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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Despite Denials, Obama Likely
Was Member Of Far-Leftist Party

Has Barack Obama been caught in a lie that could become a major issue in the upcoming election?

During the 2008 presidential election cycle, Obama’s campaign categorically denied that the politician was ever a member of the New Party, which sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.

The denial came in the wake of reports of Obama’s participation with the party, including one by this reporter on evidence that Obama was listed as a member of the socialist New Party in the group’s own literature. This reporter also conducted an exclusive interview with Marxist activist Carl Davidson, a founder of the New Party, who recounted Obama’s participation with the party.

Now researcher and author Stanley Kurtz, writing at the National Review Online, reports on documentation from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society that “definitively establishes” that Obama was a member of the New Party. Kurtz reports that Obama also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party and its politics while in office.

In 2008, Obama’s Fight the Smears campaign website conceded the New Party did support Obama in 1996 but denied that Obama ever joined it.

The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral “fusion,” which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. But the New Party went defunct in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.

Obama’s 2008 political campaign may not be alone in making possibly misleading statements about the politician’s alleged membership in the New Party. The now defunct New Party’s founder, University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers, is currently denying that his organization ever had any members, thus making it impossible for Obama to have been an official member.

However, this reporter found scores of reports from the 1990s describing thousands of members of the New Party. Also, the New Party’s own newsletters lists members.

Al Qaeda-Affiliated Fighters Caught En Route To Syria

Jordan for the first time publicly stated that its security officials arrested two jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda on their way to Syria to fight against President Bashar Assad.

Last month, this column reported that there is a growing collaboration between the U.S.-supported Syrian opposition and al Qaeda as well as evidence that the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq, according to an Egyptian security official.

Syria recently told the United Nations and the U.S. that it was a group affiliated with al Qaeda, armed by Turkey, that slaughtered more than 100 civilians in their homes in Houla two weeks ago, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. The international community has been pinning the blame for the Houla massacre on forces acting under the direction of Assad’s regime.

The information that al Qaeda is aiding the opposition is significant. Multiple reports have claimed the U.S. is helping to coordinate massive weapons shipments to the opposition. The Obama administration has denied these reports, stating that the U.S. is only sending non-lethal aid to the opposition.

In the latest development, Jordan this week confirmed that its police arrested two jihadists attempting to infiltrate the Syrian border to fight alongside the Syrian opposition. A security official from the Jordanian government told the Associated Press that the two Jordanians belong to a small extremist militant organization called the Salafi Movement. Authorities say the group numbers 800 activists, including many who fought alongside al Qaeda in Iraq.

Thirty Years Since Zachary Baumel’s Disappearance

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime faces a well-armed insurgency, this past Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the purported capture by Assad’s forces of a Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier.

Zachary Baumel was seized in Lebanon in 1982; in the past few years, information has surfaced that Baumel may still be alive and in Syria.

Baumel, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was taken along with two Israeli members of his tank crew, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, during the Lebanon War. All three were photographed in Damascus on the day of their capture, and several eyewitnesses, including a Time magazine reporter, said they watched a parade in which the tank and crew were led through a major street in Damascus and flaunted to cheering crowds. The ceremony was the last occasion the soldiers were seen publicly.

Richard Belzer Fights PC Hordes over Nazi Salute

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

“Law and Order SVU” star Richard Belzer is in hot water over what he insists was a comic homage to the late Charlie Chaplin and not, say, an expression of his fealty to the Nazi tradition.

A spokesperson for the actor told TMZ that he was in a conversation with a reporter about the Charlie Chaplin film “The Great Dictator,” and was re-enacting a scene from the movie in a pose.

Belzer tated: “My grandfather represented Israel in the UN before it was made a nation. I’m a Jewish comedian, and there’s this new thing out, it’s called satire, irony and historical reference.”

He added: “To say that a Jew can’t do that gesture as homage to Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘The Great Dictator’ is like Muslim extremists killing a cartoonist for disparaging Mohammed in his art.”

“The Great Dictator” is a comedy by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940.

Humanity, Liberty, Rationality: A Review of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: Volume IX

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Looking for inspiration? Read Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. This is my general rule of thumb, which is why I was thrilled when the ninth (and presumably last) volume of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Feldheim Publishers) came out a few weeks ago.

