International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Summary: The relationship between Israel and the United States is not one between peers. While the United States is a super-power that protects Israel in many ways, Obama’s use of its dominant position has led to an abusive relationship based on control.

 

In an ideal relationship, parties treat each other with mutual respect and care. Close and special relationships, such as marriage, are especially intimate due to their exclusive nature. When such a relationship turns, and one party chooses to assert control over the other, that physical or psychological trauma is referred to as “domestic abuse.”

DOMESTIC ABUSE

Domestic abuse is a phenomenon that has a long sad history. It typically happens when a husband/boyfriend uses his power (money or physical size) to intimidate and harm his partner. As described in a blog:

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.”

The aspect of control through intimidation is a key component of domestic abuse. One party is effectively threatened to comply with the wishes of the dominant party. The independent will is crushed with the threats of or actual violence (active or passive) or from withholding a needed or cherished item. The abused partner has nowhere to turn, as it is reliant on the abuser.

The dynamic can be seen between countries as well. The historic special relationship between the United States and Israel, has devolved into such an abusive relationship.

Intimacy

The bond between the US and Israel is unique in many respects.

The relationship is not just one of shared values, but Israel relies on the US in several key areas:

  • Trade: The US is Israel’s largest export partner (over 2.5x number two UK)
  • Military edge: The US gives Israel $3 billion of military aid each year
  • Protection at the UN: The US protects Israel at the United Nations Security Council, often as the sole vote to protect the country from condemnation

The three aspects of Israel’s heavy reliance on the United States have come under pressure over the last few years: the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) has attempted to hurt trade; a nuclear Iran would create an imbalance for Israel’s security; and the protective US shield at the United Nations is being threatened.

obama scorn bibi

OBAMA-NETANYAHU
INTERNATIONAL-DOMESTIC ABUSE

A natural relationship built on shared values, now more closely resembles an abuser-victim dynamic, as Obama increasingly asserted his powerful influence over Israel:

  • In 2010, Obama gave Netanyahu a series of demands to get the Israel-Palestinian talks moving including freezing settlements. Obama walked out of the meeting and left Netanyahu to stew. Israeli newspapers described the shame and weakness of Netanyahu. Netanyahu complied with Obama’s demand.
  • In 2011, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Obama had an exchange where they called Netanyahu “a liar” and terrible person with whom to deal.
  • In 2012, the Obama administration removed all of the supporting clauses for Israeli positions from the Democratic platform that had been there for years (Hamas is a terrorist state; Palestinian “refugees” would be relocated to Palestine, not Israel; future borders would not follow the 1949 Armistice Lines; Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel).
  • In 2013, while Iran threatened to destroy Israel, Obama entered into negotiations with the Iranians, preventing Israel from taking any actions against Iran’s nuclear program.
  • In 2013, Obama declined the invitation to address the Israeli Knesset. Instead he addressed a group of students at the same time stating his desire to speak to the Israeli people, as if the democratically elected parliament was not representative of Israelis. Consider the depth of the insult to Israel, as Obama spoke to the Egyptian parliament (in 2009) as representatives of Egypt.
  • In 2013 the Obama administration demanded Israel release Palestinian terrorists convicted of murder. Nothing was asked from the Palestinians. Netanyahu complied.
  • In 2014, when Israeli three teenagers were killed, Obama asked Israel to act with “restraint.” However, when two American journalists were killed by ISIS, Obama went to war.
  • In 2014, members of the Obama administration chose to disparage Netanyahu, calling him a “chickensh*t
  • In 2015, Obama snubbed Netanyahu at his address to a joint session of Congress, and got 58 Democratic members of Congress to walk out as well.
  • In 2015, Obama is enabling Iran to become a nuclear state. Iran has repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel, and Obama has refused to sell Israel the required defensive weaponry such as bunker busters.
  • Most recently, Obama has threatened to withhold his United Nations vote to protect Israel.

The last two actions taken by Obama are particularly frightening to Israel’s Netanyahu.

Nuclear Iran: Enabling Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is a direct existential threat to Israel. Iran has threatened to destroy Israel and has a long history of supporting terrorist groups that attack Israel (Hezbollah and Hamas) with weapons and financing. With the government of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, the country becomes an existential threat, its proxy armies become an enormous threat, and the ability for Israel to attack Iran is significantly weakened.

Further, Iran becoming a nuclear state would create an arms race in the region, as other enemies of Israel like Saudi Arabia will also seek to obtain nuclear weapons.

Withholding UN vote: The United States has used its vote on the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel from a wide range of actions including premature Palestinian statehood and harsh economic sanctions.  If Obama follows through with this threat to move away from Israel, Israel would come under tremendous financial and security pressure.

CONGRESS TO ISRAEL’S RESCUE

Congress has taken note of the terrible trend in Obama’s actions and has taken steps to protect Israel.

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Senator Lindsay Graham with Israeli PM Netanyahu

In April 2015, the Senate passed a bill making it difficult for any company to do business with a company or country that supported BDS of Israel.

Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress about the Iran nuclear negotiations. That speech launched the momentum for a role for Congress in the Iranian nuclear program negotiations.

It is difficult for Congress to take direct actions against the president’s policies at the United Nations, as he controls the vote. However, Congress controls funding of the United Nations as well as the Palestinian Authority. Senator Lindsay Graham has stated his intention to use the power of the purse to prevent unilateral UN actions against Israel. “Any effort by the French, the Jordanians or anyone to avoid direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the peace process, anyone who tries to take this [resolution] to the U.N. Security Council, there will be a violent backlash by the Congress that could include suspending funding to the United Nations,” Graham said.

All three issues on which Israel relies on the United States are under threat by Obama, and only the US Congress is attempting to ameliorate the situation.


If Israel’s neighbors did not threaten to destroy the country both directly and indirectly, perhaps Israel would not feel alarmed.

If Israel were not surrounded by an Arab winter inferno, perhaps its fears would not be so immediate.

If Israel had many allies in the world, perhaps the abusive relationship between Obama and Netanyahu would not be as upsetting and painful.

However, the realities are different.  As such, Netanyahu has turned to Congress to become Israel’s domestic violence hotline .  What a sad state of affairs.


Related First One Through articles:

Israel is a Small Country

Israel cannot afford to be smug about its security

Obama not concerned about timeliness of Israel’s security

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Israel Lends a Hand, Again

Summary: The Israeli military and civilians come to the aid of people around the world in times of need – even to countries that do not recognize its right to exist.

On April 25, 2015, an enormous earthquake shook Nepal, killing over 5,000 people. Within 48 hours, Israel sent a delegation of medical personnel to help aid in the recovery efforts and treating survivors.

By April 28, Israel had deployed 260 people to Nepal. The entire rest of the world deployed 276 people.

