Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why Everyone Hates the Settlers

by Tzvi Fishman4 Tevet 5768, 13 December 07

[I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of Mr Fishman nor have I ever been an enthusiastic supporter of Rav Levinger. None the less, when a person speaks truth, I accept it from where ever it comes. In my 56 year experience, the past thirty four of them in or associated with Israel and the Jewish People, the following rings true as few other blog posts are likely to! YBA]

( Ever wonder why the whole world goes crazy when a handful of Israeli teenagers put up a cluster of shacks on a barren hillside in Judea and Samaria?
Why should it bother a Frenchman in Paris, a Swede in Stockholm, or a Russian in Moscow? Why should Jews living on the mountains of Biblical Israel make the President of the United States and officials in the State Department pull out their hair?

Rav Levinger, the father of renewed Jewish settlement in the city of Hevron, was one of the principle leaders of Gush Emunim and the settlement movement for the last thirty years.
In an interview just before his stroke, Rabbi Levinger explained that the continuing settlement of Eretz Yisrael was the most important mitzvah of our generation.

"Rabbi Moshe Harlop was one of the closest students of Rabbi Kook. In his book, "Maayanei HaYeshua," he explains that if you want to know the most important mitzvah for Am Yisrael in any generation, it is the mitzvah that the nations of the world most oppose. In the time of the Hashmoneans, the Greeks made their most forceful decrees against the mitzvot that most highlighted the Jews as a unique holy nation – the commandments of Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, and Brit Milah."

This was because the Greeks wanted to impose their unholy Hellenist culture over all of the world. Because their culture celebrated human intellect, physical beauty and hedonist pleasure, they could not tolerate the existence of Judaism which brings G-d into every aspect of life, the spiritual and the physical as well. So they tried to stamp out the commandments that sanctify time and the human body, symbolized by the brit milah. The Greeks wanted to keep the gods in heaven and not be beholden to any holy, all-powerful Divinity here on earth.

"Rabbi Harlop writes that in the time of the footsteps of Mashiach, the mitzvah that the nations of the world most oppose is the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel. This is because in the time of Mashiach all holiness comes to the world through the settlement of the Land of Israel."
This is because the greatest sanctification of G-d in our time occurs when Jews return to settle the Biblical hilltops of Israel in fulfillment of Divine prophecy. The nations of the world don't care if Jews build kosher neighborhoods in Monsey, New York or Antwerpen. Jews can keep even Shabbat in Cairo and Teheran. But when a handful of Jews erect a rickety caravan on the hillsides overlooking Shilo, Elon Moreh, or Beit-El, it is an international scandal.

This is because the Jewish prophets said this would happen, that Jews would return to these same Biblical hillsides, and its coming to pass means that there is a G-d in the world, an active, living Ruler of heaven and earth, who chose the Nation of Israel to be His messenger to teach the world His commandments and ways. Of course, the nations of the world rise up in protest. It is OK for them to pay lip service to G-d when He is restricted to heaven. But, like the Greeks before them, they don't want to be bound by His laws here on earth. In their collective conscience, if you get rid of the Jewish settlers, you get rid of G-d. By taking the Land of Israel away from the Jews, the infidels can prove that G-d doesn't really exist and that the Torah isn't true. Then they can go about their stealing and murdering and fornicating in peace, without having to worry about Divine retribution.

So in the words of Rabbi Levinger and Rabbi Harlop, "It isn't a wonder that all the nations of the world want to hinder the resettlement of Israel by the Jews. They place all of their weight and power precisely on this matter."

And this is the reason, Rabbi Levinger says, that we must continue to build on every barren hilltop. Because the salvation of the world depends upon it. This is how G-d's Presence returns to the world. Through the resettlement of Israel, G-d makes Himself known and returns to being the #1 superpower reigning over all of the nations. May it be soon.

And may Rabbi Levinger have a complete and speedy recovery, and return to leading the way up the hillsides of our beloved Land.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Israel's Dangerous Plutocracy

In April of 1906, Roosevelt said, "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship of the day."

