Mission Nonsensical: Goldstone’s F*cked Findings

The talking point in Israel (and indeed the “Jewish world”), this past week, has been whether Judge Richard Goldstone – the head of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza War, whose report accuses Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity – is an example of yet another Jew too willing to sell out to our many enemies . . . or has merely been doing his job.

Judge Richard GoldstoneFrom what I have read about the man (photographed right), I am not convinced that he is a Pinter, a Sayle, a Kaufman, or one of their repugnant ilk. But as a Jew who, apparently, “is a Zionist and loves Israel”, it may have been more judicious for the Judge not to have accepted the mandate (however good for his CV) in the first place, especially since he knew (or ought to have known) that Israel would not cooperate with an investigation commissioned by a totally one-sided resolution (Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had already declined it, describing the UN Human Rights Council as “guided not by human rights, but by politics”). And, following his “shock as a Jew” to be offered it, Goldstone may have felt that he had to go out of his way to prove his objectivity. And “go out of his way” he did.

By most accounts, Judge Goldstone is a man of impeccable conviction. But the South African would also appear to be one of startling naivety. In an op-ed in last Thursday’s New York Times, he wrote:

“I am unaware of any case where a Hamas fighter was punished for deliberately shooting a rocket into a civilian area in Israel — on the contrary, Hamas leaders repeatedly praise such acts.”

Well, boker tov (good morning), Judge Goldstone! (And didn’t you forget “orchestrate”?)

But I am not interested in the man. Neither am I interested in his fact-finding mission – to investigate Israel’s alleged violations of the laws of war, international human rights and humanitarian law during last winter’s Operation Cast Lead – nor, even, its ostensibly damning conclusions. And why? Because the mission’s very premise was not only entirely wrong, but utterly nonsensical . . . making an irrelevance of its findings.

Hamas, the despotic ruler of Gaza, is an Islamofascist organisation with the raison d’être of destroying Israel. Eight and a half years (and counting) of unprovoked rocket attacks against Israel’s southern communities, together with Hamas’s cowardly combat tactics – from amongst densely populated civilian areas, and inside mosques, schools and hospitals – make a mockery of “laws of war”, and even of “human rights” as they are commonly understood.

Whilst not as developed, such laws existed long before the Second World War. But did the Allies take them into account prior to, during, or even following, their carpet-bombing of Hamburg and Dresden, in which they killed tens of thousands of ‘innocent’ German civilians? Did they heck! Their top priority, and quite properly, was to bring as swift an end as possible to a war against – and started by – an uncompromising Fascist aggressor, with minimum casualties to their own soldiers. And did the British fight the “Argies” with kid gloves in the Falklands? And are they and the Americans doing so in Afghanistan or Iraq?

Whilst the IDF goes further than any army the world over not only to act, but to be seen to act, humanely – it knows, after all, that it is being judged by a unique standard (see the next paragraph) – “laws of war” and “human rights” will inevitably sometimes be contravened when defending one’s country against a murderous aggressor that respects neither (even the “rights” of its own people). And ordinary Gazans are responsible for their rulers – if they choose to continue living under, and by, the sword, they must be prepared to die by it.

The UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel fifteen times in less than two years . . . but no other country even once. Not Russia. Not China. Not North Korea. Not Burma. Not Sri Lanka. Not Zimbabwe. Not the Congo. Not Equatorial Guinea. Not Somalia. Not Sudan. Not Libya. Not Saudi Arabia. Not Syria. Not Iran. Israel was fully justified in not cooperating with an organisation which never treats it fairly, and with an investigation which it knew was just out to get it. What’s next from the UN? A fact-finding mission to investigate whether Mossad agents respect the laws of international espionage and agent rights before delivering enemies to their 72 virgins?

Israel is not perfect. It has made misjudgements and mistakes, and, yes, maybe even violated laws. Israel would not, however, exist today if – in its permanent state of war with godless enemies who wait to pounce on its every weakness – it had given more weight to legal tomes than to military necessity. And that war – with Hamas, Hizbollah, and other Islamofascists hellbent on its destruction – is one of light against darkness, good against evil, civilisation against barbarism. It is that “comic strip” simple. And it is a war in which the entire western world will soon be embroiled, not just in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan . . . but in its very own backyard. That the schmocks at the UN can be so myopic . . .

When push comes to shove – and it always does here (as a result of its size, the first war Israel loses will be its last) – we do not have to justify, or apologise for, our right to live. Not to anyone. Never again.

So, f*ck the UN. F*ck its fact-finding missions. And f*ck its reports. (Click here for my fuller treatise on the subject.)

More deserving of contempt than Judge Goldstone, this week, was Ha’aretz ‘journalist’ Yoel Marcus, who wrote the following in last weekend’s op-ed:

“[many countries] accuse us of strengthening extremist Islam and committing war crimes. And all we need now is to stick our noses into Iranian affairs by bombing its nuclear facilities . . . We must not even dream of a move like that at a time when America is coordinating international pressure on Tehran.”

“Stick our noses into Iranian affairs”?!

Mr. Marcus, perhaps you consider Israel’s air strike on the Osirak nuclear reactor to have been an unwarranted “nose stuck” into Saddam’s “affairs”? And, by similar logic, that Israel was correct to wait for Egyptian and Syrian “affairs” to develop unhindered in 1973?

And “coordinating international pressure on Tehran”?

Yes, that should do it, Mr. Marcus – a resolution of condemnation from the United Nations. And, if that doesn’t work, the UN could perhaps issue a further one . . . but, this time, “in the strongest terms”. Ahmadinejad clearly wouldn’t mess with that.

The Persian dwarf showed his true colours again, on Wednesday, in his speech to the UN General Assembly (full text):

“The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a "Praise be Allah . . . I'm gettin' there!"deceitful, complex and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support. This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people.”

Ring any bells, Mr. Marcus? And, as Ha’aretz would appear to have cut back on its library resources, here is a compilation of other statements by Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust and alluding to, calling for, or directly threatening, Israel’s destruction. And guess what . . . we discover today that Iran now has a second nuclear facility.

Where does Ha’aretz find these pillocks? Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, Nehemia Shtrasler, Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff . . . they have all received dishonourable mention on melchett mike. And now there’s a new f*ckwit on the block.

And, talking of “blocks”, if you tend to suffer from the writer’s variety, Mr. Marcus, I can highly recommend starting a blog . . . then you won’t have to write bollocks when you have nothing useful to say.

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63 responses to “Mission Nonsensical: Goldstone’s F*cked Findings

  1. We posted a thorough review of Goldstone’s report at http://samsonblinded.org/blog/goldstone-report-the-rebuttal.htm

  2. Y’all are gonna kill me, but as a futile effort to provide a note of balance, I urge you, please check out JStreet — a growing force in the American Jewish community: http://www.jstreet.org/; Brit Tzedek V’Shalom: http://www.btvshalom.org/; & The Shalom Center: http://www.shalomctr.org/.

    Regardless of any negative comments, this is the last I shall say on this subject.

  3. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Greg regardless of any negative comments, can you please provide us with the funding details for the websites you have posted?
    Its not that I want to disagree with them, or god forbid be accussed of a bias or inbalance, I just kind of try not to have my information funded by Wahabi princes.
    Nothing personal you understand.

