July 30, 2010

Middle East Paradoxes - Paul Eidelberg

Middle East Paradoxes

Paul Eidelberg

1. Has it ever occurred to you that the explosion of information produced by Internet cannot but result in an explosion of disinformation, hence, of mendacity? This is especially true now that Internet is spreading in the Arab-Islamic world.

2. Is it not ironic that when speaking of Islam, whose faithful are skilled in the art of taqiyya—dissimulation—one must be "politically correct" and therefore engage in dissimulation?

3. That "political correctness" has entered into the vocabulary of public discourse concerning the Middle East world suggests that current discourse about this region is permeated by mendacity. 

4.  Since it's impolite to say so and so is being "insincere or intellectually dishonest" about Islam, you need only say he's being "politically correct."  But if you say he's being "politically correct" about Islam when you really mean he's being insincere or intellectually dishonest, you too are insincere or intellectually dishonest.

5.  Have you noticed how many ways one can avoid calling a spade a spade when it comes to talking about Islam?  Since you don’t want to suggest that Islam per se is abhorrent, you employ a variety of soft substitutes such as "radical" Islam, "fundamentalist" Islam, or "militant" Islam, and you refer to its practitioners as "Islamists" or "extremists" who have "hijacked" Islam.  Hardly anyone wants to say that Islam and Islamism and Islamic extremism are one and the same thing. That's politically incorrect.

6.  It has been said by the intrepid Middle East expert Daniel Pipes that Islam is compatible with democracy?  If this is true, why is it so difficult to persuade Muslim leaders of this truth?

7.  What's the difference between "Islamophobes" and "Islamophiles"?  Islamophobes contend that 50 percent of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims support Jihad, whereas Islamophiles reassure us it's only 10 percent.

8. Whereas Muslims believe in "concealment"—witness the veil—Americans believe in "transparency"—witness the mini.  Even though this makes any negotiations between the two indecisive, the outcome cannot but favor the veiled over the transparent.

9.  With 72 virgins awaiting them in Paradise, Muslims like Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon boast, "We shall win because you [infidels] love life while we [Muslims] love death."  If so, why don't we make them happy?

10.  Besides, since Muslims believe in predestination, they ought not play the victimization card—but then, that too is predestined.

Isaiah - Paul Eidelberg (1995)

A. Background
       
1.  Isaiah was a prophet-statesman active during the years 740-700 BCE. Though connected with the royal family, he never held any office.  He was consulted and gave advice to his king on foreign policy, which advice was more often ignored than heeded.  But unlike other prophets, who preached lofty ideals, Isaiah also sought to embody Jewish ideas and values in the nation's public policies. 
       
2.  He prophesied in Judah, the southern Kingdom.  He witnessed the destruction of the northern kingdom by Assyria.  He warned what would happen to Judah and Jerusalem.
       
3.  A native of Jerusalem, he so loved Jerusalem so much that he called it “the daughter of Zion.”  Isaiah 2: 3:  From Zion, of course, the Torah, the Truth, would go forth and enlighten mankind.  But Isaiah was profoundly saddened to see Jerusalem – its government -- filled with so many vices and evils that would lead to Israel’s ruin.
       
        4.  Israel was caught in a whirlpool of international politics; Assyria to the north, Egypt to the south, and various small nations on the east.  The problem was: what should Judah do to maintain her independence and find security.

5.  Isaiah advised a policy of keeping free of alliances with foreign powers.  Alliances would bring foreign religions and gentile ways into the life of Jerusalem.  He warned King Ahaz against accepting help from Assyria; it would make Judah its vassal, a play thing, a toy.

6.  Only children play with toys.  So Isaiah says:

3:4. "I will give children to be your rulers."
3:5. "The child will behave insolently toward the aged."

What does Isaiah mean?  We have to consult the Talmud, Hagigah 14a:


B. The Talmud

1.  Rabbi Dimi said that eighteen curses did Isaiah pronounce upon Israel, yet his mind did not cool until he pronounced this curse:  “The child shall behave insolently against the aged, and the base against the honorable.”  What were the eighteen curses?


2.  It is written:  “For behold, God will take away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay [support] and staff, every stay of bread, and every stay of water; the mighty man, and the man of war; the judge, and the prophet, and the diviner, and the elder, [and the captain of fifty], and the man of rank, and the counselor, and the wise charmer, and the skilful enchanter.  And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”

a. Stay – this means the masters of the Tanach
b. Staff – this the masters of the Mishna
c. Every stay of bread – this means the masters of the Talmud (Gemara)
d. Every stay of water – this means the master of the Aggada
e. The mighty man -- this means the masters of tradition [having great breadth of learning]
f. The man of war – this means one distinguished for his reasoning power and who knows how to dispute in controversies over the Torah
g. The judge – this means a judge who passes judgment in strictest accord with truth  
h. The prophet –according to the literal meaning of the word [a spokesman of G-d]
i. A diviner [majesty] – this means the King
[j. The Elder – this means one who is worthy to sit as a counselor]
[k. The captain of fifty – means one who knows how to argue in the five books of Torah]
[l. A man of rank – means one for whose sake favor is shown to his generation]
[m. The counselor – means one who know how to determine the intercalation of years and the fixation of months – a master of the calendar]
n. The wise man –this means a disciple who makes his teachers wise
o. The Charmer – at the moment he begins a Torah discourse, people are dumb-founded
[p. The skilful man – means one who know how to distinguish even between similar things]
q. The enchanter – this one who is worthy to be given secrets of the Torah

3.  “And I will give children to be their princes” – means persons who are empty [m’noarim] of Torah and mitzvot.  “And babes shall rule over them,” a second generation of foxes [meaning, cunning people who are nonetheless cunning like children, who think only of their own pleasure].