My critics have often chided me on my "paranoia". For years I have described Israel's political process as "the illusion of democracy". Israel's parliamentarians are not elected by the people, but at best by the few thousand members of each party's secretariat. These individuals represent the special interest groups that control who will be in each party's "list of candidates" and their position on that list. At best the electorate can vote for a party, but whether a specific individual will actually sit in our parliament or note, has no connection with the individual's ballot.

In a country where, according to Dunn & Bradstreet and the former General Manager of the National Insurance, somewhere between fifteen to eighteen families control over 75% of Israel's capital, it is a very short path to believing that these families will ensure the election of individuals that will be "easy to work with". In other words, exploiting the back room mechanisms of the Israel equivalent to gerrymandering, Israel's politicians are far more accountable to their patrons than to the people who ostensibly elect them.

What a surprise to discover Teddy Roosevelt himself quoted as identifying a very parallel development in the American political system on the eve of the First World War.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

G-d In search of Man

Over the many years I have worked online I have made the 'virtual acquaintance' of many people from many different beliefs. One of these correspondents is a devout Christian with whom I once agreed to agree to disagree and have maintained a loose connection with since our business dealings ended. Recently I received an interesting email from her which I have responded to in the following post. If you have anything to add, please post a comment to our open discussion.
Yoel, I hope you don't mind me emailing you and I hope you remember who I am. Anyway,I have some hard questions and as I thought them over, I realized that you're the only person I know who could answer them, if you will, please? I am very sincere in wanting to hear your answers, but I will understand if you don't answer at all.
Dear Pat,

I'm always interested in "hard questions". Perhaps that is why you thought of me? There is a very good reason for that. As one of Judaism's many sages once asserted, the essence of Judaism is the question - not the answers. In fact he went so far as to demonstrate that so many aspects of Judaism are linked with the "Commemoration of the Leaving of Egypt" (The Exodus). Fascinatingly, when we explore the heart of the ritual which is focused exclusively on this event, Pesach (Passover) we discover that the heart of this annual celebration is - the four questions. Jewish parents are proud of their children, not when they can repeat some Jewish version of the catechism by heart, but when their precious child raises a question that challenges their teacher's ability to explain! So yes, bring on the questions, maybe together we will learn something.
To set the scene, the Creator of the New Testament that we Christians read, seems to be different from that of the Old Testament.
Okay, before we continue you must understand that although Christianity apparently respects the so-called 'Old Testament', Judaism (and by extension myself) see the so-called 'new Testament' as a collection of documents written by men driven by religious polemics. It is at best an attempt to provide a basis for a religion based not upon divinely revealed truths, but a religion of accommodation which on one hand borrowed truths from other religions (like Judaism) but attempted to mold and present these truths in a fashion most likely to attract believers of other believers of other religions. I think you call this proselytizing. In short I will respond to questions directed toward so-called 'Old Testament' issues only, we call this the Tanach (first letters of Torah, Navim & Ketuvim) but have absolutely nothing to say about the other text.
Anyway, there are many instances where the Lord seems harsh and even subject to human emotions like a quick anger (against the Israelites when they were tired of manna, for instance). Some of His actions seem extreme in the light of... something. The love taught in the New Testament or humanism, maybe, I don't know.
One of our sages summarized his understanding of scripture by saying: "Torah speaks in the language of men!" What he appears to be saying is that in order for men to understand G-d's message, that message had to be communicated in terms and in a fashion that men could understand. Let me go further. The Rambam explained that Moshe Rabbenu merited a level of prophecy similar to the level of a man speaking face-to-face with his neighbour. Later prophets merited a more distant prophetic experience, akin more to visions requiring interpretation and finally toward the end of the prophetic period (scripture), the level of prophetic inspiration was described as "ruach hakodesh" - the breeze of holiness.

