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Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

Rabbis Protest Mobile App of the ‘Protocols’

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

A European rabbinical group is protesting a mobile app of the notorious anti-Semitic text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Brussels-based Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Tuesday that he would contact Apple to urge that the company remove the app. JTA’s calls to Apple were not immediately answered.

The app, which was released earlier this year, is available only in Arabic and is attributed to the software developer Ahmed Elserety.

It costs $1.08 to download and is accompanied by a compact description of the “Protocols” stating that “according to many historians, these writings are a hoax.” The text describes a supposed Jewish plot to control the world.

The app notes a 1921 investigation by the Times of London and a series of French articles describing how the fraud was perpetrated.

Still, Goldschmidt said, it is unacceptable to have such an app on the market.

Goldschmidt believes it is “the first mobile version of the famous anti-Semitic work,” which was first published in Russia in the early 20th century.

“Although the Protocols of the Elders of Zion can and should be available for academics to study in its proper context, to disseminate such hateful invective as a mobile app is dangerous and inexcusable,” he said, warning that it could be “used by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and their fellow travelers to pursue their
racist agenda.”

The Speed of Progressivism

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/the-speed-of-progressivism.html

The transformation of Chick-Fil-A from a fast food place that most liberals had never even heard of into the “Enemy of the People” is a reminder of the speed at which progressivism travels forward and backward in time. A few months ago the CEO of Chick-Fil-A would have done nothing worse than echo a consensus so mainstream that it was adopted as a campaign position by the leftiest Democrat to sit in the White House. A few months later that same position is so outrageous that it leads to mass boycotts, threats of violence and mayors of dysfunctional urban centers threatening to drive the reactionary chicken franchise out of their cities.

One of the wonderful things about progressivism is that it defies the laws of physics and history. When the Democratic Party, a once notable national party that has been turned into a red shill for the sort of people who used to hang out in cafes and plot to blow things up in between free verse recitals, adopts a progressive position, that position instantly travels backward in time to alter history and create an entirely new past.

For example when the Democratic Party decided that its future lay not with racist white gerrymandered districts but racist black gerrymandered districts, its adoption of civil rights, formerly a Republican position that good Democrats had fought tooth and nail, actually traveled back in time transforming our nation’s history.

When the Democrats belatedly decided that black people were human beings, or at least a better bet for votes than Southern white men who were in danger of deciding that they didn’t have much in common with a party of corrupt Northern elites being painted by a corrupt Northern media as saints, the energy from this decision transformed Lincoln into a Democrat, segregation into an idea that Ike and Dick came up with in between dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the Trail of Tears, and turned the Community Organizers who had been busy torching black orphanages and Republican newspapers in New York City and Boston as part of an organized wartime campaign to defeat the Union, into a lost page of history.

Governor George Wallace, three-time Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States, said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” The real quote though it turns out is, “Progressivism now, progressivism tomorrow, progressivism forever.” History works and is revised so that the past agrees with the present.

The Democratic Party has always been at war with racism, in favor of gay marriage, illegal aliens and killing everyone over 50 to save on health care costs. The latter position hasn’t been articulated yet, but when it is, it will travel backward through time and since what will take place in the future has already occurred, it has already traveled backward in time to alter our history so that we now know that the Democratic Party has always supported killing people over 50 to save on health care costs.

This however is only a projection. History is notoriously unstable. What was the progressive pose yesterday may be an unacceptably reactionary position tomorrow. The French Revolution and the Communist Revolution and the Cultural Revolution spent a lot of time purging comrades who had failed to recognize that the new progressive position had been adopted tomorrow and had become reality yesterday and was subject to a loyalty oath today. Like Chick-A-Fil, many of them ended up being enemies of the people where they were subjected to worse things than the mayors of bankrupt cities declaring that anti-gay chicken was an unacceptable addition to the parts of their fair cities that aren’t on fire.

The Democrats borrowed their interest in black civil rights from the left, which was only working with urban minorities because it was hoping to include them in its revolutionary coalition of coal miners and lettuce pickers who would help overthrow the reactionary capitalist American Dream and replace it with a bunch of people shouting slogans and shooting each other. These days the NAACP does not look like a good bet for overthrowing America and the favorite progressive minority du jour actually keeps black slaves and hangs homosexuals.

