“Obama will win the nomination but lose the election.”

By Ted Belman (first posted Feb 28/08)

ted-4.jpgI thought I would begin with a prediction. “Obama will win the nomination but lose the election.”

Fox News are on to him and all the arguments our “smear” campaign is making and for the most part it is running with them. Sean Hannity is the best.

Slowly, but surely Obama, is doing himself in. It is not just the company he keeps but also what he is now saying.

Ed Lasky, the News Editor of The American Thinker, reports on Senator Obama’s Coming Out Party in Cleveland. Ed does a brilliant job of ferreting out the true meaning of Obama’s remarks. But in my opinion he mis-states two things which I want to address first.

    “Most supporters of Israel now understand there will need to be a viable Palestinian state and that Israel will need to make territorial concessions.”

Recent polls disclose that 2/3 of Israelis are against dividing Jerusalem and retreating from Judea and Samaria and that is despite the fact the the entire world including the Government of Israel and its media have been embracing the two state solution.

    “Senator Obama also sought to dispel rumors of anti-Semitism within his church (American Thinker has never made this accusation; nor do we support this allegation).”

I submit that The American Thinker is wrong in taking this position. Organizations and individuals who take positions critical of Israel, which Obama’s church does, often cross the line into antisemitism. Lasky knows the difference between legitimate criticism and antisemitic criticism. Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ surely fits the later category.

Bill Levinson posted two very important articles on Israpundit which can’t be ignored; Obama’s Church Connected to Sabeel, Naim Ateek and Obama’s Church and Black Liberation Theology Also remember the remark by Michelle Obama, namely, “for the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” I believe such a comment reflects this theology.

The respected NGO Monitor had this to say about SABEEL’s Ecumenical Facade

    Reflecting its mission statement, Sabeel is active in promoting an extreme anti-Israel agenda in Protestant churches in both North America and Europe. Sabeel’s efforts have promoted the campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel through the divestment campaign, which have recently been adopted by the World Council of Churches, the Anglican Church in Britain, the Presbyterian Church, and others.

What could be clearer? Now here is part of Lasky’s article.

[..] Nevertheless, other parts of his speech were far from reassuring, and once again cast substantial doubt on his views not just toward Israel but also specifically toward supporters of the America-Israel relationship here at home. Senator Obama believes words matter; it is a mantra of his candidacy. Therefore, it is only fair to look at the words he used in Cleveland to divine his views.

He seems to be addressing many supporters of Israel in America who have questions regarding his views and his plans. He finds fault with them:

    “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel”.

Senator Obama characterizes those who have concerns about policies he might follow as President as being Likud-supporters. This has been a charge propagated by the fiercest opponents of Israel, who have often slipped into conspiracy theories regarding American supporters of Israel. (Try googling Likudnik and “dual loyalty” or “conspiracy theory”; Likudnik has become a term of opprobrium. As David Berstein notes, “Likudnik has gradually become a general anti-Semitic term for Jews whose opinions one does not like.”

One wishes Senator Obama would be bit more sensitive going forward when he uses such a term. After all, the Likud Party has not been in power for years, and Americans should feel free to express their concerns without being characterized as that party’s supporters, with its suggestion of dual loyalty. The suggestion that supporters of Israel who express their concerns are subscribers to the view of the Likud Party of Israel is simply not grounded. After all, supporters of Hillary Clinton have also expressed qualms regarding Senator Obama’s views of Israel. Are they supporters of Likud, too?

Haaretz columnist Shmuel Rosner raises an additional reason to have qualms. Will a President Obama be supportive of an Israel headed by a Prime Minster who hails from the Likud party? Does this statement by Senator Obama risk interfering with Israeli politics?

It is important to note that Likud did give up the Sinai and that Ariel Sharon — a former Likud leader — did remove all the settlements from the Gaza Strip. So one wonders why Senator Obama is so anti-Likud to begin with? Does he not know the history of this volatile region? Who has he been his counsel when he chooses to use such a term?

Senator Obama also sought to distance himself from Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose anti-Israel views are well known. However, he made no mention of two other advisors with a long record of hostility toward Israel: Robert Malley and Samantha Power. Power, in particular, is very close to the Senator and is a key foreign policy adviser . Why the omission of any mention of both?

But in trying to disentangle himself from Brzezinski, Senator Obama engaged in some rhetoric that is unsettling:

    “Frankly some of the commentary that I’ve seen which suggests guilt by association or the notion that unless we are never ever going to ask any difficult questions about how we move peace forward or secure Israel that is non military or non belligerent or doesn’t talk about just crushing the opposition that that somehow is being soft or anti-Israel, I think we’re going to have problems moving forward.”

Senator Obama apparently views Israel as a “belligerent” and perhaps wants to see America’s support for Israel’s military reduced. This is hardly reassuring. Israel is not a belligerent, it only defends itself. It is a tiny sliver of a nation of a few million people surrounded by 300 million people who have made quite clear over the past 60 years that they desire its destruction. Few supporters of Israel indeed think that the only way to bring peace to the region is for Israel to crush all the opposition. Israel herself, since her founding, sought — and sometimes fought — for peace. These steps did not involve crushing all the opposition. Israel has taken great risks in it steps towards peace (leaving Lebanon — which led to the rise of Hezbollah; leaving Gaza — which led to the rise of Hamas; allowing Yasser Arafat to come to the West bank, where he set up a terrorist regime and brainwashed Palestinian children to hate. A leading Presidential candidate all but accuses Israel of being “belligerent” — is that unsettling to anyone?

Also unsettling is the implication that may lie behind his statement that we are going to have “problems moving forward” if critics raise questions about his views. Is this a statement meant to forestall discussion? If so, it would be similar to the views expressed by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, who abhor the role that pro-Israel Americans (including Christians) sometimes play in the foreign policy discussion.

These statements are difficult to square with his position that he has a long record of support for Israel. If he is perturbed by critics and indicates questions may cause problems in the future regarding his policies and actions, then perhaps people have legitimate reasons to be concerned about the depth of his support for the America-Israel relationship and the role of Americans in the foreign policy discussion.

Senator Obama also said that supporting the view that only by defeating its Islamic foes can Israel enjoy any semblance of peace and security “can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”. This is disconcerting. How firm and deep will President Obama’s support for Israel be when it comes to dealing with terrorists? Israel needs to defeat its Islamic foes who seek its destruction and who celebrate martyrdom for peace to reign. Even Palestinian moderates will feel constrained in making peace deals with Israel until these Islamic extremists are defeated. Wouldn’t Israel be justified in stopping Islamic foes that are calling for another Holocaust?

Would President Obama feel the same towards Islamic foes who target America?

Senator Obama also indicated that siding with those who seek the dividing of Israel does not make him anti-Israel. This is true. Most supporters of Israel now understand there will need to be a viable Palestinian state and that Israel will need to make territorial concessions. He stated that backing the Jews’ biblical, historical and legal claim to all of the land in question also can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. Of course, Israel has already made such concessions: the result is Hamasstan in the Gaza, which has become a center for terror directed daily against Israel. As Israel moved its forces out of the West Bank, those areas became centers of terrorist activity.

Senator Obama has already telegraphed his views regarding land, which seemed to prejudge the final outcome. But it might be wiser from a diplomatic point of view if he does not signal to opponents of negotiations his position if he becomes President. Also, violence has ensued when Israel voluntarily withdrew from lands; the world has remained silent and expresses very little sympathy for Israeli victims. Is counseling the division of land now something a friend would do?

Notably, the word “Jerusalem” is entirely absent from Senator Obama’s remarks. Surely that is not inadvertent. Does Senator Obama support or oppose the division of Jerusalem? Is Senator Obama aware of the destruction of Jewish and Christian religious sites when Jerusalem had been divided previously? Is he aware of how Jews were denied access to their religious sites when the city was divided? If Senator Obama does support the division of Jerusalem, how would it be divided? American Jews certainly cannot evaluate the Senator’s views on Israel when in a lengthy speech to Jewish leaders he keeps his views on Jerusalem to himself.

Senator Obama also stated that a full withdrawal from Iraq would strengthen America’s ability to deal with Iran. This logic is difficult to see. How would that happen? A precipitous withdrawal would embolden Iran. There would be no fear of American forces near its borders and its Shiite allies within Iraq would be strengthened. If anything, Iran would be empowered by such a retreat. How leaving would help us deal with Iran is opaque.

Senator Obama also sought to dispel rumors of anti-Semitism within his church (American Thinker has never made this accusation; nor do we support this allegation). Within the speech was this nugget:

    “But I have never heard an anti-Semitic comment made inside of our church.”

And I suspect there are some of the people in this room who have heard relatives say some things that they don’t agree with. Including, on occasion, directed at African-Americans — that’s maybe a possibility that’s just, I am not suggesting that’s definitive.”

This is a Clintonesque statement if there ever were one. Senator Obama has never heard anti-Semitic statements “inside his church.” How about members who may have made such comments outside the church? How about his pastor’s relatively recent written anti-Israel statements that he excuses on the ground of Israel’s former relationship with South Africa. This also conveniently elides the fact that his Church’s magazine very recently gave an award to Louis Farrakhan, one of the most infamous anti-Semites in America.

In an attempt at self-justification, Senator Obama relegates his pastor, who is his spiritual mentor, and who inspired the title of his book The Audacity of Hope, as something like a crazy old uncle in the attic. Worse, he suggests that Jewish leaders may themselves have relatives who have made remarks that might be considered anti-African American. That is entirely irrelevant. There is a substantial difference between relatives who make private (or even public) comments that are disagreeable, and a relationship with a pastor that was sought out and supported, praised, and regarded as a mentor for two decades. Although one can distance oneself from relatives, it’s not so easy to resign from them. The same is not true of a pastoral affiliation.

Undoubtedly, the Jewish community would expect a presidential candidate to resign from a church whose pastor publicly supported David Duke and whose magazine gave him an award. The community would hope that Senator Obama would have taken such a step many years ago. Some may consider it disingenuous of the Senator to excuse his own voluntary association on the ground those Jewish listeners might have family members who harbor private prejudices.

Senator Obama’s speech occurred in the wake of comments made by Ralph Nader on Meet The Press. Nader claims that Senator Obama is too pro-Israel these days and remarked that the Senator was pro-Palestinian for years before he began his campaign for higher office. While some may view this as a reflection of Senator Obama’s evolving views (certainly his supporters will), others might question the coincidence of changing his views when he sought to garner support for his campaign.

Now that he has racked up a string of victories and vast amounts of financial support, he apparently feels comfortable in articulating some views regarding Israel and supporters of Israel in America that may give comfort to Ralph Nader but might leave others with even more questions than before.

Finally we can’t forget this quote from Obama’s book Audacity of Hope

    “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

Whatever did he mean by that?

Obama is not legally African-American as he claims but Arab-American and Islam still considers him to be a Muslim. Surely Americans are entitled to take this into account when they are voting for the next President of America.

And lets forget Debbie Schlussel’s exclusive Obama’s Nation of Islam Staffers, Edward Said & “Inflexible Jews” Causing Mid-East Conflict: An Obama Insider Reveals the Real Barack

Atlas Shrugs recently posted Obama and Islam:The Third Rail in American Politics. This post has a great deal of new information on Obama’s past. So does her post Obama:The Audacity of Graft. Many people consider Obama’s dealings with Rezko to be his achilles heel.

Aaron Klein reported Obama raised funds for Islamic causes

No, Obama is going down and rightly so.

March 4, 2008 | 143 Comments »

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  1. Shalom Yamit

    I see we’ve taken to writing treatises. It takes so long to compose one of these things; that before I’ve finished mine, you’ve cranked out one yourself! I’d like to just quit this thread and move on, but what you say is interesting, so I’m stuck here for a while. Let’s see…

    Eventually, we pre-ba’alei tshuva arrive at the denominational crossroads. Convinced of the Torah’s Divine origin and aware that, to be decipherable, the Pentateuch must have been given with an oral explanation, I sought the Jewish movement in possession of that ancient Mesorah.

    I take this to mean that you were once a halachic Jew, then became religious? But now you say you’re not religious, so it’s hard for me to figure you out. As for Torah having to be “deciphered”, we are light years apart. To me, TaNaKh is plain as day; and all attempts I’ve seen at “deciphering” it, be they Jewish or Christian, have just turned the simplest thing in the world into a bunch of esoteric gobbledegook. If you wish to go the Orthodox route, and devote your life (literally) to years of meaningless study of commentaries of commentaries of commentaries of commentaries, you are welcome to it; but from what you have said in other posts, in which you claim not to be “religious”, it appears you haven’t done this — which, as I said, makes you a little hard to figure out.

    Identifying the Historical Trunk…

    I won’t bother going in to this stuff. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is just a logical progression of the “Oral Torah” argument. Let me just tell you my observation of the “oral transmission” method — it isn’t very good. At best, it remains accurate for a few generations, after which it completely falls apart. The Jews are real amateurs at oral transmission, compared with the American Indians. The Indians did not have television, nor even the distractions of the urban Jewish society of B.C.E. The “entertainment” for young girls consisted of memorizing speeches of the leaders. These would go on for hours, and the girls used to compete with one another to see who could do the best at remembering them, word for word. Yet when it comes to the simplest matters, namely, remembering one’s own family tree, I can’t find one that was accurately remembered for more than five generations or so. By comparison, of course, the Jews cannot compete. It’s been four generations since my ancestor moved from the shtetl in Galicia to become an assimilated itinerant worker in Slovenia. Though my Christian third cousin in Slovenia, who pored over the church records there, I was able to get the name of my gggreat-grandparents — shown on their son’s marriage record. Through JewishGen, the Ellis Island records, etc., I have mapped out the entire clan and gotten in touch with many relatives (we know we’re related, because our ancestors all came from the same shtetle and we have a truly unique surname); but I’ve found that among all the branches of the family, all of which except mine remained Jewish, I am the only one who was able to trace the record back as many generations as I have (and that, through Roman Catholic records!) This is all the more remarkable, since part of the family are cohens and have kept “HaKohen” as a middle name.