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Israelis embark to aid victims of Nepal earthquake,
April 2015

The Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem is playing a leading role as it has on various emergency missions such as in the Philippines (2009), Haiti (2010) and Japan (2011).  The personnel include:

  • Prof. Jonathan Halevy- Director General, Expert in Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Ofer Merin – Deputy Director General and Director of Trauma Services
  • Dr. Tamar Lachish  – Director of Infectious Diseases Unit
  • Dr. Sefi Mendelowitz – Department of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Avi Alpert – Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Prof. Amos Peyser – Director, Department of Orthopedics
  • Dr. Giora Weiser – Pediatric Emergency Department
  • Dr. Harel Arzi – Spine Unit
  • Deganit Kovliner – Nurse, Department of Emergency Medicine

These efforts are a continuation of the emergency medicine that was spear-headed by Dr. David Applebaum.  Dr. Applebaum ran the Shaare Zedek emergency room for many years introducing new methods of managing crises, an expertise developed during the Second Intifada. On the second anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks, Dr. Applebaum came to New York City to help train American doctors in large scale emergency response. He then flew home to Jerusalem for his daughter’s wedding the next day.  That night, as the two of them had dinner together at a cafe, they were both killed in a terrorist bombing.

There is a famous saying that many Christians use from the book of Mark “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  The original text is actually from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18):

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

A musical tribute to the volunteers in Israel who even come to the aid of countries which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and the memory of Dr. David Applebaum:

“In the many decades that I have been privileged to serve as a physician as well as an IDF officer, I can honestly say that I have never felt this degree of anticipation as for what awaits us in Nepal. While I know it will be a challenging professional and personal experience, we hope it will bring significant relief to those in need and offer a sense of pride for the important role that the IDF and the State of Israel can offer others in this time of need.”

-Professor Jonathan Halevy,
as he awaited the team’s departure from Ben Gurion Airport

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Summary: The New York Times continued to minimize pictures of attacks on civilians and assassinations around the world by burying small pictures deep inside its paper. The precious front page ink was only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

 

The Every Picture Tells a Story series reviewed media’s deliberate use of pictures to tell a story to its readers. It is a story that conveyed Israel committing gross atrocities, uniquely in the world:

  • Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t it?” reviewed the New York Times’ use (and lack) of pictures of the three murdered Israeli teenagers in the summer of 2014 on the front page of its newspaper, while showing the Arab family whose son was killed.
  • Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster reviewed how the NYT showed a large color picture of a Palestinian Arab teenager injured by Israeli police on its front page, while small pictures of mass murders in Kenya, Uganda and Yemen were found inside the paper. Further, pictures of Israeli PM Netanyahu repeatedly showed up next to pictures of injured Arabs, while no member of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas ever made it to the front pages during the entire Operation Protective Edge.
  • The New York Times Buried Pictures analyzed the puzzling lack of exposure of the Hamas terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel, which were the primary reasons for the Israeli ground offensive into Gaza.
  • The New York Times 2014 Picture of the Year wrapped up these observations, noting that the New York Times used large color photographs on its cover page of injured Palestinian Arabs repeatedly – on July 11, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24 and 29 – while continuing to hide pictures of Palestinian Arab aggression, and attacks in conflicts around the world.

THE WORLD

The Times continued preference for ignoring mass killings and assassinations in the world continued into 2015.

During a week of April 2015, world governments and terrorists killed hundreds of people. Not one incident merited a front page picture in the Times:

These articles were found buried in the paper. The associated pictures were relatively small and several were in black and white. No picture showed the victims injured or hurt.

This is not a new phenomenon. The Times often minimizes attacks that occur in the MENA (Middle East/ North Africa) region.  The exception to the rule, is if Israel is the attacker.

ISRAEL

Natan Sharansky, a famous Jewish refusenik who was jailed in Russia for trying to move to Israel, developed a three part “3D test” to determine anti-Semitism: Double standards; Demonization; and Delegitimization. Many liberals disagree with this approach and feel that double standards do not convey anti-Semitism. The liberal argument is that Israel should not be held to the same standards as Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the many countries in the Middle East, let alone terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Shabab. As Israel is a modern progressive country, the standards should be more akin to the USA or Western Europe. But that argument falls flat in general, and in particular, regarding the New York Times coverage of Israel.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

First, the situations are not remotely comparable. The US and Western Europe do not sit in the middle of the Middle East, surrounded by a combination of: war; terrorist groups operating freely; countries and entities that threaten to destroy their countries; and constant attacks on its citizens. It is easy to be judgmental while lunching in Luxembourg. However, Israel is forced to fight and defend itself repeatedly because of the volatile neighborhood and hostile attitude of its neighbors.

Second, the New York Times uses a double standard for the US and its allies. The paper does not treat the war effort of the US and Europe which have opted to fight battles thousands of miles from their borders, in the same manner as Israel fighting to defend itself. The NYT never posted a picture of President Obama next to the victims of a drone strike (which the president actually authorized) as it does with PM Netanyahu (for general military actions). It does not show pictures of civilians killed by US troops. It minimizes the pictures of terrorists killed by the US and its allies, using small black and white photos in the middle of the newspaper, rather than large color photographs on the front page as it does for Israel.

DEMONIZATION

Third, the NYT and many liberals do not only use double standards, but demonize and delegitimize Israel as well. The unique focus on how Israel defends itself is one thing (double standards). Uniquely showing pictures of injured Palestinian Arab victims alongside pictures of Israeli leaders and weaponry is demonization.

Simply compare the natural human reaction of looking at a small headshot picture of an al Qaeda leader (accompanied by an article that the United States killed the person), to a collage of pictures of injured and killed Palestinian civilians alongside pictures of Israeli military personnel and another of the Israeli Prime Minister. A person would likely skip the article buried in the paper that only has a head shot. But the large color collage of pictures on the front page delivers a biased story that is impossible to ignore: that the Israeli government is responsible for sending its army to kill civilians.

Further, consider opening the pages of paper and seeing a smoke trail coming from Gaza (the closest the Times came to showing Hamas militants firing weapons). The accompanying article refers to the people in Gaza providing a “counterpunch,” making the group appear as the victims instead of the party that initiated the fight.

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Imagine if the Times had shown pictures of the missiles Israel used to “tap” the roof of targeted homes to let the occupants know that a real explosive was coming so they could flee. Imagine the Times showed pictures of the thousands of leaflets that Israel dropped on certain neighborhoods urging residents to leave an upcoming battle zone.  Imagine pictures of Arabs holding cellphones far from the military action, because they received calls from Israel to move to safety.

You would need to imagine such images, because the Times does not print them.

DELIGITIMIZATION

The defensive nature of Israel’s war against Hamas was delegitimzed by the Times because the paper did show pictures of Hamas leaders, nor its tunnels and weaponry. Without the clear imagery of the three slain Israeli teenagers and Hamas terror tunnels which were the causes for the war, the reader was left with an impression that it was a war of choice for Israel.  Cover page pictures of injured Palestinians were coupled with articles under the headline “Confrontation in Gaza” as opposed to “War FROM Gaza,” left the reader with the incorrect conclusion that Israel as the big belligerent party.

