TRUMP, HITLER, AND THE RETURN OF FASCISM

TRUMP, HITLER, AND THE RETURN OF FASCISM

Laurence H. Kant

 

Many, including Melania Trump, have assured us that Donald isn’t Hitler. Some commentators object to the comparison outright; others simply bleat the equivalence hysterically, without further explanation. All should contend with the evidence:

 

  • Trump’s tweeting a Mussolini quotation and retweeting neo-Nazis, white supremacists;
  • Trump’s belated (and weak) disavowal of David Duke and the KKK;
  • Trump’s refusal to condemn or even rebuke Jew-hating tirades—including death threats and concentration camp oven imagery—against Jewish journalists who’ve criticized   him (Bethany Mandel, Ben Shapiro, and Jonathan Weisman);
  • Official association of Trump’s campaign with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, giving talk-show host, James Edwards, a VIP press parking space and interview with Donald Trump, Jr. at a Memphis rally, and designating William Johnson a California Trump delegate to the Republican convention;
  • Ivana Trump’s Vanity Fair statement (1990) that her husband kept a copy of Hitler’s collected speeches, “My New Order,” in his bedside cabinet (which Trump acknowledged);
  • The right-arm salute Trump invokes at his rallies, recalling the Nazi salute (some dispute this, but, given his media skills, it’s safe to assume that Trump knows the symbolic effect of every image he uses);
  • Trump’s use of “America First,” alluding to an isolationist, early-40’s U.S. movement that was rife with Jew hatred and called for negotiations with Hitler;
  • Trump’s October 13 speech that refers to international bankers, media, and global elites that allegedly strip the U.S. of its rightful power—a trope that recalls the classic Jew-hating screed, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” , and has numerous and widespread parallels in other Jew-hating rhetoric as well;

 

Does anyone really believe that this self-described “really smart” Wharton grad draws on the Nazi tradition of political rhetoric, symbolism, and ethnic/racial scapegoating unawares?

The onus should be on those who deny the obvious connections to explain in detail why they’re not relevant.

Countless other items of evidence connect Trump to fascism more generally:

 

  • Using threatening gestures, encouraging supporters to beat up protesters and intimidate critics;
  • Forecasting (and encouraging) “riots” at the Republican convention;
  • Calling reporters “scum” and implicitly threatening them, and barring major media organizations (left and right) from his campaign events;
  • Calling to change libel/slander laws to curb criticism of public figures;
  • Demonizing ethnic groups: labeling Mexicans “rapists” and “drug addicts,” calling for mass deportation of 11 million undocumented aliens, advocating a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., and demanding the recusal of a judge as biased and unqualified because of his ethnic heritage;
  • Targeting the disabled by mocking the arm and facial movements of New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski;
  • Praising dictators, including North Korean Kim Jong-un, for murdering potential  enemies; Chinese rulers, for cracking down on Tiananmen Square protesters; and Vladimir Putin for being “a leader’’;
  • Openly and frequently calling for the jailing of his political opponent, Hillary Clinton—this happens as a matter of course in totalitarian societies from the Congo to Cuba to North Korea;

 

No, Trump doesn’t outline a genocidal philosophy or well-thought-out plans to implement discrimination—what coherent policy strategy has he ever enunciated?—but he is aware of Hitler and Mussolini and riffs off of them. He knows who they are and borrows their ideas—most notably the use of intimidation and violence to acquire political power.

Does this make him more like a third-world dictator (Marco Rubio’s assessment)? Would Mussolini serve as a better comparison than Hitler? Silvio Berlusconi?

We don’t know what he sincerely believes, but does that really matter? We can only judge him by his words, his actions, and what he promotes.

We d­­­on’t know what Trump would actually do if elected president. Given the American system of checks and balances, his attempt at authoritarian rule would likely be limited by the realities of governance. Yet, is that a risk worth taking?

Why don’t commentators address the specific evidence instead of asserting that Trump isn’t Hitler? Many in the press minimize the Trump phenomenon by laughing off his words or by rationalizing the crazy stuff he does. The reason is clear: because the evidence is so troubling and disturbing, and the implications so appalling, that they would rather it simply go away.