4. So Isaiah warns: "Woe unto then that call evil good and good evil" (5:20).  This is analogous to the moral equivalence prevalent in democracies. 
       
5.  This egalitarianism destroys family values: wisdom, modesty, friendship, community spirit, and leads to moral insensibility.  Israel’s greatness is exalted by her awareness of God’s infinite wisdom, power, and graciousness.  "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory" (6:3).  You must try to put yourself in Isaiah’s place to understand this.  You have to love HaShem God as he loved HaShem to appreciate Isaiah's bitterness – which bitterness, however, did not destroy his vision of Israel's Redemption.  

6.  It was heart-rending to this extraordinary man to see how the hearts of Jews had grown fat, lacking moral sensitivity or even a sense of shame. "Then said I: 'HaShem, how long?' And He answered: 'Until cities be waste, without inhabitant, and houses without men ..,. (6:10).

C.  The Covenant of Death (Isaiah, 28:14-18, partly paraphrased):

Hear these words, you scorners who rule in Jerusalem:  Your covenant with Israel's enemies is but a covenant with death and an agreement with the devil [translated by the Targum as a "covenant with terrorists"].  You believe that this covenant will spare you from an overflowing scourge.  But you have only made lies your refuge, and under falsehood have you hid yourselves.  "Therefore, saith HaShem:  Behold ... the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies ... Your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with the devil shall not stand.  When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, you shall be trodden down by it."

Rashi explains the "overflowing scourge" as on-going violence.  It were as if the Prophet and his commentator were saying:  "You believe you have nothing to worry about because you have a signed an agreement with the messenger of the devil."  The Malbim explains that the devil's messenger is always barking "hav! hav!" (meaning "give-give"); he will never be satisfied.  (After getting Gaza he will bark “hav! hav!” for Jerusalem, etc., etc.)

Notice that the wrath of the Prophet is focused not the people but on their leaders.  

July 29, 2010

Kissinger, the “Two-State Solution,” and Warrior Politics - Paul Eidelberg

Some fifteen years ago, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said there isn't enough space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for two diverse peoples, hence for two diverse sovereign states. 

Strange that Kissinger’s emphasis on this crucial spatial or territorial factor has been ignored, especially in view of his political prestige and diplomatic experience.  It’s hard to find a scholar-statesman comparable to Kissinger, although one might mention Sovietologist George Kennan, author of the U.S. policy of “d├ętente” who served as U.S. ambassador to Moscow. 

Kissinger is no lightweight in political science.  He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the great Austrian statesman and diplomat Prince Metternich.  Negotiation between political adversaries is Kissinger’s area of expertise. He made “shuttle diplomacy” a household term when he schlepped between Israel and Syria on the one hand, and between Israel and Egypt on the other to resolve some of their outstanding territorial disputes.

Whatever Kissinger may allow himself to say today, he once held the position, unaffected by the passage of fifteen years, that given the profound cultural differences between Jews and Arabs, the constricted land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea renders the “two-state solution” a non-solution. 

A 2005 RAND study confirms Kissinger’s jaundiced view of a Palestinian state.  Such a state would be neither economically viable nor politically stable.  The RAND Study indicates that for a small Palestinian state to have a chance of success, it would require $80 billion of aid through 2019 as well as access to Israel’s labor market.  Of chilling significance, more than two million Arabs restricted to 2,323 square miles of the West Bank, and another million Arabs squeezed into 141 square miles in Gaza, is not only a formula for economic stagnation, but also for political discontent. The envisioned state will be a cauldron of envious hatred of Israel fueled by the leaders of one or another Arab clan or group of thugs parading under the banner of Allah.

Instead of broadcasting this nonviable situation and fearful scenario, Israeli prime ministers have blithely persisted in the policy of territory for peace even though it should be obvious that the minuscule territory in question makes peace between an Arab state and Jewish state west of the Jordan impossible.  Are these prime ministers living in the real world or in Alice-in-Wonderland?  Or are they engaged in theater?

Consider the ideological dilemma.  In a previous article I noted that Benjamin Netanyahu expressed the idea that Internet and the explosion of information would overcome Arab antagonism toward the Jewish state.  Robert D. Kaplan, a serious student of history, offers a more realistic assessment of Internet.  He reminds us that “Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in the mid-fifteenth century led not only to the Reformation but to the religious wars that followed it, as the sudden proliferation of texts spurred doctrinal controversies and awakened long-dormant grievances.”
Kaplan goes on to say that “The spread of information in the coming decades [resulting from Internet] will lead not just to new social compacts, but to new divisions as people discover new and complex issues over which to disagree”—and I might add to violently disagree.

Kaplan’s book is entitled Warrior Politics.  Its subtitle is even more significant for Israel’s ruling elites: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos.  This provocative subtitle can hardly be comforting to Israeli prime ministers constrained by an ethos so nervously sensitive to public opinion¸ and so fearfully inhibited by such civilized concerns about “proportionality” and “collateral damage.”

J'accuse! - Paul Eidelberg

Quite apart from Israel's flawed system of governance, what has bothered me most since the signing of the Oslo or Israel-PLO Agreement in September 1993 is the flawed character of Israel's Oslovian prime ministers.  What are we to say about these prime ministers without being dismissed as mere polemicists with an axe to grind?  

