August 27, 2009

A Strategic Terror Attack - By Moshe Feiglin

If, G-d forbid, Kassams would have hit Sderot last week, or if there had been a shooting or stabbing terror attack, would the Prime Minister have cut his vacation short, made special announcements to the press and hurriedly summoned the Minister for Strategic Affairs to his office?

Another Question:
If such a terror attack had taken place, would it have commanded all the major headlines in all the major media outlets for two days?

The answer is clear. So why, when two politicians from the same party speak at a public forum and say things that are not new, do the media and the Prime Minister attach to the non-event the significance of a strategic terror attack?

Last Thursday, my picture made the front page of the Ha'aretz newspaper. The caption was: "Feiglin: With G-d's help, we will do good things together."

Wow. How fortunate we are to have courageous reporters who dare to inform the public of such a horrifying statement.

Let us make some order out of this firestorm.

First of all, we must understand that Ya'alon's statements at the Manhigut Yehudit Likud Activist Conference were nothing new. Everything that he said, including what he thinks about Israel's Left, is written in his book. He has publicly made the same statements many times. Netanyahu was never disturbed by his opinions and the media wouldn't have given them more than the status of "quote of the day" if not for the place in which they were delivered. In other words, the media fury was triggered not because of
what was said, but because of where it was said.

To better understand how a meeting between two Likud members takes on the proportions of a strategic terror attack, we have to get to the root of the issue.

Since the Second
Aliyah to Israel one hundred years ago, the hegemony over the Return to Zion has been in the hands of the Left. True, in 1977 there was a mini-revolution and Begin became prime minister, but it soon became clear that the Jabotinsky Right could not present a comprehensive alternative to the Zionist Left. Most of the Israeli public is rightist in its views and values, but the classic Right never attempted to develop its identity and values into a ruling alternative. That is why, despite the rightist leanings of the Israeli public and despite the fact that the public elects the Likud to rule time and again, the national agenda does not change and the leftist agenda continues to control Israel.

It's even worse than that. When the Likud is in power, it carries out the Left's agenda even better than the Left itself – despite the clear desire of its voters. Simply put, the Likud's inability to present a comprehensive alternative based on Judaism allows the Left to neutralize its victories in the voting booth and to continue to rule in Israel. Israelis already know that if you vote left, you get Left, and if you vote right, you get double Left

Enter Manhigut Yehudit in the Likud. That annoying Feiglin insists on running for head of the party and the national camp. What he is really saying is that the Jewish majority no longer accepts the old order of things. The Jewish majority demands that when it wins the elections, its collective will will be expressed in reality and that the government will reflect its values.

Manhigut Yehudit has presented a true and comprehensive alternative to the Left – an alternative with faith based, historical Jewish depth. When we speak of a revolution, we are not talking about musical chairs between political clones from the Right and Left. We are talking about revolutionizing the state of Israel, its national agenda and its most basic goals. That is why we are such a threat to those people who have become accustomed to ruling Israel with no regard to the outcome of the elections. Manhigut Yehudit is the only factor that threatens their perpetual hegemony

In his first term, Netanyahu learned what happens to a politician who opposes the "elites". He understands that his political survival depends on living in "peace" with the right people. That is why Netanyahu, with the help of the Supreme Court, downgraded me from my "sure" place on the Likud roster - despite the outcome of the primaries - and knowingly paid the price of the loss of approximately 10 mandates that defected from the Likud to other parties.

Minister Ya'alon's very attendance at a Manhigut Yehudit conference has opened a crack in the wall that has been erected to isolate and de-legitimize us. As far as the elites are concerned, that really was a strategic terror attack. The hysteria that we witnessed last week was actually the elites' attempt to close the crack in the wall and to restore "order" in its court.
The first conclusion from these events is that we must not underestimate the strategic importance of Manhigut Yehudit. Manhigut Yehudit is rightfully considered the only factor that truly threatens the eternal rule of the anti-Jewish minority in Israel. The ruling elites are not afraid of the National Union or of the Jewish Home, Lieberman or Marzel. They are afraid of Feiglin. In other words, Feiglin is pressuring them where it hurts.

The second conclusion is that it is urgent to register for the Likud and to register all of your family and friends. We need more voters inside the Likud to support MKs like Ya'alon and to assure other Likud MKs that their job is to represent the values of the Jewish majority and not of the leftist elites.

The Bogie Media Fury - Analysis and Conclusions: By Moshe Feiglin

Last week's media fury over Vice PM Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon's remarks at the Manhigut Yehudit Conference was radically disproportionate to the contents of his speech. Those people who have read Ya'alon's book, The Long Short Way and heard his lectures would have a hard time finding something new or unusual with what Bogie said at the Conference.