The Times 2014 war coverage failed on all parts of the “3D Test” for anti-Semitism.

 

Now, in 2015, the Times photo editor has taken time off since Israel is not at war.

Attacks around the world continue to be buried inside the paper. Without images of Israel as the aggressor, more neutral and natural images cover the paper, such as shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, earthquakes and volcanoes.

 


The New York Times tried to defend its coverage of Israel as balanced. By going through the effort of explaining itself, it has at least realized that the accusation of double standards for Israel is indeed anti-Semitism, which is a better than many liberal pundits. It stil

It is time that everyone join the effort of pointing out to the Times its 3D failures, rather than just a handful of outlets like CAMERA, Honest Reporting, StandWithUs and FirstOneThrough.

A Disservice to Jewish Community

Summary: There is a Jewish community in New York with a long-standing effort to maintain a strong Community: among the various denominations of Judaism within the city, and in staying connected with the Jewish State. For the 67th birthday of Israel, it opted to destroy all of those efforts.

 

The Jewish community of White Plains NY is not a typical New York City suburb. The five synagogues of the city (5SWP) – Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and two Modern Orthodox – all sit within 1.5 miles of each other and actively seek to maintain a sense of close community. Each temple helped to establish the communal eruv around the residential neighborhood. The rabbis have study groups together. And lastly, the members of the shuls do their Israeli programming together.

In the spring of 2015, a group from the Israel Action Committee of the 5SWP decided that it was time to invite a left-wing speaker to address the group, as past speakers included right-of-center speakers including Bret Stephens and Malcolm Hoenlein. While voices of dissent came from within the committee as they learned about the proposed speaker’s line of work as a lawyer for Palestinian Arabs that sues the government of Israel, the group elected to invite Danny Seidemann to speak anyway – on Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Danny Seidemann was presented to the audience as a “Leading Israeli Expert on Contemporary Jerusalem.” He spoke to the group for roughly one and one-half hours, including Q&A. If Danny is an expert, it is in deception. For 90 minutes, the group of 70 attendees heard deliberate misstatements and lies of omission. However, Danny’s views and message were very clear: that Jerusalem has never been united and can never be a united capital of Israel.

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Seidemann’s Lies

Here is a selection of some of Danny’s lies to support his position.

Palestinians are deliberately excluded from Jerusalem society. Danny made several remarks early in his talk that he clearly knew to be untrue. He stated that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are “deliberately and permanently disenfranchised” and “are not allowed to be leaders” in Israel. However, in Q&A at the end of the talk, he admitted that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are permitted to ask for Israeli citizenship and thousands have already become citizens. How can the Palestinian Arabs be “permanently disenfranchised” if they can become Israelis, similar to the over 1 million Arabs that are currently citizens of Israel? Those Israeli Arab citizens include members of the Israeli Knesset and the Supreme Court.

A minority of Jerusalem’s residents celebrates Israel Independence Day. Danny asserted that the capital of Israel barely celebrates Yom Ha’azmaut, undermining the claim that the city can truly be the capital of Israel. Along with Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem who are not Israeli citizens, are roughly one-quarter of the population that are Ultra-Orthodox Haredi who are not Zionists according to Danny, leaving only a minority of the population in Israel’s capital celebrating the holiday. However, Danny later admitted that the Haredi do actively participate in Israeli elections and actively seek roles in the Israeli Knesset. Does he not like the black hat brand of patriotism? Further, these Haredi Jews predominantly live in the western half of Jerusalem- does Danny question the legitimacy of the western part of the city too?

No Jew enters East Jerusalem. Danny claimed that “80% of East Jerusalem is off-limits to Jews.” First, that is untrue as many Jews go into East Jerusalem all of the time (and not just the Old City). For example, Pisgat Ze’ev, the largest Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, lies next to Shu’afat. Further, would a neighborhood being dangerous or consisting of a single ethnic group mean it ceases to be part of a city? If few Jews visit Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli city that is nearly 100% Arab (compared to the eastern part of Jerusalem which is 60% Arab), would that mean that the city is not part of Israel? When few white people entered areas of black Harlem in the 1970s, did Harlem cease to be part of New York City?

No Arab enters West Jerusalem. Danny said that Arabs no longer enter the western part of the city. That is patently false. On most days, there are more Arabs in Independence Park than there are Jews. Danny may claim that these are Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians from East Jerusalem, but how could he make such claim without speaking to the hundreds of Arabs that anyone can see in the streets of western Jerusalem every day without talking to each one?

Countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel because of East Jerusalem. Danny argued that Jews pretend that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but that such claim is untrue as no country places its embassy in the city. His point deliberately led the audience to believe that this international action is a direct result of Israel’s annexing the eastern half of the city. That is completely false. No country moved their embassy BEFORE Israel annexed the eastern half of the city because the entirety of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem (known as the “Holy Basin” in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan) was planned to be an international city. World governments are waiting for final status negotiations before moving any embassy, as they viewed the 1949 Jordanian annexation of East Jerusalem and the Israeli annexation of West Jerusalem as contrary to that 1947 Plan. It has NOTHING to do with Israel’s taking East Jerusalem in 1967.

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United Nations 1947 proposed map for an international “Holy Basin”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want Peace. Danny claimed that the four-term Israeli Prime Minister “is a terrible person who preys on Israelis’ fears of security.” Not only did Seidemann ignore Netanyahu’s numerous statements supporting a two-state solution (without any part of Jerusalem for Palestine), but Danny also failed to relay that it was Netanyahu who handed over half of the Holy Basin (Bethlehem) to the Palestinian Authority back in 1995.

The US Democratic Party Considers East Jerusalem too Controversial. Danny relayed how the 2012 Democratic National convention had removed its long-used platform language that Jerusalem would be the capital. He said that Americans were “tired of being bullied” about the contested city. What Danny failed to say was that the 2012 platform also removed the standard language that: Palestinian refugees would be settled into a new state of Palestine, not Israel; that it is unreasonable to expect that the borders of Israel would follow the 1967 “borders”/ the 1949 Armistice Lines; and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Are Democrats tired of believing all of these platform items too? Are they now welcoming Hamas? Danny made it appear that the status of East Jerusalem was the only reason Democrats were breaking with Israel, while in fact, it was the entire pro-Israel platform that was either intentionally or unintentionally gutted.

Olmert ultimately realized the need to give up East Jerusalem. Danny said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ultimately concluded late in his career that the only way to get to a final status agreement with the Palestinians was to give up East Jerusalem. What Danny failed to say was that Olmert only pitched this approach as he was about to get indicted on bribery charges, and was hoping that he could win over the liberal Israeli press to save him for going off to jail (it was too late and he was ultimately sentenced). Further, Danny failed to mention that acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas never responded to Olmert’s plan for Jerusalem.

