On Heretics and Slanderers

Judaism’s primary daily prayer has two common names in Hebrew, called the Amidah (because a person stands for the prayer), and the Shmoneh Esrei (which means “18” for the 18 blessings in the prayer). However, in reality, the Shmonesh Esrei has 19 blessings, as an additional one was added about 1900 years ago.

The nineteenth blessing was added by Jewish sages due to divisions within Judaism around the 2nd century CE. The background story resonates in some format today.

The Introduction of the 19th Blessing

After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70CE, the traditional model of Temple service was terminated. In its stead, rabbinic Judaism as outlined by the Pharisees, began to take root as the new established norm. It included traditions such as the Oral Law, which became codified in the Gemara or Talmud.

A competing group, the Sadducee sect, did not believe in the Oral Law and rejected the Pharisees’ Gemara. In reaction to that rejection, according to the Gemara in Berakhot 28b and 29a, Rabban Gamliel, the leading rabbi of the 2nd century, considered how to minimize the influence of the Sadducee sect within the Jewish community. In an attempt to keep the Sadducees from infiltrating the minds and hearts of the nation, he had a new blessing composed against these “heretics” to be inserted into the Shmoneh Esrei. As detailed in Berakhot, the goal of inserting the new blessing in the primary prayer was that Sadducees would not join in such service which cursed their efforts, and would disassociate themselves from the community. How could a person stand in prayer with a community that was reciting blessings that cursed them?

Interestingly, the Gemara did not offer a more straightforward explanation of the blessing: that Jews wanted the efforts of these heretics to fail and were collectively rejecting their views of Judaism.

Here is the prayer, as translated in Orthodox prayer books today:

וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה. וְכָל הָרִשְׁעָה כְּרֶגַע תּאבֵד. וְכָל אויְבֵי עַמְּךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵתוּ. וְהַזֵדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וְתַכְנִיעַ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, שׁובֵר אויְבִים וּמַכְנִיעַ זֵדִים:

And for slanderers may there be no hope; and may all wickedness be destroyed instantly and may all Your enemies be cut down quickly. Quickly uproot, smash, and cast down the arrogant sinners and humble them quickly in our days. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who breaks enemies and humbles arrogant sinners.

Today, the prayer is normally translated to be against as “slanderers” rather than “heretics” as intended 1900 years ago. The difference is significant in terms of intention, but perhaps less meaningful in terms of population, as discussed below.

Heretics

The notion of condemning “heretics” was religion-oriented. These people were “enemies” of God, distorting His laws. They stood against God and were “arrogant sinners,” a corrupting force against organized and unified religious practice.

Seen from today’s perspective, heretics may mean people like “Jews for Jesus.” They are people who nominally state they are within the Jewish community but espouse views that are not in concert with Judaism. As opposed to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and other religions which are viewed as completely distinct from Judaism and therefore neither addressed nor condemned, the blessing targets missionaries within the Jewish fold who seek to distort and undermine rabbinic Judaism.

Slanderers

While heretics are enemies of religion, slanderers are enemies of the people.

Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not only split on religious matters, but also on political ones. While the Pharisees delved into the meaning and application of Oral Law, the Sadducees were more politically-oriented. The Sadducees conspired and worked with the Romans, reporting on fellow Jews. They leveraged influence not just for their own benefit, but to undermine and harm fellow Jews.

In modern times, slanderers could mean Jewish groups like “Jewish Voice for Peace.” This organization actively seeks to wage an economic war against all Jews living in the eastern part of the Jewish homeland and much of Israel as well. Another is “J Street” which actively lobbied the US Obama Administration to label Jews living in the Old City of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” as “illegal,” pushing passage of UNSC Resolution 2334.

Orthodox versus Non-Orthodox Prayer Books

The 19th prayer against heretics/slanderers found above is as printed in Orthodox prayer books today. This blessing has been deleting from the Shmoneh Esrei in Reform synagogues. There are a few possible reasons for the active deletion.

Reform Jews may have deleted the blessing as they did not want prayers to include condemnation of fellow Jews. Perhaps they sought a more positive spiritual experience during the prominent prayer service.

It is also possible that some of the editors of the Reform prayer books believed that the blessing was taking aim at themselves as either heretics or slanderers.

The concern regarding heresy is that Reform Judaism broke from thousands of years of rabbinic Judaism in many facets, including believing that the Bible was written by a human, not God, and that the definition of “who is a Jew” is not limited to matrilineal descent but could be passed down from a Jewish father as well.

As it relates to slander, the leading rabbis of the Reform movement are active in groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, T’ruah and many others that publicly call out Israel on the global stage. While they believe they are striving to hold Israel to a high standard, there is no question as to their criticizing fellow Jews. Knowing that the 19th blessing was composed by Orthodox rabbis who were trying to enforce conformity and control, deleting the blessing could have been an attempt to free themselves of traditional constraints.

Whichever reason, the Orthodox (and still the Conservative branch of Judaism) is in the minority in keeping the blessing, as the Reform, Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal branches of Judaism have deleted it. The non-Orthodox branches are the largest in the United States and do not fear being marginalized like the Sadducees of 1900 years ago.They have their own synagogues and do not need to pray in the handful of Orthodox shuls where the blessing against heretics is recited.

Israel Today

In Jerusalem, there is a cemetery on Emek Refaim Street that is run by a group affiliated with Jews for Jesus. They consider themselves proud advocates for the Jewish State, but also seek to convert Jews.

Mural from the wall above the cemetery in Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim Street
showing scenes from the Bible
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

While Israel allows all religions to operate openly within its borders, it prohibits missionary work. The heretics who run the cemetery know this, and are careful with how they distribute their literature, walking a fine line of sharing information while avoiding proselytizing.

The Jewish State has also begun to take a more forceful response to slanderers and those that actively seek to harm Israel and Israelis. Specifically, groups like Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace which lobby governments to sanction Israel and boycott goods are being stopped from entering the country.

It is likely not a coincidence that the government of Israel has begun to act against slanderers, and the fact that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is a political creature which only has Orthodox rabbis. Orthodox Judaism seeks a protective fence around religious practice and the Jewish people, and the rabbis have no issues calling out people who break from the insular fold and bring in external political forces to harm Israeli Jews. A theoretical office of the Chief Rabbinate which included all of the other branches of Judaism would likely not only redefine who is a Jew and the types of marriages that could be practiced in Israel, it would also likely greet Code Pink with a welcome banner at the airport.


There is a gap in the Jewish people, just as there was thousands of years ago: there are those that believe in traditional rabbinic Judaism and those that reject it. There are those that seek to slander and malign fellow Jews to the world and those that condemn such actions.

The Sadducees of 2,000 years ago ultimately faded away, while the rabbinic Judaism of the Pharisees became the established norm. Yet over the last few hundred years, new branches of Judaism emerged which initially only challenged the traditional rabbinic view of Judaism, and now confronts fellow Jews as well. It is the Sadducees Redux.

The divide within Judaism is not new; it was just dormant. The schism manifests itself when the Jews have power to control their own destiny, as opposed to 1900 years when they were helpless minorities scattered around the world. The questions for today are whether the Pharisees (Orthodox) or Sadducees Redux (Non-Orthodox/ Progressives) will prevail in defining the future of the Jewish people, and whether they will destroy themselves and the Zionist experiment in the process.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

Rick Jacobs’ Particular Reform Judaism

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

Denying Entry and Citizenship

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through Israel Analysis

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2018 FirstOneThrough Recap

The First.One.Through blog hit some milestones in 2018.

It crossed the 500,000 word-count and 600 article thresholds, for one thing. By way of reference, there are only a handful of books ever written that crossed half a million words such as War and Peace and Les Miserables. Not bad in 4.5 years of writing.