If we’ve learned anything from the holocaust, it’s that we can’t take on the role of bystanders and let troubling events transpire by ignoring or glossing over them.

Too frequently in the past, politicians and commentators trivially compared political adversaries to Hitler and the Nazis, leading to what many call “Godwin’s law”: the inevitable invocation of Hitler or Nazis to refute an argument. Neither mindless name-calling nor willful ignorance force us to face the facts before us.

The facts are clear: Trump uses language, images, and tactics that directly recall those of the Nazis and Hitler, along with other fascists. To allow him to speak destructively by incorporating this pernicious tradition and to permit him to encourage violence without calling him to meaningful account does nothing more than offer him a media get-out-of-jail free card. It amounts to an abdication of the sacred responsibility the founders gave the press in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Who is willing to stand up and be counted?

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Laurence Kant
Share

Israeli Governing Coalition Likely to Have 1-Vote Majority

Barring a unity government (which the Zionist Union under Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni have thus far resisted) or the sudden withdrawal of Bayit Yehudi (Naftali Bennett = the religious settlers’ party), there will be a coalition government of 61 MKs out of 120. This gives a 1-vote majority to the coalition and is a recipe for political instability and possible new elections. [MK = “Member of the Knesset]

Avigdor Lieberman and Yisrael Beteynu made this possible when they opted out of the government for a variety of reasons (see my post from a couple of days ago: See http://mysticscholar.org/lieberman-and-yisrael-beteinu-out-of-israel-government/

Essentially one member of the Knesset can bring down the government. One member can sit out a vote to prevent legislation from passing. One member can exact retribution on political rivals by voting one way unexpectedly or by abstaining. If someone wakes up in the morning on the wrong side of the bed, that MK can simply gum up the wheels of the government. One member can basically do anything he or she wants. It’s a level of political chaos, which even for Israelis is quite extraordinary. I have no idea how much can get done under these circumstances, unless a military crisis compels unity of some sort.

In Israel, they have nicknamed this potential government: “EVERY BASTARD IS A KING.”

For the moment, there will probably not be new elections, simply because the politicians and the voters are exhausted by the previous campaign. No one apparently wants to face an election right way. That will likely change in short order, however, once the political circus again enters into full season.

Israelis are famously tough and resilient in these kind of circumstances. They will have to use every bit of that ingenuity to keep this government afloat for an extended period of time.

Anybody out there have ideas about how all this is likely to play out?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Laurence Kant
Share

Mizrahi Nation: Middle Eastern Jews in Israel and a Brief History of Jews in the Middle East

MizrahiNation1

A superb article by Matti Friedman, one of the best of I have seen not only on the history of the Mizrahi (Middle Eastern Jews) in Israel, but on what it means to be Israeli, Jewish, and living in the Middle East. This article offers a perspective that is rarely found in discussions about Israel and the Israel/Palestinian conflict. After reading it, you may find your views on Israel, Jews, and the Middle East at least a little different.

I particularly enjoyed his characterization of the “religious vs. secular” Jewish dichotomy as a Western/Ashkenazi labeling. For Mizrachi, that distinction doesn’t exist. They have their own “liberal” form of Judaism which is not Orthodox, but “traditional”/Masorti–the name for Conservative Judaism, but different, because it has its own history and application that is completely different from the European-based movement. For example, some Mizrachi may go to Synagogue in the morning, head to the beach in the afternoon, text to one another, while celebrating Havdalah (end of Shabbat) later.