Muslims have currently trumped blacks and gays, not to mention every other group, on the crush list of the left. And the Muslim world is one of the few places that still has slaves and kills black people in large numbers, whether it’s in the Sudan or the newly liberated Muslim utopia of Libya. The day may come when the Democratic Party and its leftist hag riders decide that slavery was progressive after all and that all men should have the right to own slaves. And then this new policy position will immediately travel backward in time and loyal comrades will turn to the little red books of DailyKos, Think Progress, the Center for American Progress and ProgressProgressProgress to learn the new official position they are obligated to learn and abide by.

In Egypt, Just Whack the Jewish Piñata to Become a Star

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Egyptian activists seem to believe that Egyptian actor Adel Imam — possibly the most famous Arab actor — took Mubarak’s side amid the Egyptian revolution that toppled him in 2011. As a result Imam has been blacklisted by Egyptian activists. Nonetheless, Imam has made a comeback with a miniseries that is full of anti-Semitism and demonization of Jews and Israel. Is this just plain hate for Jews or is it a stunt by Imam to win the public? And if so, what does it mean for Egypt and the Arab world?

First, it is worthwhile to examine who Adel Imam is. In 1994, the Los Angeles Times described Imam as a popular actor, noting that: “His expressive and not particularly handsome face has become the mirror of the Egyptian middle class, with its tribulations, celebrations and frustrations.”

In fact, Imam’s popularity earned him the position of a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). On its website, the UNHCR notes that Imam “mobilizes many other celebrities, business community and media for the refugee cause.” Furthermore, the UNHCR’s website edition of Imam’s biography describes him as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin,” and the “most famous actor in the Arab world.”

The above strongly suggests that Imam is, indeed, a heavyweight Arab celebrity. Nonetheless, Adel Imam’s popularity suffered a major blow when he allegedly sided with the Egyptian regime amid the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Shortly after Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, Dubai-based TV network Al-Arabiya reported that Adel Imam had been blacklisted by Egyptian political activists of the 25 January revolution, along with other Egyptian actors and actresses, because Imam was one of the “Egyptian actors, musicians, and media figures that showed support for the country’s former President Hosni Mubarak.” Al-Arabiya confirmed that Imam’s pro-Mubarak stance was “the big surprise” for Egyptians as “it contradicted his previous leading roles in many nationalist and anti-establishment films”. However, Al-Arabiya notes that this should not be a surprise as Imam was known to be a close friend of Mubarak’s family. Since then, Imam made several media appearances, including one on Al-Jazeera, claiming he was supportive of the revolution, but his name remained on the blacklist, signifying the potential damage to his career.

This July, Imam made a comeback with a miniseries titled “The Naji Attalla’s Squad.” The miniseries will air all through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which began on July 2th for most Muslim countries. The Naji Attalla’s Squad tells the story of Naji Attalla, a retired Egyptian military officer serving as a senior diplomat at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv, where he runs a thriving gambling business under the cover of his diplomatic immunity. Attalla draws the attention of the Israel Security Agency — better known as the Shabak — who freeze his assets because of the unexplained funds compared to his income. Choosing to take revenge, Naji Attalla (Imam) puts together a group of ex-servicemen who had served under him, with the purpose of going to Israel to rob Bank Leumi where his frozen assets are kept.

In an interview with the Egyptian Private TV network, Dream, Imam described the mini-series as “A historical landmark.” Let’s see what Imam’s “historical” miniseries has looked like so far.

Imam’s first appearance in the miniseries begins with him telling a joke. Imam says: “One time, a Jewish guy went to France, he found a French girl, he spent a night with her and then gave her 50 Euros, the next day, he spent another night with her and gave her 50 Euros. The third night was the same and the fourth was the same. The lady got impressed, she told him: A generous Jew? 200 Euros in one job! I love Jews now and by the way my aunt lives in Tel Aviv, the Jewish guy responded: I know, as she’s the one who sent you the 200 Euros”.

In another scene, Imam is shown making another joke about Jews being too cheap to a laughing and an impressed Jewish Israeli real estate agent. In another scene, an Egyptian diplomat who was newly-appointed to serve in Tel Aviv is shown telling Imam how he feels like he is in a nightmare for having to live among Israelis, noting he could not forget “their despicableness…and our folks still getting killed in Gaza and Palestine,” to which Imam responds “it is better to get know your enemy…in order to know how they think, as they (the Jews) have always been trying to learn how we think.”