In a sense you might described this evolution of prophetic experience as a form of education. The initial reality of taking a people out of bondage and molding them into a nation capable of receiving G-d's instructions for living required an over whelming face-to-face experience - like that experienced by the Jewish People at Mount Sinai. As the message gradually absorbed, over generations, the reminders and amplifications provided were more subtle, less over powering. HaShem doesn't want man to do the right thing because he is afraid of not doing it, but because he desires to do the right thing. Man's role in the world requires that he exercise his free will. Again, I am not relating to how so call Christian scriptures supposedly portray G-d, but definitely in Tanach there is a gradual transformation of how HaShem's message is delivered and perceived, all reinforcing the idea that man's great gift is his ability to choose.

More over, the prophets included in 'scripture' are only those our sages understood were necessary for future generations. There were many many more prophets than those included in the 24 books of the Tanach. And those prophets prophesied many more times than the few prophecies recorded and transmitted in our tradition.
The law contains extreme consequences for behaviors, like stoning a rebellious son. Today, this wouldn't even be heard of.
Jewish sages had a difficult time with this one. The consensus opinion is that some laws, such as this one, were not given in order that they might be enforced, but more that the learning and debate surrounding the law might have an educational effect on the people. If you were looking for what would be today considered an "unjust" law, you could have chosen the law of Mamzarut. A child conceived by a married woman from a man not her husband is considered a mamzer (I'm not certain that this is the equivalent of a bastard). Such a child cannot marry a Jew.

Why does Torah punish the child? It was the parents who sinned! Yet the Torah in the case of mamzer, in the same way as the rebellious son, sees not the direct cause and effect of the actions as the determinant but looks beyond the current situation to the far reaching effects of these actions in subsequent decades and generations. I call these kind of laws "drawing the line". If you do not "draw the line" here, the very essence of the purity and holiness of the union between and man and a woman become debased. HaShem made the value judgment that if there is a man and a woman so lust full and egocentric as to ignore the possible consequences of their actions to their own offspring, these must be an end to this before it corrupts the rest of the Jewish People.

If you'd like to question HaShem's perspective, He has already answered you in Isaiah 55:8 : "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says HaShem"
Another time ... the man (don't remember his name) were killed immediately because he steadied the Ark of the Covenant?
What I found interesting in this comment was that you ignored the next verse. It says that David was distressed that HaShem had "lashed out" at Uzza and called the location of that incident "Peretz Uzza" from that day forward. In David's understanding of the incident, HaShem's "lashing out" was apparently not justified. It disturbed or distressed him. Yet there can be no question that an all-knowing deity must have known something David didn't know. This is an important point. Our relationship with HaShem is relative. How we perceive HaShem's actions is a function of who we are and what we understand and believe. There is no indication that David stopped believing in HaShem after the incident with Uzza, yet it is very clearly expressed in scripture that he was "disturbed" (or "distressed") by the event. These things are not contradictory. Torah deals with real life and real living people. People are complex and often times contradictory.
As I thought about these things, I remembered David, who, while he was apparently chastised for his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, yet lived a long life as King of Israel - no bolts of lightening for him. Other times that don't add up: Abraham lying about Sarah being his wife, yet the sin was with the man who wanted her unknowing of the lie, not with Abraham.
Our sages say that the entire story of David & Batsheva was written as a lesson we can all learn - the repentance of an individual over mistakes can be accepted if they are truly contrite. Yet at the same time you must see Torah as dealing with the real world! A world where sometimes the righteous are persecuted and the evil have the upper hand. Avraham by-the-way didn't completely lie about Sarah being his sister. We learn from him when he explained to the King of Gerrar (Genesis 20:12) that Sarah was his half-sister, but in the verse before he explains why the deception was necessary: "Because there was no fear of G-d in this place". Finally I suggest that sometimes we can learn from the mistakes of others, not only from their successes?
Part of my question is this: How much of the scriptures can we take literally, and how much of them are told for the sake of the lesson? I have read that the story of Jonah and the great fish was just a story.
I don't know about being swallowed by a whale (or whatever it was), but it is my firm belief that truth is true. Scripture cannot teach you a truth using a falsehood as the vehicle. If Joshua actually led the People of Israel into the Land of Israel, then Jericho actually exists and the city was destroyed. Having said that, you must understand that scripture (read Tanach) is neither a history book nor some sort of physics primer. The narrative has one objective, to teach us how to live our lives. The stories, incidents and teachings that support and assist in achieving that objective are the one's included in the text. The endless minutiae of life are ignored. A classic point in case is the trip Elezar, Avraham's servant took from Canaan to Aram Haharaim. It was easily a six week trip by camel, yet the Biblical Narrative compresses these six weeks or arduous travel through probably dangerous territory into one short phrase (Genesis 24:10). Another aspect of this same story is that the narrative totally ignores all the people that probably assisted Elezar in his journey with ten camels laden with the precious gifts his master sent with him. As my teacher once said, if they didn't have legs ( see Genesis 24:32) we wouldn't know they existed.