Overall the Mizrachi are much more “liberal” in practice than the Ashkenazi (European-based) religious, but more politically conservative than many Ashkenazi. Their conservatism is not based on ideology (as is typical of Ashkenazi on all sides of the political spectrum), however, but more on experience in having lived in the Middle East for many centuries (well before Islam ever got there).

http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2014/06/mizrahi-nation/

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laurence Kant
Share

Media Bias and Israel

FriedmanMatti

More on the bias of Western media coverage of Israel by a former AP reporter, Matti Friedman: hostile fixation on Jews and Israel; censorship of Gaza coverage under pressure from Hamas and failure to report Hamas using civilians as human shields; and failure to report on an Israeli peace proposal. The original story discussed the failure of Western media to report on the corruption of the Palestinian Authority; the all-consuming media criticism of Israeli society and politics, with virtually no criticism of Palestinian society and politics; intense documenting of Israeli violence against Palestinians, with no corresponding, remotely equivalent documenting of Hamas’ brutality and vast military infrastructure; failure to report on Hamas intimidation of reporters; failure to describe the Hamas charter, which call for the genocide of Jews and uses the notorious Jew-hating Protocols of Zion to call for the murder of Jews; failure to report on Israeli peace proposals prior to the Netanyahu government; failure to report on the tiny size (both geographically and demographically) of Israel in contrast to the Arab/Muslim world; failure to connect Hamas to other extreme, exclusivist, violent Muslim religious movements (e.g. al Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, Taliban); and the overall equivalence of Israel as bad oppressors and Palestinians as sympathetic victims.

I am a strong critic of many Israeli policies (settlements, racism against Arabs, too much religion in government, the Netanyahu’s goverment failure to engage the Palestinian Authority), but it’s appalling how media coverage is so one-sided and tilted against Israel (and Jews as well) and so relatively non-critical of Hamas (which advocates genocide of Jews, believes in forced conversion to Islam, supports brutality and violence, and opposes democratic and secular values) and the Palestinian Authority (which is notoriously corrupt, inept, suspicious of democratic values, and refuses to accept Israel as Jewish): http://tabletmag.com/scroll/184707/ongoing-controversy-around-the-most-important-story-on-earth

Here’s the original article by Friedman: http://tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183033/israel-insider-guide?all=1

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laurence Kant
Share

Is Belief a Jewish Notion?

A good discussion: Howard Wettstein argues that the question of belief is not important in Judaism. The question as to whether or not God exists is the wrong question. Rather the questions should be:  What is your experience of God? How do you relate to God? Judaism is experiential and practical, not theological: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/is-belief-a-jewish-notion/?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laurence Kant
Share

Nazi Boycotts and Today’s Boycotts against Israel

(via Mickey Hernandez) “Eighty-one years ago today, the Nazis carried out the first nationwide, planned action against Jews in Germany: a boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals. SA members stood menacingly outside Jewish-owned shops and the offices of Jewish professionals, the Star of David was painted in yellow and black on store windows, and acts of violence against individuals occurred. The boycott, which lasted only a single day and was ignored by many individual Germans, marked the beginning of a larger campaign against Jews in Germany.”
This is what the Nazis did to Jews 81 years ago on this day. And once again many groups such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), a few academic and labor organizations, and leadership in some Christian denominations propose to boycott Israeli Jews today. And right now acts of violence in Europe against Jews in Europe are surging. Have some people so easily forgotten the past, or is it in their interest to forget?

“Learn more about the boycott and its aftermath: http://bit.ly/1iWq2xi

NaziBoycott1

“Photo: Members of the Storm Troopers (SA), with boycott signs, block the entrance to a Jewish-owned shop. One of the signs exhorts: “Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!” Berlin, Germany, April 1, 1933. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.”

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laurence Kant
Share

Israel Ranked as Best Country in the Middle East for Women

Israel far outpaces other countries in the Middle East when it comes to the position and treatment of women: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/178504#.UzrmE61dXDP

Share

Woman who Rescued her Husband from Dachau Dies at 111

Share

The Story of Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands

Here is a video that discusses the history of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. This review is pertinent, given recent, false claims by Presbyterian leadership about Jewish history in the Middle East, which I discussed briefly in a previous post yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTo0BLG9R8s