If Jews move to East Jerusalem, then Arabs will have an added case for the Right of Return. The “expert” on Contemporary Jerusalem has no understanding of the Palestinian claim of the “Right of Return.” Danny spoke about recent “terrible” news of Jews legally (according to Israeli law) buying homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood called Sheik Jarrah. He described that some of these homes had been owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, which were then taken over by Arabs at the war’s end.

For starters, it should have been noted at some point in the speech that the Israeli War of Independence started when several Arab armies initiated an attack to destroy Israel when it declared independence at the end of the British Mandate.  The land wasn’t “Arab” and Israel’s war was of self-defense.

Secondly, Danny failed to clarify that the Jordanians (and Palestinians who accepted Jordanian citizenship), evicted all Jewish inhabitants from East Jerusalem and all of the West Bank, and then further barred their reentry after the war, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Conversely, after the war, Israel granted citizenship to roughly 160,000 Arabs.

Third, Jews acquiring homes in East Jerusalem is legal according to Israeli law in the same way that Arabs may buy homes in West Jerusalem; there is no discrimination either way. These are private transaction between private people, and the government does not get involved. Danny’s commentary left the exact opposite impression that the Israeli government acted in a discriminatory manner.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, the private purchases of homes have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Palestinian Arab claim for a Right of Return. A quick review for this “Israeli expert”:

  •  Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his COUNTRY (emphasis added).” The law is about returning to a person’s country, not a particular house where someone’s grandparent may have lived.
  • In regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, UN Resolution 194 Article 11 “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and LIVE AT PEACE WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS (emphasis added) should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” Palestinian Arabs are not refugees, but the children and grandchildren of refugees. And as Seidemann makes abundantly clear throughout his talk, they have no intention of living at peace with Israel.

Jews acquiring properties in Silwan or Sheik Jarrah or any other parts of East Jerusalem have absolutely nothing to do with these laws and give Palestinian Arabs no additional rights or claims to any “Right of Return” to any part of Israel or western Jerusalem.

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Daniel Seidemann at Yom Ha’atzmaut Discussion

These were just some of the false comments that the speaker made about Jerusalem. Seidemann did say that Jerusalem is holy to Jews and referred to “Jewish Jerusalem,” but he made the comment only about the western part of the city. He gave no historical context that the area called “East Jerusalem” was an artifice of war. That its creation was solely from a war started by Arabs to utterly destroy any Jewish state, and the only reason that there are fewer Jews than Arabs in that part of the city was because of the ethnic cleansing committed by the Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs.

  • There was no clarification that Jews have been a majority in ALL of Jerusalem since the 1860s.
  • No mention that the Ottomans never limited where Jews could live in Jerusalem for 400 years.
  • No mention that the British Mandate of Palestine allowed Jews to live throughout the region, including what some today refer to as the “West Bank.”

Overall, Seidemann’s speech was an attempt to portray Israel as an evil, racist occupier of eastern Jerusalem. To the more informed in the audience, all his speech actually conveyed was that the Palestinian Arabs hate the Jews, hate Israel and will never want to be part of the Jewish State.

That may be true, but it certainly does not make Israel an evil racist occupier and does not mean that Jerusalem isn’t completely part of Israel.

Seidemann’s Call to Action

An hour into the Seidemann story, he became particularly excited.

Call for BDS of the “Settlement Enterprise. Danny gave a short preamble that what he was about to say was illegal. He then raised his hand and voice and declared that all settlers living in the West Bank should be boycotted. That all businesses in the territory should be boycotted. That he, as a “true Zionist” that paid taxes and served in the army needed to protect his country from “right-wing idealogues” who threatened his vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

At that point, people in the audience finally began to leave.

Seidemann Refusal to Engage

At the reception after the talk, Seidemann continued to lie (or being more generous, show how uninformed he was):

  • Palestinians support Abbas. Seidemann claimed that Abbas enjoyed broad support of the Palestinians. When he was confronted that it was not true as shown in every poll conducted by Palestinians themselves, including recent university elections, he refused to back off his claim.
  • Abbas is in control. When Seidemann was asked how Israel can possibly negotiate with Abbas since he lacked control of the people and territory, he reiterated that Abbas had complete control. After it was pointed out that if Abbas was in control, he was therefore responsible for the Gaza war that fired thousands of rockets into Israel, Seidemann ripped off his yamulke and stormed away.

While the speaker demanded total silence and respect from the audience, he showed the group none.


A community that sought to be educated about Israel was lied to for 90 minutes. A group that wanted to bond with fellow Jews and Israel, heard from a speaker that called for Jews to punish and economically strangle Israeli Jews.

As this self-declared UberZionist drove away, the community was left with bitter feelings. At least it was no longer on the Israeli Independence Day.


Related First One Through articles:

It isn’t “Arab Land”

Legal Israeli Settlements

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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From Promised Land to Promised Home

Summary: God is the original Zionist.

Judaism is a unique religion in many respects:

  • Every other religion is based primarily on faith. Judaism is based primarily on lineage.
  • Every other religion is based on belief. Judaism is based on action.
  • Every other religion is not geographically-bound. Judaism is tied to the land of Israel.

The Old Testament has 613 commandments for Jews to observe. Many of those can only be kept inside the land of Israel. Those commandments relate to the sanctity of the land, as God promised the land to Abraham and the generations after him.

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Observing “Shmita” only in Israel
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Promised Land

The Bible has three sets of promises of the land of Israel for the Jewish people. The first set is God’s original promise to Abraham:

  • “The Lord appeared to Abram and said ‘To your descendants I will give this land’” (Genesis 12:7)

The book of Genesis repeats the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob several times where the land is presented as “an everlasting possession” for the generations to come. (Genesis 17:8).

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The Western Galilee
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Promised Return to the Land

The second set of promises related to the return to Israel from slavery in Egypt. That promise is slightly different than the original promise to the Jewish forefathers:

  • The land is described as being a good land “flowing with milk and honey
  • The land is occupied by others, by the “Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.” (Genesis 3:8)

Hundreds of years earlier, God just told Abraham to go “to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1) without any description of the location or nature of the land.  At the point of the exodus from Egypt, God promised not only freedom from slavery, but to a land of great quality.  Presumably, the land was so good, that others had now moved there while the Jews were trapped in Egypt.  However, God promised to “drive them [the others] out” (Exodus 23:30) and that the Jews will ultimately possess it.

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Cows in the Golan
 
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

 Promised Home

The Old Testament ends with yet a third promise: a return from the diaspora to the land of Israel, to their home.

  • The promise includes an ingathering of exiles from “the four quarters of the Earth” (Isaiah 11:12)
  • Israel is no longer only described as simply being a good land, an inhabited land or the land of the Jewish forebears. The land is described as belonging to the people of Israel. The prophets repeatedly describe that God will “bring you home again to your own land” (Jeremiah 29:14)

Home. A place that is established and well-known. That doesn’t require a list of directions of how to get there, nor many adjectives.

