web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘defeats’

J Street’s Blindness, Mohammed’s Dream and Israel’s Nightmare

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The New York Times reported on Monday that the group called the American Studies Association (of almost 5000 members), approved a boycott resolution against Israel, by a 2-to-1 margin in an online balloting that concluded Sunday night, with about a quarter of the members voting (1,252).

The statement cited “Israel’s violations of international law and U.N. resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights,” and other factors.

The American Studies Association has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities, said Curtis Marez, the group’s president and an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable, but he said, “one has to start somewhere.” This is only one example in a large and growing campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

We live in a world where a people returning to it’s ancestral home is accused of occupation, and redemption has become colonialism. It’s a world in which discourse no longer exists, where tweeting and the dissemination of snippets of information dictate the course of events. We must rise above the elegant slogans of the left, and develop what Bertrand Russell called “immunity to eloquence.”

“Propaganda must not investigate the truth… and… present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side… The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward… Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula.”

This quote is from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Slogans such as Occupation, and Land for Peace, advanced by the Muslim delegitimization campaign against Israel, groups like the ASA, and a hodgepodge of other left wing anti-Zionist and Antisemitic organizations, which appeal to a deep rooted and innate sense of justice, have become an integral part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1964, and was one of many national liberation movements of that era. In its 1968 charter, the Palestine National Council (PNC) resolved that; Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Muslims have assimilated the principles of Nazi propaganda so well that today this perversity of reality is universally accepted, even by so called academics. They are even embraced and disseminated by the George Soros’ supported J Street, and other left wing American Jewish groups who are blind to he reality of the Middle East.

The land of Israel was first conquered by Joshua around 1200 BCE. The peoples who inhabited the land at the time are long extinct. Ever since then, the history of the People of Israel is a story of the victories, defeats, exiles, and redemption. The first wave of the Muslim conquests of the Land of Israel ushered in 465 years of nonstop war. Jerusalem fell in 638 after a long siege, Ashkelon fell in 644, while Caesarea endured a siege that lasted, off and on, for 7 years, and it was the last to fall. The Muslim Conquests that began at the start of the seventh century continued in waves until the creation of the State of Israel, which put an end to the repeated penetrations by Muslim invaders. The Muslim occupation of the land of Israel has been the longest continuous imperialistic and colonialist conquest in the history of mankind.

Failing in Order to Succeed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The rabbis teach that we can only truly understand Torah when we allow ourselves to fail at it (Gittin 43a). Unless we push ourselves to reach for deeper understanding, where we inevitably get it wrong before we can get it right, we will not grasp the very essence of the Jewish enterprise. Rashi here seems to think that it’s the public shame of getting it wrong (and the concomitant rebuke) that strengthens one’s intellectual rigor. It is not hard to think about giving constructive feedback (“rebuke”) when it comes to moral matters, but do we care enough about ideas that we (respectfully) challenge others when ideas are misinterpreted or misapplied? How much do we really value the marketplace of ideas and the assurance that we as individuals and as a society get it right?

History is full of examples of leaders who acknowledged that persistence in the face of failure was more important than individual failures. President Abraham Lincoln, whose army suffered many crushing defeats in the early years of the Civil War, said: “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” A century later, Robert F. Kennedy echoed the optimistic spirit of youth when he said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Besides for being tragically assassinated, what these presidents have in common in that their causes lasted, their legacies carried on, and they are remembered as being among the greatest and most successful men to occupy the Oval Office.

Very often, one can be lured by the traps of conformism (just follow others’ ideas or practices) or isolationism (just follow one’s own marginal ideas and practices). Our job as Jews is to break free from these ploys for mediocrity. We must challenge ourselves and the status quo to reach higher by engaging with societal ideas but without blindly accepting them.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chassidic movement) and founder and intellectual-spiritual leader in his own right, was anything but a conformist. He not only told his followers to be happy, but he also encouraged them to do silly things, highly unusual for a religious leader. Rebbe Nachman stated that each person had to fall in order to rise, and stressed the universality of this concept:

[E]ach person who fell … thinks that these words weren’t spoken for him, for he imagines that these ideas are only for great people who are always climbing from one level to the next. But truthfully, you should know and believe, that all these words were also said concerning the smallest of the small and the worst of the worst, for Hashem is forever good to all.

However, Rebbe Nachman went further, stating that it is “a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination.” Even the tendency to evil could serve G-d, as people worked through these passions and eventually overcame them. To Rebbe Nachman, it seems, spiritual stasis is the only unacceptable path.

We must be willing to learn and debate with others. Ideas matter. Inevitably that will lead to some level of shame when we get it wrong, but the promise land afterwards is much greater. It offers a culture of more honest, informed, connected individuals who are willing to be vulnerable for the sake of truth and who are willing to be wrong in order to get it right. Our great rabbinic and presidential leaders wouldn’t have it any other way.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/failing-in-order-to-succeed/2013/08/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: