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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

Zion Pharma, Kaplan Hospital, Developing ‘Gammora’ Cure for AIDS

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Experiments conducted recently at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel, in collaboration with Zion Pharmaceuticals suggest a cure for the AIDS virus may be at hand, Israeli media reported Monday. Prof. Abraham Loyter of the Biological Chemistry Dept. at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, who developed the active ingredient in the experimental drug, reported that the drug, Gammora, was injected in test tubes with blood taken from AIDS patients and HIV carriers undergoing treatment at Kaplan.

In eight days, according to Prof. Loyter, who is working in collaboration with Prof. Zeev Steger, head of Kaplan’s Naveh Or AIDS clinic, the virus in the test tubes was cut down by between 95% and 97%. It appears that the Gammora drug is “causing the death of HIV cells,” he says.

Today’s anti-AIDS drugs curb the growth of virus, but do not eliminate it completely, and patients continue to be carriers even after overcoming the disease. “In our approach, we eliminate the cells so there’s no chance that the virus will return one day because there are no cells, or there will be no cells, containing the virus,” Loyter explained.

We asked Kaplan Medical Center spokesperson, Ofir Levy, about the unique choice for the name of the new drug, “Gammora,” which sounds an awful lot like Gomorrah, as in biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, which could be someone’s idea of a pun. Levy said it was just a generic choice by the manufacturer, Zion Pharmaceuticals, for the experimental phase, which won’t necessarily stick for the final product.

The final product, Levy noted, the one that gets past the 97% kill rate all the way to 100%, is still eluding the team. They also haven’t yet tested the drug on real patients, so far it’s only been blood in test tubes.

The Kaplan AIDS clinic is the largest in Israel, caring for 1,400 patients.

JNi.Media

American Campuses And Jews Who Know Not Zion

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

As another academic year begins at American colleges and universities, one can expect to see a continuation of the pattern in recent years in which many Jewish students either take a neutral stance in the face of the currently rampant campus assault on Israel or actually join in the assault.

Among the latter, some embrace the self-described “pro-Israel” but, in fact, Israel-bashing campus incarnation of J-Street, while others go further and enlist in the ranks of groups less coy than J Street, groups that, for example,  more unambiguously promote the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) agenda against Israel.

These include the explicitly anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). A number of Jewish students even join the cadres of the often openly anti-Semitic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), founded as an offshoot of the General Union of Palestinian Students and now the premiere BDS-cheerleading, Israel-demonizing organization on American campuses.

Significant voices in the Jewish community, looking at this phenomenon, and perceiving as well in some quarters beyond the universities a decrease in American Jewish identification with Israel, correlate these developments with supposed Israeli government failure to take steps towards advancing peace.

This argument has been made by, among others, Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, a newspaper produced with the support of the UJA-Federation of New York.

In an article that appeared earlier this year under the title “Frustration with Israel Growing Here at Home,” Rosenblatt discusses what he reports as having heard from members of the Jewish community, including community leaders, of grievances against Israel. Seemingly topping the list, and reflecting a view clearly shared by Rosenblatt, is “The hard fact… that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans, including many Jews, who want to see greater efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict and who put the onus for the impasse on Jerusalem.”

In the same vein, Rosenblatt observes, “Whether or not it is fair, the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and intransigent…” And “One national leader told me he’d like to fly to Israel, with a group of his top colleagues, to try to convince Netanyahu in dramatic fashion of the need for ‘a plan, any plan’ to break the impasse.”

And while these statements are couched as representing what Rosenblatt has heard from others, it is in his own voice that he states near the end of the piece “… Netanyahu and his government will continue to make decisions based on their own narrow and immediate political interests, and we can only hope they will coincide with national interests as well.”

The obvious implication is that the author does not see the prime minister as having been acting in Israel’s national interest, and that – reflecting the thrust of the article – Rosenblatt is referring specifically to the prime minister’s not being forthcoming enough in the quest for peace.

But can the falling away from Israel observed among many Jewish students on American campuses and among others in the American Jewish community genuinely be correlated with Israel’s not doing enough to advance peace?

First, is it true that Israel is responsible for the impasse vis-a-vis peace?

Any objective look at the history of efforts to achieve peace and at the reality on the ground today can only conclude that the claim of Israeli culpability is not credible.

Palestinian leadership is currently divided between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, which governs in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Hamas is openly dedicated not only to the killing of all Jews in Israel but all Jews worldwide. With Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians living there were free to turn the territory into another Singapore or Hong Kong and would have had wide Arab world and other support for doing so. That their leaders have chosen instead to eschew pursuing the building of a prosperous state for the sake of hewing to their genocidal priorities can hardly be blamed on Israel and cannot be remedied by any Israeli concessions.
The agenda of the Palestinian Authority differs little from that of Hamas. Abbas and his PA and Fatah associates insist on Israel’s illegitimacy and assert constantly that Jews have no historical, authentic connection to the land and are merely colonialist usurpers whose presence must be extirpated. The message hammered in their media, preached in their mosques, and taught in their schools is lurid defamation of Jews and the promotion of dedication to Jew-killing and to Israel’s destruction as the obligation of every Palestinian.

Abbas himself has repeatedly insisted that he will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders. He has rejected every offer of territorial compromise because proposals of a settlement have been conditioned on such Palestinian recognition of Israel and explicit acceptance of an agreement as a final status document. He and those around him refuse to forego future additional claims against Israel with the ultimate objective of the Jewish state’s dissolution. This was the same reason why Arafat in 2000 rejected Ehud Barak and President Clinton’s offers of a settlement and instead launched his terror war against Israel.

When Netanyahu imposed a ten-month moratorium on all construction within settlements, something no other prime minister had ever done, Abbas waited almost until the expiration of the moratorium to agree to a meeting and then predicated further meetings on an extension of the moratorium. Netanyahu has since been offering resuming bilateral negotiations without preconditions; Abbas refuses.

Abbas’s preferred scenario, like Arafat’s before him – the scenario Abbas is currently promoting at the UN and in Europe – is imposition of a territorial agreement on Israel backed up by international sanctions, an agreement that will entail no direct obligations on the PA but rather grant it a state without obliging it to forego further claims against Israel. It is the strategy enshrined in the Palestine Liberation Organization’s 1974 “plan of phases,” in which the PLO proposed to take whatever land it could gain by diplomacy and use that land as a base for pursuing Israel’s annihilation.

All of this is well known to anyone who cares to know. To correlate the falling away of support for Israel among some Jews, including some who have embraced stridently anti-Israel positions, with supposed Israeli intransigence vis-a-vis the quest for peace is disingenuous at best.

But there is a correlation to be made. Whatever weakening there is of Jewish support for Israel, on American campuses or elsewhere, can be correlated with the intensity of the local assault on Israel. Where the assault is most intense, so too is the falling away.

It has always been thus when Jews have been under siege, whether the target has been Diaspora Jewish communities or the Jewish state. Invariably some Jews have sought a solution to the painful onslaught by embracing the arguments of the attackers – however bigoted or absurd. They would either promote communal self-reform to, they imagine, placate the attackers; or detach themselves from the community to escape the assault; or even join the attackers to more dramatically disassociate themselves from the targeted Jews.

Israel’s experience of chronic besiegement has led to such reactions even within the country. Such predilections lay behind the Oslo process.

Arafat had never hidden his determination to pursue Israel’s destruction. Indeed, on the very night of the famous handshake on the White House lawn in September 1993, and the signing of the initial Oslo accords, Arafat was on Jordanian television from Washington explaining to his constituency and to the wider Arab world that they should understand Oslo as the first phase of the aforementioned “plan of phases” for Israel’s annihilation.

He and his associates repeated this and similar declarations of their ultimate objective, as well as engaged in other forms of anti-Israel incitement, throughout the weeks and months that followed. In addition, in the wake of Arafat’s arrival in the territories, terrorism reached levels of intensity never before seen in Israel.

Yet virtually half the population of Israel, and a much higher percentage of its elites, insisted on deluding themselves into believing that Israeli concessions via the Oslo process would placate the nation’s enemies and lead to peace.

Only after Arafat turned down all the concessions made by Ehud Barak at Camp David in the summer of 2000, likewise rejected President Clinton’s proposals, offered no counter-proposals, and instead launched his terror war, which over the ensuing few years killed more than a thousand Israelis and left thousands more horribly maimed, did those Israelis enthralled with Oslo begin to wake in large numbers from their delusions. Still more did so in response to Israel’s unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza in 2005 and receiving in return thousands of rockets aimed at its cities and villages and three mini-wars.

There remain Israelis who, despite all the intrusions of blood-soaked reality on their wishful reveries, continue to embrace fantasies of Palestinian leaders as peace partners and Israeli concessions as resolving the conflict. But they are far fewer now, as reflected in recent elections and opinion polls. It is significant, however, that greatly overrepresented among them are members of the nation’s elites – cultural, academic, journalistic, and elements of the political elite. Consequently, much of the chatter we hear from Israel, chatter dominated by those elites, entails reprises of Oslo-era delusions and gives a very misleading picture of what most Israelis think now.

Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor, touches on this in a cogent response to Rosenblatt titled “Why Israel Is Frustrated with American Jewish Leaders: Fringe Israeli voices that polarize and demonize our society are given legitimacy and resources in America” (published by Rosenblatt, to his credit, in The Jewish Week on January 27, 2016). Steinberg points out that many American Jewish leaders take their cue from such marginal voices. He goes on: “Like most Israelis, I also hope for a peace plan, but not any plan, and certainly not one that will bring us yet another disaster when it fails…. So no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR among liberal students, but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.”

But the problem is not simply that American Jewish leaders respond to fringe Israeli voices that demonize Israel and do so because such voices, while marginal within Israel, are overrepresented within the Jewish state’s vocal elites. Rather, too many American Jewish leaders are predisposed to embrace the message of those voices, the message that a solution to the conflict could be had if Israel would only will it. And they are predisposed to that message because too many American Jewish leaders are swayed by the indictments of Israel coming from strata of America with which they identify: the Obama administration, major constituencies within the Democrat party, elements of the cultural elite, the liberal churches, the professoriate and its campuses.

They are eager to embrace these groups’ indictments as fair and reasonable, even though they are not, and to seek modification of Israeli policies to assuage the indicters, all – as Steinberg suggests – with little consideration of what most Israelis think or of Israel’s actual predicament.

Again, this is an old story. Indeed, criticism of Zionist aspirations by some Jewish leaders and elements of the broader Jewish community, criticism in deference to external pressures, long predated the modern Zionist movement. In, for example, German states in central Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a major argument invoked against extending civic rights to Jews was that the Jews constituted a separate nation and so were unfit for such rights. A common Jewish response was to disavow any such national self-comprehension; and new, reformist congregations even stripped the liturgy of references to longing for Zion and Jerusalem to emphasize this new self-definition.

In addition, as is typical when minorities embrace the indictments of the surrounding majorities and seek to appease them via self-reform, Jews following this course did not acknowledge they were doing so to appease bigoted attackers. Rather, they cast their course as moral and ethical. They argued that while Judaism always had its universal mission, a mission of promoting a more ethical, humane order in the world, Judaism as a light unto the nations, that mission had become Judaism’s exclusive role over the preceding two millennia and any return to national aspirations was an atavistic step to be shunned.

(It took the Holocaust to swing many leaders of Reform Judaism in America, a branch of the faith derived in large part from reformist German Jewish congregations, to support the Zionist project and recognize the Jewish desire for national self-determination as not atavistic after all.)

The anti-Jewish indictment arguing that Jews did not deserve equal civic rights because they were part of a separate nation, and the accommodating response by major elements of the community, merged with a related indictment and related response.

An additional, common anti-Jewish line of attack was that Jews were uniquely disposed to focus only on their own narrow, parochial interests and disregard the plight of those beyond their own community. The response by some Jewish leaders and others within the community was to eschew Jewish communal issues – even as Jews were confronted with particular challenges and particular threats; to ostentatiously demonstrate their devotion to addressing problems other than those of their own community; and to depict the abandonment of the former and devotion to the latter as the moral, ethical course.

Essentially the same dynamic can be seen at play today as many Jewish leaders and the communal institutions they head give priority to accommodating those elements of American society critical of Israel, elements which they – in a skewed vision of reality that has its own distinct history – are predisposed to see as representative of the moral, ethical course which is the proper, universal Jewish vocation. They are more prone to giving ground in the face of criticism of Israel by those elements, however unfair and biased the criticism, than in looking closely at the threats Israel faces and its strategic challenges and vulnerabilities and responding forcefully to critics who ignore those realities.

It should come as no shock then, given all this, that so many Jewish students go off to college knowing little of those realities. How can it be otherwise when – even looking at students who grow up in households connected to Jewish institutions – what they and their families hear in their temples and read in their Jewish newspapers and imbibe from other community organs is as likely to be indictments of Israeli policy, all too fully internalized by rabbis and editors and organization heads, than any informed, reality-based,  clear-sighted, intellectually honest and unapologetic defense of Israel?

And what do Jewish students encounter on campus? One reality greeting them will be a well-documented increase in anti-Semitism, including even, in some instances, physical assaults on Jews, much of it incited and perpetrated by the, again, often openly Jew-baiting Students for Justice in Palestine (or, perhaps more properly, Students for Judaeophobia), whose objective is Israel’s annihilation. As noted, they will also encounter some Jews among the mostly Muslim cadres of SJP.

Also greeting them on many campuses will be what is, in effect, SJP’s Jewish auxiliary, Jewish Voice for Peace. Like “Students for Justice in Palestine,” “Jewish Voice for Peace” is a propaganda-driven misnomer; the only peace the organization proffers for Israelis is the peace of the dead. A perusal of its website reveals its parroting of virtually every anti-Israel canard promoted by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and their fellow travelers, and its endorsing of those groups’ goals.

For JVP, prior to the League of Nations action mandating creation of a Jewish homeland in “Palestine,” the area was not part of the Ottoman Empire but rather a Palestinian Arab state which the Jews subsequently usurped; and there was no Arab expulsion of close to a million Jews from Arab nations, and no Arab efforts to annihilate the Jews of the Mandate, and Jews have no right to national self-determination, and Palestinian Arabs have the right to pursue Israel’s dissolution.

That a small minority of Jewish students take the extreme step of affiliating with JVP or SJP should not be entirely surprising. Motivations no doubt vary from individual to individual. Some, for example, may simply be following a family tradition of bowdlerized, ultimately auto-genocidal, Jewish “morality,” while others may be rebelling against a more conventional familial Jewish connectedness.

But the broader reality is that, again, whenever Jews have been under attack there have always been some who seek to escape the assault by joining the attackers.

Perhaps this is even more the case in an academic environment, as students are particularly eager to be accepted by their peers and their professors and to deck themselves in the current campus fashion, whether its hue be far-Left red or fascist brown. The strange contemporary alliance between red and brown, far Left “progressivism” and Islamist fascism, seems particularly compelling for some.

J Street’s campus operation, which, like the parent organization, characterizes itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace, and which promotes the parent organization’s policies, has drawn a much larger following among Jewish students than JVP or SJP. But its pro-Israel claims run counter to those policies.

Israelis of almost all political stripes reject a return to the pre-1967 armistice lines, the so-called Green Line, in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The consensus is, as the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (the key UN document relating to the territorial issue) asserted, that those lines left Israel too vulnerable and invited further aggression against the country.

Yitzhak Rabin, in his last Knesset speech prior to his assassination, listed West Bank areas – an incomplete list, he indicated – that Israel would need to retain and populate in any final settlement to assure its security and survival. Yet J Street opposes any Israeli presence beyond the Green Line and advocates the United States supporting, via unilateral policy initiatives or a UN Security Council resolution or an initiative in conjunction with other major powers, reversing Resolution 242 and endorsing the Green Line as the basis for defining a future border.

J Street also advocates the United States instituting punitive measures against Israel for any activity beyond the Green Line. It also claims that American administrations have consistently viewed settlements beyond the Green Line as “illegal,” when in fact only the Carter Administration labeled them illegal and, as attested to by many experts in the field, there is much in international law that weighs in favor of their legality.

Israelis have fought three wars against Hamas in Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, with each conflict triggered by Hamas attacks, particularly rocket fire, against Israel’s civilian population. Yet J Street has repeatedly drawn a moral equivalence between Israel and its openly genocidal foe, and has often parroted Hamas claims and statistics about the course of the conflicts and the resultant casualties.

J Street is consistently silent about the goals of Hamas and of the Palestinian Authority, their mutual rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders in “Palestine,” and the PA’s rejection of all negotiation proposals offered by Israel or by the United States.

J Street asserts it opposes the “global BDS movement” that targets all of Israel for boycott, divestment and sanction, but does not oppose BDS efforts targeting the territories beyond the Green Line. It sees such boycotts as consistent with its goal of promoting Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line. But, again, the vast majority of Israelis, along with notable Western military and strategic experts, believe that such a withdrawal would render Israel fatally vulnerable.

In addition, the “global BDS movement” also promotes, like J Street, more circumscribed boycotts limited to the territories, as in its partially successful efforts to advance such boycotts in Europe. It does so because it knows that even such limited boycotts, which serve to weaken Israel’s presence in the territories, in advancing the goal of Israeli retreat to the Green Line serves also to undermine Israel’s strategic viability and ultimate survival.

J Street has worked with supporters of the Iranian government and strongly backed last year’s agreement with Iran that legitimized that nation’s nuclear program and released to the mullahs over $100 billion in embargoed funds in exchange for limited curtailment of its pursuit of operable nuclear weapons. It did so even as Iran has consistently reasserted its goal of annihilating Israel and consistently used its resources to arm and finance terrorist proxies, such as Hizbullah, that target Israel.

The leadership of J Street is obviously less interested in the concerns of most Israelis and the realities of their predicament than in aligning itself with an American administration ambivalent at best towards those concerns and realities and with other elites in America who share similar attitudes.

Among Jewish students, J Street’s true believers are drawn largely from those whose priorities are the same. Its Jewish student support is also drawn from those who see in J Street a middle course between unabashed advocacy of the rightness of Israel’s case and the legitimacy of its concerns and outright embrace of the assaults of those who want Israel destroyed, a middle course that many hope will pass muster as compatible with the campus zeitgeist. The group also attracts some of the innocent and uninformed who are sympathetic to Israel but know too little to appreciate the dangers that J-Street’s agenda represents for Israelis.

It is particularly among the latter two groups that the failure of much of American Jewish leadership as reflected in Gary Rosenblatt’s article looms large, the failure of leaders who bewail the falling away from concern with Israel’s well-being but seek to place the onus for the falling away on Israel.

The assault on American Jewish students is intense and entails not only the hate-filled attacks of fellow students but all too often similar hatred emanating from faculty, especially in the humanities and social sciences (and even faculty focused on Jewish studies, as recently reflected in the ugly, intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt anti-Israel screed produced by Hasia Diner and Marjorie N. Fried and published in Haaretz on August 1), as well as the widespread tolerance of college and university administrations for the assault on Israel and its supporters.

Students are rendered more vulnerable to the corrosive impact of the assault on their identification with Israel when Jewish leaders are remiss in their responsibilities to counter that vulnerability both by arming students with the truth about Israel and by providing a strong counter-force against those forces engineering the assault.

Rather than offering such a counter-force, some leaders of major Jewish organizations actually extend support to those engaged in the campus assault on Israel. Earlier this year, the current head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, a former high-ranking Obama administration official, spoke to J Street students and essentially endorsed policies toward Israel promoted in J Street’s campus activities. The ADL, both under Greenblatt and his predecessor, Abe Foxman, has also criticized state and federal efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation, including legislation to withhold funds from institutions of higher learning that enact BDS measures.

The ADL has argued that its stance is based on the defense of freedom of speech. But it requires considerable logical contortion to twist into a free speech issue withholding taxpayer funds from publicly supported colleges and universities that pursue policies biased against Israel and ultimately aimed at undermining that nation’s viability. The ADL stance seems rather to be directed towards conforming to the political predilections of particular echelons in America with which its leaders identify, and to doing so with little regard for the impact on Israelis and their well-being.

Among campus developments illustrative of the failure of American Jewish leadership vis-a-vis Jewish college and university students, few are as noteworthy as the relatively new “Open Hillel” phenomenon.

Hillel has long provided a center for Jewish activities and connectedness on campuses for those students seeking such connectedness and has, of course, been the leading organization in doing so. It reports that it has a presence at more than 550 colleges and universities. With regard to Israel, Hillel International guidelines declare that the organization is “steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations.”

The guidelines also assert that “Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; [or] exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

But in recent years, students on some campuses have taken exception to these guidelines and insisted, for example, that their campus Hillels host events co-sponsored by the virulently anti-Israel SJP and the hardly less anti-Israel JVP, both of which delegitimize and demonize Israel and seek to undermine its existence. Under the rubric “Open Hillel,” advocates of this course claim they are simply seeking to broaden the discussion of Israel beyond the positions articulated in the Hillel guidelines.

The first “Open Hillel” conference was held in the fall of 2014 and reportedly drew more than 350 participants. Jewish Voice for Peace played a prominent role in the conference program, as did other voices hostile to Israel and challenging of its very existence. An attendee, writing in The Tower Magazine, noted that “… while there were definitely some views expressed that were even more extreme than JVP, I never heard a single opinion expressed that could be called more ardently Zionist than J Street – which itself has a very problematic relationship with Zionism.”

Thus far only a handful of campus Hillels in America have declared themselves to have embraced the “Open Hillel” agenda. But in fact, many more do partner with organizations that support BDS at some level and promote other anti-Israel policies, most notably J Street but also at times groups such as JVP and even SJP. A key explanation for this is that many, likely most, rabbis serving as Hillel directors – either because of views held before coming to their Hillel position or because they have been won over to conforming to popular campus biases – are themselves sympathetic to the intellectually insupportable and morally obtuse blaming of Israeli policy for the absence of peace and for the wide hostility to Israel in academic circles.

In contrast, those Hillel directors who are fully supportive of Hillel International’s guidelines regarding Israel and are unabashed supporters of the Jewish state and its right to demand a genuine and defensible peace in return for concessions are a distinct minority.

Moreover, Hillel International has not aggressively sought to hold Hillel chapters to the guidelines on Israel as a condition for their continuing to use the Hillel name. Nor has the wider community of leading Jewish organizations openly addressed the highly problematic developments within this key Jewish campus institution, much less taken a stance on those developments. No doubt this is, again, in large part because so many prominent figures in those organizations are likely to be among the Jewish leaders who are not prepared to challenge Israel-baiting segments of society, such as major elements of academia, with which they identify, and prefer instead to blame Israeli policy for those groups’ hostility to Israel.

One hears some voices in Jewish leadership who are essentially sympathetic to the strong Hillel International parameters regarding Israel but at the same time argue that Jewish organizational life ought to provide a “big tent” and be open to Jews of all opinions who want to identify with the community.

Proponents of this view suggest, regarding Hillel, it ought to be seen as a positive that those Jewish students so critical of Israel nevertheless want to be part of campus Jewish communal life.

But of course they want to be part of Hillel not to share a common space with Jewish students different from themselves – Jewish students who, for example, see Israel differently from how they do. If that were their interest, they would create an “Open J Street” and “Open JVP.” Rather, they want to be part of Hillel so they can undermine support for Israel from within the flagship Jewish campus organization; so that they can use the organization in their quest to separate identifying with Israel – at least Israel as comprehended by and defended by the great majority of Israelis – from Jewish identity.

It is certainly true that one can identify as Jewish and even be committed to living life in a manner infused with Jewish content and yet be critical of the Zionist project or supportive of policies that would compromise Israel’s security and threaten its viability. But to welcome such people within a “big tent” of Jewish communal life is morally problematic. It entails giving communal sanction to those who would either deprive fellow Jews of the right of national self-determination accorded other groups or endanger the welfare and lives of the more than six million Jews for whom Israel is home.

Nor can the widespread hostility to Israel, nor the murderous hostility to all Jews that seeks justification in anti-Zionism, be legitimately invoked by Jews as a reason for challenging the Zionist project or Israeli policies vital to the security of the state. Again, it has been all too common for some Jews, in the face of anti-Jewish bigotry, even murderous bigotry, to blame other Jews rather than the haters.

More broadly, whatever the rationale or motivation, it is morally obtuse for Jewish leaders, such as those alluded to in the Gary Rosenblatt article cited earlier, to ignore the realities of Israel’s predicament and to insist on dangerous concessions by Israel to appease those indifferent to or hostile to the nation’s well-being, whether Jews or non-Jews, whether they are on American campuses or elsewhere.

Israel’s primary obligation is not to win a popularity contest either in the world at large or within some Jewish “big tent,” many of whose members have priorities inimical to the state’s well-being. Rather, its obligation is to protect and defend its citizens, build the state along the same ethical, Jewish and democratic principles that have been its essential guidelines since its founding, and to make its case as best its can to the world, including to the jaundiced within the Jewish world, but never to compromise its vital interests for the sake of advancing its case.

As Gerald Steinberg said in response to Rosenblatt, “… no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR… but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.” If that displeases some in the American Jewish establishment, then shame on them.

Kenneth Levin

Green Zion Square

Monday, September 5th, 2016

New potted plants fill up Zion Square in Jerusalem, for the start of Jerusalem’s Culture Season.

Green Zion Square

Photo of the Day

Erdogan Wouldn’t Let Elders Of Zion Plan His Fake Coup

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

{Originally posted to the satirical website, PreOccupied Territory}

Ankara, July 18 – Frustrated members of the shadowy Jewish conspiracy that runs the world admitted today that they took a back seat to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in planning the false-flag attempt to depose him over the weekend.

Insiders among the Elders of Zion told reporters today that while Erdoğan, at his own insistence, successfully planned and managed the operation to make it seem a coup was taking place, and then exploited those developments to seize even tighter control of the country than before, his handling of the execution betrayed the hand of a relative amateur, compared to the elegant, seamless way in which Conspiracy activities through the generations have been orchestrated.

Elders pointed to the clumsiness with which certain important details of the would-be coup attempt were cobbled together. “Many of the soldiers taking part had no idea they were conducting anything more than an exercise,” noted H, a member of the Supreme Council of Elders, which gave final, if reluctant, approval for Erdoğan to handle the ruse himself. “For a coup to be believable, you need the armed forces to be behind it, not just a few units with some others along for the ride.”

H also noted the obvious way in which the president swooped in immediately after the coup was suppressed with ready lists of officials, commanders, and government or media figures to arrest or silence over their alleged involvement. “Erdoğan didn’t even maintain a pretense of investigations into who was behind the coup. The whole thing came off looking like a grade-school student trying to cover up some unexcused absences. It’s embarrassing to see.”

Other Elders confirmed that Erdoğan would no longer be allowed to handle such fateful operations with nearly as much autonomy anymore, if at all. “In fact we’re considering pulling in the reins on a whole bunch of activities that until now have been managed by proxies, given the sloppiness of this fiasco,” said L, also of the Supreme Council. “We might have to take a more hands-on role in the South China Sea, for example. Not that [President of China] Xi [Jinping] has been anything less than reliable, but I’m sure he’ll understand that at least for the foreseeable future, we can’t run the risk of such poor handling of our plans recurring – and in a much more strategically significant place than some backwater such as Turkey.”

In terms of China specifically, allowed L, there could eventually be more leeway for the local leadership to take initiative, as a mass conversion to Judaism is already on the table in Beijing to help the country better navigate international banking.

PreOccupied Territory

This Is For The Zionists

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

This

Is for the Zionists.

for a people exiled from their land

Time after time after time

their

crime was their ethnicity

and so their history as a people has been filled with blood

 

With blood and with tyranny,

as nations and invading armies uprooted them, looted their homes,

took away the songs of their culture, ravished their wives and daughters,

enslaved and depraved them

Slaughtered and tortured, they still marched forward, they still marched forward.

 

Rejected and detested in every land they entered, they still marched forward, they still marched forward.

 

This

Is for the Zionists.

For the

fight still in them

like their Macabeean ancestors

we honor every winter

light candles and remember

how they stood tall against the invading Greek armies

and in this we endeavor to be brave just like them.

 

And fight when

the long dark days of evil creep up

and Persian Hamans threaten us once more

Purim’s story remains relevant.

 

See today the bomb is being prepared

and eloquent

speeches from Western governments speak softly

of appeasement

while we

beg them to instead be brave and save the lives of innocents.

 

But in a sense, its evident

that things don’t get done unless the powers that be have incentive

 

So this, we will give them.

 

In this, We send them our creed and our mission.

A declaration of freedom.

We compel them

to stand for the very things they claim to represent;

 

Put emphasis on liberty, cause fecklessness is not an option.

Its easy to get downtrodden when a crazy theocratic government

spews toxin and hate. Generates evil among the people, legislates anti-Semitic laws, agitates other governments,

engages in and harbors terror overseas, its far too easy to get bothered by these.

 

But this is a celebration…

 

Cause no matter the beatings, the lynchings, the slanders and the lies

 

the chambers of gas choking the shaven women as they cried

 

the numbers sketched on arms, the place where Anne Frank did hide,

 

No matter the number of Jews who were vanquished and who died,

 

This is Zion’s pride, and we do not apologize.

 

That in spite of their land stolen from them and conquered, they still marched forward, they still march forward.

 

With eyes turned towards Jerusalem, their eternal capital before them, they still march forward, they still march forward.

 

Towards the dawn,

the

advent of their civilization,

the

place where they began,

where the soil matches the dust of their skin

and you can

hear the ground sing of their triumph,

 

 

towards an oasis where the pigmentation of the people matches the colors of the rainbow. Where the

rich

dark

coco skin of the Ethiopian

gently collides with the blonde dread locks of the Ashkenazi,

where the free

Arab moves, and lives, and works, and creates

this is just another day in this land and they still march forward, they still march forward.

 

Here the Hebrew nation resides

No longer stifled but free,

the rifles once pointed at them

they carry

tarrying all day

defending their land

never again to be taken from them

These natives of Zion, The indigenous ones,

the wives, the husbands, the daughters, the sons,

these generations of a once exiled people

feeble, weak, plagued with defeat,

 

Yet today they rise… their hearts filled with fire,

they are powerful and free, mighty to inspire, their songs of victory reach higher and higher to heaven

this is the triumph of Zionism

 

Abolition of a nation enslaved by the world’s opinion,

Chloe Valdary

Peter Beinart’s Cocoon

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

In the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart is upset that the organized American Jewish community doesn’t invite Palestinian Arabs to speak at their events. He believes that American Jews don’t give enough empathy to Palestinian Arabs.

For the most part, Palestinians do not speak in American synagogues or write in the Jewish press. The organization Birthright, which since 1999 has taken almost 350,000 young Diaspora Jews—mostly Americans—to visit Israel, does not venture to Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank. Of the more than two hundred advertised speakers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2013 Policy Conference, two were Palestinians. By American Jewish standards, that’s high. The American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum earlier this year, which advertised sixty-four speakers, did not include a single Palestinian.

…Guidelines like Hillel’s—which codify the de facto restrictions that exist in many establishment American Jewish groups—make the organized American Jewish community a closed intellectual space, isolated from the experiences and perspectives of roughly half the people under Israeli control. And the result is that American Jewish leaders, even those who harbor no animosity toward Palestinians, know little about the reality of their lives.

Beinart grudgingly admits:

This lack of familiarity with Palestinian life also inclines many in the organized American Jewish world to assume that Palestinian anger toward Israel must be a product solely of Palestinian pathology. Rare is the American Jewish discussion of Israel that does not include some reference to the textbooks and television programs that “teach Palestinians to hate.” These charges have some merit. Palestinian schools and media do traffic in anti-Semitism and promote violence.

But:

Still, what’s often glaringly absent from the American Jewish discussion of Palestinian hatred is any recognition that some of it might stem not from what Palestinians read or hear about the Jewish state, but from the way they interact with it in their daily lives.

Beinart is at least as guilty of willful blindness as the American Jewish establishment he is insulting. His “Open Zion” site all but ignores the Palestinian Arab hate and antisemitism, just as he attempts to minimize it and contextualize it here as a natural result of things Israelis did. He says that most terror attacks are the result of anger at Israeli actions from the first intifada, without mentioning who started the first intifada. No doubt Israel’s initial reaction was more severe than would be acceptable today, but at the time Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza would travel freely to pre-1967 Israel and Israelis would visit freely to Arab areas, without fear.

The restrictions that Beinart is so upset about today came because of Palestinian Arab terror, not the other way around.

Moreover, while Beinart talks about checkpoints that exist today, what does he think would happen if a two-state solution that he so passionately supports would occur? They wouldn’t be checkpoints – there would be national borders. Try commuting to another country every day, let alone an enemy country, and see how painless it is.