  4. I have written to Greg off-blog, asking him to reconsider his “hit and run” tactics . . . which are hardly conducive to a discussion of the issues. (He may be encouraged by the fact that one of the “Reform bashers” has retired from commenting to melchett mike , due to his disapproval of my editing policy.)

  5. To honor Mike’s request … I really don’t want to get into a balagan ad nauseam about the whole matter of a 2 (or 3 or 4)* state solution, especially if I’m going to be the only voice. (I think I might be.) At the moment, hob ikh nisht keyn koyakh.

    *3 (4) states: Israel, Palestine, (Hamastine) & a state for the settlers!

    Also, Ellis — the 3 organizations I mentioned are all funded by (mostly) American Jews (Jewish Americans?), that is Jews who live in the US. Many most probably consider themselves to be “progressive” = liberal (yikes — the L word), or perhaps by some readers of this blog, radical.

    The Shalom Center has been around for at least 40 years & is the child of Rabbi Art Waskow, one of the founders of ALEPH, the Movement for Jewish Renewal. Art is working on environmental issues as well as peace & justice issues worldwide.

    B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom is a relatively new organization that is mostly a coalition of liberal American rabbis, working to achieve both justice & peace (as its name suggests).

    JStreet is, I think, the newest organization which is quickly becoming a force to recon w/ in the larger Jewish community. It is more or less a political action committee akin to AIPAC, but much, much more on the liberal side. It is succeeding in bringing the voices those who are BOTH pro-Israel & pro-peace to the attention of the wider Jewish community as well as to the political leadership of the US. They have succeeded so well that the greater community now understands that those who say “my Israel right or wrong” do not speak for all of us.

    Many American Jews are hesitant to criticize Israel regardless of her actions & so fall blindly into lockstep. Unfortunately, they see only that someone either supports Israel or her enemies. They fail to see (or are incapable of seeing) the areas of grey & the possibilities that do, indeed, exist.

    These 3 organizations are showing the world that it is possible to call Israel to task for the things she has done wrong (as in cheit = missing the mark), while at the same time, being a strong voice of support for Israel. These groups want Pres. Obama to know how much support he has w/in the Jewish community in achieving his goals for peace in the region.

    I know at least some readers will see this as controversial & inflammatory & I’m sure you can guess on which side of the line I fall. I’m happy to offer this elaboration, but am not willing to enter into a prolonged defense of my beliefs or attempt to speak for the 3 organizations mentioned above.

    I wish you all a Tsom Kal!

  6. Since Greg wasn’t saying that he agrees with the views of those sites, just that they exist, why should he have to justify them?

    All he was saying is that there are other people who think differently than we do. I don’t think we have to dispute that as well.

    The fact that they are financed by haters of Israel does not make their views any less legitimate. Where do you expect them to find finance? Here?

    If an opinion is right, it’s right regardless of who says it or who he’s paid by. If it’s wrong, it makes no difference if the person saying it is a saint or a sinner, it’s still wrong.

    Gmar Hatima Tova to everybody!

  7. Ellis Feigenbaum

    And I asked a simple question. Who funds these organisations.
    Every one including Ahmedinejad is entitled to their opinion, I would just like to know who is funding these opinons.
    We all in theory agree with a greener more consevationist planet, but when you read some of the unsavoury names on the Greenpeace funders list, you start to wonder what their political agenda really is.
    So asking for funding sources of activist organizations is a legitimate question and not one i expect answered by telling me how wonderful the people are, all i want to know is which external organizations fund them.
    We know for instance Jimmy Carter gets millions every year from the Saudis, we know that the Peres Centre is funded by the European Union . These are things of public record, we know who funds Aipac.
    We know who funds Ahmedinejad, we do every time we fill our car with gas.
    We know who funds the Taliban, every user of heroin in the western world.
    Now i would like to know who funds organisations that hold views that may make my personal security a serious issue while sitting in the relative safety of America.

  8. David Kornbluth

    Firstly Gmar Chatima Tova to all and Fast Well.

    Secondly i for one don’t understand the needs of “Jews” to criticize Israel. Are there not enough Israel bashers out there, wherever those Jews may be?

    Thirdly how can anyone claiming to be pro justice and peace after listening to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech maintain their, for lack of a nicer word, “appeasing” stance?

    If you really believe that something is bad in my home, rather than seeking to find favor with our enemies for your liberal outlook (i suggest that you consider your motivation) there must be more constructive ways to improve this worlds injustice than “self-criticism” of other jews trying to live in peace in their ancestral homeland!

    If this is offensive i apologize, i am not trying to upset anyone, just tell you how I and I think a lot of people feel!

  9. Ellis, the simple answer, which seems to have been lost in my fuller explanation, is: the funds come from American Jews.

    I have no direct knowledge, but it is possible that other individuals (Jews) from around the world also offer their support. To the best of my knowledge, no hostile organizations nor foreign governments nor nefarious, mysterious “others” are providing any support — financial or otherwise.

    David, in answer to your 2nd question, since when have Jews been known not to question or criticize? It is our self-given (not God-given) right. 😉

    3rd, I & many others see Netanyahu et al. as an obstacle to peace.

    For more elaboration, I have every confidence in your ability to do research via the websites previously mentioned.

    Finally, yes, Daniel, I do believe in, subscribe to & support the views of those organizations.

    As far as I’m concerned, I have nothing for which to apologize, other than to reiterate that I know there are those who are offended by such beliefs. While I understand your frustration & even anger, that knowledge does not change my mind whatsoever.

  10. “I do believe in, subscribe to & support the views of those organizations.”

    I have to admit that I’d never heard of “Brit Tzedek V’Shalom” despite their transliterated name they have no Hebrew or Israeli website.

    I did, however, follow Greg’s advice and wrote “Who finances “Brit Tzedek V’Shalom” on Google. I was directed to an excellent site:

    http://www.think-israel.org/lappen.antizionists.html

    There I discovered that among supporters they have Neturei Karta (fanatical haredi anti-Zionist lunatics) and among their financers are the Ford Foundation (as in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion) and the “the hate-Israel Shefa Fund” – it’s all there to be read.

    Again, if what they’re saying is right then it’s right whether or not they’re supported and financed by fanatical anti-Zionists and anti-Semites. It may also be that Neurei Karta are right and that we should turn Israel over to Arab rule or that Henry Ford was right and that we’re part of an international plot to take over the world.

    I submit that while all these nutters may be right, they represent only a miniscule fraction of American Jews and 0% of Israeli Jewish opinion. Had they had any support here they’d would run for election which is the usual way of influencing the policies of a government that you don’t agree with.

    So I say to Brit Tzedek V’Shalom and all its supporters. Come home! Make aliyah! We’ll send a couple of mini-buses to pick you all up at the airport.

    Have your children serve with ours in the army. Live alongside the sons of Yishmael as we do. Get to know all of them, not just the Harvard educated PR men who you meet in the US, but all of them.

    Then if by the time elections come you’re still here and still have your opinions, exercise your democratic right to send Bibi home and replace him with whoever you prefer.

    G’mar tov.

