Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bernard Lewis on Annapolis

(Thanks to Richard Landes at The Augean Stables. Similar sentiments were expressed today by Daniel Pipes.)

On the Jewish Question
November 26, 2007
Wall Street Journal

Here with some thoughts about tomorrow’s Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel- Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, “What is the conflict about?” There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that’s not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success.

Without genuine acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.
A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much- discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel.

What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways — Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement — Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.
The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the “return” of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose — to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Chanukkah Thought (I)

In anticipation of Chanukkah, herewith is a revised version of the article I wrote for the local paper:

חנוכה: חג לתורה שבעל פה ומסר לדורות
הרב ד"ר יוסף (ג'פרי) וולף
רבות דובר ונכתב אודות חג החנוכה ומשמעותו. אולם, מו"ר הגאון הרב יוסף דוב הלוי סולובייצ'יק זצ"ל חרג מההתמקדות בהתבוללות וחירות פוליטית, והדגיש שמעל הכל חנוכה היא החג של התורה שבעל פה. לכאורה, קביעתו זאת מובנת מאליה. כל כולה של חנוכה מיוסדת על אדני המסורת בעל פה. בניגוד לפורים, היא איננה מוזכרת בתנ"ך. עצם קיומה מבוססת על תקנת חז"ל, עמודי התווך של התושבע"פ. כפי שקובעת הגמרא, שבת דף כ"ג ע"א): והיכן צונו [להדליק נר חנוכה]? רב אויא אמר (דב' י"ז, י"א): 'לא תסור.' רב נחמיה אמר (דברים ל"ב, ז):' שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך.'
אם נתעמק בנקודה זו שהעלה הרב זצ"ל, נוכח שגזירות אנטיוכוס ומרד הכהנים בני חשמונאי, גם הווי אבן דרך בהתפתחות התושבע"פ ומספקים לקח חיוני ימינו.
בימים ההם בזמן הזה,' 'כשעמדה מלכות יוון הרשעה על עמך ישראל, לשכחם תורתך ולהעבירם מחוקי רצונך,' נתקלו יהודי ארץ-ישראל באתגרים חסרי תקדים בתולדותיהם ובתולדות היהדות ובתולדות האנושות בכלל. גזירות אנטיוכוס היו הרדיפה הדתית הראשונה בתולדותינו (ושמא בתולדות האנושות בכלל). בדרך כלל, תרבויות פגניות לא דרשו שהנמצאים בתחומיהן ינטשו את מורשת אבותיהם לטובת שלהן. הם 'רק' בקשו שאלה יקבלו גם את דתם, לצד דת עצמם. כך, בבית ראשון, פסחו הרבה יהודים על שתי הסעיפים ועבדו גם את הקב"ה וגם את אלהי הארץ. אותו דבר קרה בתחילת השלטון ההלניסטי, תחת המלכים לבית תלמי המצרי, כשהכהנים ובני השכבות העליונות בקשו ליהנות משני העולמות; עבדו עבודת ה' בבהמ"ק בבוקר, והשתתפו בטקסים אליליים אחר הצהרים. אומנם, גישה סינקרטיסטית זו הייתה מסוכנת כשלעצמה. זאת משום שהיא ערערה את יסודות היהדות וזהותה המיוחדת בצורה
חידושו' של אנטיוכוס, יחד עם יועציו ועושי דברו היהודים, היה חמור פי כמה. הוא שאף לעקור את היהדות ה-'פרימיטיבית' מהשורש. כנראה שהוא חלם (כמו אדריינוס קיסר מאוחר יותר) לאחד את כל תושבי האימפריה הסלווקית תחת מטריית הקידמה הנאורה מבית מדרשם של חכמי יוון. הוא לא השאיר להם כל מרחב תמרון סינקרטיסטי לטשטש ולהתחמק ולהתפשר. הוא ישר דרש מהיהודים שיבחרו בין ההלניזם לבין המוות. אלא דדא
עקא, לא היה בכלל ברור ליהודים איך היו אמורים להתנהג במצב חסר תקדים כזה.
המשבר היה עוד יותר חריף, כי דווקא בשעה הקשה ההיא שבה היו זקוקים להדרכה דתית ולדעת דעת עליון, הבינו היהודים שהאמצעי החשוב ביותר לחשיפת דבר ד', הנבואה, כבר לא הייתה קיימת ביניהם. לנו, שאת מוסד הנבואה מכירים רק מסיפורי התנ"ך, אינם מבינים את גודל השבר הזה. אולם, מצב זה השאיר את אבותינו מגששים באפילה, ומנע מהם מלקבל כל מיני החלטות. כך, למשל, כשהקימו מחדש את מזבח ה' המחולל, לא ידעו מה לעשות עם אבני המזבח עליהן הקריבו המתייוונים הבוגדים את דבריהם הטמאים ל-'שקוץ משומם' (דניאל י"א, ל"א). לא העיזו להכריע, ושמו אותן בצד 'עד שיבוא נביא צדק ויורה עליהן' (מכבים א ד, מ"ו). דבר דומה אירע כמה שנים מאוחר יותר, כשהמליכו את שמעון החשמונאי למלך עליהם. הצעד היה בעייתי מכל מיני בחינות, אולם ראו בו, בכל זאת כורח השעה. את המעשה ביצעו בידים רועדות ובלב אחוז חרדות, והתנו את תוקפו בביאת 'נביא צדק' (שם, י"ד, מ"א. השווה קידושין דף ס"ו ע"א ורמב"ן עה"ת, בראשית מ"ט, י ודלא כשיטת הרמב"ם).
אולם, היו שאלות שדרשו התייחסות מיידית. הכלי היחיד שנשאר לחכמי ומנהיגי הזמן לגילוי רצון הא-ל הייתה התורה ופירושה לפי המידות שהתורה נדרשת בהן. אולם, השאלות שבהן נאלצו להתמודד היו כבדות מנשוא. תקחו לדוגמא את הדרך הראויה להתנהג בשעת השמד, קרי הלכות קידוש השם. היום, כל בר בי רב דחד יומא יודע ש-'נמנו וגמרו בעלית בית נתזה בלוד: כל עבירות שבתורה אם אומרין לאדם עבור ואל תהרג - יעבור ואל יהרג, חוץ מעבודה זרה וגילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים...לא שנו אלא שלא בשעת השמד, אבל בשעת השמד - אפילו מצוה קלה יהרג ואל יעבור....אפילו שלא בשעת השמד, לא אמרו אלא בצינעא, אבל בפרהסיא - אפילו מצוה קלה יהרג ואל יעבור. (סנהדרין דף ע"ד ע"א). אולם, פסק דין זה הוצא רק כעבור שלוש מאות שנה, בתקופת גזירות אדריינוס קיסר (130- 136 לספה"נ). לכן, על חכמי התקופה נפלה האחריות הכבידה לדון ולהורות הלכה למעשה, לפי הכלים ההלכתיים והפרשניים שבידיהם ומתוך רגש של יראת שמים ואחריות לאומית, מתי יהודי יקריב את חייו ויתעלם מקביעת המסורת, 'וחי בהם, ולא שימות בהם' (ספרא אחרי מות פרשה ט, סעיף י"ג, י"ג). ללא היה נביא שיאשר את החלטתם וללא אורים ותומים שבהם אפשר היה להתייעץ (השווה סוטה מח ע"ב), אזרו חכמי התקופה עוז בגדר 'לא דבר רק הוא מכם,' – 'אם רק הוא מכם לפי שלא התבוננתם בו ופלפלתם בטעמו כהוגן' (מדרש תנאים, דברים פרק ל"ב, מ"ז). הם ישבו על המדוכה ופסקו הלכה למעשה שמצוה למות ולא לעבוד עבודה זרה או לבטל ברית מילה. היה בזה סיכון עצום, שמא טעות תעלה בידם. למרות זה, על אף כל ולמרות כל, התמידו והורו לפי מיטב הבנתם.
אפילו קביעת חנוכה בתור חג חובה, הכולל מצוה מדרבנן, הייתה צעד נועז. הרי, לפי חז"ל, גם את בקשת אסתר המלכה לא רצו אנשי כנסת הגדולה לקבל (מגילה דף ז ע"א). 'שלחה להם אסתר לחכמים: קבעוני לדורות! שלחו לה: קנאה את מעוררת עלינו לבין האומות. שלחה להם: כבר כתובה אני על דברי הימים למלכי מדי ופרס.' כאן, המשימה הייתה קשה עוד יותר. את נס חנוכה הצבאי, היה אפשר לפרשן כעוד נצחון של צבא גרילה על צבא סדיר מסורבל, שבו זמנית נאלץ להתמודד עם איומים במזרח (הפרסים) ובמערב (צבא הרפובליקה הרומאית). את נס פך השמן אף אחד לא ראה, חוץ מכמה כהנים. זו"ע, נאלצו החכמים שבאותו דור להכריע ולקבל אחריות בתוקף תפקידם, אליו מינתה אותם התורה, לקבוע שיש מקום להוסיף מועד ללוח העברי לציון אירוע היסטורי שחסר כל המרכיבים הנסיים הגלויים הקיימים במועדים הנזכרים בתורה. את זה הם עשו, מתוך אמונה עמוקה ביד ה' הפועלת המסווה טבעי. בזה הם קבעו את פרמטרים של התורה שבעל פה לדורות: שילוב של יראת שמים, יראת הוראה, דחף להורות, גבורה ואמונה ש(כדברי הרב זצ"ל) 'זאת התורה אפשר ליישמה בכל מקום, בכל עת ובכל הנסיבות.'
הרב סולובייצ'יק זצ"ל תמיד הדגיש שהתורה איננה יכולה להתקיים בלי מעשי גבורה מצד לומדיה. גבורה מחייבת הקרבה אישית, מוכנות להסתכן וקבלת אחריות אישית לשאת בתוצאות. זהו הלקח של חנוכה ויש בו, בתקופה הנוכחית, מיסר מאד אקטואלי. עומדים בפני הציבור היהודי בארץ אתגרים חסרי תקדים והקף. אותם אתגרים (הלכתיים, תרבותיים, חברתיים ופוליטיים) אינם רק מנת חלקם של מגזר דתי כלשהו, אלא של כלל הציבור המזדהה כיהודי בעל זיקה חיובית למורשת אבותינו (שהם כ-80% מהיהודים בארץ לפי המחקר האחרון). הם מחייבים התייחסות נועזת וגבורה עילאית. הם מחייבים שיתוף פעולה בין הגורמים והפלגים בעם (בדיוק כמו שהחסידים שיתפו פעולה עם החשמונאים ואחרים בהתנגדותם לאנטיוכוס ולמתייוונים בקרב היהודים). מעל הכל, הם מחייבים את כלל הציבור היהודי להתכחש לחושך המאיים עליו, ולהחליפו באור הגנוז בתורתנו ובתוך עצמנו. יה"ר שהיא תעמוד לנו בימים הבאים.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Biggest Mitzva