Having made my point, don't confuse the vehicle for the message. Some of our understandings of what is spoken of are based upon very terse and obscure terms. Whether we truly understand them correctly or not is often secondary importance, rather is moral or ethical lesson they communicate is none-the-less understood.
Do you see my confusion? If you could shed some light on it and help me understand the nature of this Creator, I would be so very much grateful.
Yes I see your confusion. Do you understand my response? You ask about understanding the nature of the 'creator' and I spend my entire essay trying to help you understand the nature of man. HaShem is unknowable, except in a kind of after-the-fact kind of way. HaShem's message is "dressed" in clothing that make it possible for flesh and blood creators to grasp, relate to and identify with. If sometimes that "clothing" comes across in your appreciation as crude or even brutish, that has far more to do with the nature of the people the message was directed at than the source of the message itself.

There is so much more I could add, but unfortunately time is not something I have a lot of. If you'd like to respond to this, ask for greater clarification or bring up another point please feel free to do so. I'll try to find the time to write you a reply.

In Friendship,
Yoel Ben-Avraham
Shilo, Benyamin

After the publication of the above another Christian correspondent of mine, a student of theology from Canada jumped into the fray to share his insights into the above discussion. You can find Jeremiah's response in its entirety on his blog The Evolution of Jeremiah.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pulitzer Prizes?

One of the topics in the Israeli Press this week has been the Pulitzer Prize to an Israeli journalist for the photograph that I personally felt captured the essence of Amona, and with it the post-Disengagement spirit of the pro-Eretz-Israel movement. The question is - how do you view the photograph?

  • Is the religious fanatic throwing herself in a desperate attempt to thwart the forces of law-and-order?
  • Or is the symbol of right and justice standing up despite all odds to stem the forces of corruption and nihilism?
Personally I see this young woman as typical of the generation my children belong to. I call them the "Generation of Entering the Land". Unlike the "Generation of the Dessert (Midbar)" who were acculturated to see the world through the eyes of their non-Jewish host cultures, these children are literally "children of the land". There is not an inch of this land they haven't hiked through, or unfortunately, fought over. They are deeply attached to its soil, its geography, it fauna and wildlife, and especially the history of the peoples who have lived here since the dawn of history.

The Tanach, for them, is neither a dusty collection of ancient history nor an esoteric handbook of antiquated religious belief - it is a handbook for inspiring day-to-day, minute-to-minute life. It inspires their political vision as well as their aspiration for purity and honesty, but especially justice.

In many ways I feel the middrash that describes Moshe Rebbennu's astonishment after hearing Rabbi Akiva's lecture to his students describes our generation gap reality. Like Moshe our "Generation of the Midbar" led our people through the parted seas of a holocaust to the "Promised land". The real work of settling the land, establishing the foundations for the kingdom of Israel came after Moshe passed on. So too, we are experiencing that unsettling transition between the demise of the "great" leaders of the past and the yet-to-be arrival of the leaders who grew up on the land.

