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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘values’

Deconstructing Israeli Society

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

The photo of homosexual soldiers on the IDF’s official website should have set off many alarm bells for many public figures. But they were all afraid. The heavy-handed politically correct code paralyzes our representatives. They prefer to remain silent and let somebody else fend off the arrows that are sure to come. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) deserves our appreciation and admiration, as he was the only MK to courageously state the simple truth by calling on the IDF to conduct itself on this issue as it has in the past.

There is no question that a person’s individual rights in the privacy of his own home must be carefully guarded. Thus, nobody should harass homosexuals. But today the situation is reversed: Homosexuality harasses normalcy.

Homosexuality represents a set of values. For a long time now, the issue has not been the right of those people with different inclinations to do what they please in their own homes. Instead, the issue is their demand that society recognize the values represented by their inclinations.

Israeli and Western societies are in a perpetual state of conflict between the founding values that built them and the opposite values, which strive for deconstruction. The fundamental leftist ideal of “We will destroy the old world down to its foundations” is not a means to an end, but the end itself. The Left always pronounces some utopia for which it is worthwhile to destroy everything (socialism, peace, democracy). But the simple truth is that at its foundation, the Left seeks to return the world to a state of chaos, anarchy and blurring of the differentiation with which God created the world. If you don’t quite get it, sing a few lines of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

How does the Left go about deconstructing the world? Any value that binds society is fair game for attack.

The Left attacks and undermines settlement in the Land of Israel because it is the foundation of the renaissance of the Jewish nation. They inject as many foreigners as possible into the veins of Israeli society: foreigners who do not share values with the nation of Israel and who have no real intention of sharing its fate.

The Left also attacks the family because it is the foundation of society. The attack is not frontal; it is accomplished by empowering anti-family values, e.g. the invention of concepts like the single-parent family, meaning that any combination makes a family. And when anything makes a family, the family is really nothing.

Another tactic the Left uses to deconstruct the family is to invalidate the status of the man in the family, turning him into some sort of downtrodden creature that is to blame for everything. The woman is the home, but the man in the home turns the group into a family. Without a father, the family is completely unbalanced.

The Left promotes homosexuality as a value, as a barometer of “equality” and “liberty.” It promotes feminism as a barometer of “women’s rights.” Any value that threatens or undermines the values of society and family becomes hallowed.

A prime example of this process is the appointment of MK Einat Wilf to head the Knesset’s Education Committee. Wilf is a very intelligent person with an impressive security record. On the surface, she seems like a worthy choice. But the Knesset’s representative now responsible for the education of Israel’s children is married to a German journalist.

In the politically correct times in which we live, you have to be crazy to claim that a Jewish woman who marries a non-Jewish man is not exactly a role model for Jewish children. After all, the Left dictates that religion doesn’t matter. Nobody dared oppose the appointment – not even the religious MKs.

Another example is Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, who until recently was head of the Knesset Committee on Children’s Rights. Yachimovich is also a highly intelligent woman who worked honestly and energetically to improve life for children. But similar to Wilf, Yachimovich’s personal life contradicts the values represented by the position to which she was appointed. Every child has an elementary right to a family: a father and a mother. If a person has not managed to provide her children with this basic right, how can she be the standard-bearer of children’s rights?

Danny Danon: Remembering Shamir – The Integrity of ‘No’

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The people of Israel lost a true leader with the passing of Yitzhak Shamir. Before assuming the reins as our seventh prime minister, Shamir dutifully served his people and his country first as head of the underground Lehi, then in the Mossad where he was responsible for tracking down and eliminating some of our worst enemies including Nazi war criminals who had fled to Egypt, and finally in the political arena where he served as a Member and then Speaker of Knesset, Foreign Minister and finally Prime Minister after the resignation of his mentor Menachem Begin.

Upon the death of a loved one, we often take the time to look through the memory book of their life and search for the lessons that their legacy can teach us. In the case of Yitzhak Shamir, a multi-volume set of thick bound tomes might be more appropriate a metaphor. These books are filled with the earth of the whole land of Israel, and immersed in values and an understanding of our unique place in history. His spirit and his values are an inspiration to all of those who love this land, and especially to the members of his beloved Likud movement that strive to stay true to Shamir’s teachings.