The Conference was publicized through our regular channels, the room was filled from wall to wall, people were filming Bogie's speech with their cell phones and no measures were taken to prevent his words from "leaking" out to the press. But from the moment that the media "discovered" the Youtube film of the Conference, they basically went berserk.

Bogie Ya'alon is a Jew with roots in the Mapai of old, who has not yet adopted the rightist slave mentality. Would any politician in the Labor party refuse to meet with another member of his party for fear of what the Likud would say? Would any Labor minister refuse to lecture at a Peace Now conference for fear of the media?

At first, we thought the storm would die down quickly. We admittedly underestimated the impact of the revolution that we are leading. We forgot that Netanyahu preferred to lose one third of the Knesset seats that the Likud could have won just to ensure that our revolution would be forced out of the limelight.

Netanyahu didn't cut his vacation short to come back and reprimand Bogie because of groundless media pressure. Without realizing it, we had created shock waves tantamount to a strategic terror attack. The following article, which appeared this week on Ma'ariv's NRG website, explains the dynamics of what took place:

The Divine Way to Wage War - Moshe Feiglin

"When you go out to war against your enemies and G-d will give him into your hands."
(From this week's Torah portion, Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10)

This verse is simple in its optimism. Israel goes out to war and G-d gives them victory. Simple as it may be, it is the Divine recipe for victory in war.

First of all, "When you go out to war". War - not a "low intensity conflict" and not "containment." The first condition is to define the situation as war and to invest the resources and fortitude necessary for war.

Secondly, "against your enemies." In a war, there is an enemy. He must be clear and defined. But in order to define the enemy, one must first define himself. If you know who you are, you can know what threatens you, and find the strength and courage to define and defeat it.

When Israel will integrate its Jewish identity into its national life, it will easily define its enemies. And then, G-d promises, He will "give them into our hands."

Shabbat Shalom,

Moshe Feiglin

August 26, 2009

"Welcome to Shdema"

Early in the morning, Nadia Matar drove to the hills south of Jerusalem, near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, and turned into a dusty, unmarked road. There she planted a sign which read "Welcome to Shdema". She drove on, stopping every few metres along the route to jam into the rocky ground a series of fluttering blue and white Israeli flags. Israeli soldiers let her pass unhindered as she drove up to the concrete ruins of what was until a few years ago the Israeli military base of Shdema.

Here, just a stone's throw from Palestinian homes and only a few minutes from the city of Bethlehem, Matar and her friends are intent on building a Jewish community, the next settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank.

It is a glaring challenge to the Obama administration, which is trying to halt all Israeli settlement growth as a precursor to renewed peace talks. But recent history suggests it is the highly-motivated settlers like Matar, 43, a mother of six born in Belgium and now living in the settlement of Efrat, who may in the end triumph on this particular dusty patch of land.

Tomorrow, the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrives in London for a series of key meetings, including four hours of discussions on Wednesday with the White House's special envoy, George Mitchell, and talks with Gordon Brown tomorrow. The continued colonisation of the West Bank, an extraordinarily successful project over the past 40 years, will dominate the agenda. Settlement on occupied land is regarded as illegal by the rest of the international community, but nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Shdema is even beyond Israel's West Bank barrier, which runs deep into Palestinian territory and which many believe will one day be the final border of Israel.

Matar's goal is "redemption of the land". In her view, the land on which the Palestinian homes sit belongs by Biblical and historical right to the Jewish people and is, for now, "temporarily under Arab occupation". She is trying to build a "Jewish Shdema" and to prevent the land from remaining Palestinian. After the military evacuated the base there were plans, since shelved, to build a hospital for Palestinians. "They want more pieces of land that belong to the Jews. They want to take it away from us," Matar said.

"The Land of Israel was given by God to the people of Israel," she said. "Some will tell you God gave it to us, others will say Jewish history of 4,000 years is our historical right … You don't have to be a religious Englishman to see London belongs to the British."

This is a rare insight into how outposts get built: with determined settlers and eventually complicit Israeli authorities.

At first, after the army withdrew from the base three years ago, soldiers closed the area off and prevented all settlers from approaching. But the settlers sneaked in and kept coming. Eventually Matar, a leader of the group Women in Green, and her supporters convinced the military to allow them in just once a week, on a Friday. They cleaned the buildings up, painted over graffiti, tidied the rooms and held workshops and discussions. Sometimes they have stayed the night, sometimes they have been allowed to come twice a week and eventually, they believe, settlers will begin to live here.

Similar struggles take place every week on other hilltops across the West Bank. All this is happening even though the Israeli government says in public it will allow no new settlements.