Let’s assume that these prime ministers— Yitzhak Rabin, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and again Netanyahu—were something other than stupid, that Oslo was simply a mistake.  Charles Krauthammer recently called Oslo "the greatest diplomatic blunder in history." 

Okay, but why—why despite the subsequent and ongoing murder of Jews by PLO, hence, why despite the PLO's repeated and blatant violations of the Oslo Agreement, why didn'tYitzhak Rabin, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and again Netanyahu abrogate that agreement?  Why did they persist in afflicting the people of Israel with the empirically self-destructive policy of "territory for peace"?

It is not sufficient to attribute their fixation on "territory for peace" to wishful thinking or to American pressure.  Since we are assuming that these prime ministers are other than stupid, they had to be aware that continuation of this policy could only result in the murder of more Jews by Arab terrorists.  Nor will it do to attribute their fixation to a Jewish death wish, a hypothesis I have elsewhere refuted.  No, the body count kept climbing, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

The ugly truth is that one prime minister after another could not stop this funereal peace process without incriminating himself and/or his predecessors as complicit in murder!  Not a single prime minister had the courage to resign, to confess his culpability, his virtual collaboration with the enemy, the leaders of terrorist organizations of whom he had an abundance of evidence clearly showing that they were engaged in a "strategy of stages" whose ultimate goal is the annihilation of Israel.

Can there be any doubt about the crime committed by these prime ministers?  Is there no a High Court of Justice in Israel?

Its former President Aharon Barak, who had the audacity to decree that "everything is justiciable," would have us believe that the crime alluded to here does not apply to these prime ministers.  Do you know why he is being disingenuous?

Ben Hecht, the brilliant and courageous author of Perfidy, reminds us that “The ancient Greeks believed that unpunished crimes brought plagues to the people who harbored them."  Is this why Israel, since the sacrifice of 1,600 Jews on Oslo's altar of peace, has increasingly become a pariah in the eyes of the eyes of the nations?

(To be continued)

July 26, 2010

"And you who cling to Havayah your G-d are all living today." (From this week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 4:4)

The Jewish Nation is alive today in the merit of its attachment to G-d. Our wondrous history and the very fact that the Nation of Israel is eternal testify to His existence. The Jewish Nation has a pact - a covenant - with the Master of the Universe. G-d frees us from the laws of nature and makes us an eternal nation and we cling to Him and testify to His existence. There is no other nation that has consistently starred on the stage of human history, been intricately involved with all the empires throughout the ages - and survived. It is a wonder outside the bounds of the laws of history.

There is a caveat, though. G-d's promise of national eternity is reserved for those who cling to Him. All those sects of Judaism that considered themselves "liberated" from the basic pact with our Father in heaven have eventually dropped out of Judaism altogether. All the sects that revised the Torah as per the dictates or constraints of the times - from the Second Temple era desert sects to "Progressive" Judaism - eventually lost their charm and were erased from the pages of Jewish history, or are on their way to dropping out.

In our day, the Reform movement has become the dominant movement for Jewish assimilation. This movement is now demanding that the Jewish State relax the requirements for conversion to Judaism.

The rationale that preserves the authority for conversion in the hands of the stream of Judaism that perpetuates the tradition of the covenant with G-d, the stream that is loyal to the Oral Law - is stronger by far than any flaw that may be found in Orthodox Judaism. A person who would like to be a Jew according to Jewish law must convert according to the requirements of that very same law. It is as simple as that.

July 22, 2010

A Warning from Eidelberg

On June 14, 2009, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without Knesset or public debate, endorsed the creation of an independent and sovereign state in Judea and Samaria, this should have been a wake-up call.  The people of Israel should have understand that their honey-tongued leader is psychologically prepared to yield Jerusalem to their cruelest enemies—as Maimonides described the descendants of Ishmael in his “Epistle to Yemen.”

Who above all should have responded to that wake-up call?  Surely no other than God-fearing Jews, those who best know that the fate of Israel—indeed, of world Jewry—is inextricably linked to Jerusalem. I will therefore be asked: “What should God-fearing Jews do besides pray, learn Torah, and do mitzvoth?”

Organize to sanctify God’s Name, which a timid a prime minister is prepared to desecrate.  In every town and village, wherever there is a minyan of God-fearing Jews, organize! Organize a network of cells across the country connected by Internet and warn the people that we are in grave danger—and not merely from Iran but from our own Government.  Indeed, Ahmadinejad’s threat to wipe Israel off the map is the physical manifestation of the spiritual holocaust that will follow if the Government yields Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the Jewish people, to Islam. 

Hamas - Paul Eidelberg

You may be interested in knowing the following about Hamas, extracted from Haim Shore, Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrew (249)

● Hamas (Harakat Muqawama Islamiyya—the Islamic Resistance Movement) was founded on December 14, 1987. The Hamas Covenant plainly declares: “There is no other solution for the Palestinian problem other than jihad.  All the initiatives and international conferences are a waste of time and a futile game.” [The equivalent is stated in the Covenant of the PLO-Palestinian Authority. (PE)]

● In the democratic elections that took place in January 2006, Hamas had won a majority in the parliament [of the Palestinian Authority], and thus became the dominant faction of in the Palestinian political arena.

●  What is the Hebrew meaning of Hamas (Chamas in Hebrew and in Arabic)?

Chamas = act of seizing somebody else’s proper (plundering, extortion, property seized unjustly)

—The first mentioning of the word chamas in the Bible is at the opening paragraph describing why God brought the deluge:  “The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with chamas ….”