It is a place where a people grows up and lives. It is a place of life events, both happy and sad. Where families celebrate, quarrel and mourn. A place with family history and history to be made.

Home is where “house rules” apply; where the house decides what is allowed and denied. It decides what is in the best interest of its inhabitants. It is the safe space where a family comes to find sanctuary from the world at large.

Home is always home, even when people have been away. But especially when they come back.

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Jerusalem’s Old City
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

A music video about God’s promises of the land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to become a home for the Jewish people.

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Summary: According to Muslims, the Temple Mount is held in “trusteeship” by the Islamic Waqf, which assures its use and access as a mosque. The role of the Waqf has nothing to do with sovereignty of the land on which it resides.

The most sensitive issue of the Israel-Arab conflict is considered to be the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

TEMPLE MOUNT

The Temple Mount is a 35 acre platform that held the second Jewish Temple from around 515CE to 70CE. Herod extended the platform on which the Temple sat southward to enable the greater flow of the thousands of Jews that came to the Temple to perform their rituals. The platform extension project ran from 19BCE to 63CE and Jews enjoyed the benefit of his work until the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70CE.

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The Old City of Jerusalem, including Jewish Quarter and Temple Mount

The area is considered sacred to Muslims as they believe Mohammed had a night journey from Saudi Arabia on a flying horse to that location before ascending to heaven. When Arabs invaded Jerusalem in 627CE, they built the al Aqsa Mosque on the southern edge of Temple Mount (completed in 705CE and rebuilt in 1033) to commemorate the importance of the location. The other structures on the Temple Mount include the Dome of the Rock, the Dome of the Chain, the Dome of the Prophet and various other structures which are NOT mosques, but shrines.

Jews had access and were able to pray on the Temple Mount until around the year 1550, when Suleiman I began a series of “improvements” to Jerusalem. He ordered the rebuilding of the city walls and moved the Jews off of the mount to an area now referred to as the “Kotel” or “Wailing Wall” or “Western Wall”, a sliver of the western retaining wall built by Herod. Since that time, prayer on the Mount has been restricted only for Muslim use.

MODERN HISTORY

Five Arab armies attacked Israel at its founding in 1948. At the end of the war in 1949, Jerusalem became divided with the western half (almost all completely established since the 1850s) under Israeli sovereignty, and the eastern half (including the Old City dating back 4000 years) under Jordanian sovereignty (which was not recognized by the United Nations). The Jordanians evicted all of the Jews and barred their reentry, even to visit their holy sites, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In 1967, the Jordanians again attacked Israel. They lost the eastern half of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria, which they had annexed in 1950. Israel reunified the city and made clear that people of all religions – not just Jews – would have access and rights to their holy places.  Non-Muslims were once again allowed onto the platform, and Israel gave administrative oversight of the Temple Mount compound to the Jordanian Waqf. Israel annexed the area and the rest of eastern Jerusalem in a move not recognized globally.

In 1988, Jordan gave up all claims to lands it lost to Israel in the 1967 war, and signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. In that peace agreement, several key clauses were added to address Jerusalem, Article 9:

  • Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
  • In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
  • The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

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Jews Praying at the Kotel, 2015

WAQF

Islam allows Muslims to place property (land or any object) into a “Waqf”. By doing so, the item comes under the trusteeship of the party specified in the declaration. In the case of the al Aqsa Mosque, the building is considered to be for the public use of all Muslims under the administration of the Jordanian Waqf.

When the al Aqsa mosque was taken over by Crusaders in the 12th century, the place did not lose its special status for Muslims. As stated in Issue 2697: ““If the Waqfed property is ruined, its position as Waqf is not affected, except when the Waqf is of a special nature, and that special feature ceases to exist. For example, if a person endows a garden and the garden is ruined, the Waqf becomes void and the garden reverts to the heirs of the person.”

Properties or entities like the Old City of Jerusalem or the Temple Mount itself can be subdivided according to Islam. As written in Issue 2698: “If one part of a property has been waqfed and the other part is not, and the property is undivided, the Mujtahid, or the trustee of the Waqf, or the beneficiaries can divide the property and separate the Waqf part in consultation with the experts.”

As described above, the Jordanian Waqf took control of the Temple Mount in 1949 and Israel has continued to let the Waqf administer the site. The Jordanian Waqf now employs 500 people to run the mosque. It does this, while Israel maintains all security controls and runs it as part and parcel of Israel.

It would appear that the actions of 1967, 1988 and 1994 laid the groundwork for a sharing of the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims again. However, it has continued to be a struggle.

 POLITICS and PROPAGANDA

Over the last few years, the Waqf has become more politicized, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, as it was decades ago. Public statements from the Waqf:

  • Deny Jewish history at the Temple Mount
  • Attempt to deny Jewish rights of access
  • Deny Jewish rights to prayer (agreed to by the Israeli government)
  • Deny sovereignty of the Jewish State and Jerusalem municipality (agreed by many countries in the United Nations)

Consider a recent discovery of ancient Judaica near the Temple Mount. The Waqf issued a statement that the findings were “an attempt to support Israeli claims about Jewish rights in the holy city and to impose Israeli sovereignty on the occupied holy compound through the use of fake evidence….An immediate Arab and Muslim campaign is needed to stop the Israeli attempts to Judaise the holy city of Jerusalem,”

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Discovery of Jewish artifacts at base of Temple Mount
dating to period before creation of Islam

It is interesting that the Waqf would make a claim of “Judaising” the city of Jerusalem which has had a Jewish majority for 150 years. It was also this same Jordanian Waqf that participated in expelling Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and barring their entry from 1949-1967.

PEACE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

Israel’s perspective: Israel has sought a peaceful situation on the Temple Mount from the very beginning of reunifying Jerusalem. In 1967, Moshe Dayan announced: “To our Arab neighbors we extend, especially at this hour, the hand of peace. To members of the other religions, Christians and Muslims, I hereby promise faithfully that their full freedom and all their religious rights will be preserved. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others.”

The declaration was followed by the establishment of the Protection of Holy Places Law which ensured the rights of all religions to pray at their holy sites.

Today, in an effort to appease the extremist views of the Waqf, radical Palestinians and the Jordanian government itself which threated to break its peace treaty with Israel, the Israeli government has continued to enforce a ban on Jewish prayer on the Mount.

Muslims’ Perspective: Suleiman pushed the Jews off of the Temple Mount in 1550 and Jordanian Arabs expelled the Jews from the entire Old City in 1949. Muslims and Arabs would clearly prefer that there be no Jews in Jerusalem.

However, according to Islam, there is no conflict with the Temple Mount being completely under Israeli sovereignty as detailed above.

According to the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan, the Temple Mount (outside of al Aqsa Mosque) should permit non-Mulsim prayer, despite Jordan’s recent protests.