"At the beginning we fought against the army to come up here," said Matar. "But when they saw we were adamant they let us come on a Friday … But it's not enough for us. We don't want to ask permission to be in our homeland."

Now every time they come the army far from preventing them in fact provides them with security, deploying several soldiers and armoured vehicles but not interfering with their activities. In April the military also halted the construction of a Palestinian park, part funded by the US government, because it was at the foot of the hill claimed by the settlers at Shdema.

Already the settlers have produced a glossy brochure with architectural plans of the Shdema they would like to see: it has grassy lawns, lines of trees, a cultural centre and a small but thriving Jewish community.

On this day around 30 settlers of different ages gathered, among them several children, a rabbi and at least two women carrying discreetly holstered pistols. They sat in one room on plastic chairs as Tomer Karazi, 34, a rabbi with five children, discussed a Biblical text and the importance of building a new village in this Biblical land.

Later Karazi said he and his wife Hannah were ready to move from their home in the settlement of Nokdim to Shdema as soon as possible. "It's our duty not to escort the process of redemption from the outside but to be involved and active from the inside," he said. "We don't need to wait for things like water and electricity. And we really love the place. It's beautiful."

Then out came large tubs of white emulsion paint and several brushes and the group began painting over the grey concrete walls, stopping occasionally for glasses of water and slices of watermelon.

Yosef Ziggerman, 18, a settler from Efrat had been involved in several other, often unsuccessful, attempts to establish new outposts on nearby hills. "I believe every single piece is ours and I don't see many pieces of land as beautiful as this," he said. "We aren't doing anything crazy or fanatic. We're painting and making it look nice."

Several spoke of their frustration with other Israelis who enjoy the more secular lifestyle of cities like Tel Aviv or Eilat but who seemed not to understand or endorse the settlers' millenarian ideology and their effort to claim the West Bank as their own. Since Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza four years ago, many fear more compromises and would rather take a more radical and practical stand to expand Jewish settlement of the West Bank.

They described themselves as a frontline in a wider struggle against what they see as radical Islam, insisting that settler outposts protect the larger settlement blocs, which in turn protect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and which in turn protect the Western world.

"People like to present us like crazy lunatics," said Matar. "But one day these people in the West will see. The Muslims are taking over there too. You better be on our side for your sake, but you guys in Europe are not. Those who curse Israel will be cursed, and those who bless Israel will be blessed."

August 24, 2009

The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism

The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) is dedicated to the scholarly research of the origins and manifestations associated with antisemitism globally, as well as other forms of prejudice, including racisms, as it relates to policy. Through the examination of antisemitism and policy, YIISA disseminates scholarly material so to promote further understanding and contribute to aspects of policy analysis. YIISA is housed at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Yale University

Mission Statement

Anti-Judaism, or the controversial term coined in the 1870s by Wilhelm Marr, Antisemitism, is one of the most complex and, at times, perplexing forms of hatred. It spans history, infecting different societies, religious and philosophical movements, and even civilizations. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, some contend that Antisemitism illustrates the limitations of the Enlightenment and modernity itself. Manifestations of Antisemitism emerge in numerous ideological based narratives and the constructed identities of belonging and otherness such as race and ethnicity, nationalisms, and anti-nationalisms. In the contemporary context of globalised relations it appears that Antisemitism has taken on new complex and changing forms that need to be decoded, mapped and critiqued.

The subject matter of Antisemitism, like prejudice more generally, has a long and impressive intellectual and research pedigree. It remains a topic of ongoing political importance and scholarly engagement. However, unlike other related topics, such as prejudice and discrimination directed at other social groups, Antisemitism seems to be studied outside an organized institutional framework. This initiative is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary research initiative dedicated to the the study of Antisemitism based at a North American university. This approach to the examination of Antisemitism will promote interdisciplinary analysis at the historical, sociological, political, philosophical, psychological and economic levels. It will encourage a diverse range of research methodologies that operate at the intersection of science and policy. The analytical assessment of the study of new forms of Antisemitism in the age of globalization will be promoted.

Subsequently, the initiative's mission aims to explore this subject matter in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary framework from an array of approaches and perspectives as well as regional contexts. Eminent scholars and researchers are invited regularly to present seminar papers and engage in research projects at the conceptual and empirical level. The development of a curriculum with an interdisciplinary perspective, and the publication of analytical and policy based publications is a central objective. The main objective of YIISA is to create a vibrant space in which high caliber scholarship, discussion and debate can develop and be nurtured.