[By the way, the root of the word Philistine (Palestinian) in Hebrew means to invade, to trespass, to go to the extreme of injustice. (PE)]

July 20, 2010

The Temple Mount: Part I & 2 - Prof. Paul Eidelberg

1.  We need to publicize the idea that Jewish control of Israel’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, the Har HaBayit, on which stood the Beit HaMikdash, is a precondition of uncontested Jewish control of an undivided Jerusalem and the restoration of Jewish national honor.  Once Jews maintain unequivocal control of the Temple Mount, the United States will move its embassy to Jerusalem—which will produce a shock wave across the world.

2.  Conversely, so long as the Muslim Authority (the Wakf) controls and desecrates the Temple Mount, the nations will despise Israel and kowtow to the Arab-Islamic world.  Muslim desecration of the Temple Mount not only exposes Jewish weakness, but increases Muslim arrogance and even incites Islamic violence everywhere.

3.  Jewish development of the Temple Mount would not only be the pinnacle of Jewish restoration of Jerusalem; it would also inflict a tremendous blow on the ambitions of Muslims who regard Jerusalem is the key to their global ambitions.

4. The Wakf has long been violating the Law of Antiquities and the Law of Planning. The Muslims are erasing all historical evidence of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.  The government knows this and has cravenly said they have no intention of interfering.  

5. Of course, exclusive Jewish control of the Temple Mount is linked to Jewish control of Judea and Samaria.  (But see below, point 13.)

6. To show that the Temple Mount is the key to the world-historical function of the Jewish people prescribed in the Tenach, I shall now quote various passages from Joshua Berman’s book, The Temple

7.  The Temple, he writes, represents “the spiritual center of the country.  Here, at the site where God's presence is most immanent, the representatives of the Jewish people execute commandments and rites that symbolize the service of the nation as a whole.”

8. It should also be noted that any non-Jew, so long as he adheres to the Seven Noahide Laws of Universal Morality, can bring certain “sacrifices” to the Temple.

9. The Temple—“a house for God's Name”— symbolizes “a public declaration of God's sovereignty.  The ambition of declaring God's sovereignty in the world, which was initiated by Abraham, is the calling of the Jewish people.”          

10. Berman goes on to say:  “God's acclaim in the world is a direct function of how Israel is perceived [by the nations].”  Israel must become a great country.  “A great country should possess political stability at home and should be at peace with its neighbors.  It should possess a strong economy and should be home to a culture that boasts strong [moral and intellectual] virtues.”   Israel did not become such a nation until the reign of King David, and it was left to his son Solomon to build the (first) Temple.  All nations then flocked to Jerusalem, which was recognized not only as the City of Peace but the City of Truth.

11. “The function of the Temple as a symbol for God's acclaim in the world reaches its apex with the visit of the queen of Sheba to Solomon’s court”—Solomon, the wisest of kings.  Ponder, therefore, these verses of Isaiah 2:1-3:  “And many nations will go and cry, ‘Let us go up the to mountain of God's house, to the house of the Lord of Jacob, and we will learn from His ways and walk in His paths, for out of Zion goes forth the Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.’”
    
12. Now let us consider Rabbi Chaim Richman’s essay, “A Third Jewish Temple” (May 18, 2000), where he says: "People assume those who are interested in the Temple are radical elements opposed to peace.”  Alluding to the era of King Solomon, Rabbi Richman points out that the Temple Mount represents “the hallmark of the greatest era known to man.... This place has been sanctified by God from the beginning of time.... Here Jacob laid his head. Here Abraham tried to sacrifice Isaac.... Of the 613 commandments in the Torah, 113 of them depend on the existence of a Jewish Temple. We have not received a cancellation order for any of the commandments issued at Mount Sinai."

13.  Public opinion must therefore be educated about the Temple, about its significance in Judaism.  Obviously, the present government will not do this.  It does not really represent the Jewish people.  At least 25% of Israel’s Jewish population is religious, and at least 50% is traditional.  The Jewish people were not consulted when, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, without Knesset or public discussion, endorsed a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, Israel's heartland.   There is no reason to believe, therefore, that this orator with a golden tongue and clay feet will stand firm on the issue of Jerusalem and the Har HaBayit

Hence, a network of cells across the nation must be established by Jewish youth and venerable rabbis to vigorously oppose the surrender of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Preliminary weekly demonstrations for this purpose are necessary, led by youth and venerable rabbis.  Denounce Netanyahu's mendacious policy of "reciprocity," which is an insult to your intelligence as well as to your love and fidelity to the Holy Land on which alone you can endure and flourish as the People of God.


he Temple Mount: Part II

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

It was pointed out in Part I that Jewish control of the Temple Mount, Israel’s holiest site, is a fundamental precondition of uncontested Jewish control of Jerusalem and, eventually, of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel.  Moreover, Jewish control over the Temple Mount will restore to the Jewish people the esteem of the nations and enable Israel to fulfill its historical mission: to declare from Jerusalem—from Zion—God’s sovereignty in the world.  

It needs to be emphasized that the first concern of any statesman worthy of the name is national unity.  But that is precisely what the Temple symbolizes for the Jewish people.

Let us recur to Joshua Berman’s The Temple, to clarify the Temple’s vital significance.

The Temple represents the entire congregation of Israel.  The tribes ascended to Jerusalem, gathered in the Temple courtyard, there to encounter God.  Berman cites Psalm 122:

A song of ascents, of David:

"I rejoiced when they said to me,
'We are going to the house of the Lord.'
Our feet stood inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem built up, a city knit together,
To which tribes would make pilgrimage,
 The tribes of the Lord—as was enjoined upon Israel—
 To praise the Name of the Lord."