Year Articles  Words   Average 
2014 107        62,534           584
2015 144      143,239           995
2016 132      117,961           894
2017 106      104,462           985
2018 117      102,591           877
TOTAL 606      530,787           876

The articles continue to be picked up and re-posted by various news outlets and bloggers around the world. Some have translated the articles into different languages. Some of these include:

Paper / Blog Language Website
The Jewish Press English http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/firstonethrough/
Brabosh Dutch https://brabosh.com/
Shiloh Musings English https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
Anne’s Opinions English https://anneinpt.wordpress.com/
Med Israel for Fred Norwegian https://www.miff.no/
JewsNews English https://www.jewsnews.co.il/
Love of the Land English https://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com/
Document Norwegian https://www.document.no/
Jews Down Under English https://jewsdownunder.com/
Hava HaAchrona English https://havahaaharona.blogspot.com/
Helplev German https://heplev.wordpress.com/
FutureLearn English https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antisemitism/1/steps/294493
Facts About Israel English https://www.factsaboutisrael.uk/honest-news-from-israel/
Hammonton Schools English https://www2.eboard.com/eboard/servlet/BoardServlet?&ACTION=TAB_SHOW&ACTION_ON=TAB&OBJECT_ID=682149&SITE_NAME=hammontonps&BOARD_NAME=English,Cori&TAB_ID=682149&SESSION_ID=83hg80wmz3w3w99606
Israeli Frontline English http://www.israelifrontline.com/2018/07/the-time-factor-in-the-arab-israeli-conflict.html
Israel and Stuff English https://www.israelandstuff.com/
SMA Norwegian http://sma-norge.no/leder/hamas-takket-norge-for-hjelpen/
The Jewish Leadership Blog English http://jewishleadership.blogspot.com/
Israel Palestine Dialogue English http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2018/01/?m=1
Politisches & Wissenswertes German https://politisches.blog-net.ch/2017/12/12/corpus-separatum-endete-fuer-immer-im-jahr-1995/
The Times of Israel English http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/read-this-if-you-think-israel-is-apartheid/
Pleins Feux sur l’Heure Juste French https://pleinsfeux.org/largent-de-lonu/
Light of Zion English https://lightofzion.org/palestinian-conflict/do-you-know-why-israeli-settlements-are-not-illegal-under-international-law/
Education News English http://www.educationviews.org/alabama-comparison-u-s-senate-candidates-doug-jones-democrat-judge-roy-moore-republican/
Kattukse Vdienden Voor Israel Dutch https://fredbarendsma.wordpress.com/
Shamrak English http://www.shamrak.com/sh_editorials/EL_Trauma%20from%20Prolonged%20Warfare.htm

The articles are also often cited in individuals’ commentaries on different sites.

Blog Language Website
Connecting Singles English https://www.connectingsingles.com/blog_96020_1/who_owns_jerusalem.htm
The Educator’s Classroom English https://theeducatorsroom.com/teaching-liberal-job-america/
True Cost Blog English https://truecostblog.com/2009/08/09/countries-with-universal-healthcare-by-date/
VG Debate Norwegian https://vgd.no/samfunn/midtoesten/tema/1850040/tittel/boikott-eurovision-i-israel/side/19

These sites and links have been important sources of readers, but Facebook continues to be the most important, accounting for 44% of traffic. Search engines and Twitter accounted for 12% and 1%, respectively.

The articles that gathered the most interest in 2018 were about Ari Fuld, an American-Israeli who was killed in cold blood by a Palestinian Arab. Other articles that were popular were about the United Nations and CNN, which both negatively portrayed Israel throughout the year.

Interestingly, one of the most viewed articles of 2018 was written in 2015, called “Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War.” It was one of the most popular articles of 2017 as well and ranks as the sixth most read-article (at least linked to) on the First.One.through site.

There was no dramatic shift in terms of the countries viewing the articles from last year, with the exception of Japan and Hong Kong jumping significantly. In response, there may be more articles written in 2019 about Asia as it relates to Judaism and Israel.

Country 2018 2017
United States 59.4% 58.5%
Israel 8.5% 7.9%
Canada 6.9% 7.4%
United Kingdom 4.3% 4.5%
Australia 3.4% 3.4%
South Africa 3.0% 2.9%
Netherlands 2.1% 1.8%
Japan 1.0% 0.2%
Germany 0.8% 0.9%
Sweden 0.8% 0.7%
Hong Kong 0.8% 0.1%
India 0.6% 1.0%
Norway 0.6% 0.8%

The FirstOneThrough YouTube page has slowed down since August 2018. While no new videos have been posted in six years, until August 2018, there was still an average of over an hour a day of video watched on the channel. Since August, viewing time is down by half.

The most popular videos of 2018 were:

The Hamas Theme Song (Music by CSNY)” was removed by YouTube for violating community standards. Curiously, many of the sources for that video (translated by sites like MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch) which showed Hamas teaching Palestinian schoolchildren to murder Jews remain on YouTube.

Please share and comment on all of the original material.

Wishing you a wonderful 2019.

 

“Protocols of the Elders of Zion – The Musical”

A satire

Former Pink Floyd front-man Roger Waters just finished his new project called “The Powerful Jew.” The sprawling effort includes a movie, play and musical score. The most powerful songs include “Wish You Weren’t Here,” “Us and Them Jews,” “Money, All Jews Talk About is Money,” and the anthem “Pig Man,” about the evil Jew stealing and controlling world resources.

Floating pig with Jewish star at Waters’ concert

It has been getting a lot of attention in previews.

  • The New York Times called the work a “masterpiece” on par with the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer
  • Louis Farrakhan gave it “two Satanic Jew horns’ up
  • Al Jazeera said the movie “highlighted how Israeli forces are attempting to Judaize the world via various measures of control. They are attempting a takeover of Arab and global resources for their own benefit. Waters hit the mark.
  • Linda Sarsour, Melissa Harris-Perry and Tamika Mallory, organizers of the Women’s March said that the movie and music were “great” and loudly defended those people who claimed that Roger Waters is an anti-Semite: “Waters is no anti-Semite. He has enemies, just like Jesus had enemies for telling the truth.”
  • Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Socialist who just won election in Minnesota said that she will use some of the music from the album at her swearing in ceremony. “Waters’ work shows how the Zionist Jews have hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people to see the evil that is Israel.”

However, not everyone has loudly endorsed the album.

Former President Barack Obama said he didn’t think any of the songs would make his playlist for 2018. “I already have Palestinian rapper DJ Khaled on my favorite list. If I have too many [artists] who shout ‘Free Palestine’ on it, people will question my pro-Israel bona fides.”

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticized Obama’s reaction to the work. Corbyn said “Waters is ‘an ambassador for peace,’ and members of Israeli government are war criminals. That’s the truth and I stand proudly with Waters. Shame on Obama and other government leaders for hiding in the shadows, still living in fear of their Jewish masters.

Corbyn is pushing Queen Elizabeth to knight Waters for his lifetime of work unveiling the global Jewish conspiracy. His target date is 23 May 2019, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the British White Paper which capped Jewish immigration to Palestine, resulting in the deaths of well over 100,000 of Jews in Europe.

When Waters was asked about the knighthood being proposed by Corbyn for the work against the evil Jewish empire, he repliedMe? I’m going to have a cigar. Corbyn? He’s gonna go far and fly high. Our goal of eradicating Israel? It’s never gonna die. Our mission of enlisting the world to combat the evil Jew? It could be made into a monster if we all pull together as a team.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Highbrow Anti-Semite

Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor: Milano Zio

Charlie Hebdo Will No Longer Sell Magazines to 20 Islamic Terrorist Groups

Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

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Names and Narrative: It is Called ‘Area C’

There was another terrible murder of innocent Israelis the other day. The slaying happened in the Barkan Industrial area, not far from Road 5 in Israel, about halfway between Rosh Haayin and Ariel.

The Barkan Industrial Zone is in ‘Area C’ as mapped out in the Oslo Accords, agreed to and signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That agreement delineated three distinct zones east of the Green Line (EGL), commonly referred to as the “West Bank” or “Judea and Samaria.”

  • Area A: where the Palestinian Authority has administration and military control of the area;
  • Area B: where there is shared control with Israel; and
  • Area C: which is administered completely by Israel. The area is predominantly Jewish; only 7% of the West Bank Arabs live in Area C.