  11. You are out of your frickin mind! That so-called “excellent” website is a sham & filled w/ lies. I know some of the rabbis connected w/ B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom & there is NO WAY they would be an instrument of Hamas. What you read on that website are lies & you are guilty of the sin of promulgating lashon hara! & on Yom Kippur, yet! Disgusting! If you believe everything you read on the web then you believe in nothing. It means nothing that BtV doesn’t have an Israeli or Hebrew website. As I said, their target is American Jews. Instead of trusting a site about which you have no knowledge, why didn’t you go directly to BtV? I challenge you to write to them & ask them the specious questions that seem to be burning a hole through your mind. And just because I & others like me do not fall into lockstep w/ Netanyahu & his ilk does NOT make us anti-Zionists — regardless of how often you make that ridiculous statement. In case you forgot, there are many loyal Israelis who disagree w/ him.

  12. Gmar Tov Greg,

    Firstly, I can understand your anger and frustration and forgive your rudeness in advance. Needless to say I did not write on Yom Kippur as you accuse me of having done. It’s a tad ironic when a Reform Jewish leader who posted September 28, 2009 at 2:29 am then accuses one of desecrating the most sacred of days. I’m not complaining old friend 🙂

    As to who is right between you and A Lappen, it’s a tough call. On the one hand we have her, a former senior editor at Institutional Investor magazine and former associate editor at Forbes. She has thoroughly researched B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom and sites easily verifiable sources.

    On the other hand we have you, with no firsthand knowledge of B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom other than the fact that you, …”know some of the rabbis connected w/ B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom &..” and you’re sure that “there is NO WAY they would be an instrument of Hamas.” I would have been more impressed had you refuted a single specific fact, name or date that she cited.

    I have no idea what the motivations of your friends in B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom are. I too am sure that few Jews would willingly agree to be used as instruments of the Hamas, an accusation that I, incidentally never made. It may be naiveté or wishful thinking or just plain stupidity – you tell me, they’re your friends not mine.

    Either way we are all Jews and we all want what’s best for the Jewish people. These are existential issues and we all have a responsibility to know what we’re talking about. Again I remind you that there are constitutional ways of altering Israeli government policy and even if they choose not to make aliyah, why not establish a Hebrew site to persuade Israeli public opinion?

    Regards from Maale Adumim

    Daniel

  13. Sorry — by saying Yom Kippur I didn’t mean it literally. I refer to the season which, as you know, stretches all the way from 1 Elul through Sh’mini Atseret. Judge me as you will, but in my book, a desecration of k’dushat hayom is not using electricity or a computer — ritual — it is the (im)moral act of lashon hara — which I maintain in this case is what you have written about BtV. Yet another example of ethics over ritual = Reform. (not entirely)

    BTW there might be a reason why A Lappen is no longer an editor @ II or Forbes. Even once-respectable people can turn toward the dark side. Look at the regrettable position in which we find former US Prez, Jimmy Carter. (I won’t say y”s, but I’m close.) 😦

    As I said, I don’t have the direct knowledge you crave, but you can check w/ the attorney general of the state of Illinois w/ whom I assume BtV is registered — as are all 501c3 charities (each in their state of record). They should be able to tell you what the funding sources are.

    But before you condemn them, go to their site & evaluate it for yourself.

  14. Gmar Tov Greg,

    I humbly suggest that since, by your own admission you “don’t have the direct knowledge.. ” we leave the matter until the appearance on this blog of someone who not only whole-heartedly supports the organization but also has some actual knowledge of the subject.

    I take A Lappen seriously, and have no idea why you insinuate things that you again have no knowledge about (“…there might be a reason why A Lappen is no longer an editor @ II or Forbes. Even once-respectable people can turn toward the dark side..”)- insinuations hardly befitting a self-appointed religious leader who lectures about lashon hara. She thoroughly researched the matter and has made a powerful case based on solid facts, names and dates. Not one of which you have been able to refute or even cast doubt upon.

    http://www.think-israel.org/lappen.antizionists.html

    You, on the other hand, once having made up your mind refuse to let facts confuse you, especially because some of your mates have already joined. You choose not to research or even ask your “friends” about any of the easily verifiable facts. That is your prerogative, but likewise it is mine to not continue this particular discussion with a self-pronounced religious leader who in matters directly concerning the future of my country and my children chooses to plead ignorance rather than to simply check out the facts.

    I wonder if one of your kids was joining a club and someone told you it was supported by an organization called, “the hate-Israel Shefa Fund” whether you wouldn’t get off your fanny and check it out.

    You asked me why your rabbi friends would support B’rit Tzedek V’Shalom. Maybe they also never bothered doing their homework but just joined because they’re mates were there.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

    Seriously Greg, let’s leave this “debate” until you’ve found out a bit more information. (-:

  15. David Kornbluth

    Greg.

    I am saddened that you fail to respond to the substance of anyone in Israel’s comments.
    Funding your clear BS aside, in Israel we have a democracy and although i don’t agree with everything said in its name people have a right, be it Jews or Muslims alike, to talk.

    That in no way equates to the self hating form of criticism that your ilk perpetrates giving fuel to our enemies. You have no right to interfere in our lives, politics or anything as you are not here. If you can’t support us then find a mission where your actions don’t involve back stabbing brothers if you truly want to gain relevance.

    You talk about Morals, well talk about the morals! Did you bother listening to the Prime Ministers speech? Where is the moral equivalency between israel and Hamas!
    I say there is none and you yourself say that you wouldn’t support Hamas but your criticism of Israel does just that!

    You seem well versed in things that support your agenda so i will tell you that we have a “MAMAR CHAZAL” i don’t know where that fits into your religion (i will leave out my chosen word here) however it says

    “Those who are kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind”

    It doesn’t take much analysis to see why sympathy for “supposed” victims leads those same to more violence and the belief that they are supported in such, and thus your cruelty to those who love life and peace in the Holy Land.

    I prayed for all jews yesterday, and the shame is that your ilk seem not to feel for the jews who are suffering for peace, but merely want to carry favor in the liberal world.

    Shame on you. As BIBI said have you no shame!

    There are no loyal Israelis who disagree with him.

    It was Kadima who entered into the war with Gaza – Hamas and it had 100% approval in Israel.
    You sir talk bollocks!

    Yes in Israel there are those who see differing paths to peace but all agree that terrorism must be confronted and defeated.

    So please don’t use some extreme left wingers to justify your politiking in the US!
    Whatever your motivations you are seriously misguided if you believe that you can help anyone by adding to the pressure that israel is constantly under in the international community.

    Jews you won’t help as no one cares what your ilk says thinks or does, who actually lives here or served here.
    Arabs you won’t be helping as all you may do is prolong their illusion that they can kill us all.

    If they are so long suffering why not accept the numerous peace proposals that we have laid before them. No only the hate-filled and the blind get this conflict ass backwards – so read your history or more importantly our religious works form the beginning – once again.

    Then perhaps you will cease to support those whose only goal is evil and realize that in an existential struggle of good over evil its not always that easy to fight!

  16. David,

    I don’t see any reason to be abusive towards Greg, ignorance may be dangerous but it’s no crime. Do you really expect Jews living on the other side of the world to have the same knowledge and insight as you have?

    The Zionism and in some cases post-Zionism (occasionally even antiZionissm) of many American Jews is very important to them and one of the only reason that they aren’t all inter-marrying. They sincerely believe they’re helping and this should be encouraged, it’s one of the few things keeping them Jewish.

  17. David Kornbluth

    Daniel,

    I thought a while about the justification for launching an attack on this (post repentance) day, however i stand 100% behind my remarks.