Israel has continued to extend its full hand to share the Temple Mount.  Meanwhile, the Arab world took initial steps some decades ago to recognize Jewish history and rights which do not conflict with Islamic law.  Regrettably, recent history has witnessed a more hostile Arab approach.

Perhaps the future will witness peace on the Temple Mount with full access and rights for Jews at their holiest location.



Sources:

Waqf rules: http://www.al-islam.org/islamic-laws-ayatullah-ali-al-husayni-al-sistani/rules-regarding-waqf

Noble Sanctuary: http://www.noblesanctuary.com/AQSAMosque.html

Palestinian women fight Jews on Temple Mount: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/world/middleeast/palestinian-women-join-effort-to-keep-jews-from-contested-holy-site.html

Related First One Through articles:

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Sharing the Temple Mount like the Cave of Patriarchs

Five holy sites in the holy land

Palestinians are “desperate”… but for what?

Palestinian Arabs control of Jerusalem for 0.5% of its history 

Divided Cities and Capitals

An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

People often complain that they would love to boycott one of the many countries with horrible human rights, but cannot do so as those countries do not make or export anything of value. Well, here’s the good news: Qatar brings Al Jazeera direct to many homes in your country.

Human Rights Abuse in Qatar

Qatar is a very small country in the Arabian Peninsula. The total country population of 2 million only consists of 10% Qatari nationals; roughly 90% of the balance are migrant workers who experience a variety of abuses according to Human Rights Watch. The abuses for these workers include:

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Preparing funeral rights for Nepalese worker killed in Qatar

The country abuses many citizens in addition to the migrant workers:

Seemingly unsatisfied with brutalized its own population, Qatar also funds terrorists in Gaza (Hamas) and in Libya.

These facts may get lost on the general American public, as the Obama administration commends its own negotiation prowess and Qatar’s joining the coalition fighting ISIS.

Al Jazeera

Qatar is a very wealthy nation thanks to its location atop various oil fields. It has used its considerable wealth to buy and build various properties around the world.  These include Harrod’s, the swanky department store in London as well as The Shard and 1 Hyde Park, expensive buildings in London. It was also able to win the competition to host the World Cup global soccer tournament in 2022. (Here is a funny video by HBO’s John Oliver about FIFA and Qatar).

Qatar also owns a large media company called Al Jazeera. It entered the United States market by buying former Vice President Al Gore’s CurrentTV for about $500 million in 2013. It has since rebranded that channel Al Jazeera America.  It is now available in many US households.

aljazeera

Al Jazeera is not simply owned by a country that supports terrorism. The channel itself is a mouthpiece for terrorism.

In 2014, the channel gave special airtime to various members of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The main media channel, Al Jazeera Arabic, routinely posts anti-US and anti-Semitic pieces. But those posts are beyond the capabilities and reach of most Americans, so they believe that watching Al Jazeera America is simply watching a news channel that represents an Arab point of view.  In truth, they are supporting a media company that broadcasts propaganda for terrorists, which is owned by a government that funds those same terrorists.

For those looking for a BDS (boycott, divestment and sanction) of their own. there is an opportunity right in your home.



Related First.One.Through articles:

Apostasy: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/apostasy/

Murderous governments of the Middle East: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/murderous-governments-of-the-middle-east/

Dancing with the Asteroids: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/dancing-with-the-asteroids/

The Termination Shock of Survivors

Summary: As survivors of the Holocaust decline rapidly in numbers, the attacks on the veracity of the Holocaust, and on Jews and the Jewish State have begun to rapidly escalate. Survivors’ stories are not just reminders of evil actions, but serve as protection from evil ideas. Like the sun’s solar winds that beat back interstellar particles, we have approached the Termination Shock, where the sun’s influence is rapidly fading.  Will evil ideas once again proliferate when survivors cannot speak?

Holocaust denial began immediately after World War II. US General Dwight Eisenhower was keenly aware of the risk of deniers openly challenging historical facts and ordered the liberation armies to record the atrocities found at the concentration camps. Decades later, movie producer Steven Spielberg began to record the testimonies of Jews that survived the attempted extermination of the Jewish people to add personal histories of what transpired.

But the movies of the camps and recorded testimonies are a step removed. Ideally, one interacts with the survivors themselves to truly understand the evils and horrors of the Shoah.

Many Jewish schools developed programs such as Names Not Numbers and Witness Theater to connect today’s youth with Holocaust survivors.  The students interviewed survivors and helped retell their stories of life before, during and after World War II through film and theater.

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Names Not Numbers at SAR Academy, 2014

The programs were more than teaching moments for the children. The human interaction with the survivors became a bond with the past and a protection from potential risks in the future. Learning about world events from only history books can leave a distance from the topic.  However, engaging directly to living history cements lessons into those children for their lifetimes. Those lessons are of life and death.

THE HOLOCAUST AND ANTISEMITISM TODAY

One of the shocking things that students heard firsthand from survivors was how “normal” life was for Jews in Europe. In Germany and Austria, sophisticated societies had Jews among the elites including university professors, artists and financiers. Overall, life was decent before the Nazis came to power.

While it may have once been convenient to think of German society as primitive to harbor such evil anti-Semitic feelings, Germans were highly educated. The history of Germany shows that hatred comes in all formats: primitive and sophisticated; rich and poor; from the powerful and the meek.

Pure hatred stems from a conviction of complete superiority (Germans called Jews “Untermench“) coupled with the belief in the cause of completely controlling people.  When a society with such sentiments attains power, atrocities follow.  Education and employment are no shield, despite what the Obama administration says today.

Echoes of the Holocaust have returned loudly today. The calls of “the Nazis were right” outside synagogues in Europe; the comparison of Israel to the Nazi state and Israeli PM Netanyahu to Hitler; the sale of Nazi-themed merchandise in large department stores; UN agencies calling out NGOs defending Israel as comparable to Nazis; mainstream US papers trivializing the Holocaust by comparing it to the Palestinian Nakba have become commonplace. Further aggravating the situation was the press’s refusal to label the incidents as antisemitc. Even US President Obama refused to call the killings in a Parisian kosher supermarket an attack against Jews. Attacks have become invisible in their motivation and assume the role of the new normal.

A chorus that Jews and Israel consider themselves Ubermenchen that seek to control Palestinian Arabs, world banks and media have again gained appeal in a repeat of historic anti-Semitic trope. The inversion of victim-and-attacker gives rationale for assuming the role of attacker and attacking the victim.

THE PROTECTIVE FORCE

Right after the Holocaust, in December 1948, the United Nations developed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UNDHR. Its goal was to serve as a bright red line declaring that every individual has basic rights that must be protected. Every Holocaust survivor that walked the planet was a symbol of this important declaration.

Survivors are the beacons of the UNDHR.