Israel created are a number of joint development projects in Area C, such as the Barkan Industrial area where several thousand Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews work together. The United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman noted that Barkan “has been a model of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence since 1982, with thousands working and prospering together. Today a terrorist shattered that harmony by brutally murdering two Israelis at work.

That model of coexistence was not just shattered by a murderer, but by some members of the media.

Consider first how some decided to describe Area C:


Wall Street Journal October 8, 2018 page A12

The descriptions above demonstrate the range of narratives.  The Jerusalem Post called the area by its long historic name of “Samaria,” which connects Jews to the region for thousands of years. Most of the Western media used the modern term for the region east of the Green Line that evolved in the 1950s to be the “West Bank,” as the world adopted an Arab point of view after Jordan illegally annexed the region in 1950. Al Jazeera was on the far extremist camp which took an Arab anti-Zionist viewpoint.

The media’s choice of name for the region equates to the narrative of the story and the overall bias of the publication. That much is clear in all of the various Names and Narratives articles in the First.One.Through series.
But the vileness of Al Jazeera was on full display, when it chose to go on a rant regarding the murder of innocent civilians in a work place designed to promote coexistence.
CBN News chose to not refer the overall area at all. It simply said that Barkan was near the city of Ariel. It noted that “For 35 years the industrial zone has been a model of co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians.” It spent time describing the woman and man who were brutally killed. That’s a bias towards humanity, the polar opposite of Al Jazeera.
Zionists and decent people everywhere should shun anything produced by Al Jazeera and its pop video site AJ+. The videos should be neither viewed nor shared.
Names and definitions matter. When a horrific murder of innocents gets nothing but vile hateful Arab propaganda instead of mourning the lives lost in a region of coexistence, it is way past time that people to not only boycott Al Jazeera, but begin efforts to shut it down.
It is no longer a matter of Israel or Arab narratives. It is a matter of human decency versus noxious evil.

Related First.One.Through articles:

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

There is a famous restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina called Hyman’s Seafood. Its menu is replete with non-kosher goodies like shrimp, crabs and calamari. The locals love the family run business – now in its fifth generation of management – as do the various celebrities and tourists who often must wait outside in line for up to an hour to enjoy the food and ambiance.

The warmth of the restaurant is very much part of the appeal. In addition to the many autographed pictures of movie stars that adorn the walls, are small cards sprinkled around the two-story building with sayings and words of advice. They include funny and off-color comments about relationships as well as more thoughtful sayings from important people such as Rabbi Israel Salanter. Yes, that’s a rabbi card in a traif restaurant.

The peculiarity keeps going. The storefront has mezuzahs on each door. There is even an option to have kosher food brought in from the local Chabad!

You see, the owners of Hyman’s are all about attitude. They envision a world that is inclusive, positive and happy. Their formula for creating that world includes spreading those messages throughout the store, and they live that credo by finding a way to enable every person to eat in their restaurant – even those that cannot eat the food because of dietary restrictions.

Pretty incredible.

Not surprisingly, the owners run their business in the same fashion. They have a sign on one of the walls that reads: “If you like us, tell others. If not, tell us!

It’s so simple and basic. Spread positive messages to everyone you can. Encourage others to frequent the establishment. Boost the store’s image and popularity.

However, if there are issues that bother you, don’t tell others about the perceived problems, but bring them up to management. Be constructive and the owners will make the effort to address the matter to the extent that they can. Don’t write letters to newspapers or get on social media with the bad news, as those actions would be detrimental to the business.

It is a simple concept that too many liberal self-declared “pro-Israel” groups and people fail to comprehend.

J Street and New Israel Fund

J Street’s tagline is that they are “pro-Israel,” even though it actively undermines Israel on the global stage. The group lobbied the Obama Administration to censure Israel at the United Nations and declare Jews living in the eastern part of the promised land to be illegal! How can such a group possibly be considered pro-Israel? Would someone who likes Hyman’s Seafood report them to the Department of Health? Trash them on Yelp?

The New Israel Fund supports Breaking the Silence which does media tours undermining the Israeli Defense Forces. How is that being constructive in working with the Israeli government itself to find ways to improve?

It’s not, and it’s not appreciated by the Israeli government.

Liberal “Balance”

Supporters of J Street and the New Israel Fund like Rabbi Sharon Brous believe that they truly love Israel and are simply trying to understand all sides of the situation with Palestinian Arabs. Brous penned a letter in the Los Angeles Times on August 26, 2018 about her taking her daughter to Hebron in an effort to show her “the other side,” which included “the harshest effects of the occupation.” Her letter described how difficult life was for the 200,000 Palestinian Arabs because some Jews wanted to reestablish the Jewish community there. She relayed how extreme and racist these Jews were.

Did she show a real balance to her daughter? Did she speak to the 93% of Palestinian Arabs that are antisemites? Did she tell her daughter that when the city was under Muslim control Jews were forbidden from even climbing the steps of the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs, let alone pray there? Did she educate her daughter that the Palestinian Authority has a law that calls for the death penalty for any Arab selling a home to Jews? That its president has demanded a Jew-free country?

Brous didn’t really show her daughter a complete or honest story. And that is her business to educate her daughter in a manner she desires.

However, her daughter wasn’t her real audience. The daughter was merely a tool for her to write to the whole world. Brous published her opinion piece marketed as a story in the widely read LA Times to publicly vilify Israel, written in a smug fashion of being an honest educator and parent.

The readers of paper understood the message: lovers of Israel think the country is vile too.


If groups like J Street and NIF, and public Jewish leaders like Brous want to be included in the pro-Israel community, they must learn a simple lesson from Hyman’s Seafood: if you have an issue, bring it up with directly with the party in charge. In public, sing the praises loudly to all.

Today’s self-declared “pro-Israel” alt-left groups and rabbis are harmful to Israel. Until these groups and individuals make major fundamental changes, they should be excluded from any pro-Israel forums, including schools, synagogues and umbrella Zionist organizations.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Denying Entry and Citizenship

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

When Power Talks the Truth

The expression of “talking truth to power,” has a ring of empowerment in certain circles. It portrays weak or disenfranchised people challenging powerful people and/ or interests. The activity is often described as bold and risky and deserving of widespread support and admiration.

Liberals are most frequently heard using the expression due to their desire to flatten society by both promoting the weak and pulling down the powerful. They tend to distrust all forms of authority, according to the Cato Institute. Not surprisingly, stabbing a finger into the eye of powerful groups is a celebrated event.

However, the far lefts’ desire for equality has little to do with “truth.” The goal of equality – whether gender or income or racial – is of primary importance. Truth can be bent, altered or ignored to advance the liberal agenda.

As such, listening to extreme progressives’ use the phrase “talking truth to power,” has an awful dissonance. They doctored truth long ago.

When Power Talks Truth

Truth has the greatest impact when proclaimed by the powerful, especially on a global stage. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley used several opportunities during the week of July 23, 2018, to educate the world not just of certain facts, but about the importance of standing for and shedding light on important truths.

Nikki Haley told the ministerial group about the importance of religious freedom, not just for human rights, but for the basic foundation of peace. “The fact is, real peace cannot be achieved in isolation from human rights,” she told the audience, as she noted the countries of Burma, China, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan had been called out in 1999 for suppressing religious freedom. They would go on to become security threats killing thousands of their own people.

Nikki Haley called out the terrorist actions of Hamas and the destructive and hateful actions of Palestinian Arabs from Gaza destroying enormous swaths of Israel with arson attacks. She called out the Arab states for saying nothing:

“Where are the Arab countries when it comes to denouncing Hamas terrorism? Where are the Arab countries when it comes to supporting compromises that are necessary for peace?”

Haley called out the hypocrisy of the Arab world that claims to care about Palestinians, yet give zero or virtually no monies to UNRWA:

“Talk is cheap…

Last year, Iran’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Algeria’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Tunisia’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Other countries did provide some funding. Pakistan gave 20,000. Egypt gave 20,000. Oman gave 668,000. Moving up the list, Turkey gave 6.7 million. Kuwait gave nine million dollars. United Arab Emirates gave 12.8 million dollars.