    I am really curious to hear how as you claim ” it prevents them from inter-marrying”, as it seems to me to be a political stance motivated purely by the desire to find favor with “others”.

    I think that ignorance may not be a crime but once a person places him/her self on a pulpit then said ignorance will be a factor in their ultimate judgement. Followers of “Rabbis” i take no issue with whatever the stream, only those leaders who ignore the religion that they claim to represent.

    P.S. i never met a Jew reform or not, (clearly i don’t include religious) who was so against the situation in “Palestine” that this would be a factor in their marriage considerations – clearly a possible exception in the “religious world” being followers of the Neturei Karta.

    Of course this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any , but i hardly think it is a meaningful number whatsoever, plenty of reform girls do indeed want to marry Jewish for perfectly good valid and praiseworthy reasons, but sharing anti-zionism is not one of them.

    PS I am single (sadly) and know of (not-biblically) plenty such ladies .!.

    Gmar Tov – good Kvittel and May You Always Walk in His Ways

  18. David, before you start accusing Greg of “talk[ing] bollocks” . . .

    “there are no loyal Israelis who disagree with [Bibi’s address to the UN] . . . [Kadima] had 100% approval in Israel [for Operation Cast Lead]”

    Are you having a laugh?! On what planet are you living? Just open Ha’aretz! You, too, might as well be living in the US if that is what you believe.

    And, Daniel, it is not just “Jews living on the other side of the world” who share these views. Again – and much as I disagree with so much of what is written there – open Ha’aretz (can you get it in Ma’ale Adumim? ;-))

  19. And see an excellent ‘Comment’ by Ron Prossor (the Israeli Ambassador to the UK) in today’s The Times at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6852953.ece

  20. David,

    I didn’t mean that by being anti-Zionists they meet female anti-Zionists and live happily ever after.

    There was a widely reported case recently of the Feinbergs, two grandparents in the US who wrote any grandchildren who intermarried out of their will. One will inherit, four won’t!

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-na-jewish-disinherit26-2009sep26,0,322139.story?track=rss

    These are not the problems we have to face, so don’t judge Greg and don’t knock his ignorance. How much do you know about the politics of where Greg lives in California?

    For 2,000 we survived in the galut. Kahane claims that it was limud torah and Yeshayahu Leibowitz claims it was halachah that held us together. Either way many Jews don’t really have either of these anymore and in the cold post-modern era they have to take their Jewish identity where they can find it.

    Since 1948 their connection to the State of Israel has become an increasingly important factor in the Jewish identity of many galut Jews.

    I remember as a boy in London when the Yom Kippur War broke out my mother and her friends organizing an “Emergency Jumble Sale”. It wasn’t that Israel needed their pittance, it was their emergency – they wanted to feel they too were players in the game of Jewish history and not just spectators. Mike spoke about this in his Rosh Hashanah message.

    In this desperate need to feel that they’re part of Jewish history. Some support settlement building in Judea and Samaria and some oppose it. Some believe in the division of Jerusalem and some in its unification. It really doesn’t matter, when was the last time any Israeli government made a decision because of the opinions of US Jewry? It matters to them because it makes them feel important and even needed. When they feel needed they value their Judaism. It won’t save all four of Erla Feinberg’s grandchildren from marrying out, but it might help one of them.

  21. Daniel, you continually remind me how I keep jumping to the defence of Greg . . .

    Perhaps it is because you continue to treat him and his views with condescension and a lack of respect (this is not the first reference you have made to his “ignorance”).

    You will, no doubt, deny this condescension and disrespect and/or that it has anything to do with Greg being Reform and – what appears to rile you more – a “self-appointed/pronounced religious leader” (how many references have you made to that?!)

    But you do not relate to any other commenters to melchett mike in the same disparaging fashion.

    Greg has maintained his dignity, throughout his contributions to this blog, in the face of much hostility and provocation. And, in my view – and whether I/we agree with his views or not – that is something that you (and David Kornbluth for that matter) would do well to learn from.

  22. David Kornbluth

    Mike.

    Well said in your position of mediator and some other time or place i may well talk softly haha However i find it hard to agree with you that Greg has “maintained” his dignity. I think it is him that trivializes this with comments like …

    “David, in answer to your 2nd question, since when have Jews been known not to question or criticize? It is our self-given (not God-given) right.

    or

    3rd, I & many others see Netanyahu et al. as an obstacle to peace.”

    He being the elected leader of a democracy and anyway having little bearing on the reality, being that most people in israel were, as of the last election on the right.

    So i ask what dignity is there to be claimed for being a self attacking jew. You have gone to great lengths to mock the views of red ken and his ilk so why take issue with my view that this “liberal” perversion of the middle east conflict, is a disgrace.

    A disgrace to the brand of religion that it claims to represent and a disgrace to all honest, decent folk.

    Yes i attack those who side with my enemies when they know not of what they talk.

    And yes as a volunteer to the IDF and PROUD i can remind you that there was well over a 100% turnout for the Milluim for the operation.

    Yes, some isolated nutters in Haaretz spouted their hateful poison but even that liberal BS paper which i read in the Hebrew had much more “opinion” pro the operation than against!

    And that is from the Lefts mouthpiece. The other papers “Maariv” and “Yediot” had not a word that i can recall against the operational necessity of going in and tacking all measures!

    In fact most of the opposition even in Haaretz was more to do with the political backdrop of a PM under investigation and supposedly trying to carry favor with the public by taking a tough stance.

    Now if it was not so popular why would that have been a concern?

    Again i respect the right of everyone who has taken the time to educate themselves of the issues to have an opinion, however, those who claim to be religious leaders, and then demonstrate a total disregard for Jewish values, like
    1. Saving Life with a Defensive War
    2. Unity in times of trouble
    3. Love of the People and Land of Israel
    4. Respect and care for enemy combatant and civilian.
    etc. etc. etc.
    to pursue a “liberal” agenda baffle me, and make me very sad/mad/glad to not follow them.

    PS there is one David Kornbluth who spent years at the UN so i have no intention of using “diplomatic speak” and offer no apology.
    As indeed the apology should come from those who indeed choose to damn the just and libel the innocent!

  23. David, if I may remind you, we are not fundamentalist Muslims . . . we allow differing opinions. And, whilst I have contempt for the Pinters and Kaufmans of this world, it is clear that Greg is no self-hater.

    You have no monopoly on the correct/moral view, whether you have been in the IDF or not. I know plenty of soldiers whose views are far closer to Greg’s than yours. And, not only does Greg have as much right to his views as you, but he puts them across far less offensively/aggressively.

    “a disgrace to all honest, decent folk”?!

    Be’emet . . . save the cliches for Yediot!

  24. I find myself in the strange position of having to list other commentators that I’ve disagreed with. Here goes:

    1. I disagreed with Kopaloff over his contention that Hasmonean teachers were sadists and could never be forgiven.

    2. I disagreed with Goldman over his blind faith in rabbanim and general respect for haredim.

    3. I disagreed with Osher Baddiel over pretty much everything.

    4. I disagreed with J Bernstein over his ridiculous kippa.

    5. I disagreed with Shuli over his wish to kill gays.

    6. I disagreed with Mark Goldman over his understanding of halachah.

    7. I disagreed with various posters who claimed that Harrison was an alcoholic.

    8. I disagreed with Winston the Smithy over his support for the BNP.

    9. I disagreed with you and your use of the term dip-stick.

    10. I disagreed with Feigenbaum about how much his “girlfriend” ought to be charging him.

    That’s 10 to start with. Greg has received no special treatment. In the cases I’ve agreed with him I’ve said so, when I haven’t my attacks on him were far milder than those against Baddiel or Bloomberg, neither of whom are Reform Jews.