    It is not a difficult thing to carry on a genealogy, at least along one line; but as I have said, even when written records are available as aids, the highly literate Jewish people don’t even do as well as the Native Americans. How, then, can we expect them to have kept an “Oral Tradition” of the minutiae of legal and ritual observances over a thousand years? This is utter tomfoolery. Nevertheless, as I said before, you are free to devote your life to the study of this nonesense; but as I have also said, you appear not to have actually done so. Those who HAVE engaged in the process, such as the much-venerated Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, have gotten their heads so disconnected from the fundamentals of Judaism that they don’t even know that God has given the land of Israel to the Jews and not to the Arabs. But to each his own.
    What Mendelssohn hesitated to say publicly about Mesorah, Abraham Geiger (1810-1874), the most influential of Reform’s second generation, boldly proclaimed. In 1837, Geiger called the first Reform rabbinical conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, and declared: “The Talmud must go, the Bible, that collection of mostly so beautiful and exalted human books, as a divine work must also go.”[8] With this declaration, Reform became the first known group in more than 3,100 years of Jewish history to deny the Torah’s divine origin.[9] The Reform rejected the Mesorah.

    I don’t dispute this: Geiger’s was the most extreme position ever taken by a reformer, and his words have been used ever since by the Orthodox to create “straw man” arguments against anyone who doesn’t slavishly follow the dictates of their own personal rebbes. I doubt that there’s a Reform congregation anywhere that fully embraces Geiger’s doctrine, and the Conservative Movement was formed as a Torah-based reaction to that very sort of thinking. What you neglect to note, in all this, is how drastically the Orthodox have strayed from the simple, straightforward teachings of TaNaKh — how, for instance, they have changed the commandment “not to boil a young goat in its own mother’s milk” into a commandment not to eat cheese and chicken in the same meal. Tell me, how can you boil the milk of a chicken’s mother? And even if you could, do you normally boil things in your mouth when you eat? And even if you could, I would be awestruck to see a hunk of cheese start to boil! Note that I’m not criticizing some marginal practice of Orthodox Judaism here — I’m talking about the very focal point of their everyday living. The Orthodox have taken Torah and turned it into nonesense! Can anything the Reformed or Conservative movements have done compare with the Orthodox in sheer absurdity?

    OK. You continue along the historical track, then relate your personal experience. As I said, you are welcome to it; yet I don’t see how you call yourself “non-religious” after saying all that.

    As for myself, I am completely non-religious. Up until last summer, I attended a Conservative shul regularly for a year of Saturday services; but since I am not Jewish, I never became a member. The rabbi dropped me from the conversion program, because some people in the congregation complained against me about some cultural, non-theological issue (I dared to mention the Shoah without kissing the ground and blessing myself three times, or whatever it is they expected). I have some friends who are “Messianic” Christians, and they’ve invited me to some potlucks and Torah studies. I go to one every other month or so, but refuse to participate in leading b’rachot, etc. I think the last time I fully participated in any religious group was in 1990, though I did visit churches as recently as 1997. I also gave a eulogy at my best friend’s funeral a few years ago; that’s about it. I read the Bible often, of course, and love to read with others and discuss what it says; but I run from organized studies faster than someone fleeing from a rabid dog.

    That’s what I call “non-religious”. Is that your own level of observance?

    You said somewhere that you were getting tired. So am I — I’m going back to bed.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  2. Shalom Yamit.

    Were those URLs for my benefit? Don’t waste your mp3s — I’m a hopeless case. I accept the value of tradition, and I love the traditional service; but to my mind, the Orthodox are living in a fairy tale, thinking that all those contrary opinions of argumentative rabbis were handed down by Moshe Rabinu on Sinai.

    Look at it this way: I can pick up TaNaKh, and read it plainly enough — in English, in Hebrew, you name it. But the Orthodox say, that’s no good — I have to read Mishnah to understand TaNaKh (now, Mishnah was written about 200 CE). So I got me a translation of Mishnat, and have fought off drowsiness enough to even read part of it. But even if I were to read it many times over in Hebrew, having become expert in that tongue, the Orthodox would say that I didn’t understand anything unless I read the Gemarah.

    And should I deign to read the Gemarah, in Hebrew, as it was finally compiled in the Late Middle Ages, this would not be enough; for reading is not accepting; and as a Jew, you ought to understand that one cannot automatically accept everything one reads: I would have to follow the opinions of later rabbis, to decide which tractates to understand this way or that, which to accept completely and which to reject… and so it would be not only with the Gemarah, but with Shulchan Aruch, with the Zohar and with all the other writings which one party or another considers authoritative (not to mention the fact, that the Ashkenazi Galut follows an entirely different Gemarah from the S’fardi Galut).

    In the end, my Jewish doctrine would not be considered “true”, unless I accepted the opinions of very recent rabbis, some of them still living. So you see, the Judaism you would have me accept as “Oral Tradition, handed down from Moshe Rabinu”, is nothing more than the opinions of some rabbis alive today! So tell me, what do you Orthodox have to offer that the Reform and Conservative Jews do not? If you truly respected the ancient customs, you would stop at Tanakh — or at the very most, at Mishnah. You claim that “Oral Torah” was handed down in perfection, from mouth to ear, for over a thousand years? Then why did it yet need clarification and refining in Mishnah? And if understanding had fallen to such a low point among the sages that it needed to be written down in 200 CE, where did this great understanding come from that enabled later rabbis and geniuses, some over 1000 years later, to be able to say what their earlier counterparts REALLY meant? Friend, I am respect community and tradition; but why do you take me for a fool? Do you think so lowly of me? You yourself give lip-service to “Oral Torah”, but by your own admission, you don’t practice it. Why should you expect me, a goy by birth and upbringing, to fall for such a farce?

    So I appreciate your attempts to convert me to your way of thinking, and you have already explained your motive: You say that by rejecting the Orthodox twist on traditions, the door is open to “anarchy”. I have a saying from my own personal “tradition” — namely, “A lie stands on one foot; but the truth stands on two.” If you try to avoid anarchy by promoting a lie, the order you hope to maintain will topple when the lie is revealed; but if you speak the truth, every lie in the world can assail it, yet it will still stand — it will not lead to anarchy. Tanakh is truth: It does not require a “hedge” about it, neither Christian nor Jewish, to make it stand; it stands on its own; and after all the ignorant men in the world have assaulted it, it will still stand. “Oral Torah” has been in a constant flux for over 3000 years, and it will continue to be in flux.

    If a Reform rabbi feels it should turn one direction, and an Orthodox rabbi feels it should turn another, should I prefer one over the other? I say, let them both follow their own inclinations, and let’s see where they end up. And if they do not end up accepting one another as brothers, equally capable of hearing from God, then I won’t follow either of them — for what it’s worth; because as it stands, neither of them really want me to follow them anyway; and neither are you following them.

    So much for religion, for now. Good night, good buddy.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  3. BlandOatmeal and HPesky

    The path to Orthodoxy is long and labyrinthine. Does G-d exist? Did He give the Torah? Did He also provide an oral tradition? Like many Jews rediscovering their heritage, I had to confront and resolve each of these challenges. Eventually, we pre-ba’alei tshuva arrive at the denominational crossroads. Convinced of the Torah’s Divine origin and aware that, to be decipherable, the Pentateuch must have been given with an oral explanation, I sought the Jewish movement in possession of that ancient Mesorah.

    Identifying the Historical Trunk

    Working chronologically, I began with the Orthodox. About two thousand years before the Reform and Conservative movements arrived on the scene, Orthodox sages recorded the claim that the oral tradition was received from G-d at Sinai in 1312 B.C.E. and passed down intact to the sages of the Mishna.[1] Later talmudic texts affirm belief in a G-d-given oral tradition[2], as do the writings of medieval and post-medieval Orthodox scholars.[3] Although the Sadducees and Karaites rejected the oral tradition of the Orthodox, secular scholars concur that these groups were short-lived splinters off the historical mainstream of Orthodoxy.[4] Until today, Orthodoxy claims, the oral tradition has been passed intact, parent-to-child and teacher-to-student.[5] Theoretically, the Orthodox could possess the original oral tradition.

    The Reform Branch

    The second-oldest extant Jewish movement is Reform. The grandfather of Reform was Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786). Although Mendelssohn never publicly rejected the Torah’s or the oral tradition’s Divine origin, perhaps portentously, four out of six of Mendelssohn’s surviving children converted to Christianity.[6] In a parallel event, one of Mendelssohn’s greatest students, David Friedlander (1765-1834), wrote to Pastor Teller, Counsellor of the Prussian Ministry of Religion, on behalf of himself and several other Jewish householders, offering to join the Lutheran Church. Only after Pastor Teller rejected Friedlander’s request for conversion did this student of Mendelssohn set himself to the task of reforming his own religion.[7]

    What Mendelssohn hesitated to say publicly about Mesorah, Abraham Geiger (1810-1874), the most influential of Reform’s second generation, boldly proclaimed. In 1837, Geiger called the first Reform rabbinical conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, and declared: “The Talmud must go, the Bible, that collection of mostly so beautiful and exalted human books, as a divine work must also go.”[8] With this declaration, Reform became the first known group in more than 3,100 years of Jewish history to deny the Torah’s divine origin.[9] The Reform rejected the Mesorah.

    Shortly after Geiger organized German Reform, his American counterpart, Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900) launched the movement in the New World. In an 1850 debate at the Charleston synagogue, he declared that he didn’t believe in a personal messiah or in bodily resurrection[10], both of which were pillars of the Jewish oral tradition.[11] In 1857, Wise published a new prayerbook which omitted the traditional prayers for a return to Zion, the rebuilding of the Temple, etc., paving the way for Reform’s official declaration of anti-Zionism in the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885.[12] Wise went on to found the Reform seminary, Hebrew Union College; and at their first graduation ceremony in 1883, Wise served “Little Neck Clams, Fillet de Boef, Salade de Shrimps, Grenouiles (frogs legs) a la Creme, and Ice Cream.”[13]

    In mid-November, 1885, Dr. Kaufman Kohler convened the Pittsburgh conference of Reform leaders, hoping to formally establish official Reform positions on a range of subjects. Kohler attempted to set the conference’s tone and direction with statements like, “We consider their [the Holy scripture’s] composition, their arrangements and their entire contents as the work of men, betraying in their conceptions of the world shortcomings of their age;”[14] and “We must discard the idea as altogether foreign to us, that marriage with a Gentile is not legal.”[15] In his opening statement to the conference, Kohler told the assembly:

    I do not for a moment hesitate to say it right here and in the face of the entire Jewish world that… circumcision is a barbarous cruelty which disfigures and disgraces our ancestral heirloom and our holy mission as priests among mankind. The rite is a national remnant of savage African life… Nor should children born of intermarriage be viewed any longer exclusively by the primitive national standard which determines the racial character of the child only by the blood of the mother… I can no longer accept the fanciful and twisted syllogisms of Talmudic law as binding for us… I think, if anywhere, here we ought to have the courage to emancipate ourselves from the thralldom of Rabbinical legality.[16]

    With few modifications, the conference unanimously adopted Dr. Kohler’s proposed Pittsburg Platform. The Reform movement thus accepted “as binding only the moral laws” of Judaism, rejecting, “all such as not adapted to the views and habits of modern civilization.” The Platform swept away Jewish dietary laws because “they fail to impress the modern Jew.” Kohler was then selected to be President of the Hebrew Union College, and a year later he declared, “There is no justification whatsoever for… the most precious time of the student to be spent upon Halakhic discussions… [and] the inane discussions that fill so many pages of the Babylonian Gemarah.”[17] Under Kohler, the HUC preparatory department required no Talmud study, although students were asked to take courses in New Testament and Koran.[18] Kohler referred to Reform Jewry as “We who are no longer bound to the Shulhan Aruk.” [19] Within Reform circles, the Mesorah was then not only lost; it was anathema.

    By 1972, Reform had drifted to the extreme. A survey commissioned that year by the Central Conference of American [Reform] Rabbis, reported that “Only one in ten [Reform] rabbis states that he believes in G-d ‘in the more or less traditional Jewish sense.’”[20] The remaining ninety-percent classified their faith with terms like: “Agnostic;” “Atheist;” “Bahai in spirit, Judaic in practice;” “Polydoxist;” “Religious Existentialist;” and “Theological Humanist.”[21] During the 1990 Central Conference of American [Reform] Rabbis’ debate on the ordination of professed homosexuals, an HUC professor reminded the committee that Leviticus 18 calls homosexual acts an abomination; but a member of the majority easily disposed of his objection, saying, “It’s pretty late in the day for scripture to be invoked in CCAR debates.”[22] The same year, about 25 percent of Reform leaders under age 40 had married gentiles.[23] By 1991, the overall intermarriage rate among Reform Jews had topped 60 percent.[24]

    The Conservative Sub-Branch

    A debate had long raged among Reform activists over the pace at which Judaism should evolve. While Abraham Geiger felt reformers should actively lead the community away from outdated beliefs and practices, his colleague Zacharias Frankel, whom many cite as the Conservative movement’s intellectual ancestor, felt that progressive leadership would build resentment and stimulate rebellion, and that therefore “the reformer’s task was simply to confirm the abandonment of those ideas and practices which the community had already set aside.”[25] Thus Frankel wrote:[26]

    The means [of transformation] must be grasped with such care, thought through with such discretion, created always with such awareness of the moment in time, that the goal will be reached unnoticed, that the forward progress will seem inconsequential to the average eye.

    This in-house debate continued through the period of the Hebrew Union College banquet and publication of the Pittsburgh Platform. Reform’s accelerating leaps away from Jewish tradition jarred those who preferred Frankel’s more subtle approach, and these conservatives branched off to form a new movement – Conservative Judaism. In 1886, they founded the “Jewish Theological Seminary of America,” named for Frankel’s Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau.[27] An article printed in the new institution’s magazine declared that JTS would steer a course between “stupid Orthodoxy and insane Reform.”[28]

    As a branch off of Reform, the new Conservative group possessed no more affinity for the Mesorah than their parent movement. Solomon Schechter (1849-1915), who took over JTS in 1902, violated the Sabbath publicly[29] and wrote that “the three r’s” stood for “rotten ranting rabbis.”[30] Conservative historians say that Schechter’s successor, Cyrus Adler (1863-1940) “shared the anticlerical bias.”[31]

    Reform scholars laud the next head of the Conservative seminary, Louis Finkelstein (1895-1991), for creating “a new willingness on the [Jewish Theological] Seminary’s part to apply [secular] critical method to the study of Humash.”[32] Under Finkelstein’s guidance, JTS organized an essay competition in 1959 on the theme “The Traditions in Genesis 1:1-25:17 – Resemblances to, Dependencies Upon, and Contrasts With Traditions of Other Peoples;”[33] and by 1970 Finkelstein had introduced an advanced Bible seminar whose course description promised “an analysis of the various sources of the Pentateuch.”[34] Finkelstein’s progressive approach to the Pentateuch had instant practical consequences: Despite the Biblical prohibition on lighting fires on the Sabbath[35], the Rabbinical Assembly issued a paper permitting driving automobiles to Sabbath services.[36] Just as its Reform ancestor had, Conservative “Judaism” was unraveling.

    Finkelstein’s wife entirely repudiated her faith and dropped all Jewish observances.[37] Finkelstein’s own attitude toward halakha might best be illustrated by his approach to the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh (saving human lives) during World War II. In the period beginning in 1938, when many young German Jews applied to JTS to get visas to America, Finkelstein refused to issue letters of acceptance.[38] According to the Seminary history, published recently by JTS itself:[39]

    The plight of ordinary Jews in Eastern Europe did not occupy Finkelstein’s attention… There is no doubt that Seminary leaders, faculty and students knew of Nazi atrocities against the Jews during World War II. As a member of the American Jewish Committee and the Joint Distribution Committee, Finkelstein regularly received reports about Nazi atrocities… Although moved by the plight of European Jewry, he nevertheless neither responded to direct appeals to participate in protest actions on their behalf nor involved the Seminary in any public activity about the Holocaust.

    The JTS document states, “There is no evidence that the Seminary tried to raise money in order to rescue German Jews by admitting them as students.”[40] Indeed, money was not the obstacle: In 1938 Finkelstein found all the funds necessary to launch the Seminary’s Institute for Interdenominational Studies, which “brought together Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish clergy and scholars for courses on the various religious traditions,”[41] and “during the war Finkelstein sought to expand the Institute, raising money from Littauer, the Warburgs, and other Seminary contributors, and obtaining a $20,000 grant from the New York Foundation.”[42] Finkelstein succeeded in opening branches of the Institute in Chicago (1944) and Boston (1945).[43] In 1943, when asked why he was diverting critical resources to interfaith dialogue while European Jewry was being exterminated, Finkelstein explained that the Interfaith Institute “has evoked such high praise in many quarters, and has done such effective work, that I am sure all of us agree it must be kept open and expanded at all costs.”[44] When the Holocaust ended, Finkelstein’s interest in international affairs was suddenly kindled. Citing a letter he wrote to the New York Times on 11 August 1945, the Seminary history boasts that “Finkelstein’s concern for brotherhood and democracy prompted him to extend sympathy also to the Germans, and he urged the Allied occupation forces to treat them benignly.”[45]

    Gerson Cohen (1924-1991), Finkelstein’s successor, spent most of his career fighting for the ordination of women rabbis. Cohen was initially opposed to such a radical departure from tradition[46]; but when a JTS-commissioned survey found that synagogue members favored women’s ordination, Cohen did an immediate about-face.[47] Cohen was initially stymied by the opposition of the entire JTS Talmud staff; but he dealt with this problem by creating an independent commission to decide the issue and awarding only one (of fourteen) commission seats to a JTS Talmud staff member.[48] Half the commission seats were given to laypeople.[49] Cohen confided to friends that he would “try to ram the commission’s report down the Faculty’s throats.”[50] HUC’s Ellenson and Bycel observe that “The [Jewish Theological] Seminary – in deciding to ordain women as rabbis – broke dramatically with whatever remnant remained of its Orthodox roots.”[51]

    Ismar Schorsch, JTS’ current Chancellor, admitted in 1986 that all of the Conservative clergy’s ties to the past, to the Mesorah, have been broken: “There is almost no common denominator between the profession of the modern [Conservative] rabbi… and the religious leadership of the Middle Ages.”[52] David Lieber, once President-Emeritus of the JTS branch in Los Angeles and President of the international association of Conservative rabbis, offers these (by now trite) confessions: “I do not believe in the literal divine authorship of the Torah,”[53] and “I do not believe the law and its details to be of divine origin.”[54] JTS Professor of Jewish Philosophy Neil Gillman describes the movement’s position more eloquently: “The biblical account of revelation is classic myth… Torah then represents the canonical statement of our myth.”[55]

    And, again, disconnection from the Mesorah has practical consequences. At the 1980 convention of Conservative rabbis, Harold Kushner, one of the movements most influential leaders, offered these sober observations:[56]

    Is the Conservative movement halakhic? Not “Should it be halakhic?,” not “Would the world be better, would my job be easier, more gratifying if it were?” But “Is it?” And the answer is that it obviously is not. Conservative Judaism is not halakhic because Conservative Jews are not halakhic, and increasingly even Conservative rabbis are not halakhic.

    Although it often takes time, lack of Mesorah eventually corrupts observance; and lax observance stimulates spiraling assimilation. In the Conservative movement today we see the beginnings of the spiritual and demographic unraveling that rips apart any Jewish movement disconnected from Mesorah: One study found that four percent of Conservative Jews rediscover Orthodoxy each year, 13 percent move into Reform, and 35 percent drop all Jewish affiliation; another found that 37 percent intermarry.[57]

    Conservative Offshoots

    The Conservative movement splintered twice, spinning off the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary in 1968 and the Institute for Traditional Judaism in 1985. Reconstructionists, led by JTS professor Mordechai Kaplan, broke off to the left, jettisoning belief in the supernatural altogether.[58] The Institute for Traditional Judaism, led by JTS professor David Weiss Halivni, broke off to the right, arguing that G-d had given something to Moses at Sinai, but that that original revelation had been corrupted and lost during the Babylonian exile.[59] According to Weiss Halivni, the Torah represents only a sixth-century B.C.E. manmade guess as to the original material’s form and content. According to both groups, we do not possess a G-d given Torah, let alone a Divine oral tradition explaining the Pentateuch.

    The Final Portrait

    Analysis complete, I stepped back to witness Orthodoxy flowing straight through history, reiterating in each generation its ancient claim to a Divine Torah and oral tradition. Reform branched off two centuries ago and immediately confessed that it possessed no Mesorah. Indeed, it intended to reform what it had received. Reform passed its lack of Mesorah to Conservative, who bequeathed the same to its left-wing and right-wing splinter groups.

    Today, not only does Orthodoxy claim to possess the G-d-given solution, their demographic performance attests to it. Even in the midst of the worst assimilation in recorded Jewish history, today’s Orthodoxy produces the lowest intermarriage rate (2%) and boasts not only the highest day-school enrollment rate, but also the largest adult enrollment in rabbinical seminaries (over 10,000).[60]

    Moreover, I saw that even Orthopraxy-without-Mesorah – Jewish learning and mitzvah observance conducted without intimate connections to the previous generation’s sages (Mendelssohn-style) – eventually decays, producing increasingly assimilated “movements,” until nothing is left physically and spiritually of Judaism and its carriers.

    Today, I realized, there are only two groups: Orthodox who possess Mesorah, and everyone else who doesn’t.[61]

    Finally, perhaps crucially, I permitted myself a personal immersion in the world of Mesorah. I entered the community of sages and detected what thousands before me found: a profound sincerity that even the leaders among the non-Orthodox admit they cannot replicate. HUC Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Eugene Borowitz, thus offers this confession[62]:

    When the Bible was G-d’s book and the Oral Torah had been given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai, there was no question why one should give them reverent attention. They were God’s own communications and, in a time when there no longer was prophecy, the best way one could be in touch with the Divine. When Reform Judaism insisted that the various books of the Torah tradition were largely human creations, that had the advantage of allowing unprecedented innovation. It also devalued the old texts and made them less sacred. A simple experience brought the point home to me tellingly. I was teaching a group together with… an Orthodox scholar. After reading a rabbinic passage to the group he put his book down on a desk, but so near the edge that it became unbalanced and fell off. He quickly retrieved it, kissed it, and put it more carefully on the desk, not stopping in the development of the theme he was presenting. Kissing books, particularly when they have fallen, is a nice old Jewish custom which reflects very much more than respect for authors and publishers. It is related to our belief that our books derive ultimately from G-d – that in loving G-d one loves G-d’s words, the Oral and Written Torah. I wonder if liberal Jews with their sense of the humanity of our sacred literature could ever come to such regard for Torah that – leaving aside their sense of propriety – they could ever think of kissing one of its volumes.

    I cried the first time I saw a yeshiva daven ? ordinary, but sincere people pouring forth their hearts in whispered praise and pleas, the way their teachers and teachers’ teachers had for centuries. I was dumbfounded watching Orthodox businessmen arrive in the beis hamidrash at 5:00 AM to pore over the daf hayomi – a feat many non-Orthodox rabbis are incompetent to perform ? and touched when I found that they also returned after work each evening to prepare with their rebbe for the next morning’s class. I remember vividly the first time I accompanied Tomchei Shabbat ? an unlikely conspiracy of teenagers, young professionals, and elderly sages ? on their way to furtively deliver crates of challahs, grape juice and chicken to the community’s needy erev Shabbat; and I recall trembling when I discovered that such an organization exists (and has always existed) in Orthodox communities around the world. I will never forget the intense concern that filled my teacher’s bright eyes when, stroking his white beard, he read to me the Talmudic passage, “If a man masters the entire Bible and Talmud, but fails to make intimate connections with the previous generation’s sages, he forever remains an ignoramus.”[63] I will never forget how he held my hand and whispered, “You must always have a rebbe.” It was with this portrait before me that I returned to Orthodoxy, to Mesorah, and to a world of promise and awe – a world in which my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will touch Divinity and, with reverence and passion, lovingly kiss their sefarim.

  4. shalom Oat,I would expect you to stick up for the reform as they are almost indistinguishable from some denominations of Christianity. As A matter of fact Most Christians would feel much at home with nuance in a reform Temple. that sid I can’t follow all your criticisms without specific ref, as I am too tired now to go through every thing I wrote. that said when I mention classic Judaism I am referring to Judaism before the emancipation which is only around 300 years plus minus. There are many cultural traditions in Judaism depending on the country I have no quarrel I feel more comfortable in some congregations and less so in others but there is a larger degree of commonality among them than with the reform which like Christianity jettisoned anything that they felt was cumbersome and a hindrance to assimilation in the majority culture. Classical Judaism whether Ashkenazim or Sephardi A- believe in God B Believe the the Torah was given at Sinai by God the Jewish people Through revelation and the Reform do not.C-Classical Judaism is based on the covenant of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob the Reform is of the Mosaic, tradition. Big difference here. Reform Judaism emphasizes ethical Judaism as opposed to faith and belief in God, Everybody got ethics and Jewish ethics hold no greater value than most other belief s and religions, What set Judaism apart as you know is the Jews

    willingness to take on the Yoke of Torah and keep the commandments and to love God, The reform does not even recognize the concept of God and the divinity of the law therefore I say that they ae Jews ony in the national sense but not in the religious. They are the major cause of assimilation today of American Jews. contrary to common perception most Jews to not convert to Christianity Buddhism is number 1 choice of young Jews.

    As a person of faith JC aside for the moment you accept I believe the Tanach and accept the basis of the divinity of the Torah. The Reform either do not or are very vague about it, most think it a folk tale, so you and I may have more in common with you than I do with a reform Jew at least in the belief part. But as I said Judaism is not a religion per se it is a way of life the gives a guide which is all encompassing as to how one lives his life. its not an easy task. But you know all of this ?

    Tell me are the Mormons Christians? are seventh day adventists Christian? I know pretty much what most denominations think about those two sects and for us Reform Judaism is viewed in a similar manner. We are willing to accept deviations in form but not of substance (conflict of form over substance)Reform Changed Substance. Judaism is not democratic it is quite dictatorial but allows ea. of us free will to do or not to do. Our position is If you want to change then Change but don’t call it Judaism!

    The following audio tapes explain it much better than a non observant sinner like me but all the basics and principles I believe are included here. These are for HP as well.let me know your critique and or criticism after you listen to them.





  5. Hi, Ted.

    This thread is like the Energizer(R) Bunny — it keeps going and going!