Again, if you judge a nation’s commitment to the Palestinian people by the words heard in this chamber, you might come to the conclusion that the United States has been less generous, simply because we stand proudly with our ally Israel here at the UN.

But once again, this conclusion would be entirely false.

Last year, while Algeria was providing nothing to UNRWA, and Turkey was providing 6.7 million dollars, the United States gave 364 million dollars. That’s ten times the combined amounts from every country I just named.

And that’s on top of what the American people give annually to the Palestinians in bilateral assistance. That is another 300 million dollars just last year, and it averages to more than a quarter of a billion dollars every year since 1993.

Since that year, the United States has provided over six billion – with a B – dollars in bilateral assistance to Palestinians. How much have the Arab countries – some of whom are wealthy countries – how much have they given to the Palestinians? It does not come anywhere close to what the United States has done.

To drive her point home, she made clear that America would not continue to play the Arab world’s farce:

The Palestinian leadership has been allowed to live a false reality for too long because Arab leaders are afraid to tell them the truth. The United States is telling the truth because we do care about the Palestinian people.

But we should all recognize that Palestinian needs are not an American problem any more than a Russian problem or a French problem. And they are certainly not more of an American problem than an Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, or Turkish problem.

So the next time we have a meeting like this in the Security Council or in the General Assembly, and we hear speech after speech about the plight of the Palestinian people, I would ask those who are making the speeches to examine what your country is doing to help – other than speechmaking.

It is time for the regional states in particular to step up and really help the Palestinian people, instead of just making speeches thousands of miles away.”

That’s talking some real truth at the UN Security Council.


US Ambassador to the UN  Nikki Haley addressing the UN Security Council
on July 24, 2018

But Haley had more truths.

Haley spoke for 30 minutes at the 2018 CUFI conference and called out many facts about Israel and the state of the world:

  • “We live in a world in which anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
  • “We live in a world in which terrorist groups and even some countries openly call for Israel’s destruction.”
  • “On many college campuses, the anti-Semitic BDS movement has become a trendy cause for students and professors who should know better.”
  • “Last September, when Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the UN, he said that for too long, the “epicenter of global anti-Semitism was the UN itself.” That’s an amazing statement. But unfortunately, it’s true.”
  • “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That’s a fact. And President Trump had the courage to recognize that fact when others would not.”
  • “Many of the protesters in Gaza are anything but peaceful. If they were peaceful, there would be no burning tires, there would be no Molotov cocktails, there would be no flaming swastika kites flying into Israel burning thousands of acres of land.”
  • “When I heard country after country in the UN Security Council hypocritically standing in judgment of Israel, I spoke out. What I said shocked the people at the UN; but I’ll say it again, because it’s the truth: Israel has acted with more restraint than just about any other country would under those same conditions. It’s true.”
  • ” in the history of the UN General Assembly there has been over 600 resolutions on the Israel-Palestinian issue alone – and not one of them has ever mentioned Hamas. Not one in 600.”
  • “It’s very important to me that we represent truths and reality at the UN, even if it makes other countries uncomfortable.”
  • “UNESCO has the outrageous distinction of attempting to change ancient history. UNESCO declared one of Judaism’s holiest sites, The Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian Heritage Site, in need of protection from Israel. That was enough. Ten months into this administration, the United States withdrew from UNESCO.”
  • “we don’t even need to talk about Israel to conclude that the Human Rights Council is a sham. But we should talk about Israel, because Israel is a special case that proves the moral bankruptcy of the organization.”
  • “The United States has no moral duty to be neutral between right and wrong. On the contrary, we have a moral duty to take sides, even when that means standing alone.”
  • “We demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary provisional entity or pariah.”
  • “It cannot be the case that only one country in the world doesn’t get to choose its capital city.”
  • “It cannot be the case that the Human Rights Council has a standing agenda item for only one country.”
  • “It cannot be the case that only one set of refugees throughout the world is counted in a way that causes the number to grow literally forever.”
  • “It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country.”
  • “Our demand for fairness for Israel is actually a demand for peace. The UN’s bias against Israel has long undermined peace, by encouraging an illusion that Israel will go away.”
  • Fantasies encourage absolutist demands. When realities are accepted, then compromise becomes possible. When the reality of Israel’s existence is accepted, both sides will become freed to achieve a durable peace.”

A truly incredible dissertation about the importance of truth.

Past US administrations were both too concerned with angering the 50+ oil-rich Muslim and Arab nations, and with upsetting the impoverished (morally and financially) Palestinian Authority. No longer.


The world has been caught up with #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts over the past few years. Extreme Liberals have added to the tempest with alternate realities of “my truths” as they attempt to enforce their worldview on the public. Reality was discarded as everyone fought for the mantle of the underdog.

Fortunately, truth has returned with a powerful champion. And her name is Nikki Haley.


Related First.One.Through articles:

When Only Republicans Trust the Police

In The Margins

Fake Definitions: Pluralism and Progressive / Liberalism

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

Journalists Killed in 2016 #AlternativeFacts

From Eyes Wide Shut (11/13/16):

Today, the world has declared that truth can be ignored, openly and honestly. Fixed facts fold before the fantasy of personal belief. People shout their gestating gospels as the thoughts enter their minds and are blessed in their echo chambers on social media and in the streets.

Opinions no longer need an anchor in fact. People need not see nor hear a matter to declare it untrue or irrelevant. The world has become unhinged as the mind emerges as the sole arbiter of the firmament. Society has quickly moved beyond goggles of virtual reality to worship in the chapel of blind delusions.

In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.

Will we pass judgment solely on which party seems the most sympathetic because they feel the most injured? Does that foretell a future of balms for the pain, rather than solutions for the problems?

We are carrying our emotions across the threshold to deflower our intelligence. That is a marriage that will end poorly for civilization.”

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CNN Will Not Report Islamic Terrorism

The morning of May 29, 2018 in Belgium was shattered by violence. Three people were killed in the city of Liege, including two police officers.

And that’s all that CNN would tell its readers.

Police and ambulance are seen at the site where a gunman shot dead three people, two of them policemen, before being killed by elite officers, in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on May 29, 2018. – The shooting occurred around 10:30am (0830 GMT) on a major artery in the city close to a high school. “We don’t know anything yet,” the spokeswoman for the Liege prosecutors office, told AFP when asked about the shooter’s motives. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

It would not say that the attacker was a male, was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” that he had recently been released from jail, or that the attack was being investigated as terrorism. It did not report that the murdered police officers were women.

Was this select telling of #AlternativeFacts or simply terrible reporting?

The Guardian wrote about basic facts in the story, even if it could not report on it from its own sources.

“La Libre Belgique newspaper quoted a police source as saying the gunman shouted Allahu Akbar – “God is greatest” in Arabic – and had taken a woman hostage at some point in the attack.

The national anti-terrorist crisis centre, which interior minister Jan Jambon said was monitoring the situation, said terrorism could not be excluded as a motive though it was also looking into other possible reasons. “It is one of the questions on the table, but for the moment all scenarios are open,” a spokesman for the crisis centre said.”

SkyNews reported on the man’s name in addition to his history of crimes. Perhaps they do not mind giving the killer “fame” for his actions.

The Jerusalem Post went into much detail, including the stabbing murder of the two policewomen. It also detailed the history of Islamic radicalism in Belgium, assuming that the latest act was indeed Islamic terrorism:

“A Brussels-based Islamic State cell was involved in attacks on Paris in 2015 that killed 130 people and on Brussels in 2016 in which 32 died. The Brussels IS cell had links to militants in Verviers, another industrial town close to Liege, where in early 2015 police raided a safe house and killed two men who had returned from fighting with radical Islamists in Syria.

European authorities are deeply concerned about the risks of petty criminals, including those not from Muslim backgrounds, being inspired to Islamist violence while incarcerated.”

Reuters also made all of the above facts clear, including putting ‘Terrorist” in the headline of its report.

Yet CNN remained mum on all of these details.