Sometime in the late '70's, there was a riot in Williamsburg (NYC). Satmar Hassidim, ran riot in the local Police Station on Shabbat (I don't remember why). I do recall that when one of the rampaging Satmarer was asked why he and his cohorts were rioting (and on Shabbos, yet), he replied: 'If the Blacks can do it, so can we!' (Of course, he used the Yiddish word...). Anyway, the next day, after Kollel Seder at YU, I happened to discuss this episode with one of the Roshe Yeshiva. I will never forget his comment (as he's one of the smartest, most perceptive people I know). He noted that here are Satmar Hassidim, who pride themselves on their absolute detachment from anything Western or American, self-consciously modelling themselves on Black militants. They are, he concluded, more assimilated than they wish to admit.

I thought about this episode, when I received this article from Thursday's Haaretz (courtesy of Aviad Stollman). It describes the new fashion in Haredi circles, wearing a chador-like covering for reasons of modesty. It appears that even Haredi rabbis are most disturbed by it. Personally, I don't know why they're surprised. Tzni'us for women (not, G-d forbid for men) has long been a, no the, central concern of rabbis, educators and parents. Every social evil in the Orthodox community (and beyond) has been attributed to the failure of religious women to cover up 'properly'. For example, about ten years ago, there was a serious drug problem in a Haredi neighborhood. What was the rabbinic response? They started a campaign to get married women to cover more hair. Their moral lassitude, it was declared, was responsible for the drug problem.

Now, I firmly believe in modest attire ('according to Orthodox tradition' as the wedding invitations say) for both men and women. I am also very much aware of the fact that the more secular society tramples sexual and social boundaries, there is a natural (and totally understandable) reaction to compensate and dig in.

There is, however, a limit. My wife's great-grandfather, a Lubavitcher Hassid, was wont to say: דער גרעסטער מצווה איז ניט צו זיין קיין נער. Roughly translated: 'The biggest mitzva is not to be an idiot,' and this is insane. It also, as the Haredi Bes Din in the article noted, comes perilously close to active imitation of non-Jewish RELIGIOUS behavior (חוקות הגוי), about which I happen to know something. In fact, when I was reading my friend Judy Miller's book, God Has Ninety Nine Names, I was struck by the fact that the the first thing the Taliban (and all other jihadis) do when they take power is to throw a shmatte on the women. Evidently, as with the Satmar Hassidim, Haredi society is becoming more assimilated than it realizes (or is willing to admit).