From Jerusalem the Priests and Levites went out across the land and taught the laws and precepts of the Torah.  Not only the Temple but also “the city of Jerusalem was considered the source of authoritative values.”  Isaiah (2:4) declares: “For instruction shall come forth from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” 

Berman asks: “What does Jerusalem mean for us today?”  He answers: “All of the dimensions that animated and invigorated the spiritual meaning of Jerusalem for the psalmist centuries ago, have returned to animate her—if on a diminished scale—again today, two thousand years later.  We await the reinstatement of the Davidic king, but we can already see in Jerusalem today the seat of a sovereign Jewish government…."

“We have no formal guild of Priests and Levites who bring the word of God out from Zion, but Jerusalem is today the world capital of Jewish learning of all forms.  We do not fulfill the halakhic requirement of gathering as a nation on the pilgrimage of the festivals in the Temple courtyard, yet Jews from all over the world flock to Jerusalem and to the Western Wall on each of these occasions.  Jerusalem today stands as a symbol of the unity of the Jewish people as the largest Jewish city in the world, and the point to which all Jews look as the center of the Jewish world.”

“The rebuilding of the Temple,” says Berman, “needs to be seen as the pinnacle of a process that is measured in collective and national terms…. Zionism, from a religious perspective, ought to be perceived as a movement dedicated to building a nation around the highest ideals of the Zion of old—around a city that stands as a symbol of Jewish sovereignty on the land, justice, the wisdom of the Torah, Jewish unity, and the opportunity for collective encounter between the Almighty and His people, Israel.”

Epilogue:

The nations are conspiring to wrest Jerusalem from the Jewish people.  Islam knows it can never conquer the world so long as Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jews.  Jerusalem, the City of Truth, reveals Islam as false, a fabrication of men.  This is why it's absurd for Israel to engage in negotiations with Muslims—as if the Truth is negotiable.  

The conflict between Israel and Islam is the final conflict of mankind, and this conflict centers on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  It is not merely a conflict between freedom and tyranny, but between Truth and Falsehood, between the God of Israel and the false god of Islam.  The failure to recognize the theological nature of this conflict— and that Human Reason itself and Human Dignity are at stake in this conflict—is precisely what is driving the democratic nations insane, as Melanie Phillips shows in her book The World Turned Upside Down.

Know, therefore, that if Islam were to gain possession of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the Dark Ages would descend upon mankind.  The world's economy would shut down completely.   Hundreds of millions of human beings would perish of hunger, disease, and global bloodshed. 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that it remain in Jewish hands.

July 15, 2010

Israel is caught in a secular cesspool of negotiation.

Israel is caught in a secular cesspool of negotiation.
What is the answer for Israel's people?
Are they to organize and promulgate a new government?
Is the religious right required to cast aside their methodology to obtain leadership and
then to actually vote the most accepted means to the goal they share?

Torah says that unusual means are allowed ...even required to follow the statutes at times, this appears to clearly be one of them.

How much longer than this erosion of Israel continue. How much longer can the people allow
their leaders to use land as a negotiating chip...when they are only negotiating for world opinion.
Negotiating with any bully, makes you look weak and vulnerable. It never leads to anything
but agressive confrontation. So what is Israel waiting for? The Messiah?

Avi in the Galut

July 13, 2010

New Song - Eve of Destruction (Updated version)

Middle Eastern world, it is exploding,
Persian Nukes and Homicide Bombers explodin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Mediterranean has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of Moshiach.

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of Moshiach.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist  the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of MK's don't pass legislation
And marches alone couldn't stop the expulsion
When human respect is disintegratin'
This upside-down world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve 
of Moshiach.

Think of all the hate there is in Islam
Then take a look around at US Mosques
You may leave Israel for a trip to the US
But when you return, it's the same old place
The rockets a firing, the hostages and kidnapping
You can defend your house, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door terrorist, but don't forget to say peace!
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve
Of Moshiach
Mm, no no, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of Moshiach.
 
----------------------------
Then how do you explain the way it is. 
 

