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Posts Tagged ‘reaction’

Poles Unhappy with Obama’s Retraction, as Entire Polish Economy Is at Stake

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

CBS News reported that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is still “unsatisfied” with the White House apology for a comment made by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, about a “Polish death camp,” and demanded a more “explicit reaction.”

“We expect that America, in connection with this very statement, will join our efforts and help us eradicate such false and unjust phrases once and for all,” said Tusk, according to the Polish government’s website. “We always react in the same way to ignorance, lack of knowledge and ill will which lead to the distortion of history. Such phrases are especially painful for Poland – Europe’s most affected country by World War II.”

On Tuesday, while awarding a posthumous Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter, President Obama described how Karski was smuggled “into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp” to see for himself the atrocities taking place there.

Karski reported what he saw to President Roosevelt, in what Obama called “one of the first accounts of the Holocaust.”

Unfortunately, despite repeated pleas from Jewish leaders both in the U.S. and in Palestine, the Roosevelt administration did nothing to halt the shipment of Jews to the death camp, nor to disturb in any way the operation of those camps.

President Obama’s “Polish death camp” comment drew irate criticism from Polish officials, who would have preferred “German death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland,” or, simply, “Nazi death camp.”

One of the reasons Poland is so adamant regarding its historic role as victim, rather than collaborator, has to do with the possibility of being sued by Jewish Holocaust survivors for billions of dollars worth of property appropriated from Jews.

Last year, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski attacked the U.S. for its support of Jewish demands that Poland compensate Jews for property stolen from Jews during the Holocaust.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in reaction to Sikorski’s statement that “Poland is telling many elderly pre-war landowners, including Holocaust survivors, that they have no foreseeable hope of even a small measure of justice for the assets that were seized from them.”

Justice for Poland’s Jewish victims could result in the financial ruin of the Polish state, as an enormous part of that country’s wealth used to be owned by Jews who are no longer among us.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski accused Obama of “ignorance and incompetence,” and Premier Tusk suggested Obama’s view was a “distortion of history.”

The White House issued a statement saying the president had misspoken and expressed its regrets.

But Tusk was still not satisfied.

“I am certain that our American friends are capable of a more explicit reaction than issuing a correction and the spokesperson of the White House expressing regret, and that maybe they will once and for all eliminate such errors,” he said. “It is an issue to which we cannot be indifferent, for the sake of Poland, our country and our fellow countrymen. We cannot accept such words, even if they are uttered by the head of an ally superpower.”

In his daily press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney recited the Warsaw-approved version of history, saying the president “was referring to the Nazi death camps in German-occupied Poland.”

“As we’ve made clear, we regret the misstatement,” Carney said, adding that the error “should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski” and other Polish citizens “who fought against the terrible tyranny of the Nazis.”

Carney said he was not aware of any plans for the president or anyone else in the administration to call the Polish Prime Minister.

Sharing Recipes

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The first few post-Pesach days are filled with the hurried rush to consume as much “chometz” as possible – and then the weight concerns begin. For some, the gut reaction (pun intended) is to stop eating – never a good idea. We all know that the best way to lose those extra pounds is by focusing on eating healthy.

This week we asked some of The Jewish Press staff to share with us some of their low-fat or low-calorie recipes. We hope you enjoy them.

 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza – Jodie Maoz

(makes 3 individual size pizzas)

This is a fun recipe to do with kids. Let them pick out the vegetables they want – try to give them a colorful array. Try to make it colorful. Since these are individual pizzas everyone can have their favorites. Let us know if you come up with any interesting pizza twists.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower (or 1 lb bag frozen, thawed in refrigerator)
1 egg or egg white (per pizza)
½ cup shredded cheese (per pizza)
Vegetable toppings (per pizza)

Directions

Microwave cauliflower for 6 minutes (don’t add water)

Chop cauliflower (in food processor or with hand blender). Do NOT puree. There will be pieces.

Take 1 cup of the cauliflower, egg or egg white, ½ cup shredded cheese and mix well.

Put on cookie sheet already sprayed with olive oil

Don’t let the edges of crust mixture touch sides of pan as that will make the edges hard.

Bake at 450° degrees for 15-20 minutes. Edges should be golden brown

Remove from oven and put on sauce and then top with your favorite vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, olives, etc). Sprinkle with cheese and put back in oven just until cheese is melted.

