the story.

If it weren’t the Bible and I weren’t orthodox, this would be a great theory to explain anomalies in the text. But it is the Bible and I am orthodox so it hardly sits well with me when the Bible is explained away as myth.

Professor Wright was interview by Professor Alan Brill on his Kavvanah website. The interview is worth your time and consideration if you don’t mind reading what is widely considered to be absolute kefira.

The first important thing in the interview is the introduction where Brill outlines the current status of Biblical Criticism. It’s required reading so I copy it in full here:

As background, the problems of the Bible go back to the tenth and eleventh century Islamic critiques of the Bible by Ibn Hazm and others. Second, modern figures such as Spinoza and Jean Astruc sought to understand the Bible as a human book using the same tools that we use to understand Greek and Roman books. And in the 19th century, Wellhausen popularized a theory that the Pentateuch had four authors. But the important part of his theory was that the ritual and priestly material was a priestly Pharisaic digression from the original pure faith of the prophets necessitating Christianity for a restoration. Hence, Solomon Schechter called it higher anti-Semitism, David Zvi Hoffman showed that Leviticus is not in contradiction to the rest of the story, Kaufman showed that the prophets assumed the priestly material, and Cassuto showed based on Sumerian and Akkadian sources that the divisions fail.

Well, Wellhausen was writing a century ago, with the aforementioned defenses all formulated in a post WWI climate. For at least forty years the field was already given to authors such as Gunkel who assumes the Bible is legend, the way Gilgamesh is legend. And Martin Noth who assumed most of the narrative was formulated originally as oral traditions- read here. Questions of redaction were not tied to Wellhausen, or even literary documents, but to oral traditions.

What do historians currently think about the context of the Bible? They assume that it was written between 720 BCE and 587 BCE, between the destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem, with some editing until the end of Ezra’s life circa 440 BCE. (Minimalists make it more recent and Evangelicals defend the chronological dates.) They work from parallels to Assyrian texts, the nature of script, linguistics, and reconstructed context of author. Little of this has anything to do with literary doublets. If you want to reject historical criticism, then start learning ancient linguistics and texts contemporary to the Bible. No harmonization of passages changes this dating nor does anything from Cassutto or Hoffman affect it. (However, Prof. Josh Berman is seeking to shift the discussion from Assyrians to the Hittites in 1300 BCE, an effort that may be accepted by the Orthodox but does not promise to have much of an impact on the experts. But it is better than refuting Kugel, who is not a historian of ancient Israel or source critic so the critique does not help.)

This past May there was a major conference at Hebrew University on“Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory;” if you are interested in these topics, then that was the place to be. The conference opened up with a clear statement that there are three approaches: a Documentary approach (not based on Wellhausen but on Noth and others) where there are separate documents; a Supplementary approach,where a single document get more and more complex; and a Fragmentary approach, where we cannot separate out authors or layers anymore.

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Vatican Newspaper Slams Roger Waters Antisemitic Imagery

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

An op-ed appearing in L’Osservatore Romano—the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper—slammed the use of anti-Semitic imagery by former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters at a concert in Belgium last month. The op-ed, however, did not mention Waters by name.

“The spirit and the style of the Werchter Rock festival was visible, with the fans who had every right to listen to music that they enjoy. But did they also have the right to draw the Star of David on the back of a pig and not be reported?” wrote Christina Dobner, the author of the op-ed.

“We continue to talk about the respect for every religion and every human being, yet we keep falling into these shameful situations,” she wrote.

During the concert, Waters featured a giant pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Star of David. The pig-shaped balloon has been used in Pink Floyd concerts for decades as part of performances of songs from their album, “The Wall.”

Waters, who has been a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, has garnered widespread criticism for his concert display.

“With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear. Forget Israel, never mind ‘limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace.’ Waters is an open hater of Jews,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner.

In an open letter on his Facebook page, Waters rejected Cooper’s criticism and denied that he is an anti-Semite.

“Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non-violent protest. To peacefully protest against Israel’s racist domestic and foreign policies is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC,” Waters wrote.

JNS News Service

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/vatican-newspaper-slams-roger-waters-antisemitic-imagery/2013/08/07/

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