Share

PC-USA/Presbyterians Assault on Zionism and Judaism

The Presbyterian Church/PCUSA has recently promoted as a congregational resource a booklet called “Zionism Unsettled.” This has caused an enormous amount of controversy in the Jewish community (from the left to the right), as it essentially denies the legitimacy of Jewish aspirations and questions the right of Jews to have their own state.The attack on Zionism is not a critique of particular Israeli policies, but rather an assault on Israel as a Jewish state and an attack on Jewish history. It is nothing less than open and unapologetic antisemitism. Among other things, it claims that European Zionism ruined the lives of Middle Eastern Jews and that blame for the suffering of those Jews (the Mizrahi) should fall on European Jews who are colonialist usurpers. According to this narrative, European Jews have duped poor, benighted Middle Eastern Jews who were living blissful lives until those nasty Euro-Jews came along. This is a lie, pure and simple. Middle Eastern Judaism has a long history of love for Israel and hope for a return to their homeland, as do all Jews everywhere on the globe. And Jewish history in the Middle East is complex and often harsh. For example, in Yemen, Jews faced vicious persecution and lived lives of abject poverty and constant harassment and intimidation. They were not even allowed to own musical instruments, and the men were relegated to working in sewers. And, although there were times when Jewish life flourished in the Middle East, Jews throughout the Middle East also faced regular pogroms and persecution for centuries.

Many Presbyterians (if not most at the local levels) do not support this antisemitic position, but a small group of advocates and ideologues have hijacked their church. I wish the challengers all blessings and offer my support in whatever way I can be of use.

For these reasons, I am giving you links to a series of articles that Middle Eastern Jews have themselves written on this topic. I hope you find them of interest.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lyn-julius/presbyterians-have-it-bac_b_4896724.html

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/open-letter-to-the-presbyterian-church-from-an-iraqi-jew/

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/presbyterian-churchs-guide-is-dead-wrong-about-iranian-jewry/

icscholar.org
Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laurence Kant
Share

Reincarnation is a Jewish Thing

ReincarnationJewish1

Many people–including many Jews–don’t realize this, but it’s a fact (as the website below demonstrates). It’s actually the Orthodox who emphasize reincarnation, not liberal Jews.

tp://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Why-Reincarnation.html

Share

Fleeing the Holocaust: A Story of Travel to Iran

FlightToTehran1

The story of children who came eventually to Tehran to flee the holocaust: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/gathering_fragments/doll.asp

Share

Courage to Resist

This is the story of those who plotted to assassinate Hitler. But it’s also the story of anyone who resists authority and conventional wisdom, of anyone who is a boat rocker. When you challenge what’s wrong, always be prepared to stand alone. In an ultimate sense you are not alone, but in the normal world you are. It’s a great lesson, though a very hard one:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/the_courage_to_resist_20130224/

 

This is a wonderful article by Chris Hedges, but I would also like to see attention drawn to Henning von Tresckow, who was the prime mover of the plot to assassinate Hitler (Operation Valkyrie) and a staunch opponent of antisemitism: http://mysticscholar.org/last-words-of-a-hero-general-hermann-henning-von-tresckow/

Share

Israeli Election: Western Media Doesn’t Get It

Most U.S. newspapers, like the New York Times article below, have never really gotten it and still don’t get it. This is NOT only about Netanyahu. And it’s NOT just “kitchen-table” issues, a patronizing phrase that smacks of elitism and intellectual snobbery.

This is about studio apartments that cost $500,000 dollars. This is about the Ultra-Orthodox who don’t serve in the IDF and the rest of the population that does. This is about welfare for corporations and for the ultra-Orthodox who live off the hard work of the middle class. This is about a government fixated on Iran while ignoring the economic plight of its own citizens. This is about unemployment and youth who have limited prospects. This is about religious bullying and extremism. This is about a minority of settlers who put at risk the majority of Israelis just trying to live their lives. This is about the vast majority of Israelis from left to right who believe that Palestinians have no interest in peace, but who still place hope above despair.

Israelis do care about serious issues. The issues above are serious. Just because Israelis are not only focused on borders and negotiations, as we are when it comes to the Middle East, does not mean that they are superficial or materialistic consumers. Israelis have a right to live their lives without others imposing their social, political, and religious preconceptions on them.