You do not negotiate on your core ideology. This is what guided Shamir in his steadfast defense of the rights of the Jewish people to their historic homeland. In the years that he guided Israel’s foreign policy, he would not compromise on this basic tenet. In 1992, under intense pressure from the American administration, Shamir stood fast and made clear to the world that money cannot buy and replace values. He bravely rejected the US demand that he stop building in Judea and Samaria in return for loan guarantees. This money was very much needed to absorb our brothers who were then coming home from the former Soviet Union, but Shamir knew such an act on his behalf would create a slippery slope that would set a terrible precedent for the future leaders of Israel. Such a move on his behalf would have endangered his beloved settlement enterprise which he knew was invaluable for the future well-being of the State.

Shamir’s decisions and policies were not always popular or politically correct. There was no end of criticism both in Israel and form the international community. In fact, there were times when his refusal to abandon his core values probably cost him at the ballot box, such as when he lost to Yitzhak Rabin in the 1992 elections. Nevertheless, over time, his steadfastness disproved today’s assumption that you must be guided daily by opinion polls to obtain power, and then govern. Without ever abandoning his beliefs, Shamir was able to not only reach the highest office in the land, but he also ended up serving in office longer than any other prime minister since David Ben Gurion. Moreover, because of his intellectual honesty and core decency, since leaving office Shamir is admired by all Israelis – whatever their political persuasion – for the great leader that he was.

To better convey Shamir’s unique foresight and leadership capabilities, I must share a short story. In the early 1990s, while serving as a Betar emissary in the United States, I invited one of my childhood heroes to visit my host community. Yitzhak graciously agreed to come and speak at an event I had organized promoting Israel and aliyah. When he was asked for his opinion about the demographic threat that is so often raised, Shamir answered with full confidence that we must remain steadfast and work tirelessly to bring millions of Soviet Jews home to Israel. At that time, such a prediction seemed completely unrealistic and even a tad naïve. Nevertheless, Shamir’s analysis proved with time to be completely accurate and proved how important it is for a leader to remain true to his values. By believing and planning, one million Russians ultimately came to live in Israel, changing our core demographic reality forever.

That night, after he had finished addressing the group, I had the honor of spending an evening with the former Prime Minister. I was enthralled with his stories and life lessons, especially with his core conviction that a leader must truly believe in and be ready to defend his policies. If a leader does so, he told me, there is no need to worry about the criticism that will inevitably follow any brave decision.

White/Black Supremacists Aligning Against the Jews

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Over the last decade, we’ve seen the convergence and alliance of Islamism with the far Left (and, with time, the not-so-far Left).  Ten years ago, this seemed bizarre, since logic appeared to dictate that nothing could be more antithetical to the supposed values of the Left (equality, feminism, tolerance, freedom of/from religion, etc.) than the reactionary Islamic world, with its institutionalized brutal repression, its humiliation and abuse of women, its torture and execution of gays, and its extreme policies of religious persecution.  Yet, with time, we grew accustomed to this alliance, and today, the glaring contradictions between values barely even faze anybody anymore.

Today, there seems to be another supposedly “impossible” convergence underway:  We are witnessing the beginnings of an alliance between the radical Right (KKK, neo-Nazis, etc.) and the radical black Left (Black Panthers, Farrakhan, etc.)  A dramatic example of this happened last week, when a former KKK Grand Wizard and neo-Nazi, former Congressman David Duke, released a video declaring his endorsement of Charles Barron in his current run for Congress.  Barron is a former Black Panther, a radical antisemite who justified the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights in the ’90′s and compares Israel to the Nazis, and whose declared heroes are Muammar Kaddafi, Robert Mugabe, and Louis Farrakhan.  At first glance, it might be difficult to imagine what basis there could possibly be for an alliance between a Right-wing neo-Nazi KKK leader and a Left-wing Black Supremacist Farrakhan supporter.  The answer, of course, is that in spite of their obvious differences, they nevertheless have something very fundamental in common, which has brought them together:  Their intense hatred of Jews and Israel.  The centrality of their shared antisemitism comes through loud and clear in Duke’s endorsement video:

Just like the alliance between the Islamists and the radical Left, the new alliance between the White Supremacists and the Black Supremacists seems absurd but really isn’t:  In both cases, the seemingly vast differences between the sides are trumped by the power of their shared Jew-hatred.  And these two alliances are not at all unrelated:  There is, of course, already a powerful alliance between the Black Power movement and the Islamist movement, epitomized by Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam.  It is clear to anyone following the current trends that very soon, all four of these groups — the radical Left, the Islamists, the Black Supremacists, and the White Supremacists — will all be united in a common offensive against the Jews and Israel.