American Jewish leaders have access to The New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian and, yes, Open Zion. Jewish Americans read Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen. The idea that they somehow live in a pro-Likud bubble is ridiculous. They know far more about Palestinian Arab claims and grievances than readers of Open Zion know about the day to day incitement against Israel and Jews in Palestinian Arab lives – not just “textbooks and television programs” but virtually every newspaper, every school, every media.

This is the stuff I expose along with MEMRI, Palestinian Media Watch and others.

Beinart would like to pretend that we cherry pick the worst examples. To an extent that is true. That’s how the media works – to show the worst in order to illuminate the facts – something Beinart is doing in this very essay.

However, as someone who reads quite a bit of Arabic media daily, I can assure Beinart and my readers that the hate isn’t an anomaly, while people like Salam Fayyad are the silent majority. No – within the “cocoon” of Palestinian Arab life, there is zero tolerance for any viewpoint that is the least bit conciliatory to real coexistence and peace. The hate is pervasive, not anomalous. Anyone who would speak to an American Jewish organization would, by that very fact, lose all legitimacy from their own people.

Elder of Ziyon

New Diaspora Religion: Bagelism

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Last week, the administrator of a popular Facebook group called something like “Kaballah Lite,” asked me not to post blogs on their page that stressed the mitzvah of living in Israel because it made his readers uneasy. First, he wanted to get people involved in “spirituality” and then he’d teach them about Israel, he said.

When I replied that according to the Kaballah everything in Israel is spiritual, the rocks, the trees, the tomato fields, even the secular Jews, and that Eretz Yisrael represents the exalted sefirah of Malchut, without which the spiritual blueprint of the world is shattered and God’s Presence doesn’t appear on Earth, he answered that the uninitiated can’t understand this very basic foundation upon which the Kaballah is based. First, they have to learn about the joy of spiritualism, he said.

That’s a little like baking an apple pie and leaving out the apples. After the pie is finished, you can’t go back and stick in the apples. They haven’t been cooked! So too, you can’t teach Judaism and leave out the Land of Israel, and then stick it in at the end, as if it’s just some added spicing. The apples aren’t something extra – they’re the essence of the pie itself. So too with Judaism – the Jewish life in the Land of Israel isn’t just another ingredient – it’s the filling. It’s the pie itself.

Another Facebook group about being “frum” in New York also kicked me off its list. When I asked why, the administrator said that she was trying to bring unaffiliated Jews closer to the joys of Orthodoxy and my writings about Israel raised uncomfortable “political” issues for liberal New York Jews, and turned them away from pure Judaism. Pure Judaism? Without the Land of Israel?

Sorry, but that isn’t Judaism. It’s a new religion. Maybe, to give her, and others who think like her, the benefit of the doubt, you could call it “Diaspora Judaism.” But it isn’t Torah. Eretz Yisrael isn’t a peripheral matter to Yiddishkeit, or merely a nice place to visit to feel proud to be a Jew. Building the Jewish Nation in Israel is the very goal of the Torah. Over two-thirds of the Mishna concern the commandments that can only be performed in the Land of Israel. “For from Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of God from Yerushalayim.” Not from Brooklyn, Monsey, Beverly Hills, Toronto, or Mexico City.

So along with Reform and Conservative Judaism, which aren’t Judaism at all, we can add Diaspora Judaism. It’s closer to Orthodox Judaism than the others, but huge chucks of the Torah are still missing. Let’s call this new religion of Diaspora Jews, “Bagel Judaism,” or “Bagelism,” because its center, the Land of Israel, is missing.

The countries of the Diasporas may be very enjoyable places, like the taste of a bagel, but something is missing. Diasporas can come in all sorts of flavors, just like plain bagels, and sesame, onion, pumpernickel, and whole wheat bagels, but they are all empty in the middle. The center, the Land of Israel, is missing! Diasporas have synagogues, and Shabbos, glatt kosher restaurants and yeshivas, but the center, the Redemptional focus of the Torah and Prophets, the desire to return to Zion, and the all-important national component of Judaism are missing. Take for example the “Kedusha” we say during our Shachrit prayers on Shabbat: “When will You return to Zion? Speedily, in our days, may You dwell there forever. May You be exalted and sanctified in Jerusalem, Your city throughout all generations and to all eternity.” Zion and Jerusalem -not Brooklyn, Beverly Hills, Boca, Buenos Aries, or Berlin.

Without the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, without a national Jewish calendar, a Jewish army, a Jewish government, without all of the mitzvot that apply n the Land, children who grow up speaking Hebrew, and Jews who marry Jews and not gentiles, the Judaism of the Diaspora is a hollow Judaism. Just like a bagel, the outside ring is tasty, but the center is missing. Like a bagel, the Judaism of the Diaspora is missing its heart. When you relish the bagel and don’t notice the gaping hole in the middle, then something is wrong with your Judaism.

Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/new-diaspora-religion-bagelism/2012/12/02/

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