We in North America and Europe love to babble on (including me) about the prospects for peace, about the children of Abraham, about Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, about the Bible, about oil, about democracy in the Middle East, and so much more. However, Israelis want to be able to have normal, healthy, fulfilling lives. This elections says to the Israeli government: you have to pay attention to the middle class and stop focusing on everyone and everything else but us. Without a middle class and without working people, there is no Israel. Peace starts at home.

Tepid Vote for Netanyahu in Israel Is Seen as Rebuke

By JODI RUDOREN – New York Times Online 1-23-13

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is likely to serve a third term, but voters gave a surprising second place to a centrist party founded by a celebrity who emphasized kitchen-table issues.

Share

The Valmadonna Book Collection Goes on Sale Again

A fascinating story that illustrates the precariousness of Jewish cultural heritage:

http://www.forward.com/articles/137521/ (via Dianne Bazell)

Share

Lexington Temple Adath Israel Conducts B’not Mitzvah Ceremony

At Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, a group of adult women and Rabbi Marc Kline conducted a B’not Mitvah ceremony.  Traditionally this marks the entrance of children into adulthood at the age of thirteen, but many adults, especially women, did not have the opportunity to to have a Bat Mitvah or Bar Mitzvah as teenagers. This ceremony gives such adults the chance to experience an important rite of passage.

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/18/2884098/non-traditional-students-celebrate.html

Share

Passover Coke

Rabbi Geffen sounds like a great man who understood the importance of maintaining tradition while adapting to new cultures. To me that’s being Jewish is all about.

I actually do eat corn during Passover, and I don’t see the problem. Corn is not a grain and is not leavened in any case. Ashkenazim don’t eat corn (along with beans, rice, and other similar plants), but Sephardim do. In fact, I believe the Ashkenazi understanding of “grains” is wrong and should be consciously repudiated. It’s a silly rule. I would even eat barley and oats as long as they are not leavened, which means cooked for more than eighteen minutes. This putting “a hedge around the Torah” business sometimes gets ridiculous, obsessive, and comical.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/23/us/23religion.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fnational%2Findex.jsonp (via Nelson French)

Share

Protesters Descend on Israel’s Borders

This is one way to distract everyone from their internal problems in the Arab world:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110515/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Share

Theresienstadt Propaganda Film and the Holocaust

A sad and revealing story about a Jewish director who in 1944 made a propaganda film under Nazi supervision at the Theresienstadt camp in order to fool the International Red Cross. This film was just re-released to remind us not only of the holocaust, but to show us the use of propaganda to propagate a lie:
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/27/3087086/rare-nazi-propaganda-film-showcases-theresienstadt-as-paradise-for-inmates

Share

The Moral Ambiguity of Spanish Jewish Heritage

Is the Spanish government’s  emphasis on Jewish tourism a legitimate enterprise? http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/04/3086707/spain-building-monuments-to-its-jewish-past-critics-question-motives

Share

Massive Demonstrations Across Syria

Wow.  With crowds chanting, “No to Iran, no to Hezbollah,” no less.  This is something, even more amazing to me than Egypt. Of course, we have no idea what the outcome will be.  Also we have to be fearful that Assad might initiate violence against Israel (perhaps through Hezbollah or Hamas) in order to distract attention from his own people’s anger at him.  Christians in Syria are probably very worried, because they have done relatively well with the Assad/Alawite secular Baathist regime. There’s also the possibility of a religious Sunni regime coming to power. But Assad is one of the most brutal family dictatorships around, virulent hater of all things Israel, and a close ally of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Again I recall Lenin’s quote: “Sometimes decades go by, and nothing happens. Sometimes weeks go by, and decades happen.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110325/wl_time/08599206136400

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html?_r=1&hp

Share

Rev. Jim Wallis on Government Cuts

As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis.  The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized.  That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields.  When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments.  The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account.  This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society.  Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say.  Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/03/24/fast-pray-and-act-new-threats-to-the-poor/#disqus_thread

 

Share

Jewish Symbols: The Menorah

See my talk:   Laurence H. Kant, “Reassessing the Interpretation of Ancient Symbols,” Hellenistic Judaism Section Panel on Erwin Goodenough, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Anaheim, November, 1989: This piece deals with symbol interpretation and the early Jewish interpretation of symbols, particularly the menorah: © 1989, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved:   MenorahTalk1

This is a summary of my view of how a symbol conveys its meanings.