If you are in need of inspiration and are looking for a reason to be optimistic about the future of the Jewish People in general, and the Jewish People in the Land of Israel in particular, watch this short "Press Statement" by a young woman who's idealism and willingness to back it up with selfless dedication, even if it mean being beaten mercilessly by multiple Israel 'Police'.

I love irony. The young woman's first name? Nili! From the first letters of the words in the phrase phrase: "The eternity of Israel will not lie!"
"And also the Eternity of Israel will not lie nor waver; for He is not a man, that He would equivocate;"
I Samuel 15:29

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Artificial Intelligence and Love

For the longest time I’ve had a collection of thoughts associated with Spielberg’s movie A.I. rolling around in the back of my mind. I thought I’d take a moment to try and sort them out in print and see if they make sense.

There are certain producers, like Spielberg, for whom motion picture creation is not just a way of making a living, earning a fortune or acquiring fame. It is my personal belief that they use their movies to explore some basic human issue, framing it in the Wild West, the distance future or occasionally in the contemporary present. When I view a movie like A.I. I ask myself: What was the producer trying to accomplish beyond the obvious entertainment goals.

In my humble opinion, in the movie A.I. Spielberg wanted to explore one of life’s most fundamental mysteries – the meaning of love? The situation where a bereaved mother finds solace in loving an artificial (robotic) but life-like child and remarkably an artificial child is somehow “programmed” to love his adopting parent, sets the scene for a multifaceted investigation into the essence of love.

Very early in the movie it is made clear that by “love” the protagonists did not mean the imitation of love but the inner feelings of attachment.
In addition to the experience of learning to love her adopted robotic child, the mother faces a dilemma when her previously catatonic son is revived and returned healed to his family. The natural child’s return sparks a struggle, the ultimate question of sibling rivalry, of two children competing for a parent’s love. Inherent in this struggle is the sense that the ‘competitor’ can possibly replace you. Of course in the movie A.I. that is what the robotic child did in essence. He replaced the natural child while he lay catatonic in some form of cybernetic suspension.

As in any fable, the “test” is where the true nature of the protagonists is discovered. In Spielberg’s movie the first ‘test’ is the mother’s decision to return her robotic child back to the factory when the sibling rivalry between him and her natural son spirals out of control. Unable to face the irrevocable destruction of the ‘child’, she instead releases him out in the wilds.

For me the question of what this woman feels for a robotic child brings into question the love of a mother for any child. Perhaps it can be said that more than the child yearns for his mother’s love, a mother has a need to love her child. In the movie, the mother, even when faced with the obvious artificialness of her ‘adopted child’ still feels a need to-be-there for him, and comfort him. In Jewish thought there is a concept that “the hearts follow the actions”. Perhaps in this case, the “love” of the mother for her “adopted child” could be explained, as the emotions fostered through the actions of “mothering”, coupled with her own innate need to have a child to love. In a similar fashion I keep thinking of Stephen Covey’s statement that the word “love” is a verb! Love is a process, an action not a state of mind, or at least a state of mind created as a result of the actions of loving another.

What truly captured my fascination was the artificial child’s struggle to cope with his beloved mother’s rejection, and his search to rectify the imperfection that keeps them apart. Spielberg shamelessly rewrites a Pinocchio of the 22nd century.

The critical aspect of the child’s sense of feeling loved was connected to his perception of himself as special or unique. When he comes face-to-face with other copies of his model in the robot factory, his sense of self is obviously threatened and the premise that he is loved because he is ‘himself’ and cannot be replaced is clearly challenged.

Another aspect of the child’s love of his mother (note the father is not an object of affection for the robotic child) is that it is transcendent. True, every child has a deep inherent need to feel loved, and perhaps also need to love in return. None-the-less there was something almost magical (something that transcends reason and experience) in the attachment the robotic child felt for his lost parent. This attachment, due to the nature of robots, also transcended the lifetime of his mother and probably all and any descendents she might have had.

