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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Presidents Conference’

Stupidly Blind and Blindly Stupid

Monday, June 24th, 2013

A rabbi was attacked on the streets of Amsterdam yesterday. The rabbi was beaten, kicked and spat upon. The man who attacked him was a Muslim. Realizing by the anger and hatred of the man who approached him, the rabbi asked a passersby for help – but was ignored.

The attacker was probably blinded by hatred because he missed one key factor. The Jew he was beating was a member of Neturei Karta, an organization that is as anti-Zionist and anti-Israel as the Muslim attacker. Interestingly enough, the Muslim was being honest enough to know that there is no real difference between a Zionist and a Jew. The rabbi, however, remains stupidly blind to this simple fact.

This rabbi, who holds Israeli citizenship, belongs to an organization that has stood with Iran in calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth. And in this incident, he proves the very reason why Israel must exist. For the Jews too stupid or too blind to realize it, Israel continues to provide a safe haven. Israel is a beacon of light, warning the world that there will never be another Holocaust.

At the President’s Conference, Bibi Netanyahu stood up and with the conviction we all feel, said, “I won’t allow it.” He was, of course, speaking for all Israel and for all Israelis.

Yes, a rabbi was beaten in Amsterdam because he wears the garb of the Jew and despite his blind stupidity in belonging to an organization that actually agrees with his attacker, he still became a victim of hatred.

In the logical world. the rabbi would realize his mistake; understand that to the man who attacked him, all Jews deserve to be beaten, and all of Israel is occupied and needs to be destroyed.

In the real world, the beaten rabbi would understand that ONLY through Israel, will the Jewish people avoid another Holocaust because when all is said and done, only Israel provides the protection, the haven, we need.

As the Syrian border heats up, nations pull their “peacekeeping” forces away. Yesterday – two things happened – a rabbi was beaten for being a Jew, even a blind and stupid one, and seven rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza.

The rabbi remains in the hospital; Israel’s air force flew into action this morning answering the attack by hitting multiple military targets.

I don’t expect the rabbi to become enlightened; I don’t expect Gaza to learn either.

May God bless the land and people of Israel, even the stupid ones, and may the Guardian of Israel protect our guardians, our sons and daughters who defend this land.

Bibi Netanyahu – in Translation

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Bibi Netanyahu walked on the stage at the closing of the President’s Conference (Tomorrow 2013) and I knew he’d be a great speaker – he always is. When he is addressing an international audience, as he knew he would be, his words are strong and resonate with the meaning of Israel. When he speaks to Israelis, that’s when I have more problems because that’s when he is fighting for his political future and in doing so, sometimes forgets to fight for the land and country itself.

He has to play politics, and he does it very well. He has to compromise, to walk a fine line between Lieberman, Bennet, Shas, the Ultra-Orthodox parties, the secular, the opposition. In short, he’s so busy dancing, he forgets to think.

But I knew, I just knew, that at the President’s Conference, he’s shine in a way that few others can. He’s quick-thinking, very intelligent, and dynamic. What follows below is as near to transcription as I could get – almost word for word. If someone prints a transcript later, you are likely to find a few mistakes and some missing sentences, but if no one does-  this will do as a decent transcription.

Minutes after he took the stage, two hecklers stood and began calling out, shouting about the economic situation. While security moved in to remove them – non-violently – Bibi correctly pointed out that this is part of democracy and I quickly tweeted – listen up, Turkey, this is how you deal with demonstrators – not with tear gas and violence. Had these same people stood outside with signs, they would have had a chance to have their say. Once removed from the hall, they will not be beaten, though they may be detained and questioned. For the “sin” of speaking out, they probably won’t even be arrested. He spoke of three goals: security, prosperity, and peace.

Anyway – Bibi’s speech…

Security

There is an earthquake – it is changing the face of the world. It is turmoil and it is unclear. It is not yet clear who will have the upper hand. The jury is out. Now I’m convinced that the forces of freedom, education will ultimately win out; but ultimately that is not good enough for the Jewish people. Ultimately, the forces of goodness overtook the forces of evil but our people paid a terrible price. I will not let that happen again. Israel will not let that happen.

And the danger we face is that the most dangerous weapons will fall into the hands of the most dangerous nations – specifically one nation. Iran’s dictator denies them their rights and prevents them from materializing that future.

The first thing that the new president of Iran said was that Iran must be guaranteed their rights. He didn’t say the Iranian people must be guaranteed their rights. He said IRAN must be. And they think that means nuclear weapons.

