Today I begin with a piece – “No, it’s not about ‘race’” – by Vic Rosenthal, writing as Abu Yehuda, because I think this marvellously forthright post should be seen by all and shared broadly (all emphasis added):
“Americans need to take a vacation from using the word ‘racist,’ at least in connection with Israel, because they don’t have the slightest idea of what they are talking about, and it’s insulting as hell. Especially from presidential hopefuls…”
Rosenthal follows with citations from two candidates: Beto O’Rourke, who writes that the US-Israeli relationship, if it is to succeed, “must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist…and who has sided with a far-right, racist party.” And Bernie Sanders, who says that the US should “not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing – dare I say – racist government.”
Rosenthal then writes:
“I know that Americans are obsessed with race. It’s understandable, given the historical facts…
“This is an American problem. It is not Israel’s problem, although Israel’s problem is based in history, too. It is the history of violent Arab/Muslim rejection of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the region…
“Israel’s problem is not race-related. Jews and Arabs are closer genetically than Jews – even Ashkenazi Jews – and Europeans. It is not color-related. Jews and Arabs both come in all colors. It is not even an ethnic conflict…
“Our conflict is a violent political conflict. But unlike similar conflicts all over the world, ours is not allowed to end. The Jewish people has spiritual, historical, legal, aboriginal, and moral rights to what we call the Land of Israel, and we’ve defended those rights through several wars. But for two main reasons, the conflict cannot be ended.
“One reason is that the Western world is not happy with the idea of a sovereign Jewish state…It has internalized the KGB-developed narrative of a Palestinian people whose ‘human rights’ are denied by the very existence of a Jewish state…
“…the second reason is more serious. The Jews are stupid. Yes, you heard that right. The much-vaunted Jewish mind, which has produced so many Nobel Prizes, has not been able to figure out that when someone is trying to kill you, the most moral thing to do is to fight back.
I know, it’s in the Talmud: “When someone is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” (Sanhedrin 72a). But we don’t do that. The Arabs ethnically cleansed every last Jew from the areas they occupied in 1948, but we didn’t do the same (contrary to Arab propaganda, very few of the Arabs who fled Israel at that time were driven out by force). The Jordanians violated the cease-fire agreement and refused to allow Jews or Christians to visit their holy sites in Jerusalem and Hevron. They turned synagogues into stables and tore up Jewish gravestones to build urinals. The Jews, on the other hand, ultimately granted the Arabs in Israel full citizenship, so they could elect Knesset members who support terrorism against Jews.
In 1967 they came to kill us again, and this time we conquered Jerusalem, and all of Judea and Samaria and Gaza. But we still didn’t kick them out, and we even gave them control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest place. And what a surprise – we are not allowed to pray there, and they have ripped out tons of earth from underneath the mount, destroying Jewish history, maybe even artifacts of the first Temple! And we knew about it and didn’t stop them.
“The Jews are stupid because they think they should be ‘better’ than their enemies, according to some Western/Christian standard that even the hypocritical West doesn’t live up to. The ones who wrote the Talmud were right after all…
“The Jew-hatred that burns so hot among the Palestinian Arabs, nurtured over the years by the Palestinian leadership and tolerated and even subsidized by the West, is the single most important factor that prevents a peaceful end to the conflict here.
“But that doesn’t fit Bernie and Beto’s worldview. They worry about the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs, but don’t notice that the right to life of the Jews in Israel is threatened by an array of dozens of countries, including some that are armed to the teeth with rockets aimed at Israel. They think that Israel has not offered enough to the Palestinians, despite the fact that she offered far more than she could afford several times, and the offers were rejected – because no offer that allows the continued existence of a Jewish state will be acceptable to them.
“The Jews have behaved stupidly, but the growth of the very right-wing politics in Israel that Beto and Bernie decry shows that they are finally smartening up.
“American Democratic politicians should do the same.”
Myself, I’m hoping that far-left Socialist Bernie Sanders will secure the Democratic presidential nomination, because that will guarantee a Trump re-election. Should we not see a win by Trump – who is America’s best hope of avoiding the fate of Europe – it would be a disaster.
And speaking of Trump, it made news on Monday that he called Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who had been injured in the attack on his Chabad of Poway synagogue, to offer condolences on behalf of the American people. The president told the rabbi:
“You know, I have a son-in-law that is Jewish, my daughter is Jewish, my grandkids are Jewish. I love Israel and I support Israel. I just annexed the Golan Heights and I moved the embassy. My love is for the Jewish people.” (Emphasis added)
Straight out of the hospital on Sunday, after surgery on his hands, the rabbi held an emotional press conference describing what had happened.