(Still) Time To Recognize Failure Of Israel-Egypt Treaty

By DANIEL PIPES | November 21, 2006

Ninety-two percent of respondents in a recent poll of 1,000 Egyptians over the age of 18 called Israel an enemy state. In contrast, a meager 2% saw Israel as "a friend to Egypt."
These hostile sentiments express themselves in many ways, including a popular song titled "I Hate Israel," venomously anti-Semitic political cartoons, bizarre conspiracy theories, and terrorist attacks against visiting Israelis. Egypt's leading democracy movement, Kifaya, recently launched an initiative to collect a million signatures on a petition demanding the annulment of the March 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
Also, the Egyptian government has permitted large quantities of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza to use against Israeli border towns. An Israeli legislator specializing in Egypt-Israel relations, Yuval Steinitz, has estimated that fully 90% of PLO and Hamas explosives come from Egypt.
Cairo may have no apparent enemies, but the impoverished Egyptian state sinks massive resources into a military buildup. According to the Congressional Research Service, Egypt purchased $6.5 billion worth of foreign weapons in 2001–04, more than any other state in the Middle East. In contrast, the Israeli government bought only $4.4 billion worth during that period, and the Saudis $3.8 billion.
Egypt ranked as the third-largest purchaser of arms in the entire developing world, following only population giants China and India. It has the 10th-largest standing army in the world, well over twice the size of Israel's.
This long, ugly record of hostility exists despite a peace treaty with Israel, hailed at the time by both President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin as a "historic turning point." President Carter also said he hoped it would begin a new era when "violence no longer dominates the Middle East." I, too, shared in this enthusiasm.
With the benefit of retrospect, however, we see that the treaty did palpable harm in at least two ways. First, it opened the American arsenal and provided American funding to purchase the latest in weaponry. As a result, for the first time in the Arab-Israeli conflict, an Arab armed force may have reached parity with its Israeli counterpart.
Second, it spurred anti-Zionism. I lived for nearly three years in Egypt in the 1970s, before Sadat's dramatic trip to Jerusalem in late 1977, and I recall the relatively low interest in Israel at that time. Israel was plastered all over the news, but it hardly figured in conversations. Egyptians seemed happy to delegate this issue to their government. Only after the treaty, which many Egyptians saw as a betrayal, did they themselves take direct interest. The result was the emergence of a more personal, intense, and bitter form of anti-Zionism.
The same pattern was replicated in Jordan, where the 1994 treaty with Israel soured popular attitudes. To a lesser extent, the 1993 Palestinian Arab accords and even the aborted 1983 Lebanon treaty prompted similar responses. In all four cases, diplomatic agreements prompted a surge in hostility toward Israel.
Defenders of the "peace process" answer that, however hostile Egyptians' attitudes and however large their arsenal, the treaty has held; Cairo has in fact not made war on Israel since 1979. However frigid the peace, peace it has been. To which I reply: If the mere absence of active warfare counts as peace, then peace also has prevailed between Syria and Israel for decades, despite their formal state of war. Damascus lacks a treaty with Jerusalem, but it also lacks modern American weaponry. Does an antique signature on a piece of paper offset Egypt's Abrams tanks, F–16 fighter jets, and Apache attack helicopters? I think not. In retrospect, it becomes apparent that multiple fallacies and wishful predictions fueled Arab-Israeli diplomacy:
  • Once signed, agreements by unelected Arab leaders would convince the masses to give up their ambitions to eliminate Israel.
  • These agreements would be permanent, with no backsliding, much less duplicity.
  • Other Arab states would inevitably follow suit.
  • War can be concluded through negotiations rather than by one side giving up.
The time has come to recognize the Egypt-Israel treaty — usually portrayed as the glory and ornament of Arab-Israel diplomacy — as the failure it has been, and to draw the appropriate lessons in order not to repeat its mistakes.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of "Miniatures" (Transaction Publishers).

A Challenge to Prime Minister Netanyahu - Paul Eidelberg

It is absolutely self-demeaning as well as an insult to the 5,726,000 Jews for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to demand that terrorist chief Mahmoud Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Was there no one in the Knesset with enough Jewish pride to submit a vote of no-confidence in Netanyahu's ignominious government?

Can any person who has not been deceived and degraded by seventeen years—nay, thirty-three years—of the official mendacity conveyed in the "peace process" fail to see the demoralization and emasculation of Israel?

Ponder this statement of Winston Churchill:  "The worst thing a leader can do is arouse false hopes, soon to be dashed."  Has this not been the soporific of one Israeli prime minister after another since Menachem Begin, but brought to its apogee by Mr. Netanyahu?  Aren't you tired and disgusted with his drivel about an economic solution to Israel's conflict with the Muslim Palestinians?  What an insult to Islam!

Isn't there a single person in the Knesset with enough courage and enough understanding of Islam to say that Islamic theology makes peace impossible?

I say impossible because Islam posits a deity of pure will or absolute power in contradistinction to the Jewish and Christian theology that God is reason.  Islamic theology that inevitably leads to the primacy of force, hence to the murder of "infidels."

I say Impossible because Islamic theology necessarily regards the Genesis conception of man's creation in the image of God as sheer blasphemy—because reason limit Allah's absolute power. 

Isn't it obvious, Mr. Netanyahu, that, given Islam's irrational theology, which induces Muslims to love death more than life—isn't it obvious, Mr. Netanyahu, that negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas is futile as well as fatal?

I challenge you to address this theological dilemma.  I challenge you to recognize that, given the irrationality of Islamic theology, genuine and abiding peace between Jews and Muslims is impossible.

Game Theory and negotiations with Arab countries - Robert Aumann

Reuben and Shimon are placed into a small room with a suitcase containing $100,000 of cash. The owner of the suitcase offers them the following: "I'll give you all the money in the suitcase, but only on the condition that you negotiate and reach an amicable agreement on its division. That’s the only way I will give you the money. "

Reuben, who is a rational person, appreciates the golden opportunity presented to him and turns to Shimon with the obvious suggestion: "Come, you take half the amount, I'll take the other half, and each of us will go away with $50,000." To his surprise, Shimon, with a serious look on his face and a determined voice says: "Listen, I do not know what your intentions are with the money, but I'm not leaving this room with less than $90,000. Take it or leave it. I’m fully prepared to go home with nothing."

Reuben can not believe his ears. What happened to Shimon? he thinks to himself. Why should he get 90%, and I only 10%? He decides to try to talk to Shimon. "Come, be reasonable," he pleads. "We're both in this together, and we both want the money. Come let’s share the amount equally and we’ll both come out ahead.”