We may be seeing a change in style but not in content. The “new” way is that you smile, you talk, and you move forward to nuclear Iran. The second in command in Iran criticizes the last president for not engaging in this tactic. We cannot allow the Iranian regime to play this game. Now there is a critical test.

They must stop ALL enrichment; remove what has been enriched; and shut down the nuclear plants. I say to the international community, you must keep up the pressure.

This is fundamental for international security and fundamental to Israeli security.

Prosperity

You know the old joke – to make a small fortune in Israel, you need to come here with a big one. Well, that isn’t true anymore. There are ways to make big fortunes and in Israel – we’ve shot ahead. Ten years ago, our GPA was 2/3 of European, today, we have passed some and are right there with others.

We once had the economy of a developing company – we’ve emerged. We are one of the most advanced economies in the world. We lead the OECD by opening up our economy… to the genius of our people.

We have to sustain such growth. It gets harder but we are going to do it. We are going to modernize our ports. Just about everything you see – this land, this piece of wood…well, not everything – but just about everything you see goes through our ports and we will make it cheaper and more available.

Tomorrow 2013 – Tony Blair’s Vision

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Once a year, President Shimon Peres hosts the President’s Conference and once again this year, I was invited to attend. It’s fun to go as a blogger – to be recognized with all the honor and privilege of a journalist. Of course, we don’t get the same pay, but we are free in a way that journalists shouldn’t be. They are supposed to report the news, though too many break that line and cross into the realm of making news.

Bloggers are free to think and express thoughts and so it is particularly nice that we are rewarded here with this. Being a blogger/journalist means walking past a line of dozens, perhaps even hundreds to the front – express check in.

The conference is called Tomorrow 2013 – and it presents a vision of what is to come – something quite ambitious for a man of 90 years of age. This year, Peres’ annual conference has become a joint birthday celebration. Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, and Bill Clinton have come to help him celebrate.

As with last year, the lead speaker is former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is a great speaker, grace, intelligence, humor. He has a vision of the Middle East that enables us to see a bright and clear world, where there is mutual respect, security for all, and truly a world focused on that which betters mankind. He says he is not naive and in many ways I agree. He correctly points out that “much of the sentiment in the west right now is to stay out of Syria, but,” he points out, “as every day shows, the cost of staying out” can (in my words here) be measured in the bodies of innocent Syrians.

Regarding the Syrians, he says “there is only one recourse – to do what is right, even if it is not popular.” He is a popular, dynamic speaker – offering words that are obvious and yet sincere – “we should stand up for truth and democracy.” And yes, he tells us here in Israel, in the only democracy in the Middle East, that “democracy is not just a way of voting, it is a way of thinking.”

My problem with Tony Blair is that when it comes to Israel…suddenly the naiveté comes through. He says we are wrong to think that the two-state solution idea can’t work; in fact, he believes we who believe in any other long-term solution live in a fantasy. He recognizes potential security issues and yet misses the most fundamental of points. This year, as last year, I am left to wonder how he can be so smart when it comes to Syria and Iran, and so blind when it comes to what is happening here.

I’m left with the simple and irrefutable truth that a speaker last year said. I can’t wait to hear her again this year – from her mouth, I expect the truth – the truth as it applies to Israel and the truth as it applies to others in the Middle East. “Even if you give them Jerusalem,” she said last year, “even if you give them Jerusalem, there won’t be peace.” That is the great truth that so many at this conference refuse to see. It goes against all the Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and even Shimon Peres want to believe. And yet, a truth it is.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Israel’s President’s Conference Kicks Off with Birthday Bash

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The Israel President’s Conference kicked off on Tuesday night with a star-studded 90th birthday bash for Shimon Peres, along with an obsessive repetition of the word “peace” over and over again.

The star of the evening was Barbra Streisand who sang Avinu Malkeinu and People.

Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Bibi Netanyahu also played supporting roles in the party with their very popular speeches.

A number of other singers and dancers also performed.

In the audience was Robert De Niro, The IDF Chief of Staff, Natan Sharansky, and many other famous people.

.Barbra and Shimon

 

Being Intellectually Honest

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Last July, I went to the President’s Conference in Jerusalem, invited as a blogger and treated with much respect. My political agenda is pretty obvious to anyone who takes the time to read about my writings. I am, if nothing else, intellectually honest in my feelings. I object when someone says I hate Arabs – I don’t. I don’t object when someone says that my political realities leave no room for the hope that peace is just around the corner. It isn’t.

When I was first invited to the conference – I was a bit surprised. Truthfully, I despise much of what Peres has done in his life and certainly, dislike many of the words that come out of his mouth. I think at age 90, he has finally found his niche and he’s an excellent president – if he would just stay out of politics. But he won’t, and I won’t, so he and I have a nice truce most of the time. He talks; I write. I was concerned that being invited meant I’d have to write his words, break this quiet truce we’ve had going for the last 20 years – I couldn’t agree to that.