Does CNN have fewer reporters in Belgium than media outlets in the UK or Israel? Was the best journalism it could muster was “Liege is Belgium’s third-largest city, after Brussels and Antwerp, according to the national tourist office. For centuries, it has been an important cultural and industrial center for the country.” Well, thanks so much for the thorough news analysis. Your fifth grade teachers would be very impressed.

People are getting more of their news from mobile devices than ever before, and relying on friends to source more of the worthwhile news sources, according to Pew Research. But news outlets still account for the origination of the stories.

If current trends continue, CNN will disappear faster than the facts it publishes.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Ties that Bind (and Those Unmentioned)

Covering Racism

CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

If a Black Muslim Cop Kills a White Woman, Does it Make a Sound?

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UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

It has been often reviewed how the United Nations has manufactured Palestinian Arab “refugees.” The fabrication done at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been via:

  • calling someone a “refugee” when they left a home or town, rather than a country which is the actual definition of a refugee;
  • allowing the descendants of those Palestinian Arab “refugees” to claim such status, even though no such status is conferred to other refugees;
  • Telling those refugees that they will return to homes that grandparents left decades ago, even when such homes no longer exist and not a goal of relief agencies;
  • Still calling such people “refugees,” even when they live in the same country that they claim to be refugees of, in the case of Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank

However, the NUMBER of Palestinian Arabs has not been reviewed, and particularly, how UNRWA has increased the number of Palestinian Arabs through its actions.

Fertility Rates in Undeveloped Areas

The UN has completed studies that show how more developed countries witness a much lower rate of birth and older population compared to less developed countries.

Development Stage:         Advanced           Less              Least
Annual rate of
population change                0.3%                1.4%              2.4%

Population age 0-14               16%                28%                40%

Maternal Mortality                0.01%            0.24%             0.44%

Undeveloped countries like Yemen and Sudan have very high birth rates, averaging over 4 children per mother. They similarly have a high maternal and infant mortality rates, as the level of healthcare in those countries is quite poor.

Not so for the healthcare of Palestinian Arabs, thanks to UNRWA.

UNRWA deploys billions of dollars every year to give the Palestinian Arabs the best healthcare in almost the entire world. As a result, despite the high birth rates in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the mortality rates are a fraction witnessed throughout the region.

fertility vs mortality

Most of the mothers in the Middle East average between 1.5 and 3.0 children. Societies in Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Qatar average just below two children per mother according to the World Health Organization. The incidents of children under five years old dying was low in those countries, at roughly 1.0 to 1.5%. On the other end of the spectrum were countries under severe distress, including Sudan and Yemen. These countries with over four children on average per mother saw an expected rate of death for children under five years old of 6.0%, five times the rate of the more stable and advanced regions.

But the Palestinian Arabs are an anomaly. While Palestinian mothers average 4.1 children, according to the WHO, the probability of the children dying was the same as experienced in advanced Turkey or Saudi Arabia, at under 1.5%. Applying 2014 data of 121,330 Palestinian Arab births in Gaza and the West Bank, would suggest that 1,808 of these children will die before age 5, but the theoretical number without UNRWA intervention would be closer to that 6.0% percentage of Sudan and Yemen, or 7,280 deaths. That means that because of UNRWA, there will be 5,472 more Palestinian Arab children alive from the class of 2014.

Further adding the 0.2% improved rate of maternal mortality represents approximately 240 mothers each year that do not pass away due to UNRWA’s efforts. In total, considering that UNRWA has been operating for close to 70 years through multiple generations, the number of incremental Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank because of UNRWA is close to 1 million.

Future Action: Jobs versus Contraception

The United Nations created a document together with the Palestinian Authority called “Palestine 2030 – Demographic Change” which told an interesting narrative and plan for the Palestinian demographic boom.

The opening lines of the report bemoaned the slow rate of the population growth: “Palestine’s demographic transition particularly its fertility component, continues to lag behind that of many Asia countries, including Arab countries… Fertility, which was extremely high in the 1970s has been cut in half.” A shocking statement compared to the statistics listed above.

The report continued to discuss the connection between fertility rates and education and income. “Very universal marriage, early marriage, and a low contraceptive rate, especially for modern methods of contraception (used by 44%), are the main proximate determinants of the present level of fertility. Household wealth also plays a role. But it is mainly education, particularly female education that determines the fertility rate.

The report estimates that the Palestinian Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank will grow from 4.7 million in 2015, to 6.9 million in 2030 and 9.5 million in 2050. The doubling of the Palestinian population between 2015 and 2050 compares to a global growth rate of just 36%. The high Palestinian rate of growth is only anticipated in the large poor African countries like Chad, Uganda and Tanzania. Consider further that the number of “refugees” in the GS/WB areas is forecast to grow from roughly 2 million today to 3 million in 2030 and 4.5 million in 2050 (+125% for refugees and +85% for non-refugees). UNRWA clearly impacts the population growth, with estimates of “creating” an additional 800,000 Palestinian Arabs by 2050.

Those are staggering figures for a small territory.

And yet the report claims that the solution to the population boom is not population control, but more jobs and education for women.

If the United Nations is on the front lines of health services in the Palestinian territories, why is the use of contraception only at 44%, when it stands at 64% in the rest of the world where women have to obtain, purchase and manage their health on their own? Why isn’t UNRWA doing more education about family planning and making more contraceptives available?  It is estimated that 7.0% and 5.0% of Palestinians use the pill and condoms, respectively. Shouldn’t the rate be double or triple, more in line with Lebanon (15.1% pill) and Turkey (15.9% condoms)? Overall contraceptive use should be targeted at 75%, in line with the Islamic Republic of Iran at 76.6%.

The UN General Assembly made a global goal of comprehensive family planning in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which it set out “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.” With thousands of feet on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, the UN is in prime position to take an aggressive stance.

Palestinian Arabs have extremely high fertility rates similar to third world countries but receive first-class healthcare from the United Nations. In doing so, UNRWA has helped the Palestinian Arab population balloon by an incremental one million people, or 25%. Will the UN advance its own global family planning goals for Palestinian Arabs, or does it prefer to create a demographic army to confront Israel?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/Palestine

Mad World of Palestinian Quality of Life Statistics

Arabs in Jerusalem

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UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

Munchausen syndrome is a mental illness in which a person considers himself to be sick even when they are actually fine. The person will act injured or sick and perhaps even harm themselves to elicit a sympathetic response from people around them.

WebMD notes that “People with Munchausen syndrome deliberately produce or exaggerate symptoms in several ways. They may lie about or fake symptoms, hurt themselves to bring on symptoms, or alter tests…. Although a person with Munchausen syndrome actively seeks treatment for the various disorders he or she invents, the person often is unwilling to admit to and seek treatment for the syndrome itself. This makes treating people with Munchausen syndrome very challenging, and the outlook for recovery poor.”

What a great description of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Palestinians themselves.

Perpetuating the Status of the Refugees
Perpetuating a Temporary Agency

UNRWA was created in 1950 to be a temporary UN agency to assist refugees that left the newly reestablished Jewish state of Israel. The situation arose when the Arab countries that invaded Israel refused to make peace with Israel, and Israel never allowed the roughly 711,000 hostile refugees to return to their homes. As the Arabs continued to wage war against Israel over the years, UNRWA opted to redefine a “refugee” in several unique ways:

  • For Palestinians, a refugee is someone that left a house or town, while for every other refugee in the world, it means leaving a country;
  • For Palestinians, a refugee is anyone that had a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent that left their home many decades ago, while the definition for every other refugee is specifically only for those people who actually fled a country (not descendants)

A fake symptom (refugee status) has enabled a temporary agency to become permanent.

 

Tons of Money Wasted to Ask for More Money

UNRWA has been spending billions of dollars on the stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) for decades. Even though the schools and libraries have already been built, and the people are living in the same place with the same language as they have for decades, billions more is requested annually. The infrastructure has been paid for and the needs should be few. No matter.

UNRWA’s 2017 budget was $760 million serving 5.9 million registered people. That’s $129 per person on average. How many actual SAPs are there still alive from the 1948-9 war? Estimates are less than 30,000 people. That would mean that UNRWA is spending over $25,000 on average for actual refugees.

A fake definition of refugee produces a greater demand for money.