 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Chumi Friedman

This recipe is so simple to prepare and it always a hit in our home.

Ingredients

3-4 large sweet potatoes
Sea salt
Olive oil

Directions

Pre-heat over to 400°

Cut sweet potatoes into medium size cubes and sprinkle on salt and add oil to taste.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until crispy (or soft, depending on you like it).

Now, what could be more filling than a bowl of hot soup? Here are two great choices.

 

Easy Minestrone Soup – Chani

Ingredients

2 onions
4 sweet potatoes
2 pkgs minestrone soup mix
2 tsp salt
14 cups water

Directions

Sauté onions in oil; add rest of ingredients and cook for 1.5 hours. Then blend wit an immersion blender and enjoy.

 

Tomato Rice Soup – Dodie

Ingredients

2 large onions, chopped 4 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp flout 16 oz tomato juice 2 cups water 1 tsp sugar ½ cup uncooked rice salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté onion in oil, add flour and quickly add tomato juice and water. Stir and then add sugar and rice. Cook on low heat until rice is fully cooked. If soup is too thick add more water.

 

Matbucha – Rita

This is a delicious salad that compliments meat or fish.

Ingredients

8 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
4-5 red peppers
oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic
¾ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp cumin

Directions

Grill peppers in oven on high heat. Cool, peel and cut into small pieces.

Pour desired amount of oil into pan and add cut up tomatoes, cooking over a low flame until they are soft. Add peppers and remaining ingredients and continue cooking. Do not cover and do not add water.

And now for dessert!

Low Fat Cheese Cake – Rita L.

Ingredients

12 ounces farmer cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp light sour cream or plain yogurt
10 tsp sugar (substitute sweetener or use ½ sugar & ½ sweetener)
1 tsp lemon extract
1 pack vanillin sugar

Directions

Put all ingredients in blender and mix. Pour into greased 7″ round pan or 8″ square. Bake at 350° degrees approx 1/2 hour, until light brown at the edges.

The Eisner Affair

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

We would never presume to second-guess the IDF’s judgment concerning the actions of one of its officers while on duty. But several observations need to be made about the worldwide reaction to that video of IDF Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner’s striking a demonstrator with a rifle butt.

This episode is not just about the reaction of one soldier in a tense situation. It is also about calculated provocations designed to show Israel in the worst possible light, and it is that aspect of the controversy which needs to be addressed.

For one thing, the uproar over the event only underscores that the kind of violence seen on the video was atypical of what has come to be expected from the Israeli military.

For another, the incident occurred next door to the Syrian killing fields, and yet the pro-Palestinian protestors had not a word to say about that, focusing their ire instead on the lone democracy in the region. Why the sympathy for demonstrators who ignore palpable evil but obsess about one side of a long-simmering geopolitical controversy? And would the demonstrators last one minute if they brought their act to any Arab country?

Also, how is it that a reaction to provocation is judged without reference to the provocation? Where is the discussion about the propriety of protesters seeking to force the opening of a blockaded road that is part of a security plan which continues to save Israeli lives? Why is that area not properly considered a war zone with all of the assumed risks that entails?

And does it mean nothing that the object of Lt. Col. Eisner’s anger was a link in a pulsating chain of marchers challenging soldiers whose mission it was to keep them off the security road? What, exactly, were the soldiers supposed to do to stop them? Feed them falafel?

Further, after the Rodney King fiasco twenty years ago, why aren’t more people concerned that the tape may not tell the full story? Shalom Eisner claimed that violence had been visited upon him – and that two of his fingers were broken as a result – just before the videographer/demonstrator started filming. Is that to be dismissed out of hand?

As an Israeli military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, said, while that while Lt. Col. Eisner may have breached his ethical duties, he was facing “an illegal riot” and that the video being circulated showed a thirty-second edited snippet of a 120-second tape.

While remaining mindful of the strict standards the IDF imposes on its personnel, we need to never lose sight of the goals and methods of anti-Israel fanatics who will stop at nothing to undermine Israeli security and whose fondest dreams are our worst nightmares.

The Mayor’s Tepid Response To The Brooklyn Bombings

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We were encouraged by the statement of Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes that he will not agree to any plea bargains and will seek the maximum jail sentence of up to fifteen years in prison for anyone convicted in last week’s Flatbush firebombings. Several cars were destroyed and swastikas and anti-Jewish slurs were painted on nearby park benches in the early morning attack.