August 21, 2009

Another Diamond in the Necklace: By Moshe Feiglin

19 Av, 5769 - (August 9, '09)

Lift up your eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, says the Lord, you shall surely adorn yourself with them all as with an ornament, and gird yourself with them, like a bride. (Isaiah 49:18)

Last week, we were invited to the airport to welcome a young relative who was making aliyah from the US. I had heard a lot about the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization that helps North American (and British) Jews to make aliyah. But until you see it with your own eyes, you don't really understand the amazing work that this organization does. In truth, I really didn't want to give up my morning bicycle ride to hear Bibi speak at 7 a.m. This particular relative has been a guest at our home many times, and I didn't understand why the fact that this time he was officially making aliyah meant that I had to change my routine and show up at the airport. But fortunately, my wife dragged me by the ear. I'm really glad that she did.

The Nefesh B'Nefesh charter plane rolls into Terminal 1. The people gathered to welcome the olim are allowed to wait for the new arrivals literally on the runway. The band plays. Singing and dancing all around. Suddenly, all the cynicism and daily battles peel off and the old and good Zionism shines forth in all its glory. This entire scene plays on some of my rusty heartstrings. Out of nowhere, my eyes fill with tears – that I try to hide behind the daily edition of the Jerusalem Post distributed by Nefesh B'Nefesh so that the people waiting will G-d forbid not get bored until the olim emerge from the plane.

Afterwards, some short speeches by Bibi, Natan Sharansky and the heads of Nefesh B'Nefesh. Netanyahu mentioned something of which most people are not aware. In the upcoming year, with G-d's help, the number of Jews in the Land of Israel will be greater than the number of Jews in the Diaspora – according to Bibi, for the first time in 2000 years. It is nice that Bibi mentioned that, but he was off by about 1000 years. Even in the time of the Second Temple, the Jews in Israel were fewer in number than their Diaspora counterparts. In other words, we are at the threshold of a historic reality that has not transpired since the ten tribes were exiled prior to the destruction of the First Temple. This has far-reaching implications in Jewish law. Furthermore, what is both fascinating and gives me the goose bumps is the fact that the number we are talking about is six million Jews in Israel.

I do not generally write about the mystical significance of numbers. But it is crystal clear that the number 600,000 has special Jewish import. This was the number of draft-age Jews who were redeemed from Egypt and the parameter of 'public domain' in Jewish laws pertaining to Shabbat. In other words, a place through which 600,000 people pass is considered public domain in Jewish law. This number of Jews creates a new reality. When that happens in Israel, it is a positive new reality.

600,000 Jews lived in Israel when the State was established in 1948.

600,000 draft-aged men lived in Israel in the War of Miracles in 1967.

I do not know what the new reality of the majority of Jews in the world living in Israel will bring on its wings. Especially when the absolute number of Jews living here will be the significant 10 times 600,000 – six million. But the words of the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied more or less at the time that the majority of Jews in Israel was lost, strike a chord deep inside my heart.

Behold, Zion, see how your children are returning to you. And you, like a bride under the canopy, stand and watch as the lost diamonds return to you, one by one, to be embedded on the glorious necklace around your neck.

For those of you who want to know what will happen next, just look at Isaiah 49.

Pursue Justice

Justice, justice you shall follow, so that you may live, and inherit the land which the LORD your G-d gives you. (From this week's Torah portion, Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:20)

The preservation of our lives and existence in this land do not depend upon "the rule of law." They depend upon the rule of justice.

"And what about the rule of law?" the Ha'aretz reporter asked me.

'"The rule of law" is an abhorrent concept,' I answered. 'I strive for the rule of justice.'

The law is the escape hatch of the greatest scoundrels.
A small time criminal commits his crime against the law.
A medium criminal circumvents the law.
A big time criminal commits his crime by means of the law.

When Vice Premier and Minister for Strategic Matters Moshe Ya'alon spoke this week of returning to Homesh, he was actually demanding justice. But Netanyahu's answer was: "We will work to enforce the law."

The law is nothing more than a tool in the service of justice. When the tool becomes the goal, it turns into fascism, a dangerous version of idolatry. In no time, it is adopted by base forces and destruction will necessarily follow.

After last year's Likud primaries, Netanyahu enlisted Attorney Yaakov Ne'eman to "legally" (by means of the Supreme Court, of course) reframe the results of the primaries and to demote me to an unrealistic slot on the Likud roster. It is no coincidence that Netanyahu chose a religious figure beloved by Religious Zionism to fight Feiglin. Ne'eman gave the Supreme Court justices the small fig leaf that they needed so that they would not feel totally exposed in the face of what everybody in Israel – including the political commentators – fully understood.

Now Netanyahu and Ne'eman, in his new role as Minister of Justice, are using the same tactics – not within the Likud – but on the national front. Ne'eman is currently pushing hard for the election of an extreme leftist who was particularly cruel to opponents of the Expulsion – Sefi Alon – as the new Supreme Court justice. This despite the fact that for the first time ever, the Right holds the majority on the Committee for Selection of Judges. Netanyahu assumes that the faith-based public will ignore this spit in the face because Alon is from a famous Religious Zionist family. But his election as justice on the Supreme Court will effectively maintain and even strengthen the leftist hegemony in the justice system.