Share

James Kugel: The Little Self and the Big Self

I found this moving. It’s certainly not what I expected, and it reminds me of the classical mystical experience:  when you realize how small you are, how truly beautiful that is, and how you then can access the divine in ways you never thought possible.  We could also refer to it as the withdrawal of the ego.  To realize how interconnected we are, we must realize how small we are.  Those who have this experience are blessed and privileged.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/07/2742888/approaching-god-from-the-still-small-self

Share

John Galliano and Antisemitism


Chief designer for Christian Dior, John Galliano, is fired for antisemitic remarks:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/fashion/02dior.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all

Share

Arab Antisemitism and Yusuf al-Qaradawi


This is an excellent primer on Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_e138.htm

Also an essay on Arab antisemitism by Richard Cohen
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/28/AR2011022805199.html

In the meantime, Hamas resists letting the UN include the holocaust in its human rights curriculum
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/28/hamas-un-holocaust-lessons-gaza

Share

Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are close, as this article indicates.  And now Hamas has invited one of the charismatic leaders of the Brotherhood to Gaza, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.  Egyptian Qaradawi has frequently called for jihad against Israel and Jews, the destruction of Israel, and has said that he himself looks forward to coming to Israel to personally shoot Jews.

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_e137.htm

For more on Qaradawi and his hatred of Jews, see the following:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/02/sheikh-qaradawi-seeks-total-war/71626/

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=2000 (this discusses not only Qaradawi’s anti-semitism, his love for Hitler and his hopes for another even more successful Jewish holocaust, but also his support for female genital mutilation and wife beating, suicide killers, the fatwa ordering the murder of Salman Rushdie, the execution of apostates, and laws treating religious minorities differently.  The author emphasizes the whitewashing of Muslim Brotherhood hatred and violence in the New York Times.

Share

Tunisia: Islamists Demonstrate Against Jews

This is the other side of Middle Eastern protests and freedom movements:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQHdxYDTH_Y
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4030359,00.html

Share

“Abbas’s Intifada: Isolating Israel and Unilateral Steps”

The strategy of Abbas is not violence, but the diplomatic isolation of Israel and the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, with borders and parameters not to be determined by negotiation, but by fiat.

http://www.hudson-ny.org/1899/abbas-intifada

Share

British Trade Union Movement, Israel, and Boycotts

The British Trade Union Movement has been co-opted by anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activists, committed to ending the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=3&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=624&PID=0&IID=6082&TTL=The_British_Trade_Union_Movement,_Israel,_and_Boycotts

Share

Israel Transit Ads War on US Buses


This reflects increasing polarization in our country and more aggressive anti-Israel campaigning.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/08/2742900/battle-over-mideast-transit-ads-heating-up-across-the-country

Share

Another Thought on Israel-Palestinian Peace Negotiations

Recently a New York times articles explained how close Israel and the Palestinian Authority were to completing a peace treaty under Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert.  Upon further reflection, I have some doubts.  It is in the interests of both Abbas and Olmert to exaggerate the proximity of a deal.  Olmert wants to contrast himself  with Netanyahu and present himself as great Israeli leader.  Abbas wants the West to think how great he is for giving up so much to the Israelis.

But the question is twofold:  Is Abbas ready to give up the right of return for millions of Palestinians (which is the only way for Israel to remain a Jewish state), to reject the demands of militant members of Fatah,  to accept Israeli authority over some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, to acknowledge that Jews have some rights on the Temple Mount (which is also the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock), and to stop engaging in antisemitic rhetoric, particularly in its schools?  Is Israel ready to take a risk on a Palestinian Authority that has had a history of corruption and not following through on its commitments, to remove settlers who may well respond violently against the Israeli military, to remove its authority from sites and places that have a centuries-long Jewish presence, to surrender military and security advantages, and to allow East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital?