What do we mean when we say we love someone? What does it mean to feel loved by someone? In some small way I felt that A.I. hinted at possible answers.
When we love someone, we revere the characteristics about him or her that make them who they are! We love those aspects of their personality that make them special. When we feel loved by another, that feeling is generally accompanied by a sense of feeling special. Our loved ones make us feel appreciated for who we are and in that sense, irreplaceable.

On a personal level I must admit that I connected to the story on a more visceral level. My entire childhood I sought a father’s love from a man who was incapable of expressing the love he obviously felt for his only male child. My entire childhood, and into much of my adulthood, I kept looking for the imperfection I needed to correct in myself in order to earn the open expression of that man’s appreciation and affection. In the end, it was only long after his death that I eventually arrived at an appreciation of the deep love he always felt, and expressed in his own unpretentious manner. In that sense, perhaps love really does transcend the material vehicles of its expression.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Breaking Point - Olmart's Duplicity

Secret talks handing West Bank to Abbas
By Aaron Klein © 2007
JERUSALEM – Israel and the Palestinians have been conducting behind-the-scene negotiations regarding handing over most of the West Bank to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to top Egyptian and European diplomatic sources who told WND they were directly involved with the talks.

If there is any validity to this, and it is not just some journalist looking for sensational headlines, the Israeli "cauldron" is likely to come to a boiling point far sooner than anyone expected. Here is Mister Disengagement Convergence, who after bungling the management of the war in Lebanon was quoted as saying give-aways were not the answer.

I believe the money people who make it possible for losers like Olmert to achieve public office see the writing on the wall. All too soon the entire edifice of corrupt (read bought) politicians will come tumbling down. If they are going to divest Israel of everything that reeks of Jewishness and Jewish roots, they have to do it soon, later may be too late.

The question is, will the people rise up in sufficient force and sufficient time to stop this insane suicidal initiative?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wiki Eretz Israel Neeeds YOU!

Not a day goes by without the world media reporting some ‘incident’ that occurs here in Israel. Just what do those Hebrew or Arabic place names mean to the average reader in France, Australia or Canada? Providing that ‘background’ information is also ‘hasbara’! Describing how those places are connected to the history of the Jewish people makes it all that much clearer why we are here, why this land is worth living and struggling for!

The vision: A wiki-pedia type site with items describing the connection between all the places, people and events connecting the Jewish People to the Land of Israel since the dawn of recorded history!

The place:

The people: People like you and me! People who care and are willing to volunteer to research or write or edit. Every contribution of time and energy counts!

The Time: Now! Come visit us and signup. Together we can educate the world!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Know Your (Muslim) Neighbour

A powerful collection of video clips providing a clear understanding what Muslims in the UK's "moderate" mosques are being taught day after day after day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lessons from the Barbary Pirates (1784-1815)

This is part of a much longer analysis by David Yerushalmi as to why Appeasement (clothed as "Convergence") doesn't work when either of the parties in the conflict are (irrationally) unreasonable. What makes the argument powerful is the consistent historical proofs that he brings to support it. The eye opener for me was the realization that the episode of the Barbary Pirates of 1784 to 1815 was really a Jihadist initiative! Read on!

The second historical case involves the United States in its early nationhood, the Barbary pirates, and spanned a period from 1784 to 1815. Soon after the successful conclusion of the American Revolution in 1783, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin were commissioned by Congress in 1784 to go and investigate the marketing potential of U.S. commercial products in Europe and the Mediterranean world. The first major impediment to American commerce in and around the Mediterranean that the congressional delegates encountered was piracy against U.S. merchant ships carried out by international outlaws under the sponsorship and protection of Muslim rulers of “statelets” along the North African coast. From his vantage point in Europe, Jefferson learned that the “pirates” were not buccaneers in the traditional sense in that they didn’t drink or chase women or simply desire the accumulation of booty, instead their motivation was “religious” in carrying out Islamic jihad. The Muslim sailors, preying on innocent non-Muslim seafarers, called themselves “mujahideen” (strugglers in the cause of Islam) and not pirates. We recall this nomenclature arising among the Afghan fighters who first struggled with the Soviet army.