Frankly, Mr. Hynes’s sense of outrage and urgency  was a refreshing change of pace from the rather tepid reaction on the part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The patently anti-Semitic vandalism occurred at the intersection of Avenue I and Ocean Parkway, a predominantly Jewish area. The target site is surrounded by several synagogues and yeshivas. The attack took place the morning after the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, though it’s unclear whether there was any connection.

So we were more than a little put off  by the mayor’s relatively blasé response to such a disturbing and potentially deadly incident (the block where the attack occurred is frequented by joggers and fuel trucks).

In a statement released to the press, the mayor said,

 

New York City is home to more than 8 million of the most open and tolerant people in the world. But even here, there are occasional incidents involving actions that are hateful or vicious or both…. The fact that this most recent attack came on the heels of the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht may or not be a coincidence. Either way, this kind of hateful act has no place in the freest city in the freest country in the world.

 

Boiled down to their essence, Mr. Bloomberg’s remarks can be summed up as “Yes, this was reprehensible, but stuff happens.” The mayor was also a notable no-show at the rally against anti-Semitism on Sunday that was attended by a cross section of elected officials.

Compare the mayor’s reaction with his robust responses to anything that might discomfit the Muslim community. When a Muslim army psychiatrist with reported jihadist ties shot and killed 13 American soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, Mr. Bloomberg met with New York Muslim leaders to discuss the tragedy.

Before the meeting, the mayor’s press secretary said “We’re trying to reach out to leaders in various Muslim communities throughout the city, because we’re trying to prevent the sort of anti-Muslim backlash we’ve seen elsewhere.”

After the meeting Mayor Bloomberg told reporters, against all available evidence, “I want to make sure that everybody in New York understands that the terrible tragedy at Fort Hood was an individual who snapped but it has nothing to do with religion.”

The mayor’s reaction to last year’s abortive Times Square bombing is also instructive. Although many assumed a Muslim terrorist was involved, Mr. Bloomberg, without a shred of proof, declared that the wannabe bomber was probably some “homegrown” individual upset with the Obama health care plan (read Tea Party member).

When Faisal Shahsad, a Muslim-American, was arrested and confessed, the mayor’s prompt and memorable comment was, “We will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.”

Finally, when a crazed passenger stabbed cab driver Ahmed H. Sharif because Sharif was a Muslim, the mayor, with great fanfare,  met with Sharif and Muslim leaders at City Hall to deplore the attack.

Surely we don’t quarrel with the mayor’s much vaunted sensitivity to the plight of those targeted for their ethnicity and religion. We just think the Jewish community is  entitled to some of it.

Leiby’s Legacy

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Note to readers: When I heard the words, “You give us seven minutes and we’ll give you the world” on the radio at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, July 13, I never thought that what I was about to hear would shake me to the core and change my world forever. I could not come to myself – and I’m sure most of klal Yisrael couldn’t either. So I sat down and the following poem spilled forth. Because it is written in a simple style, simple enough for any child to understand, I hope it does not seem to trivialize what happened; it is just my humble reaction to an earth-shattering event.

 

*  *  *

 

A tzadik was born, to perform a tafkid so rare,

To make klal Yisrael express that they care.

Barely nine short years later, his mission fulfilled,

He returned to his Maker, as was willed.

 

The decree from Above seemed a harsh fall.

Why should one family take the burden for all?

But as the details unfolded, unimaginable, unreal,

It reminded me of an earlier time, when Hashem made a deal.

 

Like to Avraham about S’dom, now Hashem made a vow.

“If the klal could show achdus, then maybe somehow

The g’zar will be lifted, and you’ll all return

To the way it was before, the decree will adjourn.”

 

If in seven short minutes, every Yid would perform

A mitzvah bein adam l’chaveiro, the decree could be torn.

If in the seven minutes Leiby waited, any Yid really looked

At the lost look on his face, he would have been hooked.

 

If an onlooker had asked, “Need help? Are you waiting for your mother?”

Leiby might’ve asked him for guidance, instead of the other

But we hurried on by, didn’t volunteer to assist,

The clock ticked on, the surveillance camera hissed.

 

And the monster paid his bill, and emerged to the boy

Did he come with a promise of a TV or a toy?

Leiby followed behind, like no father would ask,

Cause the man’s mind was focused on his dastardly task.