Friday, November 23, 2007

And Now for Something Completely....Errrrr

Conversion Woes

For the past two weeks, I've been following intensely the latest imbroglio over conversion, as reported by Gil over at Hirhurim. I have to say that my emotions during this time have ranged from anger (at the offensiveness of the Haredi offensive) to indignation (at the unjustified, illegitimate attempt to delegitimize the entire non-Haredi rabbinate in one fell swoop) to pain (at the absolute total lack of empathy or concern for the rest of the Jewish People) to despair (at the sight of Torah Judaism making war on itself, when the forces of radical post-modernism and assimilation are destroying over 80% of our people. The existential threat to the State of Israel, from within, is of no concern to this Rabbi Eisenstein and his supporters and minions. They'll get their money from elsewhere, I guess.).

I actually had intended to pen a long, reasoned reaction to this story. When I thought about it further, I realized that much of what I wanted to say has already been said (and kudos to AddRabbi on scooping me in that regard).

The bottom line is, and I say this as someone who is personally inclined to the strict interpretation of Kabbalat ha-Mitzvot (and convinced that it's historically more correct, as well), that the Modern Orthodox Rabbinate has to adopt the strategy of Homa u-Migdal and just act according to its convictions. Those convictions are just as valid, perhaps more valid, than those that Rabbi Eisenstein and Rabbi Tropper are trying to foist upon the body politic of the God-fearing, Orthodox community.

If this means sacrificing the Israeli Rabbinate or, better, takinging it over (or back), so be it.

Will such a development open the door wider to Reform and Conservative conversions? Probably. In any event, they are already a fact of life here (as they are in the Gola, thanks to BaGaTz). At the same time, it remains a fact that the overwhelming majority of Israelis (including Russians) prefer a valid Orthodox conversion over anything else. If we properly, respectfully, and professionally present the Torah we will have nothing to fear from the others.

Doing what is right requires heroic, sacrificial behavior. It demands facing 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' (Hamlet, III,i). The Torah, and the Jewish People, deserve no less.

ממעמקים קראתיך

The headlines in today's Makor Rishon said it all. Annapolis is worse than we ever dreamed. According to sources in the army, cited by Caroline Glick, Olmert in his desperation to stay out of jail (backed by his incompetent Foreign Minister, sleazy Finance Minister and Arrogant Defense Minister) is going to commit Israel to the division of Jerusalem, the abandonment of the Old City, a return to the 1949 armistice lines and the expulsion of 300,000 Jews from their homes (yours truly included).

If this is not a גזירה looming over us, I don't know what it is.

Please add the following to your prayers:
תהלים פרק קל
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְקֹוָק:(ב) אֲדֹנָי שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבוֹת לְקוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי:(ג) אִם עֲוֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר יָהּ אֲדֹנָי מִי יַעֲמֹד:(ד) כִּי עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵא:(ה) קִוִּיתִי יְקֹוָק קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי:(ו) נַפְשִׁי לַאדֹנָי מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר:(ז) יַחֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל יְקֹוָק כִּי עִם יְקֹוָק הַחֶסֶד וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת:(ח) וְהוּא יִפְדֶּה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִכֹּל עֲוֹנֹתָיו:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Moloch Reigns

On the Eve of Annapolis, the priests of Moloch are preparing to offer up our children on the altar of their insatiable god, whom they (in typical Orwellian fashion) call Peace. The first sacrifice in the present festival, Ido Zoldan, was offered two days ago. Past experience has proven that he will not be the last.
Once again, though, the Israeli establishment (government, press, academia, cultural icons etc.) is not planning to sacrifice our bodies to Moloch. It is planning to sacrifice our souls, as well. Jerusalem, the heart of our people and of our faith, is again on the auction block. the radio and print media are filled with calls to continue the de-Judaization of the country, in order to placate the Arabs, and respond 'positively' to the principled refusal of the Muslim world to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish State. (At least they, i.e. the Muslims, have principles!) Yuli Tamir is working overtime to remove the last scintilla of Jewish content from the school curricula.
Moloch worshippers sincerely and passionately believed that by feeding the beast, the god would bless them.
Still, the Torah tells us (Lev. 18, 21):
And thou shalt not give any of thy seed to set them apart to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy G-d: I am the Lord.
It is we historians who can remind our fellow-countrymen of Santayana's of-quoted and rarely heeded warning.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (A Life of Reason)
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 25 beckon

Required Reading and Listening II

As they say, something's gotta give. So, since my blogging time has been devoted to the wars of the Lord (about which I'll write before Shabbat) and most of my time spent writing my book Categories of Medieval Ashkenazic Culture (and on an article I owe and on the draft of a piece for the local paper), there's been precious time for blogging.