I am not sure that either side is prepared to act at this time.  The biggest challenge for both will be the militant, violent opponents of peace and reconciliation:  some Jewish settlers, as well as  militant members of Fatah and Islamist Hamas.  I don’t believe that either Israel or the PA has confidence in taking that risk without substantial support from the U.S.  And even with it, the Palestinians may need to continue their economic and political development to a point where Palestinian political leaders can face down militant ideologies and where Israel can have confidence and trust in taking a substantial risk– both internally with some potentially violent settlers and externally with a group that has historically hated Israel and wished to annihilate it.

Still everyone knows the outlines of a deal.  While the recent tectonic shifts in the Middle East could usher in a period of instability and tension, they also have a real possibility of producing authentic democratic, free societies, capable of dealing with a Jewish state.  This could therefore be a time out of which a meaningful agreement might emerge.  We shall see.

http://mysticscholar.org/2011/02/11/israel-palestinian-peace-treaty-so-close/

Share

Aid to Israel Protects US Interests

AID TO ISRAEL PROTECTS US INTERESTS

Lexington Herald Leader Op-Ed

By Linda Ravvin, Laurence H. Kant and Mike Grossman

Posted: 12:00am on Feb 18, 2011; Modified: 7:45am on Feb 18, 2011

Sen. Rand Paul recently stated that not only does he advocate cutting off U.S. aid to Israel, but he sees that aid as fueling a Middle Eastern arms race.

As a proportion of the total budget, aid to Israel is negligible. The Israeli military has been purchasing American military hardware for many years, and an elimination of this money would cost the U.S. many manufacturing jobs.

Additionally, Israel has been at the forefront of developing military technology, and U.S. military aid funds joint projects that the American military has taken advantage of in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes drone technology, which has saved countless American and coalition lives.

It is safe to say that Israeli technological achievements (which are at least partially funded by U.S. military aid) have helped keep American troops safer.

Israel is the only full-fledged democracy in the region. Tiny as it is, with only 7 million people, its presence serves as a model for the development of other democracies and free-market societies in the region.

Its own Arab population (including Muslims, Christians and Druze) has more freedom, legal rights, social mobility and economic opportunity than the vast majority of Arabs elsewhere in the Middle East. Many Arabs (Palestinians and others) seek to enter Israel because of the work opportunities afforded by its vibrant, high-tech economy.

Per capita, Israel has the highest level of technological entrepreneurship in the world, supported by a deep commitment to education. U.S. military aid to Israel allows Israel to continue its leadership in this (in spite of Israel’s own large military budget) and work as a partner with the U.S. in creating a global high tech economy. This means jobs for U.S. citizens as well.

Israel’s neighbors dwarf it in both population and geographical size. Many of these neighbors are sworn to Israel’s destruction. While Israel will never have a quantitative edge militarily, Israel does have a qualitative edge, and it is this edge (partially due to U.S. military aid) that has prevented its destruction.

If Israel were to lose that qualitative edge, its enemies would certainly become emboldened, and the likelihood of a new and destructive war in the Middle East would substantially increase. Given our continued dependence on oil and our other strategic interests, this would almost certainly mean a much heavier financial and military U.S. investment in the Middle East than currently exists.

U.S. military support for Israel actually increases the likelihood for peace. Israel’s qualitative military advantage makes it significantly more likely that it will take the risks necessary for a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians (and the Syrians as well). Should Israel lose U.S. military support, it would certainly not be willing to withdraw from any militarily strategic positions it currently controls, negating the land-for-peace formula of United Nations resolutions.

The main backer of state terrorism and global jihad is Iran, and a decrease in Israel’s military advantage (which would certainly occur should aid be reduced) would cause Iran to further fund anti-Israel and anti-American militias throughout the region.

Israel has been on the front line of the global war on terror for many years. Unfortunately, it appears that Israel will be forced to fight this war for many years to come.

Given the burgeoning grass-roots movements for freedom and democracy in the Arab/Muslim world (especially in Tunisia and Egypt), U.S. involvement in the Middle East and commitment to Israel are more important than ever. When a region reaches a turning point that has profound implications for the world and for America’s own interests, the U.S. should not retreat, but stay engaged.