I will note that various news sources are providing somewhat different versions of what transpired in Poway. I shared in my last post the best information I was able to acquire at that time, and am content to allow it to stand, for the essentials have not changed. Does it matter if Lori Kaye was killed trying to protect Rabbi Goldstein or his son? I will add that apparently the assault rifle being used by the terrorist jammed after one round, preventing greater carnage.
We do not have a government formed yet. This takes time – agonizing time; Prime Minister Netanyahu is not to be envied in this task of reconciling the demands of various factions. I am confident that we will, in the end, have that coalition. Netanyahu is an exceedingly savvy politician and has not come this far in order to fail now. Actually, there is no alternative. And hopefully when it’s all done, the “very right wing politics” of which Vic Rosenthal speaks will have had significant influence.
But it’s a game of horse-trading before it all comes together, with various parties and factions making maximalist demands in hope of securing as much as possible. I prefer not to write now about who is demanding what, and which parties are currently meeting with which other parties – in the main, this information comes from leaks and unattributed reports. Some of this will be irrelevant by the time the coalition is actually formed.
What I can address here, however, is the nature of the opposition. In spite of Yair Lapid’s tough (and ugly) statement about how miserable they will make the government, this is less than likely to be the case.
Centrist history professor Gil Troy, who wrote last week about the need for an effective Blue and White opposition (and with whom I often disagree), had this to say:
“…Blue and White – love ‘em or hate ‘em – is a cobbled-together coalition headed by a shotgun polygamous marriage of prima donnas – which is what chiefs of staff and public intellectuals (intellectuals?? who??) need to be in order to advance as far as Benny Gantz, Bogie Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi and Yair Lapid have in their lives.”
Well… This not only makes the case for slight expectations in terms of the effectiveness of this crew in the role of opposition, more importantly, it makes a resounding case for our nation’s good fortune that they did not win the election.
Whatever I may write about Netanyahu, it is forever in my mind that he is politically astute, skilled in his various roles as prime minister, experienced, and enormously respected abroad. It is expected that next time around there will be new faces on the right; at the moment, it was essential that Binyamin Netanyahu take the lead, win the election, and form that coalition.
Dov Lipman, rabbi and one-term Knesset member (2013-15 – with Yesh Atid, with which he subsequently parted ways) points out that “a whopping 24 out of the 35 elected members of Blue and White have never served in the Knesset.” That includes Benny Gantz. And then there is Yair Lapid who was fined for his lack of attendance in the Knesset. (Emphasis here and below added)
Says Lipman, it took six months for him to learn how the Knesset works. “During that time, the very experienced coalition of the expected 65 MKs – with only 19 newcomers in their group – will plow forward with their agenda in committees and in the plenary before the opposition even knows what hit them…”
He further points out that the planned Blue and White tactic of focusing on corruption, most specifically with regard to Netanyahu, is likely to fail:
“We have just concluded a 15-week election campaign during which Blue and White did everything possible to highlight the corruption charges against the prime minister to the people of Israel… What can they possibly add to what they have already said that will now sway Israeli citizens?
“…doing so will only repeat the mistake Blue and White made during the campaign: making this only about Netanyahu and not about concrete issues and solutions.”
The New York Times has offered a belated and worthless apology for the antisemitic cartoon it ran. Worthless precisely because it was belated – an after-thought, a response to the uproar, and not one reflecting sincerity.
The American Jewish Committee has responded: “Apology not accepted. How many @nytimes editors looked at a cartoon that would not have looked out of place on a white supremacist website and thought it met the paper’s editorial standards? What does this say about your processes or your decision makers? How are you fixing it?”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris tweeted:
“The ‘cartoon’ is beyond shocking. Antisemitic in the extreme. No, ‘apology’ isn’t adequate. Rather, @nytimes owes readers an explanation of how this happened — after all, decision to print it involved more than one person — & what it says about the paper’s view of Israel & Jews.
“While #Antisemitism is rising…synagogues are attacked & Jews killed…democratic #Israel is demonized…& Jewish institutions are forced to bolster security… The ‘paper of record’ pours oil on the fire.”
Ira Stoll wrote that anyone shocked by the publication of this cartoon has not been paying attention to what’s been coming from the Times in the past three years (which he has been documenting in the Algemeiner).
And here, I think, we come to the heart of the matter. This paper with a once sterling reputation had long since sunk to a reprehensible low with regard to fair reporting on Israel and Jews. And yet many – including many progressive Jews – clung to their vision of the Times as an important and reliable source of information and simply looked the other way with regard to a great deal that was unbalanced and downright ugly.
But now? The New York Times has gone too far, and it is possible that many eyes will be opened. Subscriptions to the paper should be cancelled wholesale.