The two speeches that I had been told would appear in this new volume – one celebrating the 100th birthday of the German poet Friedrich Schiller and another glorifying the ideals of the French Revolution – did not disappoint. Indeed, they only reinforced my belief that Rav Hirsch is truly unique among the pantheon of rabbinic greats.

One of the themes in Rav Hirsch’s writings that has always struck me is his universalism – mainly because it runs so counter to the prevailing parochialism in many contemporary Orthodox communities. Take, for example, the recent open letter signed by a number of prominent rabbis in advance of the Internet Asifa. In it, they declare that the world revolves around the Jews and therefore theorize that the Internet only entered world history to test the Jewish people’s moral character. What about the rest of the world? Are these rabbis really suggesting that an Internet that affects billions of lives only appeared on planet earth as a moral test for one million Orthodox Jews? Apparently they are.

Rav Hirsch’s writings could not stand in greater contrast to this sentiment. “The God of Jewish Teaching is the universal God,” writes Rav Hirsch in an essay in this new volume. God’s covenant with our forefathers was “only for the benefit of all of mankind” (emphases in original). In The Nineteen Letters Rav Hirsch even argues that the “universal acceptance of the brotherhood of mankind [is the Jewish people’s] ultimate goal.”

Rav Hirsch’s ode to Friedrich Schiller is filled with the same universalistic spirit. “[E]nlightenment and…moral civilization,” he says, “are intended to be the heritage of all to whom God has given breath on earth. It is the seedling of this heritage that God has planted into the hearts of mortals, and the purpose of Judaism is to be the sunshine that will cause these seedlings to ripen.”

Rav Hirsch lauds Schiller, a “sublime flower enveloped in an earthly husk,” since his poetry contained ideas that “are now increasingly germinating in mankind’s breast, where they will eventually complete the enlightenment and ennoblement of all humanity.” According to Rav Hirsch,

anyone who emerges in the midst of mankind as a herald who knows how to employ the gift of poetry to inspire the human mind with enthusiasm for all that is pure and true and godly, anyone who knows how to make man proud to be human and to enable him to recognize his God in every breath of his existence, anyone who can snatch man from the dust to have him stand upright in all his dignity and nobility, is, in the view of Judaism, a messenger of God on earth….

I quote Rav Hirsch at such length not only because his rhetoric is so beautiful, but because the universalist strain running through these sentences is truly remarkable. Would that contemporary Orthodox Jews thought of non-Jews in such lofty terms!

Rav Hirsch’s glorification of liberty in another speech appearing in this new volume – delivered on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig – is no less amazing. Many contemporary Orthodox Jews speak fondly of the “good-old days” in Europe when Jews lived in shtetls and ghettos, shielded from the allures of the outside world. They believe freedom’s advance in Europe destroyed an idyllic ideal. They essentially share the perspective of the Baal HaTanya who prayed in 1812 that Czar Alexander I defeat Napoleon, fearing the freedom and concomitant spiritual dangers that a French victory would bring.

Once again, Rav Hirsch could not stand in greater contrast. To be sure, Rav Hirsch was not blind to freedom’s hazards and writes in The Nineteen Letters that he cannot welcome freedom if the abandonment of Judaism is its price.

Nonetheless, freedom, qua freedom, is an unmitigated blessing in Rav Hirsch’s view – “a triumph of Divine justice” – and the French Revolution, which unleashed liberty on Europe, “was one of those moments when God visibly entered history” (emphasis in original). In that year, 1789, “with a light that the world had not previously seen, and with a victorious power hitherto never experienced, the sense of justice triumphantly entered into the minds of men.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Syrian Opposition Teaming Up Radical Islamists?

Members of the Syrian opposition are pressing to openly announce an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood at a meeting scheduled to take place in Turkey later this week, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

The opposition has been plagued by infighting, with competing divisions sparring with each other since the movement was created in September. Just last week, Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun announced his resignation after major divisions within his council reached a climax two days after the coalition voted to renew his term for another three months.

The opposition stepped up its rhetoric after the Syrian government was accused of a massacre on Friday in the town of Houla, where human rights groups say at least 92 people, a third of them children, were killed. However, spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, Jihad Makdissi, squarely blamed the opposition for the deaths of the civilians, saying opposition fighters are using more advanced weaponry, including mortars.