    Greg knows that I love him very much and that I’ve even invited him to make aliyah etc. My first posting on this page was to defend his right to express his opinion.

    As far as him being a self appointed religious leader, which is well documented, I do believe that with leadership comes responsibility and accountability. I readily acknowledge that I’ve expected from him, as a leader, more intelligent postings than riff raff like my dear friend Moshe Goldman and I’m sure that as a leader he understands this.

    I would also say that I have discussed Greg’s postings off-blog with various contributors and readers and to the best of my knowledge, nobody respects him more than I.

  25. Dave,

    Are you the H. E. Mr David Kornbluth, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO?

  26. David Kornbluth

    I refrain from posting a reply to the question, as i feel that Greg should defend his position.

  27. No, he’s a very naughty boy.

    And, Marks, you are a very sarcastic boy. It does you no credit. While you might have “disagreed” with many, you reserve your contempt for fellow Jews who dare to have a different conception of the Deity than you. And that is sad.

  28. David Kornbluth

    With respect as you clearly have the last word arguably it is just as sad having no respect for those who dare to state their case for or against anything if it does not fit into your world view – and then defending this by saying that you are criticizing those who show lack of respect. -:)

  29. David, it is not about it “not fit[ting] into [my] world view”.

    You were not merely disagreeing with Greg – which would have been fine – but abusing him: “You sir talk bollocks!” . . . followed by your admission, “I thought a while about the justification for launching an attack”.

    Stop wasting my time, David. I am not as stupid as you are pretending to be.

  30. That’s just not true Mike. You don’t have a different conception of the Deity than me, do you?

  31. Daniel, why don’t you just come clean and say that you can’t stand Reform Jews? That you can’t accept any Jews who have different beliefs to you. That they make you feel uncomfortable. That they cause you to doubt and feel insecure about your own beliefs? Wouldn’t that be more honest than the constant sly, sarcastic digs? At least the Osher Baddiels of this world have integrity.

  32. Because it’s not true.

    I have two Conservative (one almost Reform) rabbi brothers-in-law. I love them both.

    My aunty Lynne is a reform Jew and I love her. A reform rabbi was one of the witnesses at my wedding. It’s just not true.

    I do not agree with Reform Judaism or Haredi Judaism for that matter. Like most people, I believe that my way of life is right (that’s why I am what I am). However, I do not hate Reform, secular or Haredi Judaism, I just think they’re wrong.

    I know that they think that I’m wrong and they’re probably no less certain than I am.

    Reform Jews don’t make me doubt or feel insecure, incidentally neither do haredim. I’m really quite happy with my lot.

    Of course I have doubts, but they’re more related to specific theological issues, than to the way of life I’ve chosen.

    Finally, you say:

    “At least the Osher Baddiels of this world have integrity.”

    I have a feeling that you were being serious here, and that’s the kind of thing that, when it comes from a friend, it hurts.

  33. Have you considered how your constant derision may have hurt Greg? You keep acting all innocent . . . which is very disingenuous.

  34. I’m not acting innocent. I think I was very honest.

    When Greg in one posting said:

    “You are out of your frickin mind!”

    “you are guilty of the sin of promulgating lashon hara! & on Yom Kippur, yet! Disgusting!”

    “…then you believe in nothing”

    “…regardless of how often you make that ridiculous statement.”

    I was totally cool, because between you and me, and don’t tell him what I said, but I don’t really value his opinion that much. In earlier postings he said that G-d was wrong too, so I’m in good company.

    For obvious reasons, in your case it was a little different. Anyway, I’m not going to sulk about it, but I must go to bed.

    Good night matey.

  35. And why “don’t [you] really value his opinion that much”? Because he is Reform!

    But we are going around in circles . . .

  36. No, because he talks crap. The Reform have no monopoly on silly people.

    Rereadhis postings objectively and tell me if they are befitting a religious leader.

  37. “Befitting a religious leader”? Hmmm, let me think . . .

    Like one of the Iranian Ayatollahs, you mean? Or Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (bless his wheelchaired soul)? Hassan Nasrallah perhaps? What about “Hook Man” Hamza? And then you’ve got Pope Pius XII? “Yeh, but none of them are Jews”, I hear you say. So, what about that respected member of the London Beth Din who was taking Judaica out of libraries on a permanent “loan”? The admirable former MK Aryeh Deri? The deeply spiritual Ovadiah Yosef? Not to mention most of the Ashkenazi rabbinate in Israel, who encourage over 80% of their menfolk to sponge off the State rather than work . . . and a higher percentage still not to serve in the IDF? Let’s not forget the enlightened Rabbi Elyashiv, who yesterday forbade elevator use on Shabbos? The elderly and handicapped are gonna love that! And the list goes on . . .

    So, perhaps you are right after all, Daniel . . . Greg’s postings may not “befit a religious leader”.

  38. For more information about Rav Elyashiv and religious leaders, check out the Zoo Rabbi and his Steve Irwin-esque carryings on:

    http://www.zootorah.com/

    The UN Human Rights Council sees fit apparently to condemn a Country which provides educational resources as such. Shame on them!

  39. Mike,

    Just one question. Give me an honest answer. Did you reread them?

    No.

    Why not?

    You’re right that there are some other barmy religious leaders and believe me if Ayatollahs, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hassan Nasrallah, Pope Pius XII, Aryeh Deri, Ovadiah Yosef or anyone else dares appear here or on the very excellent Twatter page I will courageously cross swords with them just as I did with Greg, Osher or even your bum buddy Shuli. Bring ’em on!

    I have refined my sarcasm into a lethal weapon ideally suited for the demands of cyber-warfare.

    So beware my bespectacled friend!

  40. Daniel, why bother ask me questions . . . if you are just going to answer them yourself?!

    I’ll explain the inconsistency in your approach – whilst you might be willing to “courageously cross swords with barmy religious leaders” . . . your intolerance of all Reform Jews doesn’t differentiate betweeen the “barmy” and the rational (like our nice friends Greg and Mark).

    It is sufficient that they don’t subcribe to the same religious beliefs with which you were indoctrinated.

  41. I have absolutely nothing against Mark. I challenge you to find one nasty word I’ve said to or about him. Of course, we don’t agree about everything. In an early posting we discussed homosexuality and you wrote:

    “Daniel, whilst I respect and commend your sensitivity to your friend’s brother (if that is what it is) – which is preferable by far to the gross insensitivity, not to say stupidity, of his former classmate and friend…”

    I replied:

    “First, let me say that I expressed my opinion not out of sensitivity, and certainly not because I’ve known Mark since he was born. It’s my opinion for everyone – friend and enemy alike.”

    Now you’re trying your hand at a clever trick. You bracket him and Greg together in order to argue that I have something against all Reform Jews. You had a good teacher, but you’ll have to get up earlier in the morning to pull the wool over the eyes of this mixed methaphor maker!