But I was assured that I had complete freedom to be, to write…and the promise was most definitely delivered – I wrote what I wanted…I did. I blasted several of the speakers. I called them naive. I argued that some had no right to come here and draw lines on the map or lecture us about how we can do more. And the one who amazed me beyond all others, was the one who spoke in direct contradiction to most of what Shimon Peres believes. “Even if you give them Jerusalem,” Ayaan Hirsi-Ali said, “even if you give them Jerusalem, there will be no peace.”

So I went, I wrote, and felt that I had fulfilled two commitments – the first, to attend and write as much as I could to provide the noise and the bang any conference organizer wants associated with an event, and second to be true to myself. Obviously, the conference organizers agreed, because I was invited back again this year.

It truly is an amazing event – and this year, Professor Stephen Hawking was invited to attend and speak – and he agreed. And then, as would be expected, Palestinians started writing to him demanding that he boycott Israel and the conference and – amazingly enough, as would not be expected, this intelligent man, this icon of British intellectualism, caved in and agreed. He wrote the organizers that he has agreed to the boycott of Israel and will not be coming.

I have no problems with his boycott. I understand and respect his sentiment. I ask only one thing – that he be true to his convictions and boycott Israel entirely. Do not come here, do not speak here. In fact, if you want to be intellectually honest, don’t speak at all. You see, the device that you, Professor Hawking, use to communicate despite your crippled body, includes a computer with an Intel Core i7-based communication system, which runs on a chip designed in Israel. So you see, Hawking, every word you say bears testimony to your hypocrisy.

Please go ahead – truly boycott Israel – I can think of no easier way to silence your absurd position. You don’t want to come to Israel to thank those who enable you to sustain a higher quality of life – no problem, don’t come. This year’s President’s Conference has a rich list of speakers and unlike some others, I personally don’t think you’ll be missed.

But I do hope a man of your…um…intellectual honesty…will have the decency to truly fulfill the boycott you support. I wonder if maybe the scientists in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon have developed an alternative device…yeah, I didn’t think so either. In the meantime, there’s always pen and paper…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Stars of ‘Scandal’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ at Kotel on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Stars from the hit American TV shows “Scandal” and “Once Upon a Time” visited the Western Wall Friday night during and found themselves immediately recognized by religious Jewish prayer-goers.

”People approached us at the Western Wall, saying they watch our shows,” said Katie Lowes, who stars in the new American political thriller television series “Scandal,” created by Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes.

”It has been an amazing experience, visiting across Israel. But the visit to the Western Wall and the Shabbat dinner that followed, was truly a highlight,” she added. ”It was beautiful to hear the people singing and praying and to be part of a Shabbat dinner with a family in Jerusalem.”

The Hollywood celebrities spent a week touring Israel in a trip which was led by America’s Voices in Israel (AVI) director Irwin Katsof and sponsored by El Al Israel Airlines and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The group spent time in the Golan Heights, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Masada, Dead Sea and Jerusalem from April 29-May 5.

Presidents Conference Leaders, URJ Join Pollard Plea

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Top U.S. Jewish organizations joined the call on President Obama to release Jonathan Pollard because of his reported illness.

“A few months ago we visited Jonathan Pollard in prison and came away concerned about his health and the medical challenges he faced,” said a letter sent this week to Obama from Richard Stone, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the foreign policy umbrella for the Jewish community, and Malcolm Hoenlein, its executive vice president. “The news of his hospitalization has augmented those concerns. We join President Shimon Peres and scores of American intellectual, religious, political, and civic leaders in appealing for his prompt release.”

Peres, the Israeli president, on Monday appealed to Obama to grant clemency to Pollard, who has been imprisoned since 1986 for spying for Israel.

Pollard, 57, reportedly was hospitalized last week although his condition and the nature of his illness remain unclear.

Also urging Pollard’s clemency in light of the hospitalization was the Union for Reform Judaism.

“Jonathan Pollard has been incarcerated for nearly 27 years, after pleading guilty to espionage to an ally,” said the statement by URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “While we do not condone Mr. Pollard’s actions, we believe he has served his time. In studying precedents, no other individual convicted of similar crimes has served such a lengthy sentence.  Further, the humanitarian justification is intensified by his deteriorating health condition.”

Presidents Conference leaders, URJ join Pollard plea

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/presidents-conference-leaders-urj-join-pollard-plea/2012/04/12/

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