Next Year in Jerusalem — Maybe

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Rabbi Meir Kahane published this in The Jewish Press 40 years ago. Some things just don’t seem to change:

The synagogue is filled from end to end. Every seat is reserved, every inch of space taken up. The Yom Kippur Neila service is drawing to an end. A day of repentance, prayer and charity fades to a close. A congregation, elevated for a day at least, watches as the Shofar is raised and a long, clear, vibrant blast fills the hall. Five hundred voices cry out spontaneously —

“L’Shanah Ha’Ba’ah b’Yerushalayim!” “Next Year in Jerusalem!”

The crowd files out to begin yet another year of bitter exile amidst television and Miami Beach.

The synagogue is dark and hushed. A few candles flutter in the corners, their flickering flames lighting the pained and saddened faces of the congregation sitting on low benches waiting for the Tisha B’Av services to begin, and the mournful tune of the Eycha — Lamentations — rises softly, punctuated by the sobs of the mourners of Zion. Every mind is shattered as the picture of the beloved homeland, bereft of its children, comes to mind. Every pious Jew sitting in the room sighs and dreams of the day — may it soon come — when God will allow him to, once again, kiss the soil of the homeland — courtesy of a three-week American Jewish Congress guided tour, and then back home again to the painful fleshpots.

A religion which develops a split personality is a religion in danger. A faith whose adherents begin to merely pay lip service to its tenets is in the first stages of atrophy. When individuals create a dichotomy between what they believe and what they practice, it calls for serious re-evaluation.

The dream of settling in Israel is a basic part of the Jewish faith. It is an obligation, but it is more than that; it is a dream. How many seas would the tears of our ancestors have filled as they wept for the privilege of returning to Zion? How piercing would have been the totality of their cries as they prayed to the All Mighty to “speedily bring us from the four corners of the earth and smash the yoke of the nations and bring us upright to our land!”

Who can begin to fully quote the letter of the obligatory law to settle in the Land of Israel, as expounded by our Rabbis, and who can adequately describe the acceptance of the spirit of that obligation by our ancestors, the dreamers of Zion? What would they not have given for the opportunity of returning and walking four cubits on its soil? How they would have flocked to the airports and harbors as the great vision approached fulfillment!

I write this as a traditional, observant Jew. For myself, I have written and spoken and pleaded a thousand times over to all Jews of America to leave and return to Israel — not for religious reasons — but for the elementary need to save their lives. I believe in the marrow of my bones that the days of the Jew in the United States are numbered and that there is coming a storm of physical brutality that portends a holocaust. What 48 prophets could not convince Jews to do, says the Talmud, Haman’s ring accomplished. There is a Haman’s ring in the American Jewish future, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, the time to evacuate is now. I have said this and will continue to say this to all Jews. But to the observant ones there is another, an added, perhaps, an even more important reason.

Every traditional Jew must take a long and deep look at himself. He must ask difficult and painful questions. How is it possible to honestly pray three times a day to the All Mighty to restore us to Zion when that restoration is ours at the cost of a few hundred dollars, courtesy of El Al? What rationalizations can we invent to answer those who question our lamentations for Zion when the Jewish Agency is prepared to grant long-term loans for housing and transportation for those who wish to settle in Israel? What can hide our shame as we fervently proclaim, “Next Year in the Land of Israel,” when next year has already come, when the gates of the Holy Land stand open, when the obligation to return can and demands to be fulfilled?

Don’t Ask What Israel Can Do For You – Ask What You Can Do For Israel

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Book Week is coming soon in Israel. In America, there’s also a book week, but it’s called Jewish Book Week to distinguish it from Chinese Book Week, and Italian Book Week, and Afro-American Book Week, and Puerto Rican Book Week, and Comic Book Week. In Israel, since everyone is Jewish, except for the Arabs who don’t read books, it’s simply called Book Week.

Actually, it’s really Book Month; since the “People of the Book” love books so much, stores continuing running their discount sales for weeks. For me, Book Week is starting today, when a newly published French translation of my book of short stories, Days of Mashiach,  is being featured at an all day “French Book Fair” being held at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem. The collection of wry and humorous stories about Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora is being put out by a non-Jewish publisher who compares my writing to Kafka and Voltaire. My prize-winning novel, Tevye in the Promised Land also appeared in a French translation, and it seems that I have a somewhat of an avid following in France.

Anyway, with Book Week around the corner, it’s a great time to devote the blogs we will be writing in the upcoming month to talk about some of the most important books in the world – Jewish books of course. I love books and I hope you do too. While many of these book reports will be scholarly in nature, and not regular blogs, I will try to intersperse the heavy stuff with my normal spicy felafels on rye.