  42. Mark Goldman

    Daniel (Marks),

    You probably don’t even realize how offensive, condescending, and pompous many of your remarks sound. Why all the sarcasm? Sorry, but from my perspective I think it’s a distraction from your often insightful and intelligent postings. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, allow me to list just a few of your recent statements . . .

    In response to a discussion we were having:

    “Having partially understood the case of the Sotah we now move on to the Yefat Toar”

    “I don’t intend to go through the whole Torah and I think this O Level Religious Knowledge falls well out of the scope of this blog”

    “Good luck and don’t forget to keep an open mind. William James said, “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” I’m sure you’re not among them”

    And to Greg:

    “An urban dictionary defines a cretin as “A Person that is: brainless, stupid, child-like, and full of pointless information that makes no sense and appeals only to other cretins.” Here again the jury is still out but the reader can survey Greg’s (then Gcantory) postings and decide for himself”

    “A cretin – “A Person that is: brainless, stupid, child-like, and full of pointless information that makes no sense and appeals only to other cretins.” I’m beginning to see the other Daniel’s point of view”

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

    “These are not the problems we have to face, so don’t judge Greg and don’t knock his ignorance”

    “Greg knows that I love him very much and that I’ve even invited him to make aliyah etc”

    “I would also say that I have discussed Greg’s postings off-blog with various contributors and readers and to the best of my knowledge, nobody respects him more than I”

    “I was totally cool, because between you and me, and don’t tell him what I said, but I don’t really value his opinion that much”

  43. Mark,

    If I sounded condescending I apologize. That was not my intention when writing to YOU. Your mate Greg is another matter altogether.

    I would try and explain myself that when I said “partially understood” about sotah, that’s because we really did hardly scratch the surface of a fascinating concept, that probably disappeared with the destruction of the second temple. When I said ” O Level Religious Knowledge falls well out of the scope of this blog” – it’s because I really thought that type of Jewish general knowledge would bore those who had come to a page about homosexuality (I think) and when I said, ““Good luck and don’t forget to keep an open mind…” it was because it often seems to me that questions are asked more to try and find faults in the Torah than to understand it.

    However, I guess you’d say that all that sounds condescending too, maybe I’ll have to come to terms with the fact that I can be condescending even when I don’t intend too.

    Regarding Greg, I do not hide the fact that after in his first posting he had claimed that G-d was wrong and mocked sages, prophets and even patriarchs. He even made up silly nick-names for them. In his case I felt a clear obligation:

    אף אתה הכהה את שיניו

    Blunt his teeth. To me he pours scorn and mocks Jewish values and heritage, not Orthodox values or Reform values but Jewish values. Abraham was not Orthodox or Reform, he was a father to all of us.

  44. Daniel, with the greatest respect, you are being a prize **** (choose a word). Greg has been no more disrespectful to anyone/thing – far less, in fact – than you. If some of your contributions to this blog were judged in the same way that you judge Greg’s, you would have received such a torrent of abuse that you would never have returned. So, get off that high horse!

    I know that you don’t appreciate me saying this . . . but this is not your private blog. And I don’t want an atmosphere here of religious (or any type of) intimidation. I suspect that my beliefs are far closer to Greg’s than to yours. I say that not because I have a problem with you sharing your beliefs here, but because you seem to think that you are at Hasmonean or Hendon Adass!

    If you would feel more comfortable in a homogenous cyberspace environment, I am sure that there are all kinds of “Dati Leumi” blogs to suit your taste. But I really don’t want that here. Your intolerance is no more palatable than that of our friend in Stamford Hill. I also consider you a friend now . . . but that does not affect my distaste for your often ugly attitude.

  45. Daniel Marks

    Mike,

    From an editorial point of view you are, of course, completely right.

    I think this discussion is nothing to do with the Goldstone report anyway and would be better continued (if, at all) on the very excellent Twatter.

    Chag Sameach

  46. Anthony Mammon

    I don’t have time to read all the replies to this blog, but Greg has this habit of constantly pissing me off. Is there any way of reading replies to any of your blogs without reference to Greg…. Oh and Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace is a comment that Greg wrote that jumped out at me. Why is it that whenever someone stands up for our rights, legal rights, they are an obstacle to peace? Should we just hand over whatever they want, which is basically everything. We gave up Gaza, what did that achieve????

  47. How much is Marks paying you, Anthony?!

    The best “way” is tolerance – not accepting what Greg says (and perhaps even challenging him on it) . . . but accepting his right to say it. This is, after all, a blog!

    Marks is boring enough as it is . . . but could you imagine if there was no one giving contrary opinions?!

  48. Daniel Marks

    Mike,

    In your wildest fantasies you dream about being as boring as I am on my worst day.

    Actually, I disagree with Anthony. As I’ve stated many times I think that his political views are completely legitimate, though, of course, they are not mine.

    The fact that he chooses to live in exile makes me take them less seriously than those of an Israeli, but again I feel just the same way about “fellow” right wingers who live in New York or Golders Green.

    I’ve never asked for Greg to be taken off the blog, censored or anything like that. I just think I should have a right to challenge him and his views when he posts.

    Truthfully the whole subject of Greg’s personality has gotten boring and I have taken upon myself a bilateral undertaking not to mention him again (except, of course, on twatter) unless he really provokes me again.

    Chag Sameach

  49. Since no one has actually bothered to contact BtV, I did. While this is what they sent me so far — I have asked them for clarification as to their funding. This is from their publication, “A Rabbinic Guide to 40 Years of Occupation.” It’s a PDF & if you’d like a copy please write to me @ gcantory@aol.com & I will be happy to send it to you. This is from page 2:

    Brit Tzedek v’Shalom was founded in 2002 by a group of American Jewish activists compelled to create a national organization to build support for a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The organization was founded on the belief that Israel’s well-being depends on a negotiated settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict that includes the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

    Brit Tzedek combines the principles of social justice fundamental to the Jewish tradition with the unique perspectives of American Jews concerned for Israel. Its mission is to educate and mobilize American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Working through a national network of 40 local chapters and more than 36,000 supporters, Brit Tzedek uses legislative advocacy, outreach to synagogues and Jewish organizations, media relations, and community education initiatives to build a grassroots Jewish movement that advocates for greater US commitment to resolving the conflict.

    Brit Tzedek’s national Rabbinic Cabinet provides a vehicle to organize rabbis and cantors nationwide for progressive activism through their pulpits, synagogue educational programs, online Jewish holiday messages, op-eds, paid advertising, letters to the editor, and broadcast interviews. … For more information on the Rabbinic Cabinet, contact Cabinet chair Rabbi John Friedman at: rabbifriedman@btvshalom.org.

  50. Very magnanimous of you, Daniel, to have “never asked for Greg to be taken off the blog, censored or anything like that.” For what exactly?!

    As I have repeated on many occasions, you have every “right to challenge [Greg] and his views”, but not to make snide comments about him (including on Twatter), whether “he really provokes [you] again” or not.

    If you can’t observe these (I think) very simple rules, the time might well have come for wild ma’ale marks instead of boring melchett mike.

  51. Despite provocation I see no reason to violate my bilateral undertaking.

    Hag sameach

  52. I think you mean “unilateral”. Where did you go to school?

    Really, I’m not getting paid enough for this . . .

  53. Whoops! You’re right about that. Too many antibiotics.

    Have a great succot!