 

The seven minutes we wasted, not looking not seeing;

The seven minutes he waited while we were too busy “me”ing.

An opportunity lost to set Leiby on a good path,

Away from the monster, away from his wrath.

 

Now there’s no turning back, no way to undo,

Just trust in Hashem as an ehrlicha Jew.

And we must surrender and beg Hashem to forgive,

Though we’ll never understand as long as we live.

 

Don’t you all remember in yeshiva we learned

Of magefos and troubles and Jews that were burned?

And the pasuk just prior described all their bad deeds

And all of the mitzvos they neglected to heed.

We all read aloud and said to ourselves with a smirk,

Didn’t that generation realize they were acting like jerks?

Why couldn’t they see just one pasuk behind,

That their deeds and actions were causing this bind?

 

And we, our history yet unrecorded, we too don’t look within,

We point and we blame someone else for our sins.

Hashem, He asks only that we follow His Torah,

And then we will see, “LaYehudim Ha’yesa Orah.”

 

We too are blind to the warnings, we are blind to our plight,

We don’t see our own monsters hiding in the dark of night.

And so Hashem creates a tzadik to show us the way,

To really look at each other every night and every day.

 

To weed out the monsters, not hide them from view,

And help protect our children from what they could do.

Again? Yes, Again

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

“Not again!” you may say. To which I respond, “Yes, again!” I say this as I write once again about the most heinous tragedy that could have befallen us, so even though it may not be popular – even though your reaction may be, “We heard it already” – I am nevertheless writing because I fear we have returned to business as usual.

Hashem has been sending us wakeup call after wakeup call, but we remain deaf to all of them and have yet to sound the alarm, have yet to see the hand of G-d beckoning us. This time, however, is different. This time, no one can avoid seeing that what has befallen us is so incomprehensible, it can only be interpreted as a message from the Almighty Himself.

A Jewish child is slaughtered by another Jew – in, of all places, Boro Park, a glittering stronghold of Torah.

And before we can even catch our breaths, a sage in the holy land of Israel, in an enclave of Torah, is savagely murdered – by a Jew.

Is there anyone among us who should not be trembling? Is there anyone among us whose heart should not be shattered – whose eyes should not overflow with tears? With these murders, something has changed, something that never occurred before, something that should frighten each and every one of us.

Every yeshiva child knows our First Temple was destroyed because of three cardinal sins, as a result of which we were taken into the Babylonian exile. Through the mercy of Hashem, after seventy years of exile we returned to our land and rebuilt the Temple.

The Second Temple would eventually be destroyed as well, though for an altogether different reason. While we were careful in our observance, unwarranted hatred permeated our lives. Walls of animosity, controversy and jealousy divided us. It was this fragmentation that catapulted us into the Roman exile, and it is in this exile that we still languish.

For almost two thousand years we have been suffering in this darkness. We have traversed the four corners of the world, tasted the bitter sting of the lash, experienced oppression, torture, inquisition and the Holocaust. Centuries have passed and we remain in exile. Why did G-d not redeem us as he redeemed our forefathers?

The answer to this question is painfully simple – we never repented. Stubbornly, we clung and continued to cling to our hatreds and animosities and in every generation, in every society, we found different reasons to justify it…so much so that the hatred has taken on a life of its own. We no longer see anything wrong with it and consider it a normal way of life.

But these recent heinous, unprecedented events alter our reality.

Our generation continues to stubbornly cling to the sin of unwarranted hatred that is at the root of our present exile, and we concede we are guilty of two of the cardinal sins that led to the destruction of the First Temple: immorality and idol worship (idol worship does not only connote “idols” but anything that is like an idol (money, etc.) and removes us from the true worship of G-d.

Nevertheless, we were secure in the knowledge that the third sin – murder – never penetrated our sanctuary.

Now, with the savage murders of an innocent child and a Torah sage, that illusion has been forever shattered. Overnight, we became the generation that carries on its shoulders the heavy burden of the sins that led to the destruction of our two Temples and sent us into exile. Just take a moment to think about it. It is a catastrophe that has never befallen our people. The sins that led to those destructions are now identified with us. Is that not reason enough to tremble? Is that not reason enough to examine our lives before it is too late?

The Rambam taught us that when suffering is visited upon us, we are commanded to cry out, awaken our people, sound the shofar. Everyone must be alerted to probe his or her life and commit to greater observance of Torah and mitzvos. The Rambam warned that if we regard the tragedies that befall us simply as “the way of the world” – “natural happenings” – we will be guilty of achzarius, cruelty.