The Muslim pirates looted merchant ships and used their ill-gotten gains to procure cannons, guns, ammunition, and ships to further their jihadist cause. In accordance with the religious instructions contained in the “noble” Qur’an, they also captured, ransomed, and traded in slaves from the looted merchant vessels. The American congressional delegates in Paris also learned the way in which the European powers like Britain, France, and Spain dealt with the Barbary pirates’ threat to their commerce: to pay mafia-like protection money to the Muslim rulers of the “Maghreb” (“Land of Sunset” – that is, looking west from Cairo on Islamic conquests). For context, the Maghreb takes in the modern-day states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Although opposed by Thomas Jefferson, in 1784, Congress decided to follow the lead of the Europeans and appropriated $80,000 as “tribute” to the Barbary States of the Maghreb, and it then instructed Jefferson, as Ambassador to France, and John Adams, as Ambassador to Britain, to undertake negotiations with the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain to obtain safe passage and to buy immunity from the jihadist piracy for American merchantmen in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

When these two future presidents questioned the Tripolitan ambassador why the Barbary States were attacking U.S. vessels in light of no provocative or hostile American actions, he replied that the mujahideen were acting on the instructions of the Prophet Mohammed to make war on all who did not worship Allah and acknowledge the authority of his prophet. Jefferson and Adams were further informed that every Muslim killed in these attacks went immediately to Paradise. This now rings as déjà vu to those of us now living through this reinvigorated jihad in the 21st century.

From that meeting in 1784 until 1815, when Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur won naval victories that led to treaties finally ending all U.S. tribute payments to the Barbary States, the American nation paid appeasement bribes off and on for 31 years. Additionally, during this period there had been a four-year war (1801-05) against the Barbary States during the first Jefferson term of presidency. So, once again the conclusion established by the preponderance of the evidence is upon us: the Americans’ negotiated payment of protection money cost the U.S. millions in appeasement bribes and resulted in two Mediterranean wars. Finally, we have what is far more conclusive with the historical record open before us. The U.S. Government ended the extortion payments in 1815 by winning a war against the Barbary jihadists, a course of action Thomas Jefferson had initially advised the nation to take in 1784.

Read the entire article on The Conservative Voice

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Israel: Apartheid State

A second fantasy is that Israel is an apartheid state and that peace would be at hand if only Israel ended its apartheid ways. This fantasy is exemplified by the just released scurrilous tract Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter.

Now, basic to apartheid, the legal regime in South Africa until 1994, was the denationalization of blacks because they were black and forced removal to state-created homelands. Israel has not taken away the citizenship of even one Israeli citizen on the basis that the citizen is ethnic Palestinian, then forcibly removed that person to a territory designated for ethnic Palestinians.

I saw this in a Globe & Mail editorial. It of course did little to influence the Jew-haters, if the comments attached to that online article are any indication. None-the-less it did give me a whole new perspective on what apartheid means. I was especially interested in the comment:

Palestinians are forbidden to drive on Jewish roads and blocked from travel to their farmland or family by military checkpoints and barriers

Next time I stand on the main road through Benyamin, Highway 60, on my way to Jerusalem, and wait for over an hour as an endless stream of Arab cars with Palestinian Authority plates drive by, I'll have to remember that they are forbidden to drive there. Or perhaps the next time there is some intelligence of a suicide bomber and together with hundreds of other cars we sit sweltering in the heat till we can pass the Hizma entrance to Jerusalem, I'll remember that it isn't supposed to be that way, only Palestinian Arabs suffer, not Jewish settlers.