The ever-growing number of “refugees” and registered people asking for UNRWA assistance yields to an ever increasing number of staff. In 2017, there were 30,799 staff members on the ground in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, and roughly 33,000 working at the agency globally. An estimated 98% of the 33,000 staff members – over 32,000 people – are SAPs themselves. There are more Palestinians working at UNRWA than there are actual Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA’s appeal for global contributions is simply a way to funnel money to thousands of Palestinian Arabs in fake jobs.

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, made an appeal to the world on January 17, 2018 stressing the need for more money for schools and hospitals. He barely mentioned the loans – tens of millions of dollars that UNRWA gives to Arabs for their businesses every year – now amounting to half a billion dollars overall.

The cries for money to help student and hospitals masks the reality of tens of millions of dollars going simply to make business loans.

As a benchmark to see how much money is needed for actual refugees with real housing, language and monetary needs, one can look at the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2016, the UNHCR counted 16.5 million actual refugees, plus millions of others that were internally displaced and stateless to whom it provided services, 67.8 million people in all. It spent just shy of $4 billion on these people, or $59 per person. In June 2017, the total broad refugee count serviced by UNHCR was 65.6 million, treated by just under 11,000 staff members. That’s a staff to refugee ratio of one staff member to every 5963 refugees, spread all around the world.

UNHCR, a global agency that helps millions of desperate people get their lives together spends $59 per registered person and has one staff person for every 6000 people, while the bogus UNRWA spends $129 on fake refugees who already have complete infrastructure and provides a staff person for every 179 people. That means that UNRWA is over-staffing by roughly 33 times.

The obscene UNRWA waste of money produces the pleas for more aid.


UNRWA in Jerusalem

Undermining Dignity While Claiming the Status
of Defender of Dignity

In his remarks asking the world for money, Krahenbuhl mentioned Palestinian “dignity” four times, making the point that UNRWA is the agency that will protect the dignity of the Palestinian refugees that are at risk.

But how does keeping people in a continuous state of taking the world’s charity instill any sense of dignity?

UNHCR helps refugees get settled in their new host country and learn skills to obtain jobs and become self-sufficient. But not UNRWA. In places like Syria, the SAPs are forbidden to get white collar jobs. In Lebanon and Jordan they are prohibited from obtaining citizenship (meanwhile in Jerusalem, Arabs are welcome to apply for Israeli citizenship). The SAPs are left to live off of UNRWA’s breast milk, never being weaned to become independent.

The very agency that keeps Palestinian Arabs as wards of the world, then claims that it is the protector of their “dignity.”

In short, like Munchausen syndrome, UNRWA created and has perpetuated a fake illness (millions of refugees). It then wastes hundreds of millions of dollars funneling money to these wards of the UN while convincing these SAPs that there was no other way to get homes or jobs. They became addicted to their refugee status and UNRWA money, and have let UNRWA beg for handouts to treat the disorder that it created and helped fester.

Treating Munchausen Syndrome

UNRWA is plagued with a terrible mental disease and it continues to lean on the world to treat its fake illness. It is time to break the fever.

WebMD proposes the following treatment for Munchausen:

“When treatment is sought, the first goal is to modify the person’s behavior and reduce his or her misuse or overuse of medical resources. Once this goal is met, treatment aims to work out any underlying psychological issues that may be causing the person’s behavior. Another key goal is to help patients avoid dangerous and unnecessary medical diagnostic or treatment procedures (such as surgeries), often sought from different doctors who may be unaware that physical symptoms are either being faked or self-inflicted.

As with other factitious disorders, the primary treatment for Munchausen syndrome is psychotherapy or talk therapy (a type of counseling). Treatment usually focuses on changing the thinking and behavior of the individual (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Family therapy may also be helpful in teaching family members not to reward or reinforce the behavior of the person with the disorder.”

Modify behavior: Stop pretending that there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees. Do not “misuse and overuse resources.” Modify the staffing and budget of UNRWA to accommodate the actual 30,000 refugees that are living just a few miles from where there grandparents once lived. Using the figures from UNHCR of $59 per person for the 30,000 people would yield an annual budget of $1.8 million, not $760 million.
Work out any underlying psychological issues: If acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is indicative of the fake history of both Palestinians (they are not Canaanites) and Jews (it IS their holy land), then the entire school curriculum that UNRWA is so proud of should be flushed down the toilet. Teaching basic facts and the ability to reason must be advanced.
Change thinking and behavior: According to the ADL, almost every single Palestinian Arab is an antisemite. When factoring in the inability to acknowledge basic facts and the perpetual reinforcement that Palestinians are victims for whom relief will only come at the hands of the United Nations is a cocktail for extremism and terrorism.
The United States withdrawal of some funds from UNRWA in January 2018 was a useful first step. Folding UNRWA into the UNHCR, moving tens of thousands of Palestinian UNRWA employees to service real refugees from Syria, Yemen and Somalia, and redoing the entire UNRWA school curricula are the added steps needed to break the UNRWA Munchausen Syndrome.

Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

First.One.Through videos:

The Hypocrisy of Queen Rania of Jordan

The Hamas Theme Song in the UNRWA Schools

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The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The tensions between the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations and Israel seemingly became tense over the Israeli government’s decision to postpone plans for an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, the Western Wall. In truth, the relationship between the Reconstructionist, Jewish Renewal and Reform branches of Judaism (the 3R’s) and the Jewish State have been terrible for a long time.

There are a number of Jewish organizations that actively seek to harm Israel in public fora. As detailed in “Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent,” the largest and most noxious of the left-wing organizations are: the Jewish Voice for Peace that advocates for a global boycott of Israel; J Street that advocates for sanctions against Israel at the United Nations; and the New Israel Fund, that supports organizations that go on global tours bad-mouthing Israel and groups that seek to destroy the Jewish character of Israel.

What that article did not convey and will be discussed and explored here, was that these anti-Zionist groups are uniquely backed by non-Orthodox rabbis.

Jewish Voice for Peace

Arguably the most proudly vocal anti-Zionist group is the Jewish Voice for Peace, JVP. The rabbis of JVP have supported the Gaza flotilla; written books demonizing Israel as a modern day blood libel; and arguably promoted the murder of Israelis.


JVP post supporting convicted terrorist Rasmeah Odeh

JVP’s rabbinic leadership almost exclusively comes from the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal branches of Judaism. At their core, they seek a Judaism that has nothing to do with Zionism. Many are proudly anti-Zionist.

Rabbi Joseph Berman (Non-Denominational)
Rabbi Linda Holtzman (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Buzz Bogage, Denver, CO
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Evanston, IL (Reconstructionist)
Student Rabbi Leora Abelson
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Lev Baesh (Reform)
Rabbi David Basior (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Haim Beliak (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Joseph Berman (Unaffiliated)
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Meryl Crean (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Michael Davis (also backed by the Students for Justice in Palestine which has supported terrorist groups)
Rabbi Art Donsky (Non-denominational)
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Sarah Bracha Gershuny (Egalitarian)
Rabbi Shai Gluskin (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Borukh Goldberg
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Julie Greenberg
Rabbi Edward Klein
Rabbi Alan LaPayover (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Eyal Levinson (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom (Conservative)
Rabbi David Mivasair (Progressive)
Rabbi Dev Noily (Progressive)
Rabbi Alexis Pearce (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Michael Ramberg (Progressive)
Rabbi Ken Rosenstein (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Shifrah Tobacman (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Brian Walt
Rabbi Lew Weiss (Reform)
Rabbi Alissa Wise (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Joey Wolf (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Rain Zohav (Jewish Renewal)

The Anti-Defamation has essentially labeled JVP a hate group stating:

“JVP has consistently co-sponsored demonstrations to oppose Israeli military policy that have been marked by signs comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and slogans that voice support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. JVP has not condemned or sought to distance itself from these messages.”

The rabbis of these communities put politics front-and-center of their religion. And their politics are anti-Zionism.

J Street

J Street officially states that it is not in favor of the BDS movement, but has supported many speakers who do call for the boycott of Israel. More, J Street actively lobbied the Obama Administration to allow the censure of Israel at the United Nations and enabling the resolution labeling Israeli territory east of the Green Line to be deemed illegal.