This week, between our celebration of Jerusalem Day and Shavuot, in order to better understand the supreme importance of the Land of Israel to the Jewish People and Torah, we will be examining a series of poignant essays written by Rabbi Kook in his classic work, Orot. Presented here are condensed versions of the full commentaries which appear in the book, Lights on Orot – Eretz Yisrael, which I had the privilege of co-writing with the distinguished Torah scholar, Rabbi David Samson of Jerusalem.

Certainly one of the most important Torah treatises of our times, the book, Orot, explores the deepest understandings of the Nation of Israel, and Israel’s Redemption. In beginning his treatise with a series of essays on Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Kook explains that a proper understanding of the Nation of Israel and Torah can only be obtained after one first recognizes the significance of Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish People. To understand who we are as a Nation, and to actualize our role in the world, we must first understand the special relationship between the Divinely-Chosen People and the Divinely-Chosen Land.

Rabbi Kook’s unique style is both poetic and deeply intellectual, and so you will have to bear with me as I endeavor to explain his writings with the seriousness that is due them. As I mentioned, Rabbi David Samson, one of Israel’s top educators, and a longtime student of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, aided my understanding of Rabbi Kook’s immensely deep and incomparable writings.

The first essay of Orot is not only a study of our connection to the Land of Israel, it is also an introduction to the Segula of the Nation, one of the main themes of Rabbi Kook’s writings. This Segula, a Divine inner attachment to God, unique to the Jewish People, is the key to understanding the unity of the Nation of Israel, the Torah, the Land of Israel, and God.

A Russian Refusenik Remembers Jerusalem

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

As one of the “youngest” holidays in Jewish tradition, Jerusalem Day holds a special place in the Jewish calendar today.  It marks the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967, the first time that the entire city had come under Jewish sovereignty in thousands of years.  Even before King David conquered and built his monarchy in Jerusalem over 3,000 years ago in 1000 BCE, the city has always been the most holy city in Jewish tradition.  There was never, however, an official Jewish holiday that honored the city until after June 1967.

When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the tragic event spurred thousands of years of mourning for the sacred capital.  The remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem and hope for its rebuilding manifested itself in Jewish holidays, prayers and even on the happiest of occasions—weddings –with the groom’s breaking of the glass cup. Jews would turn and pray in the direction of Jerusalem three times a day. There were even efforts throughout history where Jewish people attempted to restore political sovereignty over the city and re-establish it as the national capital.

For Yuli Edelstein, the Minister of Diaspora and Public Affairs, who as a Russian refusnik was sentenced three years in a Soviet Labor camp, Jerusalem Day holds deep significance. Tazpit News Agency interviewed the minister in light of Jerusalem Day which falls on Sunday, May 20 (Iyar 28) this year. “I was very young when the Six Day War happened and I remember everyone around me being terribly scared,” Edelstein told Tazpit News Agency. “According to reports on Soviet radio, Israel was disappearing.”

“A close friend of the family came by to tell us that the Soviet radio reports were lies. “”I just heard that the Arab armies destroyed Israel not once, but twice!” he told my parents.”

Edelstein grew up under the repressive and restrictive policies of the Soviet Union era, which muted Jewish traditional and cultural life for decades. State-sponsored anti-Semitism also prevented Jews from working in certain government sectors and advancing in their work.

Edelstein explained that his family felt a great sense of hope now that Jerusalem had come under Israel’s hands. “We felt great relief when we heard later that Jerusalem was actually in the hands of Israel and not in the hands of the Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Jews in Russia and the Ukraine were astonished that little Israel could win the war.”

“The reunification of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount in Israel’s hands, and the outcome of the Six Day War, changed the standing of Israel in the eyes of Jews across the world, but especially for the Jews in the former Soviet Union,” said Edelstein.

“For at least two million Soviet Jews, a reunited Jerusalem brought a feeling that there is a homeland and that they must start fighting for the existence of Israel. There was a whole change of attitude—one from relief to pride.”

Edelstein himself was born in Czernowitz in what is now the former Soviet Union. In 1979, he applied for an exit visa to Israel but was refused as Soviet policy rarely allowed its residents to emigrate and so Edelstein became a dissident.  As a Russian refusenik, Edelstein was actively involved in Zionist circles in Moscow and taught Hebrew secretly.  He was arrested by the KGB in 1984 on false charges of drug possession and was sentenced to three years in a grueling Soviet labor camp. He was released in 1987 and was finally allowed to immigrate to Israel with his family.