Sharansky, Cotler Discuss Compatibility of Jewish and Democratic Values on Day 2 of President’s Conference

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hebrew University President and former Knesset member Professor Menahem Ben Sasson led a panel of experts including Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and former Deputy Prime Minister, Canadian MP Professor Irwin Cotler, in which they analyzed the ramifications of a “Jewish and democratic” State as well as highlighted the challenges that Israel faces regarding tensions between religious and secular values.

“Democracy and religion do not contradict, you do not have to give up on one in favor of the other,” said Sharansky. “The basic desire to be free but to also belong, to live a life of quality, liberty and meaning are simply two dimensions of the same thing. A life of values provides strength to fight for your freedom.”

He imparted that this idea is very natural to him, having lived in the former Soviet Union with no freedom and no identity and then discovering both at the same time when he arrived in Israel. He stated that conflict is inevitable among those living as both “proud and free Jews” and that Israel faces many challenges to which there is no simple solution. To this, he stresses the importance of introducing general “traffic rules” to help navigate these issues.

Cotler emphasized the important role that Jewish values, such as aiding the downtrodden, remembering and honoring the past, valuing equality, and refraining from assaultive speech and slander, can play in shaping a democratic society.

“Israel is both a Jewish and democratic State with the added challenge of living in a hostile environment,” he said. “The fundamental Jewish values of respect for the sanctity of human life should frame our discourse and policy when it comes to national issues, including Israel’s current African migration challenge.”

The Progressive-Traditionalist War

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/progressive-traditionalist-war.html

The main weapon that progressives wield against traditionalists is their ability to break down the values that make up their worldview by challenging norms of behavior and thought, with the goal of using cultural friction to slowly replace traditional values and mores with their own.

This is a weapon that progressives have explicitly disavowed using against Islam. In Europe there are some hesitant attempts at promoting integration, but it’s a fitful self-doubting effort that consists of the authorities telling everyone who listens that integration is moving along smoothly, while the No-Go Zones grow, black ghosts haunt the alleyways of major cities and the mosques go on crying Jihad from minaret loudspeakers rising above European capitals.

There is the occasional burqa ban, a nervous ban placed on the most extreme of the extreme clerics, an occasional investigation of a school that teaches that infidels are animals to be killed, and a cautious warning from some putatively conservative politician to the Muslim community that things have to change. But none of them adds up to anything.

The left, which excels at attacking traditional values, has signed a pact with Islam. Not only does it refuse to undermine its religion and traditional values the way that it undermines those of everyone else, but it actively promotes Islamic values and traditions as morally superior to those of its own society.

The reason for this is simple strategy. The progressives of the left in each society are at war with their own traditionalists. American liberals are at war with American conservatives. European liberals are at war with European conservatives. Liberal Christians are at war with Conservative Christians and Progressive Jews are at war with Traditional Jews.

This war isn’t always as overt as it was in the Soviet Union, or as it is in Cuba or Sweden. It’s a quiet war marked by “artistic statements,” by the school curriculum and the late-night newscast, by laws that transform public spaces into government spaces and private spaces into public spaces, and put the whole thing under government regulation whose overriding purpose is behavior modification.

Despite their many victories, the progressives have numerous disadvantages in this war. They are a minority dependent on front groups and divide-and-conquer politics. Rarely are they able to openly state their agendas and beliefs, because, if they did, they would be stoned on the spot. Instead, they have to worm their way in, presenting a false front of moderation, and slowly move their agenda through its outer stages to its inner core.

The left is up against common sense, which is just shorthand for the traditional way of thinking. And traditions exist because they are natural; right or wrong, they are organic, embedded in human nature and the way that people live their lives and draw their conclusions. Its utopian schemes put it up against the human animal, so that the left has to ride the body politic like a bronco buster fighting to stay on a mutinous steed. Much of its rank and file doesn’t know this, but its leaders and planners are well aware of how precarious their position is.

But there is also a more practical angle. Demographics. The progressives tend to have a lower birth rate than traditionalists. If values were transmitted on a generational basis, by now they would be deader than Disco. To compensate for their demographic disadvantage, the left reproduces by insinuating itself into the educational system. The Cuckoo’s reproductive strategy is to plant its eggs in the nests of other birds to be raised by those birds, but the reproductive strategy of progressives is to raise someone else’s young as a member of their species, while getting paid for it by the taxpayers.

This demographic disadvantage makes it vital for progressives to attack tradition, because it is also the only way that they can reproduce. Their reproductive strategy is entirely dependent on disrupting the ability of fertile groups to pass on their values to their offspring.