But the reasoned explanation of his friend does not seem to register on Shimon. He listens attentively to Reuben’s words, but then declares even more emphatically, "There is nothing to discuss. 90-10 or nothing, that's my final offer!" Reuben's face turns red with anger. He wants to smack Shimon across his face, but soon reconsiders. He realizes that Shimon is determined to leave with the majority of the money, and that the only way for him to leave the room with any money is to surrender to Shimon’s blackmail. He straightens his clothes, pulls out a wad of bills from the suitcase in the amount of $10,000, shakes hands with Shimon and leaves the room looking forlorn.

This case in Game Theory is called the “Blackmailer Paradox." The paradox emerging from this case is that the rational Reuben is eventually forced to act clearly irrationally, in order to gain the maximum available to him. The logic behind this bizarre result is that Shimon broadcast total faith and confidence in his excessive demands, and he is able to convince Reuben to yield to his blackmail in order for him to receive the minimum benefit.

Arab - Israel Conflict

The political relationship between Israel and Arab countries is also conducted according to the principles of this paradox. The Arabs present rigid and unreasonable opening positions at every negotiation. They convey confidence and assurance in their demands, and make certain to make absolutely clear to Israel that they will never give up on any of these requirements.

Absent an alternative, Israel is forced to yield to blackmail due to the perception that it will leave the negotiating room with nothing if it is inflexible. The most prominent example of this is the negotiations with the Syrians that have been conducted already for a number of years under various auspices. The Syrians made certain to clarify in advance that they will never yield even an inch of the Golan Heights.

The Israeli side, which so desperately seek a peace agreement with Syria, accept Syria's position, and today, in the public discourse in Israel, it is clear that the starting point for future negotiations with Syria must include a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, despite the critical strategic importance of the Golan Heights to ensure clear boundaries that protect Israel.

How to Avoid Failure

According to Game Theory, the State of Israel must make some perceptual changes to improve its position in the negotiations with the Arabs, and to ultimately win the political struggle.

A. Willingness to renounce agreements: The present Israeli political approach is based on the assumption that an agreement with the Arabs must be reached at all costs, because the present situation, with the lack of an agreement, is simply intolerable. In the “Blackmailer Paradox," Reuben's behavior is based on the perception that he must leave the room with some amount of money even if it is the minimum. Reuben’s inability to accept the possibility that he may have to leave the room empty-handed, inevitably causes him to surrender to extortion and to leave the room in shame as a loser, but at least with some gain. Similarly, the State of Israel conducts its negotiations from a frame of mind that does not allow her to reject suggestions that do not conform to its interests.

B. Consideration of repeat games: Based on Game Theory, one should consider a one-time situation completely differently from a situation that repeats itself again and again, for in games that repeat over time, a strategic balance that is neutral paradoxically causes a cooperation between the opposing sides. Such cooperation occurs when the parties understand that the game repeats itself many times, therefore they must consider what will be the impact of their present moves on future games, when the fear of future loss serves as a balancing factor. Reuben related to the situation as if it were a one-time game, and acted accordingly. Had he announced to Shimon that he was not prepared to concede the part due him, even in light of a total loss, he would change the outcome of the game, for the future, although it is quite likely that he would leave the room empty-handed in the current negotiation. However, if both encounter a similar situation in the future, Shimon would recognize Reuben’s seriousness and have to reach a compromise with him. Likewise, Israel must act with patience and with long-term vision, even at the cost of not coming to any present agreement and continuing the state of belligerence, in order to improve its position in future negotiations.

C. Faith in your position: Another element that creates the “Blackmailer Paradox," is the absolute certainty of one side in its positions, in this case the position of Shimon. Full certainty creates an internal justification of one’s convictions, and in the second round serves to convince his opponent that his positions were right. This results in the opponent's desire to reach a compromise even by acting entirely irrationally and distancing him from his opening demands. Several years ago, I talked to a senior officer who claimed that Israel must withdraw from the Golan in any peace settlement because, from the Syrian point of view, the land is sacred and they will not give up on it. I explained to him, the Syrians convinced themselves that this is sacred ground, and it was this that succeeded to convince us as well. The deep conviction of the Syrians, causes us to surrender to the Syrian dictates. The present political situation will be resolved only if we convince ourselves of the justice of our views. Only total faith in our demands will be able to convince the Syrian opponent to consider our position.

Like all science, Game Theory does not presume to express an opinion on moral values, but rather seeks to analyze the strategic behaviors of rival parties in a common game. The State of Israel plays such a game with its enemies. Like every game, in the Arab-Israeli game there are particular interests that shape and frame the game and its rules. Unfortunately, Israel ignores the basic principles that arise in Game Theory. If the State of Israel succeeds in following these base principles, its political status and its security will improve significantly.

'Religion more expedient than history' - Obadiah Shoher

       The Jewish state is not treated equally to other states. She is lambasted for
minor or imagined transgressions while normal states wage wars for dubious
reasons, grossly violate human rights, and slaughter masses of enemy
populations. With 80% of the UN’s Human Rights Commission’s resolutions
devoted to Israel, there is no doubt she is singled out for prosecution.

       The modern view of Jews as less than normal people is rooted in the Holocaust.
Having been slaughtered like sheep, Jews are viewed as little more than a herd.
Add to that the contempt state officials felt for a stateless people, and the
contempt they later felt for citizens of a town-sized state perpetually in
danger of annihilation. Consider also the biting moral dilemma: human and
Christian sensitivities suggest supporting the Jews, but realism calls for
siding with their numerous and oil-rich Muslim adversaries.