  • Holding a survivor’s hand is a reminder of their humanity.
  • Hearing their histories is an opportunity to reflect on society.
  • Retelling their stories is a means of incorporating the reality.

Survivors are living defensive forces against evil run amok.

TERMINATION SHOCK

Our world is not only reliant on the sun for light and warmth. Life on Earth would not exist without invisible shields of magnetic fields emanation from the Earth itself and solar winds from the sun. The solar wind deflects the interstellar ionized particles that continually bombard our solar system which would make life impossible.

But those invisible forces only go so far. As they peter out, space itself becomes choppy and dangerous as the solar winds are compressed. The Termination Shock is that point where the protective barriers begin to give way to the hostile forces of the universe.

As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindle, the important message they carry has begun to fade. The Termination Shock of Survivors is leaving their stories as lines in history books, which people can opt to read, ignore or doubt. The beacons are going dark and the universal message they carry is growing faint.

Survivors are not only protection for Jews against the world. They are a reminder for everyone: for Jews about Jews and non-Jews; and for the world about Jews and non-Jews too. But the world is already growing deaf and blind.

The calls for the eradication of people must not be allowed to stand.  But they do. Iran’s call for the destruction of the US and Israel should be grounds for expulsion from the United Nations.  Hamas’ call for the killing of Jews should be the immediate and automatic withdrawal of all UNRWA staff from the Gaza Strip. But they don’t.

It is no surprise that Hamas refuses to allow the teaching of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools or that the Iranian regime loudly denies the Holocaust. However, it is shocking that the world is getting ready to take the next backwards steps in annulling the UNDHR by empowering these very same entities.

Thousands of survivors are yet alive, but the lessons of the Holocaust and the significance of the UNDHR is becoming localized to the handful that are already receptive to the message.  Where will the world be when we pass the heliopause, and are no longer protected by the invisible power of the Survivors?


Related First One Through articles:

Jews in the Midst

Austria’s View of Kristallnacht

An Anti-Semitic “Tinge”

The Holocaust and the Nakba

Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Finding Mr. Right-Wing

Summary: US President Obama seemed fixed on select comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to portray the Israeli leader as a right-wing extremist who is a regional threat to peace. Not the Iranians who seek nuclear weapons. Not the Palestinians who support Jihad.

 

Many articles have been published about US President Obama’s bizarre focus on select statements from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu in the heat of elections. Articles point out the hypocrisy of Obama who himself made many statements during his elections from which he later back-tracked. Obama is also duplicitous in ignoring Iran’s chants of “Death to America” in the middle of nuclear negotiations.

How and why are some statements glossed over while Obama gives others great attention?

Obama is using Netanyahu as the straw man for the Iranian nuclear talks and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama has orchestrated a narrative where Netanyahu is the belligerent, right-wing, war-mongering leader, and not the Iranians or Palestinians.

IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS

  • The Concern: A right-wing, global sponsor of terrorism which has publicly and repeatedly declared its desire to destroy the United States and Israel is being allowed to develop nuclear weapons under Obama’s negotiations
  • The Israeli Position: Don’t threaten to destroy us; don’t have arms to carry out your threat; we will protect ourselves, as needed. We will make peace with you, if possible, on terms that do not undermine our security or viability.
  • The Obama position: Israel is a right-wing, war-chanting, racist country that doesn’t believe in a negotiated solution. The Iranians are-who-they-are and this is the best we can expect from them, and the best deal that can be achieved at this time.

Obama has said throughout his presidency that Iran should not get nuclear weapons and that he will make sure that they cannot get such weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). However, he has softened his tone and position significantly and acquiesced that Iran will be able to keep various plants and operations to make such weaponry. He believes that Iran has already advanced too far in its knowledge and infrastructure. Further, he thinks the rest of the P5+1 parties in the negotiations will not go along with a sanctions to enforce a better deal. Therefore, he capitulates to the Iranians as Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote.

But why trash Netanyahu?

The Israeli Prime Minister believes the contemplated deal is a fiasco and has made his opinion known. He made clear that the deal assures the Iranians protection from attack while it continues to advance its nuclear research and development. The contemplated deal is not a nuclear deal, but simply a basis for the US to establish a new relationship with Iran and China. This same Iran, that threatens to destroy the US and Israel while it hangs gays in the streets. The same China, that executed three times the number of people as the rest of the world combined in 2014.

Netanyahu’s chant that “the emperor has no clothes” makes it hard for Obama to sell the failure. Obama has no response to tough questions about the nature of the deal, or about the nature of Iran itself. As such, he has enlisted his party hacks to skewer Netanyahu to draw attention away from the failure to keep his promises about Iran.

Obama and liberal loyalists have attempted to paint Israel as the right-wing fanatical country, not Iran. They portray Netanyahu as a hard-liner, not Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who is described as a moderate trying to fight his own Iranian “hard-liners. Netanyahu is described as a “racist“, while Rouhani is described as a “relative moderate“.

These characterizations are both an inversion of the truth and a red herring. But it serves to rally Obama’s liberal base in selling the Iranian non-nuclear deal: a right-wing fanatic (to them it has become Israel) is attacking a liberal country (magically, this has become Iran). Obama’s media minions mystically transformed the threat of the terrorist state of Iran being granted WMDs under Obama, to the right-wing rogue state of Israel attempting to block the moderate Iranians establishing ties with America. The deal’s numerous failures are ignored and the focus is diverted onto Netanyahu.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

  • The Concern: The most anti-Semitic people in the world that has repeatedly gone to war to destroy Israel, continue to seek its destruction. A straw man without the people’s support nor power to enforce a peace deal, is labeled as a “moderate” for only seeking an end to the conflict on terms that undermine Israel’s peace and viability.
  • The Israeli Position: Don’t threaten to destroy us; don’t have arms to carry out your threat; we will protect ourselves, as needed. We will make peace with you, if possible, on terms that do not undermine our security or viability
  • The Obama position: Israel is a right-wing, war-chanting, racist country that doesn’t believe in negotiations. The Palestinians are-who-they-are and Israel cannot wait forever for the Palestinians to become moderate.

Obama made a specific calculation to build bridges to the Muslim world which he felt were damaged under President George W Bush. He began his presidency with an international trip to Egypt where he gave his famous “New Beginning” speech to the parliament in Cairo. (He did not use the opportunity of being in the region to visit Israel). Indeed, when he finally came to Israel in 2013, he snubbed Netanyahu’s invitation to address the Israeli parliament and instead used that time to speak to select Israeli students that support his weltanschauung.

When it came to America’s involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Obama dictated various terms and conditions upon Netanyahu which had never been instituted in any of the various peace talks between the parties. It included a ten month freeze on constructing new homes east of the Green Line (EGL) and releasing dozens of convicted Palestinian terrorists. Netanyahu did both. These actions were on top of his handing control of EGL cities like Hebron to the Palestinians.

So why trash Netanyahu?