There are parallels in biology to this behavior. A number of species compete for territory by interfering with the reproduction of another species. The fertility limitations of liberals make it an ideological imperative to disrupt the reproduction of more traditional species.

The Great Identity Crisis

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/great-identity-crisis.html

A moral crisis tends to go hand in hand with an identity crisis. It’s when you don’t know who you are that you’re most likely to take refuge in a political or ethical identity that provides you with the comfort of a false sense of superiority. When all other identities fall apart, you can always rely on being the better man, the better nation and the empty space with the moral high ground.

Societies that go multicultural tend to experience identity drift and take refuge in a self-definition based on values. Who are Americans? As generations of presidents on the left and right have told us, they are people who believe in American values. What are American values? They’re the values that Americans are told they need to believe in, in order to be Americans. Like tolerance, immigration, free trade, and respecting the right of anyone to be a member of the Communist Party or the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a time of crisis, nations and peoples have to choose to survive. But what is survival? Proponents of a values-based identity have argued that survival means the survival of our values. If we take Measure X against an enemy, whether it’s outlawing the Communist Party or waterboarding Islamic terrorists, then we have “killed our values” and we are no longer Americans. It doesn’t matter then whether an act saves millions of American lives, if it means we destroy our values, then we have killed the only worthwhile thing about us.

Physical identity and values-based identity are in conflict in a time of crisis when the question is asked, do we want to survive or do we want to be morally pure. A values-based identity appears to be superior, but it is actually the product of an identity crisis. And a nation or a people with an identity crisis is vulnerable because they no longer know who they are. Their identity has been replaced with an identity based on their superior values, values that require them to die rather than give up those values. And if they have forgotten who they are, then they are too afraid to risk their values-based identity by fighting back.

The problem is not a unique one. For example, Jewish assimilation dropped the ‘peoplehood’ aspect leaving behind a values-based identity. When liberal Jews express their identity, it is values-based, built around “Tikkun Olam”, or “Social Justice”. That opens up a hole for someone like Peter Beinart to crawl in with a crisis of Liberal Zionism, a conflict between values-based identity and Jewish survival.

Would you rather live as Jews or die as liberals? The determining factor here is whether you have a Jewish identity. Without a Jewish identity, there is only the posturing of values-based identity, and giving up the high “ethics” of bending over backward for the bad guys seems a lot like the death of the only identity such miserable people have. If all that matters about Jews is their “ethical values”, then to step down from the moral high ground by bombing a terrorist stronghold is suicide.

The first question is; “Who are you?” That’s a question that is asked to individuals and to nations. It’s asked directly in the form of a national dialogue, and it’s asked indirectly in the choices that are made in a time of crisis.

The second question is; “What do you live for?” The answer to this question is determined by the first question. What we live for derives from who we are. Self-knowledge gives purpose, and purpose gives self-knowledge. A lack of identity is also a lack of purpose. And a lack of purpose betrays a lack of identity. A nation adrift has lost its identity; it lacks direction because it has no starting point.

A thing that does not exist for its own sake has no existence. It has no existence, because it is not survival-based. It is well and good to dedicate yourself to higher causes and beliefs, but if they do not begin with your own existence, then they have no more substance than you do. You can volunteer for a thousand causes, but if you don’t care whether you live or die– then you have nothing to contribute to them.

Obama Celebrates Jewish Petitioning of Government

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

President Obama celebrated the values of communities petitioning government at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.

“We don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future,” he said. “And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.”

Obama focused a large portion of his remarks on the 150th anniversary of an order that was issued by General Ulysses Grant, which expelled Jews “as a class” from the military department of Tennessee.

“It was wrong. Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought,” Obama said.

He went on to note that American Jews protested the order.

“What happened next could have only taken place in America,” he said. “Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.”

He described how a Jewish merchant from Kentucky who met with President Abraham Lincoln and following the meeting, the order was revoked.

“Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream,” Obama said. “But this country holds a special promise: that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.”

The order by Lincoln to revoke Grant’s order was on display during the reception, as were letters from two Jewish groups asking for the revocation.

Years later, as president, Grant stated that he recognized his mistake and would apologize for the order, and a receipt for contribution to the Adas Israel congregation – which still exists – after attending an 1876 service was also on display.

President Obama opened his remarks by thanking Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren for “his work representing our great friend, the state of Israel” before emphasizing the significance of the U.S. commitment to Israel.

“Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace,” Obama said in his remarks.

A number of Jewish members of Congress were present at the reception, including Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Shelley Berkley (D-N.V.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-celebrates-jewish-petitioning-of-government/2012/05/31/

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