The rabbinic core of J Street is slightly more “traditional” than the rabbis from JVP, counting many Reform rabbis. The list of hundreds of rabbis is too long to review here, but a sample highlights the trend:

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Brooklyn, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Lauren Henderson, Chicago, IL (Conservative)
Rabbi Alexander Kress, Abington, PA (Reform)
Rabbi Marisa Elana James, New York, NY (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, New York, NY (Conservative)
Rabbi Amanda Schwartz, New York, NY (Conservative)
Rabbi Scott Aaron, Pittsburgh, PA (Reform)
Rabbi Alison Abrams, Deerfield, IL (Reform)
Rabbi Ruth Adar, Oakland, CA (Reform)
Rabbi David Adelson, New York, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, Wayland, MA (Independent)
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Philadelphia, PA (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Thomas Alpert, Needham, MA (Reform)
Rabbi Steven Altarescu, Bronx, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Camille Shira Angel, San Francisco, CA (Reform)
Rabbi David Ariel-Joel, Louisville, KY (Reform)
Susan J Averbach, San Francisco, CA (Humanistic Judaism)
Rabbi Benjamin Arnold, Evergreen, CO (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Melanie Aron, Los Gatos, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman, Jerusalem, Israel (Reform)
Rabbi Aura Ahuvia, Woodstock, NY (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Larry Bach, Durham, NC (Reform)
Rabbi Lev Baesh, Lexington, MA (Reform)
Rabbi Chava Bahle, Suttons Bay, MI (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Justus Baird, Princeton, NJ (Reform)
Rabbi Rachel Evelyne Barenblat, Williamstown, MA (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Benjamin H. Barnett, Corvallis, OR (Pluralistic)
Rabbi Bernard Barsky, Dayton, OH
Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, Encino, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Geoffrey Basik, Baltimore, MD (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, San Francisco, CA (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Renee H. Bauer, Madison, WI
Rabbi David Baylinson, Atlanta, GA (Reform)
Rabbi Micah Becker-Klein, Hockessin, DE
Rabbi Martin Beifeld, Richmond, VA (Reform)
Rabbi Anne Belford, Houston, TX (Reform)
Rabbi Marc J. Belgrad, Buffalo Grove, IL (Reform)
Rabbi Arnold Mark Belzer, Savannah, GA (Reform)
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appel, Highland Park, IL (post-denominational)
Rabbi Karen Bender, Tarzana, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, Seattle, WA (Reform)
Rabbi Allen Bennett, San Francisco, CA (Reform)
Rabbi James Bennett, St. Louis, MO (Reform)
Rabbi Philip J. Bentley, Hendersonville, NC (Reform)

The Reform movement isn’t explicitly anti-Israel the way that much of the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal movements are currently. However, the current head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs is particularly political and claims that the official stance of Reform Judaism is anti-settlements. How he declared that his personal anti-Jews living in Judea and Samaria politics should frame the entire movement is something that members of Reform Judaism need to address.

New Israel Fund

The New Israel Fund gives money to groups like Adalah that have a stated purpose of ending any Jewishness in Israel. It lures people to donate money stating that it is about equality in Israel – and by that it means ending the Jewish Law of Return; the Hatikvah; Jewish star on the national flag, et cetera.

The international council of NIF features a number of non-Orthodox rabbis:

Rabbi Rachel Mikva (Reform)
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman (Reform)
Rabbi Anson Laytner (Reform)
Rabbi Daniel Weiner (Reform)
Rabbi David Levin (Reform)
Rabbi Morris Allen (Conservative)
Rabbi Norman Cohen (Reform)
Rabbi Alexander Davis (Conservative)
Rabbi Shosh Dworsky (Conservative)
Rabbi David Freedman
Rabbi Yosi Gordon (Conservative)
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz (Reform)
Rabbi Cathy Nemiroff (Reform)
Rabbi Debra Rappaport (Reform)
Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein (Conservative)
Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker (Reform)
Rabbi Sharon Stiefel (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Aaron Weininger (Conservative)
Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman (Reform)
Rabbi Sharon Brous (Conservative)
Rabbi Rachel B. Cowan (Reform)
Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson (Reform)
Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen (Reform)
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon (non-denominational)
Rabbi Aaron Panken (Reform)
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, White Plains (Conservative)

Relative to JVP and J Street, the New Israel Fund has many more Conservative rabbis joining its leadership ranks. But still, none of these anti-Zionist organizations that have thousands of rabbis in leadership positions have a single Orthodox rabbi.

Why?

Beyond Liberal Politics

There is no question that some of these forms of Judaism revolve around liberal politics more than religion. Many of the synagogues state clearly on their websites that they are focused on tikkun olam (repairing the world), and they do this not through Torah-inspired commandments like helping the widow and orphan, but in new imagined ways like raising the minimum wage and saving the planet.

But there are many liberal rabbis in the Orthodox community too, and they support the Jewish State. They are proud to point out that Israel is one of the most liberal countries in the world, and certainly within the xenophobic, antisemitic and misogynistic Middle East. When liberal Orthodox rabbis find a need to criticize the Israeli government, they do it directly with the government in a constructive manner, not through antagonistic actions on the global stage.

Therefore, the issue cannot be simply attributed to the politics of many rabbis in the non-Orthodox world. There must be something systemic in the religious philosophy of those denominations that make them embrace Israel-bashing.

Who Is a Jew

The key Jewish prayer Shemoneh Esrei recited several times every day begins with the blessing of “our God and the God of our fathers.” It encapsulates the notion that Judaism is both a religion of being, passed down physically from our ancestors, as well as one of choice – “our God” – in which each person takes ownership of his faith.

In regards to being a Jew, Orthodox Judaism (and Conservative Judaism, at this point in time) have held the line on using traditional halacha in critical life events that define “who is a Jew.” Two of those are birth and marriage.

Both the Orthodox and Conservative movements believe that the child of a Jewish mother is a Jew, regardless of the religion of the father. The other denominations believe in patrilineal descent, that religion can be passed down via the father’s religion. This is a fundamental breakdown between the religious denominations regarding “who is a Jew.”

Similarly, Orthodox and Conservative rabbis do not perform interfaith weddings. The rabbis in the other movements are very proud to perform such ceremonies and openly advertise their services.

These two life events are obviously interconnected. An interfaith couple will have a non-Jewish parent, and about half of the time, produce a non-Jewish child according to the traditions of matrilineal descent practiced by Orthodox and Conservative Judaism. Sanctioning interfaith marriages has produced a chasm between the Reform/Reconstructionist/Jewish Renewal (3R) movements with other Jewish denominations, AND with Israel itself.

Israel created a Law of Return in 1950 that allowed any Jew to move to Israel. In 1970, the law was amended to clarify that a Jew “means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.” While the 1970 amendment made provisions for the non-Jewish spouse and children of a Jew to move to Israel, the Law of Return used a definition of matrilineal descent that only Conservative and Orthodox used, upsetting other denominations that support patrlineal descent. However, the law’s clause on conversion did accept non-Orthodox conversions performed outside of Israel, as decided by the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2016.

Universalism versus Particularism

Being a Jew is simply part one. The actions and demands of the religion, the mitzvot, are part two, and the breakdown between Orthodox Judaism and the branches that seek to harm Israel are profound.

Orthodox Judaism believes that the Torah has 613 commandments for a Jew to live by. Some are clear-cut, like “Do not kill,” while others are subject to broader interpretation like “keep the Sabbath holy,” as there may be many different methods of keeping the Sabbath holy. Conservative Judaism basically follows the concept of the 613 mitzvot, but interprets them differently (for example, Orthodox Jews will not use electricity on Sabbath to “keep it holy,” while Conservative Jews will often use electricity.)

In contrast, the 3R branches of Judaism have revamped the mitzvot in a way that fits a “new age” rewriting of the laws. They have made the commandments about human-centered spirituality that spreads out to God and all mankind, rather than commandments that are passed down from God to man.