    According to your Moslem/ Obama apologist emailer,

    John McCain has embraced an anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, anti-everyone preacher – The Rev. John Hagee. Will you be writing articles about what this means for America and Israel. You know, of course, that Hagee wants to gather Jews together in Israel to bring about the apocalypse and convert or kill all the Jews. Hagee has enormous influence in his world.

    I was shocked and dismayed 😮 that there was a man of “enormous influence” going around, planning to “convert or kill all the Jews”, so I Google(R)ed “‘John Hagee’ Jews”. The first hit was

    http://www.pfo.org/jonhagee.htm, which reads:



    by G. Richard Fisher

    “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; And my people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31).

    “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

    Most people who see and hear the Rev. John C. Hagee are impressed. He is rotund, strident, authoritative (and could well pass for Rush Limbaugh’s older and more serious brother). His delivery alone gives the impression of one who really knows what he is talking about. However, careful evaluation of the teachings of Hagee, pastor at the San Antonio-based Cornerstone Church, reveals false teaching and a defective view of a basic and essential issue regarding salvation and the Gospel. Hagee preaches another way of salvation for the Jew, which is in direct violation of Paul’s warnings in Galatians 1:6-9.

    This theological concept, which has many forms, is primarily referred to as the “Two Covenant” or “Dual Covenant” theory.

    Hagee’s web site tells us that his “vision is for world evangelism. The burning passion of his heart is to win the lost to Jesus Christ in America and around the world.” That statement is not altogether true since he will not evangelize Jews and teaches salvation on another basis than the Gospel for the Jewish people.

    So much for Hagee’s planning to “convert” the Jews. If our emailer is correct, then, Hagee must be planning to kill them all — using, no doubt, his “enormous influence”! If you come across something in your research that shines light on how he plans to do this, please let me know so I can notify Mossad. With all Hagee’s “enormous influence”, no doubt he plans to bombard Israel with asteroids, while causing the Sun and Moon to stray from their courses.

    I am eagerly awaiting further word on this shocking revelation :-O .

    Distressingly, Shock-and-Awedly yours,

    BlandOatmeal 🙂

  6. author h peskin

    All indicators point to today’s attack on Jerusalem Yeshiva as a retaliatory strike in response to the assasination of Hezbollah chief terrorist Mughniyah in Feb 08. See intel reprt made several days after event.

    Following the Feb. 12 assassination of Imad Mughniyah, one of Hezbollah’s top military commanders, many threats and warnings have been issued concerning a retribution attack against Israel, which has been blamed for — or credited with — the attack. The threats have come from Hezbollah and Iranian leaders, while the warnings have come from the Israeli and U.S. governments.

    Although the unfolding story continues to make headlines, the warnings we have seen have not included any time frame. This means that most of the people concerned about them will be on alert in the near term but will, as is human nature, begin to relax as time passes and no retaliatory attack materializes. Organizations such as Hezbollah, however, typically do not retaliate immediately. Even in a case of a government with a professional and well-armed military, retaliatory strikes take time to plan, approve and implement. For example, nearly two weeks passed before U.S. cruise missiles struck targets in Afghanistan and Sudan following the Aug. 7, 1998, al Qaeda bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

    Even an organization such as Hezbollah that has created contingency attack plans needs time to dispatch operatives, conduct surveillance, gather materials, construct a bomb and then employ it. Indeed, a review of Hezbollah’s past retaliatory attacks demonstrates a lag of at least a month between the causi belli and the retaliatory attacks. In our estimation, therefore, any Hezbollah retaliatory strike will occur in mid-March at the earliest, though Hezbollah sympathizers not acting as part of the organization could respond more rapidly with attacks that require less planning and preparation.

    Because of the lag time, by the time the real period of danger approaches, many of the deterrent security measures put in place immediately after the warnings were issued will have been relaxed and security postures at potential targets will have returned to business as usual. This natural sense of complacency will greatly aid Hezbollah if and when it decides to retaliate.

    With this in mind, let’s examine the recent threats and warnings and compare them against Hezbollah’s historical retaliatory strikes to determine what a Hezbollah retaliatory strike might look like.

    Threats and Warnings
    Israeli sources have said the Israeli government placed its diplomatic posts on higher alert Feb. 13 following threats of retaliation over the Mughniyah assassination. Israeli officials believe Hezbollah is unlikely to launch attacks within Israel, but rather is more likely to attack Israeli diplomatic posts.

    Inside the United States, the FBI has put its domestic terrorism squads and joint terrorism task force agents on alert for any threats against synagogues and other potential Jewish targets in the United States. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security also have sent a bulletin to state and local law enforcement authorities advising them to watch for potential retaliatory strikes by Hezbollah, and the bureau has made contact with potential domestic targets to convey this warning. The FBI also is stepping up its preventative surveillance coverage on known or suspected Hezbollah operatives in an attempt to thwart any plot inside the United States.

    Many state and major local police agencies also have issued warnings and analytical reports pertaining to a potential Hezbollah retaliatory attack. These departments obviously take the threat very seriously and believe their warnings are highly justified.

    Although the attack against Mughniyah raised the possibility of retaliatory strikes, much of the concern is the result of the response to the killing from Hezbollah and its sponsors. For example, when Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah spoke at Mughniyah’s funeral, he said Mughniyah’s assassination is a further incentive to proceed with the jihad against Israel and that the timing, location and method of Mughniyah’s assassination indicate that the state of Israel (referred to as Zionists by Nasrallah) wants open war. Nasrallah then said, “Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open.”

    Hezbollah lawmaker Ismail Sukeyir said, “Hezbollah has the right to retaliate anywhere in the world and in any way it sees fit.” Hezbollah leader in South Lebanon Sheikh Nabil Kauk is reported to have said, “It won’t be long before the conceited Zionists realize that Imad Mughniyah’s blood is extremely costly, and it makes history and brings about a new victory.”

    Hezbollah was not the only organization to make threats. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari reportedly noted in a condolence letter to Nasrallah, “In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous existence of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hezbollah combatants.” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Damascus on Feb. 15 that Mughniyah’s death had breathed new life into Islamic resistance and vigilance.

    Although Hezbollah has not conducted an attack outside of the region in many years, it possesses the infrastructure, capability and talent to do so today. As we have said, we believe that Hezbollah is a far more capable and dangerous organization than al Qaeda at the present time. That said, Hezbollah has changed considerably since the 1980s. It no longer is just an amorphous resistance organization. Rather, it is a legitimate political party and a significant player in Lebanese politics. Some believe this change in Hezbollah’s nature will change its behavior and that it will not conduct retaliatory strikes as it did following the 1992 Israeli assassination of Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Abbas al-Musawi. However, Hezbollah and its supporters have issued nearly continuous and very vocal calls for retribution for the Mughniyah assassination. Some U.S. counterterrorism sources have even characteriz ed these cries as “unprecedented.” Certainly they are more strident and numerous than those following the loss of any Hezbollah cadre member in recent memory.

    Such an outcry is significant because it places a considerable amount of pressure on the Hezbollah leadership to retaliate. Indeed, Hezbollah may be concerned that it is now has infrastructure that can be attacked, but its survival of sustained airstrikes during the 2006 conflict with Israel could lead it to believe its infrastructure can weather Israeli retaliatory strikes. However, we believe it is unlikely at this point that Hezbollah will do anything that it calculates will precipitate another all-out war with Israel.

    In addition to the pressure being created by the cries for retribution, another factor, reciprocity, will help to shape Hezbollah’s response. Although reciprocity generally relates to diplomatic relations and espionage/counterespionage operations, the concept will figure prominently in any strikes to avenge the death of Mughniyah.

    Perhaps one of the best historical examples of reciprocity is the response to the Feb. 16, 1992 al-Musawi assassination. Following a 30-day mourning period, Hezbollah operatives destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) on March 17, killing 29 people and injuring hundreds. The team that conducted the attack was assisted by the Iranian Embassy, but reportedly was directed by Mugniyah, who was an early pioneer in the use of VBIEDs and a master of their construction and deployment.

    Another case of reciprocity began June 2, 1994, when Israeli forces, responding to an increase in Hezbollah ambush activity along the border, launched a major airstrike targeting Hezbollah’s Ein Dardara training camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The strike destroyed the camp and reportedly killed 30 to 50 Hezbollah personnel. That raid came two weeks after Israeli forces abducted Mustafa Al Dirani, a leader with the Hezbollah-affiliated Amal militia and the person who allegedly provided the intelligence Israel needed for the Ein Dardara strike.

  7. Pesky,I can’t call you a antisemite but you can call me crazy it doesn’t seem fair?

    Rabbi backs India’s ‘lost Jews’
    Inside the Manipur synagogue
    Bnei Menashe say they are one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel
    One of Israel’s chief rabbis has recognised an Indian tribe as lost descendants of ancient Israelites.

    The Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Jews, Shlomo Amar, has informed members of the 6,000-strong Bnei Menashe community in India’s north-east of his decision.

    The ruling will ease the tribes’ emigration to Israel from the states of Manipur and Mizoram.

    Bnei Menashe members welcomed the announcement, saying they could now “go to the Promised Land”.

    ‘Detailed investigation’

    The chief rabbi is now planning to formally convert the Bnei Menashe members to Orthodox Judaism.

    Lalrin Sailo, convenor of the Singlung-Israel association, an organisation representing the “Jews of Mizoram” said: “We have always said we are descendants of Menashe (son of Joseph) so it is great to hear our claims have been authenticated.”

    Elizabeth Zodingliani, right
    Elizabeth Zodingliani, right, wants to settle in Jerusalem

    According to the community, the Bnei Menashe are one of the lost 10 tribes of Israel who were exiled when Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th Century BC.

    The community’s oral tradition is that the tribe travelled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and on to eastern India.

    The Bnei Menashe represent only a tiny fraction of India’s north-eastern Christian community.

    Lalrin Sailo told the BBC’s Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta that the chief rabbi had made his ruling after “detailed investigations” lasting several years.

    A team of rabbinical judges will now be sent to north-east India to formally convert the tribes to Orthodox Judaism.

    Once converted, the Bnei Menashe can apply for immigration to Israel under the Law of Return, without needing authorisation from the country’s Interior Ministry.

    Elizabeth Zodingliani, who edits Israel Tlangau (Israel News) in Aizawal, capital of India’s north-eastern state of Mizoram, said: “We will now all go to the Promised Land, to Israel. I hope we can settle down in Jerusalem.”

    DNA tests

    A key date in the recent history of the Bnei Menashe was 1951, when a Pentecostal minister named Tchalah, acting he said on a prophecy from God, called for a return to the Holy Land. However, the links were not then approved.

    Jews in Mizoram
    Studies brought up similarities with Judaism

    In the 1970s, when the Bible was translated into the local language, similarities with the customs and practices of Israeli people were noticed, Bnei Menashe members say.

    A researcher of the Mizo tribe, Zaithanchuungi, developed the lost-tribe claims in 1981 and presented papers to various seminars in Israel.

    Some Israeli groups like the Amishav, now known as Shavei, which helps Jews move to Israel, supported the claim and says it has brought 800 people from the Bnei Menashe to Israel.

    Other Israeli groups have dismissed the claim as “historically untenable.” DNA studies at the Central Forensic Institute in Calcutta suggest that while the masculine side of the tribes bears no links to Israel, the feminine side suggests a genetic profile with Middle Eastern people that may have arisen through inter-marriage.

    Israeli social scientist Lev Grinberg told the BBC last year that right-wing Jewish groups wanted such conversions of distant people to boost the population in areas disputed by the Palestinians.


    These are a drop in the bucket same thing happening with conversos or morranos in Spain and portugal, S, America and southern USA

  8. Email from a blind apologist for Muslims and Obama. Must be a liberal Jew.

    I have never seen so many speculations and twisting of meanings to justify a preconception. You are obviously a Republican and are determined to “prove” your point even if you have no proof.

    Granted, his Minister thinks highly of Farrakhan and Barack thinks highly of his Minister. Unfortunately for you, that does not mean that Barack agrees with him about his anti-Israel or anti-Semitic feelings or that he supports Farrakhan in any way. Barack has separated himself from Farrakhan and dismisses, as you noted, his Minister’s support for Farrakhan.

    By the way, while Barack has rejected Farrakhan and dismissed his own Minister’s support for Farrakhan, John McCain has embraced an anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, anti-everyone preacher – The Rev. John Hagee. Will you be writing articles about what this means for America and Israel. You know, of course, that Hagee wants to gather Jews together in Israel to bring about the apocalypse and convert or kill all the Jews. Hagee has enormous influence in his world. Hagee is also like David Duke. I presume you used Duke as an example of something you don’t like. So, again, does that mean you are prepared to slam McCain for EMBRACING Hagee?

    Anyway, back to your article. Let’s take the Likud remark issue for a prime example. I don’t support the Likud – and neither did Ariel Sharon. He left that party to form a new one. I don’t think it is anti-Semitic to say he wants the freedom to take different views than Likud promulgates. It is also not anti-patriotic to differ with the GOP here and the right wing that wants to strip America of its civil rights (all except the right to shoot people) in order to “protect” us.

    His Muslim remark was clearly about preventing violence to Muslims in America by citizens who are upset about 9/11. I’m sure you know that and your willingness to twist that speaks volumes. Do you want to promote violence to Muslims? Tell me true. What would you say and do if people in our nation started doing violence to random Muslims?

    Do you dare to be fair and not attack him via guilt by association and judge him on the real meaning of his words?

    Finally, Barack Obama has said clearly on TV that he is not, nor never has been, a Muslim. If you continue to claim he is in order to scare those people who do fear or hate Muslims, what do you think that makes you?

    At long last, Ted, have you no shame?

  9. Yambo wrote

    Peskin in a pinch we can go after some tribes in India who believe they are lost Jews from biblical times, some are already here others are learning Hebrew and Torah and Jewish traditions. In the first instance we can have with some effort 2 million but they have a potential of 50 million souls. Then there are large tribes in Africa ditto them as they with some DNA evidence can claim Jewish roots.

    Yambo, with all due respect , may I humbly suggest that you undertake a forensic psychiatric assessment. You probably are not a danger to yourself or others, but whom I to say-I’m no shrink- but why take chances.

  10. Peskin in a pinch we can go after some tribes in India who believe they are lost Jews from biblical times, some are already here others are learning Hebrew and Torah and Jewish traditions. In the first instance we can have with some effort 2 million but they have a potential of 50 million souls. Then there are large tribes in Africa ditto them as they with some DNA evidence can claim Jewish roots. The we have some Black Heb’s in Chicago and other communities who believe they are the authentic Jews. We could like you guys invite all outsider Homos to Join the tribe , we will even call them Rabbis if it gets us another few thousand members. You seem to favor quantity over quality, The idea Pesky is to have both but the reform is a cult with fringe Jewish trappings, I prefer the Karates over reform. at least they believe in God and the divinity of the Torah. The Samaritans as well.

  11. Here in a few well chosen words is why the U.S.WILL NOT attack Iran anytime soon.

    News Releases Articles Editorials Reports Books Maps Forums Letters Search Permissions Services Links Contact

    Iran and U.S. Head for Talks on Iraq
    Posted GMT 3-6-2008 0:33:17
    TEHRAN — Iran and the United States will hold the fourth round of talks about Iraq’s security situation in Baghdad on Thursday, the head of Iranian negotiating delegation Reza Amiri-Moqaddam said on his arrival at Baghdad on Wednesday.

    The fourth round of tripartite talks will be held at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Iran, Amiri-Moqaddam stated.

    Iran is deeply concerned about the security crisis in Iraq, and is trying its utmost to bring peace to the country, he noted.

    Delegations from Iran, Iraq, and the United States will hold the negotiations at the expert level.

    The Islamic Republic and the U.S. have already had three rounds of talks on Iraq on May 28, July 24, and August 6, 2007.

    The new meeting was scheduled for December; however, it was postponed due to technical reasons.

    Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad had a landmark two-day visit to Iraq this week where he met Iraqi leaders as part of efforts to boost bilateral ties.

  12. Shalom HP.

    I wonder how long we’ll continue on this thread… another year? Who knows. I thought it was all over with, but then you and Yamit keep talking about these interesting topics. I wanted to post just one last time, though, to let you know that for once I agree with you and not with Yamit. You said

    Re reform Jews. If you excommunicate all Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, and any other non- orthodox Jewish congregations, who in heaven’s name do you have left? Are we so numerous that we can afford to toss people out. As a matter of fact, given the Jewish demographic crises in effect world wide, might it not be an idea to proselytise others to join the faith? But than again that is against tradition or worse still heresy…

    I assume the “heresy” remark was sarcasm. I actually believe that it WOULD be a good idea for Jews to prostlytize. There is certainly nothing in Tanach forbidding this; and in places like the US and Canada, it is really the only option Jews have for survival.

    Yamit, you said a few things that are flat-out dishonest, and you should be taken to task on them. First of all, you said that Judaism is

    “the only pre-Christian to survive”.

    This is pure baloney: Hinduism has been around far longer than Christianity, along with its daughter religion, Buddhism. Even the Zoroastrians live on as the Parsees, though in much smaller numbers. I love Judaism, and I believe it is superior to those other faiths; but I love truth even more. We don’t need to lie, to make ourselves look good: We have the true revelation of God, who IS good.

    Later on, you said,

    “Classical Jewish Concepts that have been corrupted by the Diaspora which can be seen clearly in the reform movement”.

    Yamit, open your eyes. “Classical” Judaism is the Judaism of Nineteenth-Century Russia. It was founded in the Diaspora, by Jews of the Diaspora, for Jews of the Diaspora. There is nothing inherently superior in the opinions of Nineteenth-Century Polish rebbes (namely, “Orthodox” Judaism) over Nineteenth-Century German rabbis (namely, “Reform” Judaism). If you want truly ancient and “classical” Judaism, you need to get rid of ALL the rabbinical opinions of the past 1900 years, back to when Judaism was truly the religion of the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland (not of expatriates in Polish streimmels who can’t let go of their Ashkenazi, foreign roots). You obviously aren’t prepared to do that, and this is your right. But you do not have the right to browbeat your fellow Jew because you consider the POLISH Judaism of the Chief Rabbinate to be superior to the GERMAN Judaism of the Canadians and Americans: Neither one is more “classical” or “ancient” than the other, except in your own narrow mind.

    There, HP. I’ve done it. Yamit already knows what I believe on these matters; and I generally don’t bring them up, because I think we have other important things to talk about. But when I see a Jew like Yamit trying to insult and exclude a fellow Jew over such nonesense, I need to speak up.

    Shalom Shalom

    BlandOatmeal 🙂

  13. Yambo baby, luvs yuh, you are interesting,colourful and totally meshuggah ( trust and pray you don’t understand yiddish). Unlike yourself , who is well organized and sticks to the topic, I tend to ramble and digress.Thanks for keeping me focussed.

    Let me explain why I included the Ricin article , You might remember, then again you probably forgot, the fact that Israelis were provided with gas masks during the 1991 Gulf war. That is because there is a special fear that at some time poison gas and other chemical and bio weapons will be used against Israel. Ricin comes under the broad category of bio agents.And that is Why it is pertinent to the Israeli situation.

    Re reform Jews. If you excommunicate all Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, and any other non- orthodox Jewish congregations, who in heaven’s name do you have left? Are we so numerous that we can afford to toss people out. As a matter of fact, given the Jewish demographic crises in effect world wide, might it not be an idea to proselytise others to join the faith? But than again that is against tradition or worse still heresy. Yambo dearest, I have taken enough of your precious time.

  14. Perskin you cut the bal. of the article which is the most important part! I suggest any one interested to log on to the full article. Link to long to post here. as well as the full article. Peskin to cherry pick just part of the article to justify your position is ingenious it shows where you are really coming from and reinforces my original instincts about you.

    “No ancient people have had a stranger history than the Jews. … The history of no ancient people should be so valuable, if we could only recover it and understand it. … Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared … Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on religious ideas derived from the Jews. …. The great matter is not “What happened?” but “Why did it happen?” Why does Judaism live?”

    T.R. Glover
    (The Ancient World, Penguin, pp. 184-191)

    Rabbi Zusha used to say: “When I die and come before the heavenly court, if they ask me, ‘Zusha, why were you not Abraham?’ I’ll say that I didn’t have Abraham’s intellectual abilities. If they say, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I’ll say I didn’t have Moses’ leadership abilities. For every such question, I’ll have an answer. But if they say, ‘Zusha, why were you not Zusha?’ for that, I’ll have no answer.”

    “Intelligent people know of what they speak; fools speak of what they know.”

    – Minchas Shabbos Pirkei Avos 3:18 / Ethics Of The Fathers

    A renowned genius once asked a student, “What are you watching when you sit on a hillside in the late afternoon as the colors turn from yellow to orange and red and finally darkness?” He answered, “You are watching the sunset.” The genius responded, “That is what is wrong with our age. You know full well you are not watching the sun set. You are watching the world turn.”

    – Jeremy Kagan, “The Jewish Self”

  15. HP. #133-134 The Joys of RICIN or I never liked Castor Oil as a Child! Whats YOUR point? we got it and so does everybody else. It’s difficult to weaponize and control there are better alternatives for mass killing, also what we call deseigner strains to which we know the enemy will have no antidote

    re: Rabbinate: I already said previously that this was the case. The reform who have always been anti Zionniost at least until recently and have always opposed a Jewish state should not cry when the problem they themselves have created comes back to haunt some of the adherents of the reform movement plus other. Because of the reform the Rabbinate looks with a microscope on any Jew without obvious proofs. The Conservative movement has gone so far to the left today that they are largely discounted as Jews here. All this has brought up the old question as to who is a Jew. Halacha Orthodox obedience to Torah Law states any one born to a Jewish mother or convert(Orthodox conversion) is a Kosher Jew. Religious piety does not even count here except for the convert. The problem with the Rabbinate is that assimilation is so pandemic in America that which once might have been acceptable (declaration by the applicants based on good faith has been killed firstly by all the non Jews brought here by the Jewish agency all the lies ans forged documents presented etc.) It is the Americans in particular that has aroused the ire of the Orthodox in that in rejection of Judaism that has been the rock under which Jews have survived for 2000 years in a few short generation, what are in the eyes of the Orthodox Apostate cults, want both recognition and parity of status here in Israel. Believe me when I tell you there will be a real civil war before that happens. But not to worry there are not enough reform Jewish advocates and practitioners here to seriously challenge the orthodox hegemony on family status matters. American and Canadian Pluralism om religious question can be likened to Anarchy, no central authority ea. Rabbi a Law unto himself and ea individual deciding for himself what is Jewish and what it means to be Jewish.

    YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW! The sheer Chutzpa of the reform who are more Christianized than Jewish , well at least some of them anyway, want parity of recognition of status with classical Judaism based on numbers and popularity, and threaten Israel with sanctions if Their demands are not met. Its like a family black sheep long divorced and separated from any family contact coming back only to claim the family inheritance when the parents are gone and he is sick and needs his family’s support. CHUZPA is a mild word. b The Orthodox takes the position of welcome back as ews but first Jettison the Apostate Reform malignancy. Or prove Your mother was Jewish.


    Published: March 2, 2008
    One day last fall, a young Israeli woman named Sharon went with her fiancé to the Tel Aviv Rabbinate to register to marry. They are not religious, but there is no civil marriage in Israel. The rabbinate, a government bureaucracy, has a monopoly on tying the knot between Jews. The last thing Sharon expected to be told that morning was that she would have to prove — before a rabbinic court, no less — that she was Jewish. It made as much sense as someone doubting she was Sharon, telling her that the name written in her blue government-issue ID card was irrelevant, asking her to prove that she was she.

    Sharon is a small woman in her late 30s with shoulder-length brown hair. For privacy’s sake, she prefers to be identified by only her first name. She grew up on a kibbutz when kids were still raised in communal children’s houses. She has two brothers who served in Israeli combat units. She loved the green and quiet of the kibbutz but was bored, and after her own military service she moved to the big city, which is the standard kibbutz story. Now she is a Tel Aviv professional with a master’s degree, a job with a major H.M.O. and a partner — when this story starts, a fiancé — who is “in computers.”

    This stereotypical biography did not help her any more at the rabbinate than the line on her birth certificate listing her nationality as Jewish. Proving you are Jewish to Israel’s state rabbinate can be difficult, it turns out, especially if you came to Israel from the United States — or, as in Sharon’s case, if your mother did.

    In recent years, the state’s Chief Rabbinate and its branches in each Israeli city have adopted an institutional attitude of skepticism toward the Jewish identity of those who enter its doors. And the type of proof that the rabbinate prefers is peculiarly unsuited to Jewish life in the United States. The Israeli government seeks the political and financial support of American Jewry. It welcomes American Jewish immigrants. Yet the rabbinate, one arm of the state, increasingly treats American Jews as doubtful cases: not Jewish until proved so.

    More than any other issue, the question of Who is a Jew? has repeatedly roiled relations between Israel and American Jewry. Psychologically, it is an argument over who belongs to the family. In the past, the casus belli was conversion: Would the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to any Jew coming to Israel, apply to those converted to Judaism by non-Orthodox rabbis? Now, as Sharon’s experience indicates, the status of Jews by birth is in question. Equally important, the dividing line is no longer between Orthodox and non-Orthodox. The rabbinate’s handling of the issue has placed it on one side of an ideological fissure within Orthodox Judaism itself, between those concerned with making sure no stranger enters the gates and those who fear leaving sisters and brothers outside.

    Seth Farber is an American-born Orthodox rabbi whose organization — Itim, the Jewish Life Information Center — helps Israelis navigate the rabbinic bureaucracy. He explained to me recently that the rabbinate’s standards of proof are now stricter than ever, and stricter than most American Jews realize. Referring to the Jewish federations, the central communal and philanthropic organizations of American Jewry, he said, “Eighty percent of federation leaders probably wouldn’t be able to reach the bar.” To assist people like Sharon, Farber has become a genealogical sleuth. He is the first to warn, though, that solving individual cases cannot solve a deeper crisis.

    Judaism, traditionally, is matrilineal: every child of a Jewish mother is automatically considered a Jew. Zvi Zohar, a professor of law and Jewish studies at Bar-Ilan University, told me that in Judaism’s classical view of itself, Jews are best understood as a “large extended family” that accepted a covenant with God. Those who didn’t practice the faith remained part of the family, even if traditionally they were regarded as black sheep. Converts were adopted members of the clan. Today the meaning of being Jewish is disputed — a faith? a nationality? — but in Israeli society the principle of matrilineal descent remains widely accepted. Sharon’s mother was Jewish, so Sharon knew that she was, too. And yet it seemed impossible to provide evidence that would persuade the rabbinate.

    Sharon left the office infuriated. Her mother was Jewish enough to leave affluent America for Israel; her brothers had fought for the Jewish state. Now, she felt, she was being told, “For that you’re good enough, but to be considered Jews for religious purposes you’re not.”