Reports of the opposition possessing more sophisticated weapons come after claims that the Obama administration is coordinating arms shipments to the opposition. U.S. officials have stated that the White House is providing non-lethal aid to the Syrian rebels while Middle Eastern security officials told this column that the U.S. has been working with Arab countries to ensure the opposition in Syria is well armed. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the U.S is helping to bring more and better weapons to Syria’s rebels, including anti-tank weaponry.

Meanwhile, one Egyptian security official told this column there is a growing collaboration between the Syrian opposition and al Qaeda as well as evidence that the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq. The purported cooperation extends to recent suicide attacks and bombings in Damascus and Homs.

The military official said that Egypt has reports of collaboration between the Syrian opposition and three al Qaeda arms:

● Jund al-Sham, which is made up of al Qaeda militants who are Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese;

● Jund al-Islam, which in recent years merged with Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group of Sunni Iraqis operating under the al Qaeda banner;

● Jund Ansar al-Allah, an al Qaeda group based in Gaza linked to Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria.

The Egyptian official said there is evidence that the Syrian opposition is transferring some weapons to jihadist allies in both northern Lebanon and Iraq. Any weapons transfers to Iraq could potentially be used against the Iraqi government and U.S. or international interests in that country.

Koran-Burning Pastor Announces Presidency Run

Not one to shy away from controversy or the media spotlight, Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones has announced he is running for president as a write-in independent candidate with a platform that includes legalizing hemp and deporting all illegal aliens.

Jones emailed this reporter his presidential platform, or what he calls “Seven points to save America.” Among them:

● “Deport all illegals. We must immediately begin the deportation of the 20 million illegal aliens living in our country.”

● “Legalize hemp. Hemp is a plant that can be grown in our fields in America. It is friendly to the environment, and because it is a plant that is grown, it is unlimited.”

Occupy Movement Embraces Anarchism

Occupy has now officially embraced violent anarchism, declaring such tactics the future of the anti-capitalist movement’s revolution.

Last month, this column reported that Occupy had partnered with anarchy groups to engage in joint “direct action” at the May Day protests earlier this month. Now Adbusters magazine has declared anarchy action “a tactical innovation that suggests the future of Occupy.”

Adbusters has been behind Occupy since the movement’s onset. The radical publication is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as one of two central hubs for Occupy’s online planning. Adbusters is funded by the George Soros-financed Tides Center.

In an article entitled, “Battle for the Soul of Occupy,” the activist magazine criticized Occupy’s collaboration with unions and labor groups as insufficient to make progress, while crediting anarchists with taking the Occupy movement to the next stage of revolution. Abusters declares that “anarchist occupiers are energized and their visceral tactics are attracting members.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

PA Willing To Release ‘Collaborator’ For A Price

The Palestinian Authority has secretly requested that Israel release the bodies of 100 terrorists in exchange for the freedom of a Palestinian reportedly held in jail for selling property to Jews, this column has learned.

Last month, the PA reportedly sentenced to death Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former PA intelligence officer, for a real estate transaction in the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. Under the framework of the PAs legal system, selling land to Jews is considered a capital offense.

Israeli diplomatic sources revealed that the PA passed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing willingness to free Shahala if the Jewish state releases the bodies of 100 Palestinians killed while fighting Israel. The message was sent through Ayoob Kara, a Druze politician who is Israel’s Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee. Following requests from Hebron’s Jewish community, Kara had inquired with the PA about Shahala’s status and well-being.

Officially, the PA denies the reports that it sentenced Shahala to death and has been less than forthcoming about exactly where the former intelligence official is being held. Dmitry Diliani, a spokesperson for the PA, referred this reporter to the Palestinian prison in Hebron, which in turn directed a request to the PA’s Ministry of Justice. The Justice Ministry did not return a comment before publication.

According to multiple reports, Shahala was tortured prior to a hasty trial in which he was found guilty of selling his Hebron property to Jews. Over the years, scores of Palestinians have been put to death in judicial and extrajudicial killings after being accused of selling land to Jews.