The beautiful harmony between Ne'eman and Chief Justice Beinish has made the pursuit of justice in Israel a joke. The minister that is supposed to represent the will and values of the PM's electorate and to reign in the "rule of law gang" that elects itself chose the easy way out. He betrayed the majority in whose name he received his position and subjugated himself to the very same gang. At this point, Israel is painfully far from the pursuit of justice.

Shabbat Shalom,

Moshe Feiglin

August 20, 2009

Vice Premier Ya'alon Forges Political Partnership with Feiglin

Aug. 19, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon seems to have recently forged a political partnership with Likud activist and head of Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership Movement) Moshe Feiglin, as evident in footage released Wednesday evening on Channel 2, in which Ya'alon also called 'Peace Now' and the Israeli elites "viruses."

Speaking in a closed meeting organized by Feiglin for Manhigut Yehudit members this week, Ya'alon openly expressed his fears that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might succumb to the Left.

"Even today we must remain concerned. I am still worried and they [the media and Left] have power to influence the prime minister… The virus 'Peace Now,' and if you will, the elites, their damage is great."

"As far as I'm concerned, Jews can, and should live in all of theLand of Israel forever," Ya'alon said to applause.

The minister went on to say that as he had said on many occasions while serving in the IDF, "Every time they [the government] bring the dove of peace, the army has to clean up after it."

Feiglin, who Netanyahu considers a dangerous political foe, was visibly pleased with the vice premier's sentiments.

"What is important to us is to cooperate on every positive move you make, and it's obvious you will make such moves. In our party you will find this group helpful," he said referring to Manhigut Yehudit members, "and we will do good things together."

The prime minister's office in response said that Netanyahu, who is currently on a private vacation, will summon Ya'alon for a closed conversation when he returns.

Ehud Barak's office issued a statement in response to the report, saying that the Defense Minister and the Labor Party "are committed to advancing a two-state solution, while upholding interests crucial to Israel's security."

"This is an undignified statement that does not dignify Ya'alon," sources close to Barak said, adding that "Peace Now is an integral and important part of the democratic and pluralistic debate in Israeli society."

Israel Update - The Israel Test

Israel is hated not for her vices but her virtues.

Like the Jews throughout history, Israel poses a test to the world. In particular, it is a test for any people that lusts for the fruits of capitalism without submitting to capitalism's imperious moral code. Because capitalism, like the biblical faith from which it largely arises, remorselessly condemns to darkness and death those who resent the achievements of others.

At the heart of anti-Semitism is resentment of Jewish achievement. Today that achievement is concentrated in Israel. Obscured by the usual media coverage of the "war-torn" Middle East, Israel has become one of the most important economies in the world, second only to the United States in its pioneering of technologies benefiting human life, prosperity, and peace.

But so it has always been. Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good.

As Maxim Gorky put it: "Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more capable of work than they are." Whether driven by culture or genes -- or like most behavior, an inextricable mix -- the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable. It can be gainsaid only by people who do not expect to be believed.

Charles Murray distilled the evidence in Commentary magazine in April 2007. The Jewish mean intelligence quotient is 110, ten points above the norm. This strikingly higher average intelligence, however, is not the decisive factor in overall Jewish achievement.

The three-tenths of 1 percent of the world population that is Jewish has contributed some 25 percent of notable human intellectual accomplishment in the modern period.

What matters in human accomplishment is not the average performance but the treatment of exceptional performance and the cultivation of genius. The commanding lesson of Jewish accomplishment is that genius trumps everything else. Whatever the cause of high IQ, as Murray explains, "the key indicator for predicting exceptional accomplishment (like winning a Nobel Prize) is the incidence of exceptional intelligence... The proportion of Jews with IQs of 140 or higher is somewhere around six times the proportion of everyone else" and rises at still higher IQs.

The great error of contemporary social thought is that poverty must result from "discrimination" or "exploitation." Because Jews tend to be overrepresented at the pinnacles of excellence, a dogmatic belief that nature favors equal outcomes fosters hostility to capitalism and leads inexorably to anti-Semitism.

The socialists and anti-Semites have it backwards. Poverty needs little explanation. It has been the usual condition of nearly all human beings throughout all history. What is precious and in need of explanation and nurture is the special configuration of cultural and intellectual aptitudes and practices -- the differences, the inequalities -- that under some rare and miraculous conditions have produced wealth for the world. Inequality is the answer, not the problem.