The Jewish Renewal site makes its mantra clear, stating it’s “a transdenominational approach to revitalizing Judaism.” Its reach is to everyone: “Renewal is an attitude, not a denomination,” with “an emphasis on accessible spiritual experience.” In other words, this is a movement without demands, such as only eating kosher foods. It is more akin to a yoga retreat. Not only is there no need to be Jewish, a person needn’t perform ancient rote rituals. Just engage in new age meditation.

Reconstructionist Judaism is more traditional than Jewish Renewal, but far from “traditional.” Its emphasis is on “Jewish Identity,” as its website states: “what primarily gives Jews our identity is not belief but rather the feeling of belonging to the Jewish civilization itself. We observe Jewish holidays, rituals and customs, not because a divine being commanded us to, but because it is our primary method of reinforcing Jewish identity.” In other words, God’s commandments are not really commandments (or God doesn’t exist) for Reconstructionist Jews. The basis for observing any tradition is simply a matter of keeping the “Jewish identity” around, not because of any higher authority.

These days, the Reform movement has put the world front and center. It’s mission is to build “communities that transform the way people connect to Jewish life, building a more whole, just, and compassionate world.” It does this through tikkum olam, “repairing the world.” The movement’s leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, speaks of Reform Judaism as operating in concert with the global community: “the heart of a tikkun olam that embraces always both the universal and the particular.

These three branches of Judaism approach religious practice very differently than Orthodox Judaism. Their Judaism is centered on global mankind’s yearning to connect – to the planet and the people around the world – to achieve a personal fulfillment of serenity. Jewish rituals are props to achieve that state of zen. Similarly, non-Jews bring their own props to their encounters with God and mankind. Universalism and particularism (of props) coexist in a human-centered meditative state of bliss.

This 3R approach towards religion is an inversion of Orthodox Judaism that is premised on a top-down philosophy. The Bible and Ten Commandments began with God, not man. The 613 commandments given to Jews were just that – commandments – not guides to validate one’s own sense of social justice. These commandments were uniquely given to Jews, as Orthodoxy believes that non-Jews were given only seven commandments which relate to universal morality.

The orientation of particularism of Orthodox rabbis extends broadly: to Jewish people (they do not perform interfaith weddings); the Bible (with unique commandments only for Jews); and to the holy land itself, which they believe was given to the Jewish people. According to a Pew poll in 2013, 84% of Orthodox Jews believe that God gave Israel to the Jews. That compares to only 54%, 35% and 24% of Conservative, Reform, and non-denominational Jews, respectively. By way of comparison, 55% of Christians believe that God gave Israel to the Jews. How remarkable is that? Christians are more Zionistic than non-Orthodox Jews.

This dichotomy between Orthodox and non-Orthodox denominations is at the core of different approaches to the Jewish State and the holy land. For Orthodox Jews, the Jewish State is particular, just like the bible and Jewish people. In contrast, the non-Orthodox denominations focus on universalism, and shun particularism as a form of tribalism and nationalism, with more than a whiff of racism.

It is therefore not a surprise that Jewish denominations that shun particularism in favor of universalism also denounce Zionism.

But why would universalists attack Israel on the global stage?

The fundamental approaches to Judaism, Jews and the holy land do not just lead to a difference of opinions; it destroys the baseline of communication, making discussion virtually impossible. In mathematical terms, the universalists are speaking in base 10 and the particularists are speaking in base 7. They can both understand each other in simple matters, like single digit numbers or that Abraham is the father of monotheism. But on complicated matters like a democratic Jewish State living in peace and security in the heart of the Arab Muslim Middle East, the interaction falls apart like discussing the number 242 (equal to 242 in base 10, but just 170 when converting base 7 to base 10). They are just not talking about the same thing. So rather than talk to each other, they talk to people with a similar language. The 3R rabbis take their version of tikkun olam to the global stage, like the United Nations.

Whereas Orthodox liberal Jews can call out for rights for Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs without vilifying Israel, non-Orthodox rabbis seemingly cannot. Orthodoxy can approach equality within the rubric that the holy land as special and unique for Jews, while the non-Orthodox only see tribalism and primitive thinking. The 3R rabbis burnish their bona fides by burning ties that could reek of particularism as they engage with the global community.

The Current Dynamic

The universalism / “anti-tribalism” movement within the 3R denominations often attacks both Orthodox Jews and the Jewish state. It has sometimes provoked a backlash.

In September 2015, the Reconstructionist movement announced a new policy to allow rabbis to marry non-Jews as a reaction to the movement’s conclusion that “many younger progressive Jews, including many rabbis and rabbinical students, now perceive restrictions placed on those who are intermarried as reinforcing a tribalism that feels personally alienating and morally troubling in the 21st century.” With such declaration, several Reconstructionist rabbis became fed up.

In April 2016, twenty Reconstructionist rabbis left the denomination to form Beit Kaplan, as they felt that the Reconstructionist movement had lost its way. They said that “the decision to form the association was sparked, in part, by the recent RRC policy shift that muddled the definition of what it means for a rabbi to have a Jewish family. Other contributing factors include a desire to return the focus of liberal Judaism to Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan’s vision of Jewish peoplehood and a desire to affirm connections to the Jewish people globally, including in Israel.”

Several Reconstructionist rabbis became infuriated with the official positions of Reconstructionist’s universalism. Their new assembly felt compelled to clarify that not only did it think that sanctioning rabbis intermarrying was a destructive force on the Jewish family, it said that it “unequivocally reject[s] any movement to delegitimize Israel in the community of nations,” because the Reconstructionist movement had become a haven for demonizing the Jewish State.

In short, Beit Kaplan felt that the Reconstructionist movement had lost the basic concept of the definition of being a Jew and the special nature of the Jewish State.

The 3R rabbis’ Israel-bashing had started to gain momentum during the 2014 Gaza War, when many non-Orthodox rabbis actively vilified the Jewish State. The lunatic rabbinic fringe even held fasts for the people of Gaza, but not for anyone in Israel.

Consider Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the leader of an enormous gay Reconstructionist congregation, member of J Street and listed in Newsweek’s list of 50 Influential Rabbis. Her radical left-wing politics were mostly blessed by her members, but her tirades against Israel became too much for many to bear. In 2014, one of the board members of her congregation resigned, publicly stating the “recent [2014 Gaza War] events have demonstrated that CBST [the gay synagogue] is far more committed to a progressive political agenda than to the Jewish people….  I don’t want to raise my kids in a synagogue that’s praying for people firing rockets.

The attitude was pervasive. Leading rabbis of JVP and J Street – all non-Orthodox – called for a divorce between Judaism and the Jewish State, and between the holy land and Jews.

Consider Rabbi Brian Walt, a member of JVP and coordinator of the Jewish Fast for Gaza, who gave a talk entitled “Affirming a Judaism and Jewish identity without Zionism,” in which he declared: “political Zionism violates everything I believe about Judaism.” Or Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, on the board of J Street and signatory to the fast for Gaza who penned a letter for Code Pink to support the BDS movement, stating she “saw the destruction that is wrought by too many Israeli settlers,” making her change “my mind about the purchase of products made in the Jewish West Bank.

Non-Orthodox rabbis comfortably argued that there are too many Jews in the holy land because they segmented the religion, the people, the land and their identity. As they believe that religion is defined solely by identity, there is no need for a particular land, and no narrow definition of the Jewish people, as identity is self-selected.


Non-Orthodox rabbis wrap themselves in a tallit as a mere Jewish prop in a universalistic and humanistic approach towards meditation, while they shudder at the particularism of the God of Orthodox Judaism and the Jewish State.

Supporting Israel is not a battle of political orientation between liberal and conservative Jews. It is a philosophical break in the Jewish community with a fault line regarding the uniqueness of Jews and the Jewish State. The non-Orthodox denominations’ religious philosophy will only let it embrace an Israel that is: about people, not God; about rights not rituals; more secular than religious; more democratic than Jewish; and more universal than particular.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

A Seder in Jerusalem with Liberal Friends

There are Standards for Unity

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Anger from the Zionist Center

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Impossible Liberal Standard

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