The Obama administration has not been able to extract a single concession from the Palestinians. They pushed to join the ICC against US wishes. The sought membership in UN agencies against US wishes. And they have spent the last several years continuing on a path that undermines any chance for peace with the Jewish State:

  • Inciting violence against Israel
  • Repeated wars against Israel
  • Insisting on a “right of return” for people who are not refugees, but “SAPs” (Stateless Arabs from Palestine) who are children and grandchildren of Arabs who sought the destruction of Israel
  • Never agreeing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State
  • Declaring a new Palestinian state must be free of Jews
  • Stating that no peace deal would happen without the eastern half of Jerusalem as a capital

Obama concluded that the Palestinians are forever stubborn and he has minimal influence over their actions.  He therefore feels he must exert greater pressure on Israel.

That left Obama in the uncomfortable position of pressuring its ally which has the strong support of the American people over an antisemitic people that preach Israel’s destruction. He concluded that the best way to convince the American people was to invert reality and portray the Palestinians as desperate moderates who only seek peace, and the Israelis as belligerent racist occupiers.  His left-wing megaphones were happy to pick up the line.

The New York Times has called the Palestinians “desperate” and full of “discontent” about their situation. They are constantly labeled victims (consider the coverage of “The War in Gaza” as opposed to “The War FROM Gaza“). The injured Palestinians in the 2014 conflict were covered on the front page of the Times for many days (consider that no pictures of the three murdered Israeli teenagers or victims of Saudi attacks in Yemen, US drone attacks, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and others have ever appeared on the front page).

Conversely, Netanyahu is portrayed as being racist and opposing peace.  His election night get-out-the-vote comment about Arabs was described as racist, even though he had an Arab on the Likud ticket. His comment about the unlikelihood of a two state peace deal in light of the Palestinian positions and Arab Spring were painted as anti-peace by the Obama administration, even though Netanyahu has repeatedly stated his support and has taken actions towards a two-state solution.

Obama’s team attacks Netanyahu in an effort to extract greater concessions from Israel, because of its failure to extract anything from the Palestinians. It attempts to force a peace treaty that offers no peace for Israel. It is an attempt to further US relationship with the Arab world.

 

Netanyahu has become the convenient scapegoat for Obama’s failure to negotiate with Islamic Iran and the Palestinian Arabs. In the case of Iran, Netanyahu is a diversion from the terrible deal. He is a straw man that the only alternative to his bad deal is a call for war rather than a better deal.  In regard to the Palestinians, Obama is attempting to portray the straw man Abbas as a real moderate negotiating partner by disparaging Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s refusal to engage in a bad/false treaty is portrayed by Obama as anti-peace.


Six years ago, US citizens hoped Obama’s outreach to the Arab and Islamic world would create an opportunity to advance global peace.  Instead, Obama continues to undermine global peace to foster a better relationship with the Arab and Islamic world.


Sources:

Obama on Abbas March 2014: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/remarks-president-obama-and-president-abbas-palestinian-authority?v=1362363401000%3F

Related First One Through articles:

Germany 1933, Gaza 2014

Recent Abbas comment on the Holocaust https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/frightening-new-york-times-42714-article-on-mahmoud-abbas-shifts-on-holocaust/

 

Chag Kasher v. Sa’meach

Summary: For many people, the “v.” is for “versus”, not for “and”. In the ongoing battle between a Chag Kasher versus Sa’meach, Kasher seems to be winning again.

I am neither a cook nor a chef.

While I love to eat, my wife prohibits me from doing any food preparation for fear -not without reason or history- that should I venture into the kitchen, her holy sanctuary, the entire room – no, the house itself! – would become un-kosher.

Over time, my place has become confined to the kitchen table. It is there that I must sit and wait for my meals, not unlike our dog (which she prefers on most days) who waits before his bowl. Remarkably, I am afforded more table scraps than him. Score one for me.

This is not to say that I cannot approach the sink. My share of the household bargain falls on cleaning up after meals. My wife considers the dishwasher and garbage pail safe terrain, as I can usually deduce whether I just consumed a dairy or meat meal.

That all ends on Passover.

When I think of my wife on Passover, I am reminded of the final scene from the movie Gallipoli where manic soldiers charge an Ottoman trench, knowing of their certain death. A fury fills her eyes as the holiday approaches and I know that no cleaning I do could ever satisfy her Kashrut Compulsive Disorder (commonly referred to by Jewish psychiatrists as KCD). This non-silent killer has taken more husbands than latkes on Hanukah.

My wife, (let’s call her “Pharaoh” to protect her identity from the teachers in school who think of her as a sweet, mild-mannered parent) despises Passover. Her venom is matched by her vigilance as she tries to square the invisible shmura matzah of Passover kashrut stringencies with her own KCD.

The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt had it easier than my modern Pharaoh. The ancient kings had teams of advisers and thousands of slaves to execute their commands. Today’s Pharaoh is left with a spouse who only gets to clean in the kitchen during most of the year because we have two dishwashers.

More warriors are clearly needed for the task.

New York has an outsourced cleaning industry which features companies with jolly names like “Molly Maids” and “PIG” which stands for “Partners in Grime”. When these companies drop the non-kosher acronyms and become armed with blowtorches, perhaps Pharaoh will “let these people come.”

Well, in truth, they do come.  They come a few times in succession to make sure that one team picked up where the first team may have been sloppy. At $400 a pop, the twelve cleaning tours of duty make a not so subtle reminder that we could have gone to a Passover program in the sunshine somewhere.

The cleaning troupes do not absolve me of cleaning (nor the sin of making Passover at home). My tasks are to lift and move large objects around the house in case a morsel of bread was carried there by a microscopic antisemitic mouse.  Dishwashers are pulled from their moorings. Refrigerators are yanked from the walls.  I am ordered to lift the island in the kitchen, until my rabbi steps in on my behalf (only because he thought I was too weak). My dog snickers at my misery.  Score one for him.

After eighteen gallons of bleach have been pored over every inch of the kitchen, and the fleas on my dog would no longer consider smelling (let alone eating) anything in the house, my next task is assigned. Foiling.

Foiling on Pesach has nothing to do with fencing.  It involves rolling out aluminum foil over counter tops as a punishment for not giving one’s wife a new kitchen. For the hardcore, the foiling of tables, chairs, cushions is also warranted.  Our family is so famous for our foiling, that we get Happy Passover cards from Alcoa.

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Foiling at a bar

As the first seder arrives, Pharaoh starts to resemble my former wife again. The house is indeed clean enough that even Eliyahu would be impressed.  Family and friends gather around the table to recount the timeless story… of how no one in the shtetls had more than one pot and somehow made Passover.

As has become our tradition, before I recite the Kiddush to start the seder, my wife inverts the very order of the seder. She sings out in a loud, yet exhausted, teary voice “Hashana ha’ba’a b’Yerushayim” – Next year in Jerusalem. Everyone joins in.