In his book Human Accomplishment Murray focused on the fact that the three-tenths of 1 percent of the world population that is Jewish has contributed some 25 percent of notable human intellectual accomplishment in the modern period. Murray cites the historical record:

He then proceeds to more recent data:

The achievements of modern science are heavily the expression of Jewish genius and ingenuity. If 26 percent of Nobel Prizes do not suffice to make the case, it is confirmed by 51 percent of Wolf Prizes in Physics, 28 percent of the Max Planck Medailles, 38 percent of the Dirac Medals, 37 percent of the Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics, and 53 percent of the Enrico Fermi Awards.

Jews are not only superior in abstruse intellectual pursuits, such as quantum physics and nuclear science, however. They are also heavily overrepresented among entrepreneurs of the technology businesses that lead and leaven the global economy. Social psychologist David McClelland, author of The Achieving Society, found that entrepreneurs are identified by a greater "need for achievement" than are other groups. "There is little doubt," he concluded, explaining the disproportionate representation of Jews among entrepreneurs, that in the United States, "the average need for achievement among Jews is higher than for the general population."

"Need for achievement" alone, however, will not enable a person to start and run a successful technological company. That takes a combination of technological mastery, business prowess, and leadership skills that is not evenly distributed even among elite scientists and engineers. Edward B. Roberts of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School compared MIT graduates who launched new technological companies with a control group of graduates who pursued other careers. The largest factor in predicting an entrepreneurial career in technology was an entrepreneurial father. Controlling for this factor, he discovered that Jews were five times more likely to start technological enterprises than other MIT graduates.

For all its special features and extreme manifestations, anti-Semitism is a reflection of the hatred toward successful middlemen, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, lenders, bankers, financiers, and other capitalists that is visible everywhere whenever an identifiable set of outsiders outperforms the rest of the population in the economy. This is true whether the offending excellence comes from the Kikuyu in Kenya; the Ibo and the Yoruba in Nigeria; the overseas Indians and whites in Uganda and Zimbabwe; the Lebanese in West Africa, South America, and around the world; the Parsis in India; the Indian Gujaratis in South and East Africa; the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire; and above all the more than 30 million overseas Chinese in Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Capitalism overthrows theories of zero-sum economics and dog-eat-cat survival of the fittest. Thus, as in the United States (outside the academic arena), anti-Semitism withers in wealthy capitalist countries. It waxes in socialist regimes where Jews may arouse resentment by their agility in finding economic niches among the interstices of bureaucracies, tax collections, political pork fests, and crony capitalism.

Socialist or feudal systems, particularly when oil-rich and politically controlled, favor a conspiratorial view of history and economics. Anti-Semitism is chiefly a zero-sum disease.

As Walter Lippmann eloquently explained in The Good Society, capitalism opened a vista of mutually enriching enterprise with the good fortune of others creating opportunities for all. The Golden Rule was transformed from an idealistic vision of heaven into a practical agenda. From Poor Richard's Almanack to rich Andrew Carnegie's autobiographical parables, all were rediscovering the edifying insights of the author of Proverbs.

Judaism, perhaps more than any other religion, favors capitalist activity and provides a rigorous moral framework for it. It is based on a monotheistic affirmation that God is good and will prevail through transcending envy and hatred and zero-sum fantasies. Judaism can be plausibly interpreted as affirming the possibilities of creativity and collaboration on the frontiers of a capitalist economy.

The incontestable facts of Jewish excellence constitute a universal test not only for anti-Semitism but also for liberty and the justice of the civil order. The success or failure of Jews in a given country is the best index of its freedoms. In any free society, Jews will tend to be represented disproportionately in the highest ranks of both its culture and its commerce. Americans should celebrate the triumphs of Jews on our shores as evidence of the superior freedoms of the U.S. economy and culture.

The real case for Israel is as the leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance.

In a dangerous world, faced with an array of perils, the Israel test asks whether the world can suppress envy and recognize its dependence on the outstanding performance of relatively few men and women. The world does not subsist on zero-sum legal niceties. It subsists on hard and possibly reversible accomplishments in technology, pharmacology, science, engineering, and enterprise. It thrives not on reallocating land and resources but on releasing human creativity in a way that exploits land and resources most productively. The survival of humanity depends on recognizing excellence wherever it appears and nurturing it until it prevails. It relies on a vanguard of visionary creators on the frontiers of knowledge and truth. It depends on passing the Israel test.

Israel is the pivot, the axis, the litmus, the trial. Are you for civilization or barbarism, life or death, wealth or envy? Are you an exponent of excellence and accomplishment or of a leveling creed of frenzy and hatred?