  54. Anthony writes: Oh and Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace is a comment that Greg wrote that jumped out at me. Why is it that when ever someone stands up for our rights , legal rights, they are an obstacle to piece? Should we just hand over whatever they want, which is basically everything. We gave up Gaza, what did that achieve????

    I suppose you can’t send a rocket over the internet, but after reading this, I’m sure you’d want to.

    No, the answer is not to give up everything, but it may indeed turn out to be that more will have to be given. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I & many others — some even retired IDF officers — believe: Tuv shalom mei’erets Yisrael sh’leimah. And yes, by holding his hard line Netanyahu IS standing in the way of peace.

    Please read the BtV guide I offered. It offers a different, mature, well-reasoned perspective. I’m not going to go into all the reasons here. For that, read the Guide.

    … incoming …

  55. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Greg,
    nice little article about BVT, it just kind of forgets to mention the sources of its funding.
    I didnt ask what they stood for or how many members they have or how many Rabbis are on the staff.
    I asked who gives them money apart from individual personal donations, and when we find out that its an organisation funded in part by virrilant anti zionists and by people that would do our country harm, then it is within my perogative to discount them and anyone who supports them.
    Greg please take this personally, I dont care if you represent reform, that doesnt make you good , bad or anything else.
    But once you cross the line of lending support to my enemy and I dont use that term lightly you become my enemy.
    There are many people here tht put their own lives on the line for Israel and for Jews everywhere, your opinions on this subject however are both misguided are dangerous.
    Ellis

  56. Ellis — As I have said before, BtV is a grassroots organization. By definition, that means that it’s funding comes from it’s member/supporters. It does NOT come from outside organizations. Their funding does NOT come from Israel’s (or your) enemies. Short of showing you their books, to which I have no access, that’s all I can say.

    Why is it necessary for you to be influenced by a website w/ a chip on it’s shoulder? Just because you read something on the web does not make it true. So unless the site that has been quoted has access to BtV’s books, what they & you are spreading is lashon hara, very much the same as Fox News in the US spews forth lies upon lies, day after day.

    Again I say, if you really want to know the truth, go directly to the source … or to the US government entities which are charged w/ overseeing the finances of such organizations. I will not do your research for you.

    I will say no more other than to say that BtV, JStreet & The Peace Center all are run & funded by passionate American Jews who care deeply about Israel & her ultimate survival as a Jewish state. At the same time, we also believe that a permanent peace can be established in the region if only people would stop digging in their heels & actively work for peace. Regardless of the question, peace is the answer.

    You may disagree, but we believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel & that it is possible to & that we can & that we must must get there b’yameinu!

  57. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Dear Greg,
    You are passionate in your beliefs, which is commendable, whether the organizations under discussion are funded immorally or not is actually irrelevant what is relevant is aim of these organizations and the way in which they set out to achieve those aims.
    Secondly your yearning for peace is no different to any other persons the only difference is the way you choose to go about it. Putting my family in direct danger because you are prepared to take a chance with their lives for what you believe in is unacceptable.
    In 1993 Israel made peace with the Palestinians, do you remember that? Do you remember the dancing in the streets the sense of jubilation the sense that finally we were going to be a normal country living normal lives. As Israelis even those of us that were skeptical of Arafat’s intentions there was a renewed sense of hope.
    But the measure of an agreement is in the facts of its real world achievement, since that date more Israeli`s have been killed by Palestinian terrorists than before that date. More rockets have been fired into Israel than before that date. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza the rockets have continued to fall in Israel, whether this is reported in the press or not. An unreported rocket attack still kills people.
    Yitzchak Rabin once famously called the victims of a bus bombing sacrifices for peace, this was after Oslo. So you will forgive me for both being skeptical of external organizations that are trying to force me into what I, along with many others perceive as more danger.
    By the way the most famous person that expressed your wish of peace Beyameinu, Neville Chamberlain was proved so wrong that 6 years later along with 50 or 60 million lives lost the world finally understood the evil that was Nazi Germany, but at the time peace in our time was a great sound byte.
    You do not understand the evil that is fundamentalist Islam, this is a movement that believes that any land belonging at any time to a Muslim belongs to that Muslim and is holy till the end of days.
    This means that if Muslims become a majority in New Jersey they will believe they have the right to re conquer New Jersey, just as they believe they have the right to conquer Spain and parts of Russia.
    According to Sharriya laws Jews would be accepted as second class citizens without the right to vote and although unmolested still denied basic freedoms both of movement and expression, and their lives would be held at the whim of the ruler.
    I suggest before you put my life on the line, you learn exactly what my enemy has in store for me and then decide if you would like to be responsible directly or indirectly for my death. Israel’s problems are existential and if you don’t believe that I suggest you have a look at the various fundamentalist Islamic websites that freedom of expression allows us to see.
    How many more 9/11`s how many more Barcelona`s how many more London undergrounds how many more crying mothers and grieving fathers will it take, how many more Ahminajads do we need to make us wake up.
    But the worst of it is that we as Israelis are on the front line of a war that you, at best deny is even happening or at worst see it as one that Israel is expendable in, and that is extremely frightening.
    The light you see at the end of the tunnel is a train coming and it is coming straight at Israel.
    Ellis

  58. david kornbluth

    Dear Mike, Greg and Readers.

    I hope that in a new spirit of diplomacy this will not offend anyone, but enable normal conversation on the questions that are relevant.

    1. What are your fundamental views on the conflict between jews and arabs in the middle east, specifically you may believe that Israel has to make concessions and this seems to me to indicate that Israel is at fault.

    2. If you believe that Israel has to make concessions for peace, is there a point in your mind, that the human cost of these concessions has become unacceptable?

    3. Do you believe that the Arabs are justified in using any means to achieve their aims of self determination?

    4. Do you believe that there is a right of return for all arabs living anywhere who claim some palestinian link?

    5. Do you think that this issue has been kept alive for the sole purpose of pressuring opinion on israel, or that somehow only arabs are incapable of integrating their refugees?

    6. Do you think that Iran has a right to Nuclear power/weapons?

    7. Do you think that Israel has a right to self defence? Do you think that perhaps the rules of war written to cover conventional conflicts are possibly not practical in unconventional conflicts?

    8. Do you think that Israel should hold itself up and act more morally than the rest of the world?

    9. Do you think that Israel should act in this way when it costs young men their lives?

    10. Do you think that Netanyahu, wants his sons to live in peace any less than any one else does?

    11. Do you think that perhaps there can be some justification for the distrust that jews living in Israel feel when all they see is hate and threats coming from their peace partner?

    12. Do you think that the offers of peace that have been made repeatedly are insencere and if lacking in someway can you say how?

    I ask not to provoke but to gain a better understanding of your very valid point of view!

    Thank you and Moed Tov

  59. Ellis — I have 1 question: If,as you say, the Islamist extremists will never stop in their attempts to reclaim Israel, do you intend to engage in a state of perpetual war? To me, that is totally unacceptable.

    I will attempt to answer David’s thoughtful questions …

    1. Concessions do not constitute weakness. In order to solve this situation, both sides will have to make concessions. You might not see forcing the Arab world to put down their arms as a concession, but it certainly is.

    2. Concessions must be reasonable.

    3. No one is justified in “using ANY means” to accomplish their goals. The ends do not justify the means.

    4. No. I understand that the right of return is a difficult issue. This may be one point upon which the Arabs ought to make concessions.