       Jews, accordingly, are viewed as pets, in need of international protection,
counseling, and guardianship. That attitude solves the moral dilemma: under the
guise of guiding Jews to observe their best interests, Israel is pushed toward
capitulation to the Arabs. It is sort of like wicked relatives scattering the
insane rich man’s property while professing to manage it for him. The moral
dilemma also fosters hatred: no one likes to act immorally, and so everyone
demonizes the object of his immorality instead. For Europeans, declaring
Israelis to be evil assuages their Holocaust guilt, slight as it is.

       From the beginning, other nations did not view the Israeli state as something
Jews were entitled to like other people. To be sure, in a world of nation-states
(rather than city-states), most ethnic groups lack a state, but presumably Jews
are sufficiently distinct to be left alone in their own state. During the UNSCOP
deliberations (October 17, 1947), only the Norwegian delegate defended the
Jewish right to a state based on our connection to this land. All the others,
more or less explicitly, saw the partition as an affirmative action to rectify
the wrongs done to Jews and eliminate the need for such wrongs in future by
transferring them to the Middle East. Recipients of affirmative action benefits
cannot be too choosy or demanding. Everything they gain is seen as a concession.
Arabs have rights; Israelis are accorded benefits. International tolerance of
the “excessive” affirmative action offered to Jews is less than what
Americans accord to their blacks. The difference is this: Afro-Americans are
basically integrated into their society while Jews remain different in the
world's society. More benefits are due to one’s own than to an odd crowd.

       Israelis had the bad sense to exacerbate the no-right-to-a-state attitude by
avoiding religious rhetoric. The Jewish right to Jerusalem and Judea is
indisputable on religious grounds, but extremely weak on historical ones, as
many peoples have been displaced from their original homeland. Israeli leaders
did even worse when arguing for territorial acquisitions based on security
concerns: obviously, Palestinians today cannot wipe out Israel. The
international community counters Israeli security concerns easily, and pushes
her to make concessions.

       The Israeli state had a hard time coming into being because neither Jews nor
foreigners believed Jews have a right to this land. Uncertain of their right,
Jews didn't press for a nationally homogenous state within defensible borders
like other independence-seeking nations did, but accepted a ghetto-sized state
which, naturally for a ghetto, offered only temporary safety.

July 6, 2010

"Why Israel is Retreating" - Paul Eidelberg

 Israel is constantly retreating.  Why?  Is it U.S. pressure?  What prevents Israel from standing up to pressure?  There may be several answers to this question, but I dare say the decisive answer is this: Israel's policy-makers and opinion-makers—politicians and political analystshave removed God and the Sinai Covenant from the domain of statecraft. Israel's ruling elites have therefore emasculated themselves and eroded the Jewish people's confidence in the justice of Israel's cause.  This is not the case of Arab rulers, and that's why they are advancing.

Stated another way: Whereas Israeli politicians and political analysts view the conflict between Jews and Arabs in political terms, Israel's enemies view the conflict in religious or theological terms.  As a consequence, Israel's elites—soft, secular, liberal democrats—believe that the conflict between Jews and Arabs can be resolved by negotiations and mutual concessions. In contrast, the Arabs—hard rock religious autocrats—may agree to engage in negotiations, but their Quran precludes them from reaching any lasting agreement with "infidels" based on compromise or "reciprocity."

Now, you don't have to be religious to understand that compromising with an uncompromising foe is self-defeating.  But if you lack religious convictions and the courage of such convictions —the case of Israeli elites— you're likely to succumb to a smug political "realism" even though such realism is demonstrably unrealistic in the Arab-Israel conflict.

Furthermore, once politicians and political analysts have pursued and construed the Arab-Israel conflict in secular or political terms—and have done so year after year—it would be extremely difficult for them to change their language of discourse and adopt a religious or meta-political approach to the conflict. It needs to be stressed, however, that their failure to change their secular "peace process" rhetoric has pernicious consequences.

First of all, their pliant political language encourages Arabs to persist in their religious objective, to destroy Israel.  Second, their merely political approach induces the people of Israel to believe that by making territorial concessions to the enemy, "reciprocity" will follow and thus lead, eventually, to an end of the conflict. 

Gulled by their political and intellectual leaders, Israelis do not understand that reciprocity is impossible!  It's impossible because the Arabs can offer no equivalent to Jewish territory—nothing more than words on a piece of paper.  But while Israeli politicians and political analysts persist in omitting God from public discourse—omitting, therefore, Israel's God-given right to the Land of Israel—they render the people of this country more inclined to support territorial concessions to the enemy, thus risking their survival.

Now, in contrast to Israel's secular elites, who minimize the all-important religious dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict, consider their Arab counterparts.  Thus, even before the Six-Day War, one Arab commentator declared:  "The propagandists of secularism, who leave out of account the religious factor in the Palestine problem, ignore the fact that this is the only bone of contention in the world which has persisted for thirty centuries ..." Another Arab spokesman avowed: "... apart from the political conflict, there is a basic philosophical and spiritual incompatibility between the two contending nationalism's.  Even if all political disputes were to be resolved, the two movements, Zionism and Arab Nationalism, would remain, spiritually and ideologically, worlds apart--living in separate 'universes of discourse' which are incapable of communication or meaningful dialogue." 

These Arabs are serious—something that cannot be said of Israel's secular elites who, even if they recognize Islam's genocidal objectives, fail to adjust their policies and analysis to the theological reality of the Middle East.  

They fail to see that Israel's only realistic approach is to sanctify God's Name, that is, to go on the offensive by emphasizing the Sinai Covenant, which alone that can inspire and solidify the Jewish people on the one hand, and justify as well as perpetuate Jewish possession of Eretz Israel on the other.