August 14, 2009

Swimming Lessons

By Sarah Zadok

1. Always keep someone faster than you in your lane.

I'm a pretty good swimmer. In fact, some mornings I pretend that I am an Olympic finalist. With every turn of my head, I hear the sounds of children playing and older women doing water aerobics, and I imagine that it's a crowd cheering for me. With that mind-set, I start to believe that not only am I a good swimmer, but I am a great swimmer.

When I'm feeling "on top of my game," I don't typically work very hard — after all, I'm practically the best; why bother pushing myself to be better?

Then, when G‑d wants to show me who I really am… Enter: "The Blue Bullet." As soon as this woman hits the water, it's as if she's cutting through it with a razor. I am in awe of her, and she consistently leaves me "eating her wake." She's not the only one. There are several other "regulars" who are faster, stronger and more efficient than I am. When I share a lane with any of these superstar swimmers, I stretch myself by trying to keep up with them. Simply put, I try to be better.

Being the fastest in a pack has its perks. It offers the ability to lead by example, to set the tone and rhythm of the lane. It allows you to be a leader — but it doesn't allow for a tremendous amount of growth.

When I keep someone stronger than I am within my sight, I am able to see what aspects of myself need strengthening. Having someone around who is better than I am in any area of life keeps me humble and honest about where I am, and keeps me focused on where I want to be.

2. Complaining about how cold the water is doesn't make it any warmer.

On cold winter days, the very thought of getting in the water gives me the chills. But I have noticed that no matter how much I "kvetch" about the temperature, it doesn't help one bit. In fact, the more I "kvetch" the colder the water feels.

Expressing our pessimism often reinforces the concept Negative thinking keeps us stuck, frozen, in one place, and thus should be avoided at all costs. Motion is what generates heat, in our physical and our spiritual lives. Some people mistakenly think that by voicing their particular burden, it will somehow make it easier to bear — the "better out than in" concept. Generally, the opposite is true. Expressing our pessimism often reinforces the concept, ingraining it deeper in our psyche. Instead of "getting it out," we should aim to not let it "in" to begin with.

When negative thinking patterns start taking hold, the B'al HaTanya (Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi) instructs us to "push away [negative thoughts] with two hands." In other words, if you want to get warmed up, you've got to dive in headfirst.

3. Don't expect your iPod to do your workout for you.

It was actually my iPod that first got me back in the pool. After a long break from swimming, I mentioned to a girlfriend that I had received an iPod as a birthday gift. She told me how her iPod had revolutionized her workout routine and that she had bought a waterproof case and headphones for the pool. I was sold and went out to buy them immediately.

I quickly programmed inspirational music and classes that would provide the ultimate soundtrack to my workout. I was convinced that this device was going to set my stride and make my workout virtually effortless. I would not swim without it. But what I quickly discovered was that I was spending way more time futzing with my headphones and skipping over songs than I was swimming! For the kind of fast-paced, focused swimming that I like to do, my waterproof iPod is a total distraction.

Similarly, I have noticed a tendency to get drawn in by props, even in Jewish life. There are shiny "new" mitzvahs to do, new Judaica to purchase, cutting-edge books to read and classes to attend. These are all wonderful and maybe even essential elements towards a full and rich Jewish life. However, we have to always keep ourselves focused on the main point.

The point of living as a Jew is not about a silver menorah or how many holy books we have on our bookshelf. The main point is about what we've done to make this world more comfortable for G‑d to dwell in.

We have to be focused on the goal A chassid once said to his Rebbe, "Rebbe, I've learned the whole Torah." The Rebbe replied, "And what has the Torah learned you?" The whole point of learning Torah is to make it the soundtrack of our lives, the rhythm to which our every move is made. Simply put, our task goes way beyond learning Torah; we need to live Torah.

If we are to make any physical or spiritual workout meaningful, then we have to be focused on the goal and not get lost in all the glitter around it.

4. Hang your wet clothes to dry sooner rather than later.

The great Sage Hillel says: "If not now then when?"

So many of us procrastinate under the assumption that pressure against the clock gives us an "edge" or makes us more efficient. But the truth is, procrastination just makes the inevitable all the more burdensome and heavy.

Ever smelled a wet towel after it's been zipped up in a gym bag for a day or two? Ew.

In line with Hillel's thinking, Nike said it beautifully with their brilliant slogan: "Just Do It." It's a mistake to think that you're going to want to do it before you actually do it. If I waited until I felt like doing everything that I need to do, I wouldn't get anything done. So the next time you find yourself pushing off a project or a decision, remember the wet-towel theory, and just do it!

5. Pack your gym bag before you get to the pool.

Spontaneity definitely has its perks. But no matter how excited and well intentioned we may be, it ain't no fun to show up at the pool without a swim suit in your bag.