    Sharon’s mother, Suzie, is 66, a dance therapist, even tinier than her daughter, a flurry of movement in the living room of her kibbutz bungalow. Suzie’s maternal grandfather, David Ludmersky, was born in Kiev. When he was drafted into the czar’s army, he deserted, fled to America and worked to send a ticket to Rose, the girl he left behind. The Merskys (an Ellis Island clerk shortened the name) moved to the small Wisconsin town of Wausau, where their daughter, Belle (Suzie’s mother), was born. Suzie has heard that they didn’t like the place, that they consulted a fortuneteller, that she told them to move west to Minneapolis. There David Mersky indeed made his fortune, working his way from peddling fruit to owning one of the city’s first supermarkets.

    recount this family history because of its pure American Jewish normality. In Minneapolis, Belle Mersky married Julius Goldstein in a Conservative ceremony. This, too, was typical: Conservative Judaism was the common choice for American Jews leaning toward tradition. Julius’s brother became a Conservative rabbi. Belle and Julius raised their family on Minneapolis’s North Side, “a totally Jewish neighborhood then,” Suzie recalled. She went to Sunday school at Beth El Synagogue, a Conservative congregation.

    Suzie began college at the cusp of the 1960s, attending the University of Minnesota, rooming with a friend from a Zionist summer camp. Her uncle, the Conservative rabbi, paid for her to go to Israel one summer on a student tour. When she returned to Israel after graduation, even the motor-scooter accident was practically part of the standard restless-youth experience. She broke her foot, put off her plan to join a dance company and took a room in a Tel Aviv rooming house. “I was sitting there with my foot up, crutches in the corner, and this handsome guy came in,” she told me. He was British. He and his best friend were living in Holland, “wanted to go somewhere” and drove overland to Israel.

    “He ended up being my husband,” Suzie said with a laugh. He wasn’t Jewish, a twist in the story line. They left Israel together to wander through Europe and married in a civil ceremony in England. Those details would later loom immense: Had he been Jewish, had they married in Israel, she would have had a ketuba, or religious marriage contract issued by the rabbinate, for her daughter to show years later. In the excitement after Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, they decided to return to the country. “He always wanted to live here,” she said, and “we were adventurous.”

    Fast forward: Sharon, on her 38th birthday, took the day off from work to make wedding arrangements. First stop was the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court.

    The rabbinic courts are an arm of the Israeli justice system. Formally, the judges — rabbis with special training — are appointed on professional grounds. In practice, positions in the courts and in the state rabbinate are parceled out as patronage by religious political parties. The main function of the rabbinic courts is divorce, also a purely religious process in Israel. A secondary function is providing judicial rulings on whether a person is Jewish. For that, the main clientele is immigrants from the former Soviet Union. A fairly standard procedure exists for them. It includes examining Soviet-era documents, like birth certificates, that list a citizen’s nationality. (In the Soviet system, “Jewish” was a nationality, parallel to “Russian” or “Uzbek,” listed in everyone’s official papers.)

    At the court, Sharon told me, the clerk who opened her file told her to bring her mother’s birth certificate and her parents’ marriage certificate. “I said: ‘But my mother’s birth certificate doesn’t say “Jewish.” It’s from the United States. They don’t write that. And the marriage license — they had a civil wedding.’ ” After she waited hours to see a judge, he told Sharon to return with “any document that would testify to her mother’s Jewishness.” She asked a court official if a letter from a Conservative rabbi would solve the problem. Her mother has a cousin in Florida who is a rabbi, son of the uncle who originally sent Suzie to Israel. No, the official said, “that won’t help. It has to be someone Orthodox.”

    “When Sharon called me, she was crying,” Suzie told me. Her daughter said the court wanted testimony from an Orthodox rabbi who had known Suzie all her life. “Even if there was such a thing, he would be dead by now,” Suzie said. Lacking an official document labeling her a Jew and without a childhood connection to Orthodoxy, Suzie was again a typical American Jew. Nonetheless, she got on the phone. Her cousin in Florida told her to phone a colleague from Israel’s small movement for Conservative Judaism. He, in turn, said Seth Farber would help her. He was right.


  17. The subject of weapons of mass destruction is of special interest to Israelis because of the first Gulf war experience and its possible use in future conflicts.
    Compiled by A.Herzberg, H.Peskin

    RICIN- Weapon of Mass Destruction ?

    R. Baker

    57-year-old graphic designer and pizza deliveryman, Roger Von Bergendorff, remained in a coma in a Las Vegas-area hospital March 5, nearly two weeks after he apparently inhaled ricin powder, a biological toxin that later was found among his belongings. The FBI is investigating the case to determine how the potentially deadly substance came into Von Bergendorff’s possession — and, more important, what he planned to do with it.
    Von Bergendorff was admitted to the hospital Feb. 14 after complaining of respiratory stress. On Feb. 26, police were summoned to the hotel where Von Bergendorff had been staying after the manager reported having found four firearms in Von Bergendorff’s room. While retrieving the firearms, police also discovered what they called an “anarchist-type” book, which had been marked at a page addressing ricin. Two days later, Von Bergendorff’s cousin notified authorities after he discovered yellowish powder in a vial and a plastic bag, some hypodermic needles and numerous castor beans (from which ricin is derived) while cleaning out Von Bergendorff’s room.
    Von Bergendorff’s cousin, the hotel manager and the police who responded to the calls to the room showed no signs of ricin poisoning, and the room was declared clean. Police and investigators also searched the cousin’s Utah home, where Von Bergendorff had lived for some time, as well as storage units rented by Von Bergendorff. Initial reports suggest no further sign of ricin or its manufacture have been found, and authorities have said they are fairly certain that they have contained the ricin and that no residual environmental contamination has occurred.
    What Von Bergendorff was doing with ricin and the syringes — and whether he manufactured the substance himself or acquired it — is unknown at this time. Because he remains in a coma, he is unable to answer questions. His respiratory condition is the likely result of inhaling ricin powder, though doctors have yet to confirm the cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no cure for ricin poisoning, but victims who do not die in the first five days after poisoning normally recover and survive. Authorities have said the case does not appear related to terrorism, though ricin is considered a potential terrorist tool, given its ease of manufacture and the deadly nature of the toxin.

    The Castor Bean
    Ricin, a toxin derived from the readily available castor bean (the plant is even used as an ornamental), is a by-product of the process used to extract castor bean oil, which is used in foods and various lubricants. However, those who choose to experiment with the beans for nefarious purposes would find it relatively simple to extract low-grade — though still potentially fatal — ricin.
    Ricin acts against cells’ ribosomes, preventing the cells from producing proteins and thus leading to cell death and possibly organ failure and death. It normally is found in powder or pellet form, but it also can be suspended in liquids. Touching ricin might cause a rash, but is rarely fatal. However, when ingested, ricin can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, a drop in blood pressure, organ failure and death. When inhaled, ricin causes respiratory distress and can lead to a build-up of fluid in the lungs, a drop in blood pressure, and respiratory failure and death. Injection is the most dangerous method of ricin poisoning, given that a dose as small as 500 micrograms — about the size of the head of a pin — is sufficient to begin shutting down cellular and organ functions. Because there is no cure for ricin poisoning, treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms and, if possible, flushing the ricin out of the system.
    Ricin as a Weapon
    Due to its ease of manufacture and its potency, ricin often is cited as an ideal terrorist weapon. But we take issue with that point of view, given that militants generally are looking for the biggest bang for their buck. This is not to say that recipes for making ricin and directions for deploying the agent have not appeared in al Qaeda training manuals. They have — specifically in Afghanistan. In addition, in 2003 several suspected Islamist militants were arrested in North London, where traces of ricin were found in their apartment.
    However, in our experience, ricin most often has come into play as a method of targeted killings. Perhaps the most notorious attack using ricin occurred in London in 1978, when Bulgarian writer and dissident Georgi Markov was injected with a small pellet of ricin from the modified tip of an umbrella. Also, the suspects in the North London case were believed to have been planning to use ricin for assassination, possibly of the prime minister.
    In the United States, ricin has been used in attempted and successful criminal assassinations and in suicides (including a suicide in Las Vegas in 2003). In the 1980s and 1990s, numerous cases came to light in which the suspects were found to have acquired or attempted to acquire ricin for targeted killings of spouses and family members, government and law enforcement officials or coworkers. In the early 1990s, several members of the Minnesota Patriots Council, a radical antitaxation group, acquired ricin and were accused of plotting to use it against federal officials. And in 1998, three members of the North American Militia in Michigan, who were indicted on weapons and conspiracy charges, were found in possession of videotapes explaining the process of extracting ricin from castor beans.
    The problem with using ricin as a weapon of mass destruction is that, despite the small dose necessary for it to be lethal, delivering it on a wide scale is not a simple task. Inhalation and ingestion toxicity requires a higher dose than injection. And then there is the question of how to administer it. We have heard that thought has been given to soaking shrapnel from conventional explosives in ricin to add to the lethality of fragments, but the explosion itself would likely cause more damage than the ricin. If Von Bergendorff was preparing ricin for use as a weapon in a lone-wolf attack — and there is no confirmation that he was — he likely would have had better success using the four firearms he had in his hotel room.
    However, ricin’s effectiveness as a discrete weapon of targeted assassination does raise potential concern for highly visible individuals such as political leaders, businesspeople and celebrities. As demonstrated in the Markov case, a handheld device such as an umbrella, a needle or a modified ring can be used to inject a small pellet of ricin into a target. This could be done in any number of situations, including in a receiving line or while the target is “pressing the flesh” on the campaign trail. In such a situation, the target would likely feel the injection and thus recognize the attacker immediately. So if the attacker is willing to get caught, ricin or other biological or chemical agents can be administered in public while the target interacts with a crowd.
    Mass Destruction or Mass Disruption?
    There is a great deal of concern about the potential for a biological attack inside the United States. However, although it is possible for nonstate actors to develop and deploy biological agents and toxins, they are more likely to employ relatively simple and proven methods of attack — using firearms and explosives — than some exotic weapon. Manufacture of biological agents using low technology most often yields small amounts and minimally potent products. Truly weaponized biological agents produced and prepared in quantities great enough for deployment as a weapon of mass destruction require much more sophisticated labs and weaponization facilities than most nonstate actors or lone wolves can or will ever create in their garages or storage sheds.
    There is, however, the psychological component to consider — and biological agents indeed are effective weapons of mass disruption. The 2001 anthrax letters exemplify that point. Although the death toll from those letters was very small, the impact on the postal service and on government and corporate mail-handling procedures was massive. The letters resulted in the complete rewriting of the processes for handling and screening mail, triggered numerous hoaxes and false alarms, and shut down government and private facilities for weeks for decontamination. In other words, the disruptive effect of the anthrax letters was much more significant than the death toll, and the lasting impact on mail handling was much greater than the mail bombs of the Unabomber and others.
    One of the most successful biological weapons attacks in the United States in recent history occurred in Oregon in 1984, when members of the Bhagwan Shri Rashneesh cult sprinkled salmonella bacteria on produce in grocery stores, on salad bars in local restaurants and on door handles around town. The attack, which left 751 people ill, was intended to prevent certain citizens from getting to the polls to vote for the competitor of a cult follower who was running for a judgeship. As in the anthrax attack, this caused a significant amount of disruption, though no fatalities.
    Infectious diseases are even harder to culture and distribute in a mass attack. With many diseases, their slow progress makes them better incapacitants and disruptors than true weapons of mass destruction. To a great degree this is why, despite some tests by various nonstate militant groups, few biological attacks have been attempted.
    In addition, the money, resources and effort that go into a biological program can be more cost-effectively spent on training and supplying fighters with conventional weapons. The train bombings in Madrid and London, as compared with the attempted sarin attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Tokyo, clearly demonstrate that conventional explosives have been more effective than homemade biological or chemical agents.
    This is not to say that militants will stop trying to develop and experiment with biological agents. From a purely psychological perspective, these agents can have a significant impact, not to mention they can be quite effective as a tool of assassination and disruption. But to deploy a true biological weapon of mass destruction takes the resources of a state. Militant groups, given their limited resources and personnel, and often their space and time constraints, are more likely to focus on improving upon the tactics they already know.






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  18. HP How you doing . I want to address your comment of#130, but seriously without getting into a slugging match as the subject is maybe no less important if not more than our existential security threats. First I will say that I am not a religious practicing Jew and I will not be the spokesman for any denomination of Judaism. I will attempt to show a few facts and then we might discuss them if you wish do do so.

    You are correct Jews have limited freedom if you are not Orthodox or oppose their hegemony. Muslims Christians and other religions have virtually total freedom. Orthodoxy only seeks to protect itself so it built a wall of restrictions. Just like Democracies have or will in facing Islamic threats.

    Classical Jewish Concepts that have been corrupted by the Diaspora which can be seen clearly in the reform movement: THE JEWISH PEOPLE IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. It is a Divine, special, holy and different
    nation, chosen by the Al-Mighty at Sinai to live a specific life under Jewish law and
    commandments. THE JEWISH PEOPLE WAS MADE TO BE DIFFERENT, SEPARATE, set apart from all the
    others. Not assimilation or amalgamation or integration with the nations is the Jewish role
    but rather the creation of a separate people, living in a separate state, and building a
    separate and special society. That is the Jewish injunction and that is the true meaning of
    the Jews as “a light unto the nations”. The Jewish people must, thus, be isolated from
    foreign cultures that corrupt and destroy the authentic Jewish Idea.