At first glance, it is difficult to understand why the Rambam would choose to ascribe “cruelty” to those who view trials and tribulations as “natural happenings.” Such people may be unthinking, apathetic, blind or obtuse, but why accuse them of cruelty? The answer is simple. If we regard our pain and suffering as “mere coincidence,” we will feel no motivation to examine our lives, abandon our old ways, andchange. So yes, such an attitude is cruel, for it invites additional misfortune upon ourselves and others. It would be the height of cruelty to dismiss what is occurring in the world today as mere happenstance.

As Jews, we all know (even if we do not want to admit it), that nothing on earth occurs by accident. G-d’s guiding Hand is always there. In the holy tongue, the very word “coincidence” is kara, meaning kara me Hashem – “it happened from G-d.” G-d has sent us a wakeup call so loud that even a deaf person must hear it. But somehow we manage to console ourselves with distractions and blame some mental or emotional sickness to explain away this savage brutality.

We are a generation that no longer recognizes terms such as “bad” or “sinful.” Rather, we tend to rationalize it all away with psychological jargon. At the end of the day, however, no matter what psychological illness we attribute to these heinous deeds, the tragic, shameful fact remains – they happened! And they were done by our own! Now if this is not enough of a wakeup call, what is?

In the face of all this, what are we to do? What can we do?

(To Be Continued)

Kushner No Mere ‘Critic’ Of Israel

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
   From the reaction of many on the liberal/left to the controversy over CUNY’s granting an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, one sees yet again just how unremarkable and acceptable the most virulent views of Israel have become, even – perhaps especially – among Jews.
One can debate till the cows come home the merits or demerits of the decision to honor Kushner. The real issue is how pundits like Roger Cohen of The New York Times and Sarah Wildman of the (London) Guardian and Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast can insist on characterizing Kushner as merely critical of this or that Israeli policy when, in fact, his long paper trail paints an unmistakable portrait of a man wracked with guilt over the very creation of Israel and bitterly opposed to any and every defensive or retaliatory measure undertaken by the Israeli governement, no matter the provocation.
Contrary to what his liberal defenders in the media would have you think, Kushner’s mindset when it comes to Israel is not that of a Jew who has a preference for the Labor or Kadima approach as opposed to that of Likud (or vice versa).
No, Kushner’s is a mindset that compelled him to sign his name to a newspaper advertisement released by the Not In Our Name Project in 2002 that viciously attacked both the U.S. and Israel. Sample: “In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress, not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and any time. The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction.”
It is a mindset that inspired him to sit on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an outfit that boasts of its support for divestment measures against Israel while swallowing whole hog the Palestinian “narrative” with its mission statement that “Israel must stop land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.”
It is a mindset that led him to co-edit, along Alisa Solomon, a nauseating volume, published in 2003, called Wrestling With Zion:Progressives Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In that book, Kushner and Solomon advanced the notion that Operation Defensive Shield – Israel’s 2002 military operation in the Palestinian territories, launched only after scores of Israelis had been killed in numerous suicide bombings and roadside shootings – was the manifestation of “Ariel Sharon’s mad, bloody dream of Greater Israel, which he and his comrades of the radical Israeli right have pursued for decades.”
   Kushner was particularly outspoken on the subject of Operation Defensive Shield, telling an interviewer in 2002, “I deplore the brutal and illegal tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories. I deplore the occupation, the forced evacuations, the settlements, the refugee camps, the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people; Jews, of all people, with our history of suffering, should refuse to treat our fellow human beings like that.”
In another interview that year he said “The existence of the state of Israel, because of the terrible way that the Palestinian people have been treated, is now in great peril and the world is in peril as a consequence of it.”
Many of Kushner’s other remarks about Israel have been floating around the Internet for years and garnered renewed scrutiny as the CUNY controversy played itself out; remarks such as “I think the founding of the state of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity . I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born”; “I can unambivalently say that I think that it’s a terrible historical problem that modern Israel came into existence”; “[Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing “

If Kushner is simply a well-meaning, unjustly attacked critic of Israel, the same desription may as well be applied to spokesmen for Hamas or Hizbullah, because there’s precious little daylight between his statements and theirs.

 

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/kushner-no-mere-critic-of-israel/2011/05/18/

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