Have a game plan In order to lead a productive life, we need to have a game plan. At the very minimum, we need to have the basics in place that will allow us to get the task completed: our book bag packed for class, a current resume for an interview, food on your fork before you stick it in your mouth.

Planning doesn't mean that we have to map out every single step and lead a rigid life. On the contrary, when you know where you're going and have taken preparatory steps to get there, you allow yourself the freedom to be truly present when you arrive.

In other words, when you're well prepared, all that's left to do is dive in.

6. Know which lane you belong in.

Some pools have signs at the foot of each lane specifying the speed of that lane: fast lane, slow lane, intermediate. But more often than not, the swimmer has to figure out on her own where she belongs.

Slower swimmers tend to get really annoyed when some "Speedy Gonzales" comes zipping past them in the slow lane. And, likewise, there is hardly anything more annoying than a slow swimmer pushing off from the wall as a fast swimmer is approaching in her lane.

Problems arise when we are unwilling to acknowledge what kind of swimmer we are. Labeling yourself as a fast swimmer doesn't make you arrogant, the same way that calling yourself an intermediate swimmer doesn't make you self-pitying. It simply means you know and appreciate what you have accomplished until now, and what you are still working to achieve..

As an educator, I need to know what material I am capable of giving over and what I am not. If I try to teach a concept before I've fully grasped it, my students won't get anything out of it other than a sense of my bewilderment.. But when I am honest enough about who I am and what I am capable of, I allow myself the opportunity to be truly great.

Reb Zusha told his students: "When I come to Heaven and they ask me 'Why weren't you like Abraham?' I will answer: 'Because I wasn't Abraham.' If they ask: 'Why didn't you match the greatness of Moses?' I can say, 'I wasn't Moses.' But if they ask me why wasn't I, the best Zusha I could have been… to that I have no answer."

Knowing who you are and where you belong requires honesty, a mixture of confidence and vulnerability, and, ideally, a lighthearted spirit. When you know who you are, then you know which lane you belong in. And when you know which lane you belong in, then you can truly enjoy the benefits of the level you've worked to reach and continue striving for the next lane; i.e., you can get on with the business of being the best you that you can possibly be.

7. Always end with a sprint.

The physiological benefits of ending on a sprint may be debatable but, man, does it feel good! After a good, long workout, my legs usually feel like jelly and I start to believe that I cannot possibly swim another lap... and then I do.

It is that effort that is truly precious In the time of the Talmud, it was customary for a student to review a chapter in Torah one hundred times. But, the Talmud explains, the one who reviews his studies one hundred and one times is called "one who serves G‑d." What does one hundred and one have that one hundred doesn't?

The Ba'al HaTanya explains that it is the nature of a committed student to review his studies one hundred times; it's simply what he does. But when he goes beyond himself and pushes himself a step beyond his nature—that is a person who knows how to serve G‑d. Not because that is the lifestyle he was born into or because that's what everyone else in class does; rather, he pushes himself beyond what is comfortable and natural because he desires to be better and stronger. That's Divine service.

We learn that the one hundredth and first time is more precious to G‑d than the one hundred times that preceded it. Because that last "lap" took way more energy and courage. And it is that effort that is truly precious.

It's not easy to swim one hundred laps, but when you make that part of your routine, it becomes something you do, part of who you are. It even feels easy after a while. But when you are willing to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and extend yourself beyond your routine, then you know that with a little extra sweat you can transform your whole nature.

August 6, 2009

American Blacks - 1979

Today's Golden Oldie is from August 23, 1979.

I drew this cartoon exactly thirty years ago this month! I grew up in an America in which Jews and Blacks were allies. The fight for equal rights for American Blacks had been watered with Jewish blood and fought for with Jewish idealism. It was a painful experience to witness the revisionist history and antisemitic libels of the Black Muslims creep into the rhetoric of Black "activists" and Christian preachers.

It was an angry cartoon.
-Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Nationhood and Jerusalem

1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a
Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of
the modern State of Israel.

3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over
the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land
for the past 3,300 years.

4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than
22 years.

5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital.
Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the
Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and
Arab leaders did not come to visit.

6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy
Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammad never came
to Jerusalem.

8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs
toward Jerusalem.

9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to
leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews.
Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

10 The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab
brutality, persecution and pogroms.

11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be
around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is
estimated to be the same.

12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the
Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the
00,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee
group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own
people's lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey ..

13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate
nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation.
The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself
each time and won.

14. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State
of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy
under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews
were denied access to places of worship Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and
Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of
all faiths.

16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council
resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were
directed against Israel.

18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the

19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated
the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a
policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

From this it is safe to assume that Arab/Muslims are simply horrible untruthful people ...that are never...never to be trusted to even us toilet paper!