“For me, Jerusalem is more than just a capital to be proud of.  As the former Minister of Immigrant Absorption, I can say that for Jews who immigrated to Israel–from as far as Ethiopia– making aliya to Israel always meant returning to Jerusalem, to Zion.”

Why Help Build America When We Can Help Build the Land of the Jews?

Friday, May 11th, 2012

In his current article in The Jewish Press, “A New Song,” Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt advocates finding “a new rallying call, a new idea with which to inspire the troops and turn values into action.”

“Each generation speaks its own language and needs its own message,” he writes.

So far, so good. However, I would like to offer a different rallying call than the one he ultimately chooses.

“Hewed by Hashem into the core of our soul is the need to effect change in the world we inhabit,” he continues.

This too is very true. In my opinion, however, the question is, where should we, in this generation, focus our efforts? In strengthening Jewish life among the gentiles in a foreign land – as he proposes – or in striving to build a Torah society in the Land of Israel, as advocated by the Torah and the Prophets of Israel? What is the message that we should teach our children? That their future is in America, being productive American Jews, or in Eretz Yisrael being productive Jews in the Holy Land?

Rabbi Rosenblatt wrestles with this question in the course of his thought-provoking article, writing, “I feel a primal need for perspective, to understand who I am, who we are, and where our community is headed.”

In my mind, the meaning of “our community” should not only be America’s Orthodox/Haredi community, but the community of all of American Jewry, for, as our Sages teach, every Jew is responsible for his fellow. It is no secret that American Jewry is being decimated by assimilation. The longer the Jewish community remains in America the more the assimilation will grow. So I ask – what’s the point in working to strengthen something that is destined to dwindle out and end? The exile is a curse which is not supposed to continue forever. Now that Hashem, in His great kindness, has re-opened the gates to the Land of Israel and has given us our own Jewish State, isn’t it time to come home? True, for adults who are already established in their ways, moving to a new country is a difficult challenge, but our children have the wherewithal to fulfill the great mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel, a mitzvah which our Sages teach is equal in weight to all the commandments of the Torah (Sifre, Reah 80).

Encouraging Jewish youth to be accountants, or businessmen, or scientists in America, is well and good, but it can’t be compared with playing a part in the Redemption of Israel and becoming of a building of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael. In my humble opinion, this is the new call we need to rally and inspire our troops!

Yes, in recent generations, the Orthodox Jews of America have done wonders in guarding and strengthening the observance of Torah. As Rabbi Rosenblatt notes, his parents’ generation built Flatbush, and his generation built Lakewood. Certainly, these are praiseworthy achievements. But that was before the establishment of the State of Israel and shortly after its birth, when we didn’t have a choice. But in the face of the subsequent modernization and miraculous development of Medinat Yisrael, instead of adding on to Flatbush and Lakewood, or sending out battalions of Haredi “laypeople” to win a spot in the American marketplace, as the author of the article advices, why not put our efforts into re-locating these holy and talented young people to Eretz Yisrael?

This is especially true when the author writes: “As a result of our weak secular education and greater insularity, our generation is struggling to make ends meet. Parnassah options are often limited. If not employed in klei kodesh, most of us work for or start small businesses, frequently competing with each other to service the needs of our community. We are often recipients of governmental aid, a possibility our parents’ generation wouldn’t have considered.”

Rabbi Rosenblatt writes a great deal about Kiddush Hashem, but being dependent on handouts from the gentiles is the very opposite. In fact, as the Prophet Ezekiel teaches, the presence of Jews in the Diaspora is one big problematic disgrace:

“And when they came to the nations into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that men said of them: These are the people of the Lord, and they are gone out of His land” (Ezekiel, 36:20).

This prophecy informs us that the unnatural situation of Jews living outside the Land of Israel is a desecration of God. Why? Because in the eyes of the gentiles, our presence in the Diaspora proclaims that God lacks the power to keep us in His Land. That was back then in Ezekiel’s days. Now, in our time, when God has returned the Land of Israel to the Jews, the situation is even worse, for it seems, in the eyes of the gentiles, that in clinging to our Diaspora communities, we prefer foreign lands to His.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/why-help-build-america-when-we-can-help-build-the-land-of-the-jews/2012/05/11/

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