Nobody disputes that fiscal responsibility is a vitally important goal for our nation and that we will have to make painful budgetary sacrifices. Aid to Israel is in the interest of the U.S. from a financial, strategic and moral standpoint. We encourage Paul to reconsider his stance on this issue and to support fully funding our commitments to Israel.

Linda Ravvin is president of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass; Laurence H. Kant is chair and Mike Grossman is co-chair of the Jewish Community Relations Committee.

http://www.kentucky.com/2011/02/18/1640058/aid-to-israel-protects-us-interests.html#more

Share

Jews Take 5 of Top 6 Spots in Annual List of Top Jewish Givers

Because of their engagement with the world and importance Jews place on repairing the world, Jews have consistently ranked at the top end of philanthropic giving.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/08/2742903/jews-show-well-on-annual-list-of-top-givers

Share

Benny Morris on Crossing Mandelbaum’s Gate


This provides an excellent review of history over the past century and provides an analysis of anti-Israel revisionist history.

http://www.tnr.com/print/book/review/kai-bird-mandelbaums-gate

Share

The Golan Heights: Beautiful and Strategic


How do Israel and Syria make peace?  The beauty, harmony, and strategic importance of this region show the complexity of this question.

http://www.boston.com/travel/articles/2011/02/13/so_beautiful____so_strategic/?page=full

Share

Mixed Assessments on Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Iran appears, at least in part, to have recovered from the Stuxnet worm attack.  The Iranians have replaced the hardware, but it is unclear whether they have control over the software.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/15/AR2011021505395.html?sid=ST2011021404206

On the other hand, the New Intelligence Estimate suggests that the Stuxnet worm has had considerable impact.  Just as important, the sanctions seem to be having an impact on some Iranian leaders, who question the wisdom of developing a nuclear weapons program given the economic impact of sanctions.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703373404576148581167010572.html

Share

US Conservatives Split on Democracy in Egypt

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-01/glenn-becks-egypt-freakout-how-the-uprising-splits-us-conservatives/

Very interesting.  I don’t think Michelle Goldberg is correct on Israel–that they are opposed to democracy in the Middle East because Israel has found it easier to deal with dictators and because stability trumps freedom.  Yes, there are many Israelis who take this position.  But in general Israelis are divided between those who believe that democracy will ultimately promote peace in region and those who fear that calls for democracy will lead to Islamic dictatorships and instability.  Of course, Israelis have good reason to more anxious than us.  They have violence and the threat of annihilation at their doorstep.  Nevertheless, Israelis have a diversity of views on this, especially because of their own democratic traditions.

As for myself, I am deeply Jewish and Zionist.  As a Jew and a Zionist, I support the aspirations of all people for freedom, no matter where they are.  How can I not do so?  That includes Egyptians, Iranians, and anyone else. I strongly believe that free, open, democratic societies are not only a human right and a step forward in human consciousness,  but are a gateway to peace and reconciliation in the long run.  No doubt there will be short- and mid-term challenges, but democratic societies are much less likely to engage in war with their neighbors, and that includes the Middle East.

By the way, I know that there are Egyptians who are worried about the image of their society in the world.  I realize you are concerned about chaos, violence, and instability and the negative image that the world will see.  My comments may not carry much weight with you, but as a Jew and a supporter of Israel, I am deeply moved by these demonstrations.  I see nobility, honor, courage, and dignity.  The chaos is not the fault of Egyptians, but the fault of a government that has lost its legitimacy.  I have always been impressed by Egypt, its culture, and its magnificent, rich, long history.  The events of recent days have only served to increase my admiration and respect.  I keep the Egyptian people in my prayers every day.

Share

Translations of Genesis

These are examples of my new translations of two small portions of Genesis: © 2007 Laurence H. Kant:  http://mysticscholar.org/talkspubs/translations-of-genesis/

Share

A Personal View of Kashrut (Kosher)

See Laurence H. Kant, A Personal View of Kashrut,” Opinion, Shalom, September, 2010, p. 11: Kashrut2

Share

« Previous Entries

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address