    LOVE OF JEW FOR JEW. The Jewish nation is one. There are no boundaries that separate
    the Jews and the pain of one is the pain of all. There is an obligation to rush to save
    oppressed and suffering Jews, wherever they may be and in whatever way is necessary. The
    weak Jew who is threatened must be rescued by the Jew of strength. Jewish power, in such
    a case, is an obligation.
    It is unacceptable to speak of internal affairs of any country in which Jews are threatened.
    In particular, while Jews remain in the Exile and are endangered by Jew-haters, it is the
    role of the State of Israel to do all in its power to defend them and to put an end to attacks
    on Jews. Israel was established as the Jewish State, as the trustee and guardian of Jews all
    over the world. It must live up to that obligation.
    For the Jew, there are no permanent allies except the Jew himself and the Al-mighty. For
    the Jew, Jewish interest comes first, for who will care about him, if not himself? Public
    Jewish funds must stop going to non-Jewish causes. NO GUILT. To be Jewish is to be the Chosen of the L-rd and Jews must rid themselves of
    the guilt, self-hate and inferiority that grip so many today. Not guilt but pride; not self-hate
    but intense love; not inferiority but the knowledge that Jews have been chosen from all the
    nations upon the face of the earth to receive the Divine truth. Jewish pride! But combined
    with the humility of bowing to the will of G-d.
    What is moral and ethical, what is just and merciful, must be based not on western and
    gentilized concepts but on Divine values that can be derived only from the sources of Jewish
    Law. The concept of the yoke of Heaven must be accepted and must be the only yardstick
    for Jewish values regardless of how they differ from western and gentile ones.

    http://www.jewishmag.com/9mag/PLAUT/plaut.htm Read this excellent!

    Jewish condition: my opinion-Liberalism =Reform Judaism with holidays!

    The fight for rights in the Diaspora is an illusion and a distraction. It is planning for the present. If we want to view matters from a practical point of view, we must always remember that the Torah says: “Among the nations you will know no rest….” meaning, that in the Diaspora, things are going to be bad.

    The disaster resulting from the Emancipation was the division between the Jewish and human aspects of a Jew. This is the reverse of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s clear and brilliant formulation: “You are called man, and the nations of the world are not called man.” Note: the first word, “you,” in the Hebrew is atem, not atah – it is in the plural. “You” means the whole nation as a collective. The term “humanity” is a foreign word. In Hebrew we say umot haoloam, the “nations of the world.” The abstract concept “humanity” is Platonic; it is an abstract idea. It doesn’t exist in original Hebrew texts, where we encounter only the nations of the world. Unlike “humanity,” the “nations of the world” is a limited concept; according to the Jewish worldview, nothing abstract exists.
    Until the Emancipation there was no spiritual crisis in Judaism, because there was no crisis in the self-awareness of the Jews, who knew who they were. Even though there were conflicts and differences of opinion concerning various commandments, or over whether to give precedence to one’s intention or to fulfilling the letter of the law, or whether to try to hurry the Messianic era, there was still a clear feeling of being part of a collective and of a continuum. The basic question: Who are we? was not a problem. This problem arose when we left the ghetto. When the Jew had to answer the question: Are you a Jew or a Frenchman? What are you? – if you want equal rights in France.

    The Torah does not have commandments that are Jewish and others that are human. What laws for human beings are not already found in our Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Laws? Judaism did not leave a vacuum that needed to be filled with “humanity,” where a person acts as a person rather than as a Jew. Judaism is total. Judaism includes the whole person and Jew. It is the union of person and Jew. Judaism was not a religion, but a complete way of life. It included all of life. Any phenomenon that was new to man, was included by Judaism in its commandments. Judaism gave the world Bereshit, Genesis, the “beginning,” with which the Torah opens. This is the first concept of limits in space and time. Thought is by nature circular, without beginning. The Torah opens with the letter bet, not with a definition of God. We know God only from His creation. The land was chaos, and God set limits: oceans, order, instead of infinity. There is an order and an intention in history. If the world had been created by accident, it would have no meaning. But if it has a beginning, a creation, it is no accident, rather an intention, with purpose. This direction is another basic concept, in addition to limits. No history of any other nation is as clear and defined as ours. Everything that happens to us already appears in regard to our three Patriarchs.

    Plato divided the world into the world of ideas and the world of being. There is no connection between the world of metaphysics and the world of physics. Jesus divided the authority of Caesar from the authority of God. Judaism stands under the banner of unity, of the One, and the ladder symbolizes this. Non-Jewish philosophy is metaphysics. It begins by defining the concept God. Jacob’s ladder is planted firmly in the ground, with angels ascending and descending on it; first, they ascend. Tradition tells us that the entire land of Israel was enfolded under Jacob when he slept and dreamed, and the stones he set under him became one as well. The Hebrew word for “ladder” is sulam. In Hebrew, sulam is an anagram of semel, the word for symbol; and it has the same numerical value as Sinai.

  19. Nader is a Lebanese Christian but an Arabist like his right wing political friend, Pat Buchanan.

    Anyone who can write that Obama is anti-Israel with a straight face yet be an apologist for Regan-Bush Inc., needs to read more.

    There was not a more Jew hating bunch then them, yet some Jews are irrational enough to still believe they were good for Israel and friends of Jews.

    Reagan, Baker, North, and Bush had their heads so far up the Arab terrorist’s butt, they could taste their hummus.

    The largest private owner of FOX is a Saudi terrorist financier. One of the most powerful Republican conservative lobbyists and puppet masters in DC is an Arabist terrorist financier. His name is Grover Norquist.
    Hannity is not a great American nor is his trabant Ollie North who trained the mujahaden and whose boss in the white house trained Bin Laden in CIA techniques.

    Will Hannity ever admit this about FOX and friends? Of course not — you need a spine to tell the truth, but apparently those who believe Reagan-Bush, Inc were good for Israel and Obama is bad do not want to know the truth either.

    Reagan-Bush Inc. BAD.

    If this is too complicated to understand, maybe someone from Good Morning America could explain in it words no bigger than found in USA Today.

  20. Yamit82 wrote:

      Now while we are not a real theocracy Try to get married without the Israeli Rabbinates approval? where you going to get buried when the time comes? who will give and recognize your divorce? All laws re: individual and family status are under the jurisdiction and control of the rabbinate. If you happen to not be a Jewish (mother father is irrelevant ) try getting a residency visa Ha Ha? If you were converted but are now a Jews for Jesus freak or worse, they may not let you in at all lest you contaminate we pure of heart Jews who are very emotional where it concerns our beliefs/ You see we unlike you are not embarrassed about our primitivski religion as it is pretty natural.



  21. HP and Ted I thought I was being meticulous in not name calling my ref: was that based on his views where antisemites would or could use them as a weapon against Jews and Israel. I do apologize to Hp and you if I was misconstrued. In this case my comment was directed at the viewpoint and not the person.

  22. Israel’s Economic Boom: Billons of Dollars Being Invested

    Note: Israel’s economy is growing rapidly and gaining billions of dollars from international investors. In the next two weeks, I will provide examples of this. It is quite a story and yet another incentive for Israel to get the Palestinian situation behind them (if only it were so easy).

    Former Israeli Official Yoram Ettinger Wrote on Feb. 9, 2007:

    Morgan Stanley, Jan. 10, 2007: “Foreign capital flows to Israel surged from $3.2BN in 2002 to $11.6BN in 2005 and a record level of $23.4BN last year … The shekel is fundamentally undervalued against the dollar and even more so against the euro … Despite geopolitical constraints and indeed the eruption of a guerilla war in Lebanon, the Israeli economy has continued to grow at a robust pace …

    Israel’s economy has the strength to withstand a global slowdown … The Bank of Israel has opted for monetary easing and lowered short-term interest rates even below those in the U.S. … Consumer price inflation declined from 3.8% in April to minus 0.3% in November …

    Budget deficit [was reduced] from 5.4% of GDP in 2003 to 0.9% last year… The current account surplus is not just a cyclical phenomenon. Israel’s current account balance moved from a deficit of 0.5% of GDP in 2002 to a surplus of 2.9% in 2005 and about 6% [surplus] last year …” (Globes, Jan. 11, 2007).

    ISRAEL RANKS 3RD IN THE WORLD ($1.4BN) — behind California ($12.4BN) and Massachusetts ($2.8BN), ahead of New York ($1.3BN) and Texas ($1.2BN) — in the level of 2006 high tech investments, according to Ernst Young.

    The 2006 high tech investment in Israel increased 13% over 2005. According to Israel’s IVC, 2006 totaled $1.6BN, compared with $1.3BN — 2005, $1.5BN — 2004, $1MN — 2003, $1.1BN — 2002, $2BN — 2001, $$3.1BN — 2000 and $1BN — 1999 (The Marker, Jan. 23).

    Citigroup — Israel’s CEO, Ralph Shaaya: Israel has become a technological giant, and therefore should expect a growing wave of overseas direct and financial investments (The Marker, Nov. 6).

    The Economist Magazine: Israel is the fifth emerging market in terms of growth, following Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong-Kong (Globes, Dec. 18).

    Accel’s Managing Partner, Joe Schoendorf: “Israel, China and the Silicon Valley are the focus of future technologies…Over 50% of the $400MN invested by us since 2001, have been invested in 20 Israeli companies … Exacerbated security threats have enhanced technological innovations” (The Marker, Jan. 25).

    Motorola’s Chairman and CEO, Ed Zander: “Our investment in Israel (initiated with a 1972 R&D center) is, undoubtedly, one of the best we ever made! Motorola-Israel sells $1BN out of Motorola’s annual $40BN global sales … $450MN is exported annually …

    Israel has the world’s greatest per capita number of engineers, scientists and doctors … While the U.S. spends 2.7% of its GDP on R&D, Israel spends 4.7% … Israel’s competitive edge is primarily in optical, wireless communications, broadband, chips, software, security, military, sensors and biotech products …

    Israel’s Exports grew by $3.7BN, while imports increased by $2.7BN. Exports to the US (excluding diamonds) — $9.6BN, Germany — $1.7BN, England — $1.4BN, Holland — $1.3BN, France — $1BN (The Marker, Jan. 18).

    A 20% rise — and an all-time high — in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since the July 2006 war against Hezbollah. The war is construed as another bump — as were previous wars — on the way toward further economic growth (Globes, Nov. 1, 2006).

    Warren Buffett defines his $4BN investment in Israel’s Iscar, located next to the Lebanese border, as “the highlight of the year.” He added that “at Iscar, as throughout Israel, brains and energy are ubiquitous.” (Annual letter to stockholders of Berkshire Hathaway, New York Sun, Mar. 2).

  23. HP I agree. Yamit tone it down. I don’t want personal insults here stick to the arguments and stop name calling.


    You cause me unecessary work. Not only did I immediately give the background to the suspect quote to alert every one that I couldn’t confirm and I at5tempted to get confirmation.

    I then found a post which predated mine that said the same thing and added quotes from his other book. Here is the url https://www.israpundit.org/2008/?p=370#comment-3751

    The fact that confirmation was need was contained in the first comment.

    So when you say the following you are being a pain in the ass and you are attacking me personally.

    Now, I know that Ted thinks of himself as an honorable and right-minded person ….Enquiring minds want to know…

    You have crossed the line so don’t post for two weeks because I will not approve them.

  24. Ted.

    Methings that Yamit82’s description of myself as an “anti-semite’s wet dream”, has probably overstepped the boundary of acceptable free speech. What say you. How about a 2 minute penalty, or something.

  25. Debby.drop that phrase in quotes into Google and hit return. 74 hits. Someone can track it to the source.

  26. Dear Yamit —

    Being a small country has all the disadvantages you mentioned and more, But it has made us the most innovative country in the World and the most flexible. Even with all our problems in the Global Economy We thrive and America and Canada are sinking pretty rapidly. We have in spite of all the 2nd or 3rd most dynamic economy in the world. 3 years running I might add. Foreign investment is breaking records. our cash reserves would make you blush in embarrassment, all this with massive tax evasion, corruption, and heavy political waste.

    I knew about the corruption, and could have assumed the heavy political waste and tax evasion (they happen everywhere), but the other things surprised me. So I went looking for some confirmation. And I couldn’t find any. The USA is generally regarded as still the most innovative country in the world, though there is no very clear way to measure innovation. Registration of international patents is at best a clue — but the USA outstrips everyone by a long mile. How measure a country’s “flexibility,” assuming you even know what it means. Israel certainly hasn’t show any flexibility in dealing with the 800 pound gorilla in its living room. Part of the problem of proportional voting systems is that they commonly lead to weak coalitions. Israel is no exception. Weak coalitions are not “flexible,” just the opposite. They can’t take risks, for fear of bringing down the coalition. Israel’s economy is growing — at about 5% per annum, which would be great for Western economy — but for a developing country, which is what Israel is, it is hardly spectacular. As for “most dynamic economies” — there are no clear measures, but there are rankings, and I couldn’t find Israel listed in any top ten, let alone top three. First is conceded to be China, Second is usually India, and third is usually Brazil — there are differences between lists. Foreign investment is breaking records — records for Israel, but not records for anywhere else. Inward investment per annum is now about 6 billion dollars a year. About the same as the annual interest on Bill Gate’s personal fortune.

    In sum, I think it’s fair to say that Israel produces more hot air than anything else, and that without substantial foreign aid from the USA and elsewhere its economy would slow down quite quickly. So keep praying that the IDF doesn’t go too far in its pursuit of collective punishment and reprisal. Because if the tipping point is reached, America will turn on Israel just as it turned on George Bush.

  27. I quoted from your post about Obama’s statement in his book “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Readers are having a hissy fit because they can’t find it in the book, they want a page number or they won’t believe it is actually there. Can you please provide that? Thank you so much.