    5. The Arab world has, indeed, allowed this problem to fester. They bear the largest share in helping to resolve it. The Arabs are not incapable of absorbing the refugees, but the have shown they have been unwilling to do so. This is another concession they must make.

    6. Absolutely not! I actually believe in world-wide nuclear disarmament & have believed so for as long as I can remember.

    7. Yes, Israel has the right to self-defense. I find the whole concept of rules governing the conduct of war to be abhorrent. All war is wrong. It has never settled anything. It is the result of a complete breakdown of human communication. I believe in the teaching of AJ Muste, “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”

    8. I agree that Israel has been held, unfairly, to a higher standard, but I would like to see the other nations of the world rise to meet her example.

    9. The result of war is in discriminative death — that’s what makes it wrong.

    10. I believe Netanyahu does, indeed, want peace, but he is going about it in the wrong way.

    11. Unfortunately, yes. The Arabs have a long way to go in winning back Israel’s trust.

    12. Often, yes. But please understand — the position of those who state that we are both pro-Israel AND pro-peace is that there is tremendous responsibility on the part of BOTH sides to make the necessary concessions & to do the hard work of making (or as some say, waging) peace.

    Peace will not come if Israel is the only one to make concessions! Pressure must also be brought upon the Arab world — by the rest of the world, united — to accept their wrongdoings & their obligation to be sincere & do the right things.

    Whether you believe it or not, this is exactly what the Obama administration is saying & attempting to achieve. I believe that this may be the opportune time for this to happen. Since Obama is so different from any other US president, it is my hope & prayer that he & his team will be able to do what so many have failed to do.

    But he can’t do it alone — we ALL (the whole world) bear the obligation to help make it come true. (While in a different context,) I believe this is what Herzl meant when he said, “Im tirtsu ein zo agadah.” I know full well this is not & will not be easy, but I believe we have no other choice.

  60. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Greg
    I have one answer, as long as the fundamentalist is at war with me, do I actually have a choice?
    The only choice I have is in how I fight this war, do I fight it , by defending my citizens in the best way that I can? or do I fight it by going on the offensive, or do I fight it in the media, or do I fight it by creating an environment where peace is possible, or do I use all of the above.
    Strange as it may seem to you, the 2 state solution is actually in existence. The Palestinians rule themselves, have their own democratic elections, their own police force and army and Israel does not cross into Palestinian territory and run their towns and cities. The only real interaction between Israeli`s and Palestinians is at the border check points, where Palestinians come into Israel , mostly to work or to visit family.
    Yes it might be nice if we could have open borders, but have you been through passport control in jfk recently, as a non us citizen you may sometimes have to wait for up to 3 hours to get through, and it takes up to an hour to get through security the other way.
    these things are part of the war on terrorism, maybe we should cancel them as well and give the terrorists free reign?
    Terrorism is a strange thing, every time we deal with terrorists, every time we try to make peace with them and the peace is not reciprocal the terrorists win another battle in the war.
    There are ways to fight this war that are less confrontational, and strangely enough I actually see some hope via the current recession, the less willing Americans are to use fossil fuels the less money there will be in the hands of the terrorist bankers to pass on for the war. The more money governments spend on renewable sources of energy the less money goes to terrorism. It is cause and effect, you fill up your car with gas in the US and a part of the money you spend goes to finance terrorism.
    The real problem is the Palestinian leadership, I contend that they have no interest in independence and the existence of Palestine as a nation until they have actually won the war by annihilating Israel. If they have a Country it will be subject to International law and UN sanctions. Can you imagine the security council allowing one UN member to fire 8 or 9000 rockets into another member state with no repercussions? Can you imagine a country that is totally dependent on another country for its livelihood? Can you imagine?
    Three times Israel has offered the Palestinians a deal that was so good, even the American state department thought we were crazy, three times they turned it down, would this suggest to you a group of people that was really interested in peace.?
    So I would say Greg that the real question is for you and all the other American`s, Is Israel expendable? What is the line you will not cross in your search for ultimate peace? Because make no mistake that is the outcome the terrorists wish for. And when you reach that line, if it exists for you, are you prepared to go to war or will you stay in America and watch the destruction on CNN?

  61. david kornbluth

    Greg,

    Thank you for taking the time to express your views, i am actually surprised that your views other than to two questions seem to be the same as mine.

    So i will simply conclude my appeal by saying that here is an entire country of people for who resolution of the conflict is a matter of life and death. Every (almost) election that i recall is centered on the political / military / terror implications of different paths to peace.

    So yes i can be somewhat rude at times when confronted with a view from afar that seems at face value to be ill considered and i apologise for that, but try not to discount the views of many hundreds of thousands for whom this is their life as being mere “obstacles to peace”.

    I have had conversations with Israeli soldiers who are pro giving land for peace without limit, (and i mention this not because soldiers have more right to an opinion than others, but they are usually more informed i think, at least officers), they justify this by saying i want my son to live in peace 🙂 which i hope you realise 99% of Israelis do, even those who want Bibis version of peace.

    However those soldiers who lived with being shot at on milluim with me, were unsure that all the concessions in the world will pave the way to peace. So they say that we must do all we can. And yes i was shot at as were many many others but that only increases my sense of urgency at finding a solution to the conflict for my sons sake as well as everyone elses sons, however i see two sides to this coin.

    I hope that you can see that the contrary view, namely that the making of concessions, that take away Israels ability to defend itself may not be a very good idea, unless the other side is preared to make concessions for peace, that have never been hinted at. Even if you don’t agree, necessarily, perhaps you can at least accept that the view has logical and equitable merit.

    In fact looking back every Israeli concession has been viewed as a sign ofweakness, and encouraged the militarisation of Lebanon and Gaza, in no small way causing the war that no one wants, and deaths that no side should have to suffer.

    Looking forward lets hope that there can be a year, decade and life of peace for all the world.
    Furthermore, if you have any concrete ideas for peace please share them as there maybee some readers here who can infulence change.

    Conversely, perhaps now you can appreciate the difficulty of the political situation in Israel, much less Israels’ geo-political position in a very hostile international community, and perhaps you will be inclined to commence a dialogue with those rabbis you respect and organizations that you recommended, and encourage them to influence as much change/policy as possible to Israeli government but to agree not to do this by causing Israels’ allies to question their loyalties, views and opinions on the justness of Israel and its actions.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Moed Tov

    David

  62. david kornbluth

    Update on reasons to not be cheerful about peace!

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1254393089602&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    JPost.com » Middle East » Article

    Oct 4, 2009 2:22 | Updated Oct 5, 2009 8:37
    Hamas children’s TV program again calls for the ‘slaughter of Jews’
    By JOSIAH DANIEL RYAN
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    What’s this?

    A popular Hamas children’s program that usually gives advice to youngsters, such as instructing them to listen to their parents, aired a call for the “slaughter” of Jews in Israel late last month, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

    Nassur The Bear speaks with a young caller on Hamas’s ‘Tomorrow’s pioneers’ TV show on September 22, 2009.

    SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region | World All Jews must be “erased from our land,” Nassur, a stuffed bear who hosts the weekly program, Tomorrow’s Pioneers, on Hamas’s Al-Aksa television, explained to a child who called in to a September 22 show. “We want to slaughter them, Saraa, so they will be expelled from our land… we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter.”

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