Hebron’s Jewish community has been at the forefront of the fight for Shahala’s freedom. Hebron spokesmen David Wilder and Noam Arnon wrote an appeal addressed to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of the European Council of the EU Herman Van Rompuy, and other international officials. Wilder said he didn’t hear back from Clinton, Ki-moon or other international human rights officials contacted about the case.

Founder Of Radical Group Called ‘Great’ By Obama

The protest group that stormed President Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters earlier this week was founded by a Communist sympathizer recently named by Obama as a “great” reformer.

Dozens of protesters slipped past security guards on Friday and ran up escalators at the Obama Chicago campaign headquarters to kick off what they called a “Week Without Capitalism.” Eight protesters, cheered by other demonstrators, were reportedly led out in handcuffs after they refused to clear the lobby.

The protest was reportedly organized by the Catholic Worker Movement, or CWM, founded by the late radical Dorothy Day, a journalist who wrote for Marxist newspapers. CWM protests capitalism as an economic system that is “far from God’s justice” and calls for “a withdrawal from the capitalist system so far as each one is able to do so.” CWM calls for the nonviolent destruction of capitalist society to rebuild a socialist utopia.

Discover The Networks notes that CWM recommends “a complete rejection of the present social order”; “a withdrawal from the capitalist system so far as each one is able to do so”; and “a non-violent revolution to establish an order more in accord with Christian values.” Such measures are to be used, according to CWM, to create a “new society within the shell of the old” – “a cooperative social order” of “communitarianism” without “extremes of wealth and poverty.”

This February, Obama used the annual National Prayer Breakfast to uphold Dorothy Day as a great reformer. Declared Obama: “Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel – the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action – sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance.”

Day is known for her motto: “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?

Raided Chicago Apartment Belongs To Occupy Leader

The resident of the Chicago apartment raided by police in an alleged terror bust related to the city’s NATO summit is the spokesperson for Occupy Chicago, this column has learned.

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Terrorists’ Memory Alive At Sports Tournament

The Palestinian Authority sponsored a sports tournament at a stadium named after a terrorist that featured four teams, each also named after prominent Palestinian terrorists and terrorist supporters.

The competition came days after President Obama ended a six-month freeze on aid to the PA, releasing $147 million to reportedly cover the costs of infrastructure, education, humanitarian aid and health projects for the Palestinians.

The official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, reported on the sporting event in question, which saw the physical education department at Al-Quds University hold a competition for its scouts program. Reported the newspaper: “[The event] was held in cooperation with the university, and under the auspices and with the support of the [PLO's] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, at the Martyr Salah Khalaf Center in Al-Fari’a, for 40 male and female scouts.”

Khalaf was a founder of the Black September terrorist group responsible for scores of deadly anti-Western and anti-Israel attacks, including the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes. Black September was also reportedly behind the murder of two American diplomats in Khartoum in 1973.

The Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report continued: “Participants were divided into four small groups, named for Martyrs: the Martyr Izz a-Din Al-Qassam group; the Martyr Abd Al-Rahim Mahmoud group; the Martyr Bajes Abu Atwan group; and the Martyr Dalal Mughrabi group.”

Al-Qassam was a Muslim preacher who led attacks against British, French, and Zionist organizations in the 1920s and 1930s. Hamas’s military wing is named after him. Mahmoud was a poet who composed the “Song of the Martyr.” Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978, when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children. Atwan was killed fighting Israel in the 1970’s.

Scores of official PA institutions, including schools, roads and sports teams, are named after Muhgrabi.

John Bolton: Talks With Hamas Inevitable If Obama Reelected

U.S. talks with Hamas are “almost inevitable” if President Obama is re-elected, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, declared on WABC’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” this week.

“I think that’s almost inevitable,” Bolton said in response to a question about whether the former diplomat thinks the U.S. will engage Hamas during a second Obama term. Continued Bolton: “I think if you look at the record of the Obama administration in its first three years and the unrelenting pressure that they put on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority, that once freed from the prospect of ever having to face the voters again…I think it’s going to be Katy bar the door!”

Bolton, now a member of Mitt Romney’s campaign, said that since “many Europeans” already believe that Israel should negotiate with Hamas, the Obama administration “would come to the same conclusion.”

“I don’t know why, once any fear of political consequence is removed, why [the Obama administration] would be any different in that context then they have been in so many others,” he said.