    Debbie Hamilton
    Right Truth

  28. It’s a curious thing about politicians. They need to be elected before they get the job, and to be elected they must appeal to as many people as possible.

    This is a flaw in democracy — and was recognized as such as long ago as Plato. Most voters don’t do their homework. Most are not naturally inquisitive. Most aren’t particularly well educated. They vote how their friends vote or, at best, they take their clues from some newspaper, blog, or website. But if they are 18 or over, and haven’t been convicted of a felony, chances are they can vote with the same weight as someone who has a Nobel Prize. Go figure.

    Still, I fail to see how being Black in America today is a plus, except with other Blacks, who constitute only just about 12.4% of the nation. Hispanics don’t feel solidarity with Blacks; neither do Asians. So being Black helps you in South Carolina, but what explains Iowa or Washington or the other White states that seem to find something in this Black man. Going out of one’s way to court the Black vote should be a net vote loser, not a vote getter.

    I don’t think it’s that he’s Black that is getting him votes. I think it’s that he isn’t Hillary. I have been a life-long Democrat. I voted for Bill both times, and I have never voted for a Republican in a Presidential election. But I would shoot myself before voting for Hillary. So it’s either Obama or Nader for me. Obama if I want to vote for a winner or Nader if I want to vote for someone whose views I share.

    Furthermore, I don’t actually care who Obama is photographed with or who speaks out for him. That’s part of getting elected, I’m afraid. Politics makes strange bedfellows. This is not news.

    I care who his cabinet are likely to be, and what his actions are likely to be. I have heard nothing from HIM (as opposed to the desperate people who write for IsraPundit) that worries me. I have been very impressed by the quality — both breadth and depth — of his advisers. Some will carp that they are not pro-Israel enough. I don’t care. They are not pro-British enough either. I don’t see why the President of the United States and his Cabinet are supposed to be pro-some other country. Bush was long considered the most pro-Israel President of all time. He is also widely considered (and not just among hard-core liberals like me) the worst President of the last 100 years, and possibly the worst President of all time. So anyone who stands up and says “I hate Bush and everything he has done in the last eight years” is going to get a lot of votes, no matter what color he or she is.

    I’ve been to the website of Obama’s church. Nothing on it scared me. I saw nothing anti-Semitic, nothing anti-White, nothing pro-Islam. I found a rather old-fashioned-sounding (meaning sounding like the early 70s) Black church advocating Black confidence, Black enterprise, and Black pride. Big Whoop. Jeremiah Wright is not the Grand Ayatollah. All this talk of racism and anti-Semitism appears to be nothing but anti-Obama rhetoric.

    Finally, it should be clear to everyone who isn’t sniffing glue that whoever the Democrats put forward is very likely to win in November by a large margin. It has nothing to do with Obama or Hillary or McCain — and everything to do with Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, and Rice. Americans are tired of the Republicans, their economics, their war, their lies, their corruption, their support for daft policies in far away places (Pakistan, Colombia, Poland, Iraq, and, not least, the Middle East). As Ralph Nader rightly put it: if the Democrats can’t win this election by a landslide, they ought to fold up, turn out the lights, and reconstitute themselves as something else. Nader’s right. It’s going to take a lot more than what McCain can offer to give the Republicans a third consecutive term in the White House.

  29. Obama is responsible for what his wife says? For what Oprah says?

    Once again in response to the punk jeremiah, although barrack obama can’t control what Oprah and his wife says, he could have repudiated their racially inflammatory remarks, which he chose not to do and has actually benefited in this election from those around him playing the race card. Just as he CHOOSES a friendship with the racist and antisemitic jeremiah wright and CHOOSES to remain a member of his racist, antisemitic church. Stop making excuses for obama already.

  30. I for one am not whining nor do I have any positive expectations one way or another re: the nations of the world. I couldn’t care less. My concern is what we do or not do and that for me is all encompassing. What I can’t control I ignore.I do not believe in peace especially when the term as is commonly used is really meaningless!
    A New Definition of ‘Peace’
    by Michelle Nevada

    Frankly, I’m a bit tired of the word.

    There has been a lot of talk of “peace” lately. It seems the word is everywhere. There are rock concerts and congressional hearings and meetings and protests for “peace.” But I doubt people have even taken the time to define what they think “peace” is. After all, if
    Humanity is incapable of this miracle of peace.
    you look up the word “peace” you are likely to find at least five, if not twenty-five, different definitions of the word – everything from “agreements to end hostility” to “silence.”

    Frankly, I’m a bit tired of the word. It has been greatly overused as some type of panacea for every problem in the world. “Peace” is an abstract, a generalization. Telling people you are in favor of “peace” is very popular, it will probably get you elected, but it really isn’t saying anything at all. With so many definitions to play with, I think I could say with great certainty that we are all in favor of peace. For example, I would greatly treasure a moment of peace (quiet) away from all these people promoting the vacuous and empty idea of “peace.”

    Lake Superior State University, a small college in Michigan, publishes a “Banned Words” list every New Year. The words included on the list are, according to their website, a “Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.” I think I shall suggest “peace” as a word that should definitely be banned for next year. Meanwhile, I want to share my definition of “peace” with you, and the reasons behind my thinking.

    Peace, in my opinion, is something that encompasses almost all meanings of the word – an absence of conflict or struggle, a great quiet, and everything in harmony, etc. I’m sure that this is the idea behind so many politicians’ and activists’ words. They want a world where all people can be at “peace.” It’s a nice idea… or is it?

    In a religious sense, I think it is a nice idea. If one has great faith and an understanding of an all-knowing, all-seeing, infinite and just G-d, one can believe that there will be, at some time, through the intervention of G-d, a perfect peace. But this is something only G-d can bring. Humanity is incapable of this miracle of peace.

    After all, life, as we know it, is a potpourri of conflict, struggle, noise and dissonance. To live life to its fullest, we must make our way through a long list of treacherous and dangerous decisions; we must make sacrifices and ask others to sacrifice; we must compromise and ask others to compromise; we must argue, yell, laugh and make mistakes; we must add spice to our food, our lives and our loves; and we must be demanded of and be demanding. Life is never a place of “peace.” Life is messy, and painful, and beautiful.

    Likewise, in order for nations to exist, those nations must fight for their right to exist. Nations must insist upon their own borders, their own laws, their own values, and they must work for the betterment of their own population. There are always challenges to a nation’s sovereignty, and I don’t think there was ever a time when any nation has existed for even a moment without some challenge from inside or outside their borders. A nation cannot hope to have “peace” unless the nation ceases to exist.

    To exist, people and nations must fight to survive. If we fail, we die – and only in death do we have “peace.”

    So, as I read news stories and hear the speeches of politicians and activists who are promoting “peace,” I can’t help but say to myself, “They are not G-d, the only peace they can offer is the peace of non-existence, the peace of death.”

    This new definition of peace is one that has clarified my understanding.

    This new definition of peace is one that has clarified my understanding of a great many things that used to be perplexing to me. For example, when US Secretary of State Rice, or Prime Minister Olmert, or our new President Peres say they will make “peace” with our Arab neighbors by sacrificing large swaths of land, and providing our enemies with money, weapons, power and energy, I understand exactly what the are saying. When activists protest and say we need to embrace “peace” instead of building a separation fence between Israelis and terrorists, I clearly understand. When Israel reaches an agreement to release 250 terrorists for the purpose of “peace,” I no longer question what they are saying.

    No wonder politicians and activists have never wanted to define the word. If we truly understood what they had been saying all these years, maybe we would have opted for conflict instead.
    3 Av 5767 /

    Being a small country has all the disadvantages you mentioned and more, But it has made us the most innovative country in the World and the most flexible. Even with all our problems in the Global Economy We thrive and America and Canada are sinking pretty rapidly. We have in spite of all the 2nd or 3rd most dynamic economy in the world. 3 years running I might add. Foreign investment is breaking records. our cash reserves would make you blush in embarrassment, all this with massive tax evasion, corruption, and heavy political waste. I see what is and I also see what might be and that is the challenge of living here we are a life and nation building project in progress,. While all you realists can be and rightly so Cassandra’s, I am an unabashed optimist, and I am not ashamed or embarrassed by it either. I rembeember what was here when I first came to Israel and I see it now, Its like we bridged all of Canadian or American History in 30 years.

    Remember one saliant point: He who has the power to deny the World her oil has the same if not more power over events as those who do have the oil.. The real Pawns are the ones in the middle All of the worlds Powers except Russia. There is our real X factor and Koker in the desk!

  31. Yamit and sundry others.
    I keep hearing the constant whine: Why can’t the world or merely just America allow Israel to win this incessant war decisively. a la world war 11. No concern for casualties, total war with total destruction. End it once and for all with the final result, a complete peace. Of course it is not only America that is the problem, but rather Israel itself.
    For in warfare and international affairs, as in sex, size counts. Example using the 2nd world as a model, Israel can with its huge superiority in military prowess destroy the Syrian military and create havoc in the country. The next necessary step would be to pacify the countryside , install a friendly goverment, deploy a large occupying force,for an indefinite period of time, infuse large sums of capital into the country and proceed to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure, feed and house the population, TELL ME YOU YOKELS, IS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO GO ANY FURTHER. YOU ARE ALL LIVING IN NEVER, NEVER LAND> must watch my blood pressure. Only step 1 is possible. Israel is a small country with a small standing army, limited resources, a small population , politically weak with few friends. IT CAN’T BE DONE!!!!

    I am very sorry, I am shattering all your illusions but this is finally the time for reality therapy. It had to be done.

  32. Yamit
    I am not sure what you are asking but if you want my confirmation that I wrote something to the effect what he quoted me as saying, the answer is “yes”. He referred to it once before but didn’t come out as clearly as to who said it. I thought then of him negatively. Even more so, now.

    Now the context. He was going on with a complaint about Teshuva and I in a joking manner suggested his problem is that he reads him. In others words if he didn’t wanted to be worked up about his remarks he shouldn’t read them. I thought it was it was a clever retort never intending it as an insult to teshuva.

    I did nothing to Teshuva and my remark was not public. It was in an email to Andrew. It is Andrew who made it public doing both Teshuva and me a disservice.

    Now Teshuva says what he wants here with one exception. I have admonished him not to attack Christian beliefs because I didn’t want Israpundit to be a home for such attacks. I have also admonished Andrew from time to time and even banned him temporarily because I felt his criticism of Israel was too odious. He knows I am watching what he posts.

    As much as some think me too far to the right, I am very much a liberal. I tolerate all kinds of people and ideas but I do have my limits. If I wasn’t a liberal, Andrew wouldn’t be allowed to post here.

    Another complaint I had with Andrew’s posts and to some extent with Teshuva was that they shifted the focus from the issues I want discussed here.

    They are both very intelligent as are you.

  33. Well that didn’t help. Morris (or Maurice) Bernstein is a name like John Smith. There have been many, and the one who make it to Google all have something interesting about their lives. So, may I ask, which Morris Bernstein did you mean?

  34. Who in hell is Morris Bernstein? I will have to go Google his name.

    Inexcusable? What I did with Teshuvah was long overdue. An idiot savant is more idiot than savant — knowing the scriptures backwards and forwards, but having no capacity for thinking. I hope he crawls into his Holy Land hole, and remains quiet for a long time to come. Ted was not my client, and I owed him no pledge of confidentiality. He said something. I quoted him correctly. I imagine he didn’t mind or I would have heard from him directly. These bizarre “Christian Israelites,” as they style themselves, are a menace to us all. They ought to go back to Appalachia and handle snakes.

  35. What you did with Teshuva was inexcusable, a breach of trust and etiquette. Remind me never to recommend you as a lawyer to anyone I like. That was the 2nd time I saw you do that.

    As for you Teshuvah, I have no idea why Ted permits you to post on this blog either, for, as Ted himself once wrote to me, “Andrew, your problem with Teshuvah is that you bother to read what he writes.

  36. My dearest Yambo,

    I lived in Miami Beach for about 7 months in the late 1980s, where I was part of a team of lawyers from New York investigating large real estate frauds for General Electric Credit Corp, which had made the mistake of investing in a number of dodgy office and condominium developments. Except for the weather, which is too hot and humid for me, and the occasional hurricane, which is an even nastier experience than the occasional earthquake I suffered in San Francisco, I quite liked Miami Beach. Like Polend, full of beautiful girls.

    Poland is a pit, I agree. But then Israel is a pit as well. Both are deeply corrupt countries, well behind the West in development and standards of living. Both are democracies only if one ignores the details. Both allow (even encourage) religion to have far too much influence in politics and daily life. Both are paranoid, racist societies. And both consider themselves far more important than they really are. So there isn’t much difference between them.

    I just happen to have landed in Poland and been fascinated by it and its Jewish history, willing to accept the daily challenges that being in Poland involves, while you landed in Israel, whose Jewish history is older but perhaps not really so interesting (being based on myth as much as fact) and did the same where you are. Who knows why one is drawn to certain places? — I can’t explain it. Most people I know would rather live in San Francisco than in either Poland or Israel. Most people are not idealists.

    One big difference — though it is hard to say how much it really means — is that Poland has not illegally occupied large parts of its neighboring territories nor sought to colonize them in the name of … what shall we call it? Is there a better terms for it than Lebensraum? I can’t think of a more accurate description. Nor has Poland gone to war with anyone in the last 60 years. I imagine the Poles know they can’t win such wars, and prefer instead to do what they can to win the diplomacy. They aren’t very good at that, either, but at least no one is being killed for no good reason . Israel hasn’t even tried diplomacy yet — so it’s difficult to predict what the results of it might be.