Obama Official Doesn’t Recall His Own Writings

Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s “regulatory czar,” doesn’t “remember very well” a lengthy academic paper from 2008 in which he argued that the U.S. government should ban “conspiracy theorizing,” by, among other methods, sending agents to infiltrate websites, chat rooms and online social networks.

Among the beliefs Sunstein suggested banning was advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.

When an activist earlier this week repeatedly challenged Sunstein on the 30-page Harvard Law paper, “Conspiracy Theories,” the White House official claimed, “I hope I didn’t say any of those things.” Sunstein, however, repeatedly refused to retract the controversial paper. The exchange was caught on camera.

Luke Rudkowski, founder of WeAreChange.org, confronted Sunstein about the paper at a New York question and answer session, asking him why he believes it is the government’s job to go after those who advocate such theories. Sunstein replied: “I think, as Ricky said, I have written hundreds of articles, and I remember some and not others. That one I don’t remember very well.”

Rudkowski, who identified himself as a student named Bill, persisted with his line of questioning, pointing out he’s asking “because you may be the next Supreme Court justice.”

Sunstein retorted, “All I can say is that there are a lot of things that I have written, I guess. And there are even more things I am said to have written. I may agree with some of the things I have written, but I’m not exactly sure.”

After Sunstein’s speech, Rudkowski approached him privately and asked whether Sunstein is now retracting his paper. “I don’t remember the article very well,” Sunstein said, still on camera. “So I hope I didn’t say any of those things.” Asked again whether he is retracting the paper, Sunstein replied, “I am focused on my job.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Dalia Mogahed Tweet Gets Her In Trouble, Again

The official Twitter account for the English website of the Muslim Brotherhood this past weekend retweeted a post by Dalia Mogahed, a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Mogahed had tweeted: “Was great President Obama recognized Anthony Shadid tonight.” She was referring to Obama’s White House Correspondents Dinner speech at which he took a serious moment to recall the death of Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The New York Times who died in February of an apparent asthma attack while covering the uprising in Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account, @ikhwanweb, says in its profile that its “re-tweets mean official endorsements of the subject matter.”

This isn’t the first time Mogahed’s twitter account drew controversy to her. Last month, she came under fire for remarks on Twitter about Israel. She wrote about her opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in which she pointed out that the embattled ruler can no longer “deliver…resistance to Israel.”

After bloggers noticed the tweet, Mogahed clarified, “I am criticizing [people] who support Assad because they think he resists Israel.” However, her tweet could easily be interpreted to mean she is decrying Assad’s inability to “resist” Israel. “Resistance” is a term routinely used by Islamic extremists to mean terrorism targeting civilians.

Besides her role on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Mogahed is also on the advisory council of the Department of Homeland Security.

This reporter was the first to expose Mogahed’s radical Islamic ties, including her partnership in an Islamic project whose stated goal was to “define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times.” That project, the Shariah Index Project, was founded and directed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim cleric behind the 13-story, $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

Together with Rauf, Mogahed was also a leading voice in the Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement, which issued a 153-page recommendation paper, obtained and reviewed by this column, that calls for dialogue with Hamas and engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Communist Chairman: Vote For Obama

The Communist Party USA isn’t always happy with the Democrats, but in the 2012 election, its chairman says, the best bet for advancing the party’s goals is to back Barack Obama.

In a report called “Defeating the Right wing on the Road to Socialism” delivered to the CPUSA annual conference, Party Chairman Sam Webb moved to squash sentiments that disgruntled communists should jump off the Democrat ship and back a third-party candidate for president.

“Some think the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. Others go further and say that the Democrats are worse because they create popular illusions that change is possible within the two-party system,” Webb said. “And finally there are advocates of running a third-party presidential candidate in this election.

“I can understand these sentiments, but only up to a point,” he said. “Like it or not, millions go to the polls in spite of their misgivings…and the Democratic Party is the vehicle of reform for tens of millions, the majority of whom are working and oppressed people.”

Therefore, Webb said, communists need to join other left-leaning allies in ensuring Republicans are defeated in November

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 7-9 p.m. His website is KleinOnline.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/aaron-klein/quick-takes-news-you-may-have-missed-131/2012/05/02/

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