However, there are a few things that have recently appeared that IMHO are absolutely required reading (especially as a few confirm things that I've been saying for a long time):

Assaf Wohl notes the transformation of the Left's political agenda into a full-fledged religion, complete with martyred messiah. (Festinger Lives!)

Uri Ohrbach bemoans the celebration of intermarriage in the Israeli media and gets ripped to shred by the sophisticates of Amor Vincit Omnia.

Yoram Ettinger tries (as many of us have tried) to point out the fatal mistake of ignoring the values of Islam which cannot accomadate a dhimmi state on Arab Land, and projecting (oh so paternalistically) our desires on the Arabs.

Walter Russel Mead demolishes Walt and Mearscheimer.

Gil Student has done an admirable job respectfully highlighting and warning of the Haredi attempt to summarily deligitimize the non-Haredi Orthodox rabbinate.

Finally, an adorable animation was just published about life with Taharat ha-mishpacha. I thought it was great (though there were a few au courant things that I could have lives without.) Anyway, it ranks right up there with the promo for Tova the Shadchan.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You can Take the Boy outa Boston...

But the accent is foh-evah...

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

Northeast New England

The kind of accent they have in Boston. There is more to it than just r's. Like, you say "don" and "dawn" the same while the people down in NYC don't.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Rabin, Beitar and the Kulturkampf

Last week, the fans at a Beitar Yerushalayim game, booed when they were asked to stand for a moment of silence in memory of slain Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin ז"ל. Instead, many booed. The press was horrfied and has done precious little but condemn the Beitar fans (i.e. Sefardim, Religious, traditional, Right wing primitives) for furthering the 'incitement that led to the murder of the Prime Minister.' The team was fined (why?) and required to play two games to empty stands, thereby losing income. This, however, was not enough in the eyes of the press. So, all day yesterday the radio, TV and papers were hacking away on the need to come down hard on the club for the treasonable, anti-democratic behavior of...the fans.

Now, aside from a few lunatics who are much beloved of the media, NOONE in this country supported and/or does not deeply regret Rabin's murder. However, unless you also support his policies, you are deemed an 'enemy of peace' and a potential assassin. During the weeklong annual Rabin memorials, the media trots out dozens of identifiable religious and right wing people and pointedly asks if they've repented of their evil (sic!) ways. It's all very Suslovian.

Against this background, Ben Chorin has a very apt remark:

Beitar Jerusalem fans have been roundly condemned in the press and banned by the league from attending two home games for booing during the moment of silence for Rabin. It is not especially politically correct to defend them but they deserve to be defended. In theory, the moment of silence is a mere display of respect for a slain prime minister and as such should be uncontroversial. In fact, however, such ceremonies have been turned into ritualized forms of identification with specific political messages.The Beitar fans understood perfectly well that they were being asked to affirm the virtuousness of the secular Ashkenazi left and the barbarism of everyone else, first and foremost, people like themselves. Their reaction was a sign of healthy self-esteem combined with a certain, um, lack of inhibition. Many others share the sentiment but tend to subtler forms of self-expression.So next time you're working up a head of steam about the manipulative annual Rabin rituals, remember this: the people having the babies in this country aren't buying

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Not A Shred of Decency: Entdecktes Haaretz

I have often criticized Haaretz anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian Extremist editorials and staff. Such observations have usually been dismissed as a function of who I am and where I live.

Now, however, David Landau, the anti-Zionist Haredi editor of the paper has done a lot of us the favor of coming clean, (as reported by Isi Liebler):

According to The Jerusalem Post, at the recent Russian Limmud Conference in Moscow, Landau, one of the few non-Russian-speaking participants, dropped a bombshell. He stunned those present by boasting that his newspaper had "wittingly soft-pedalled" alleged corruption by Israeli political leaders including prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, when, in the opinion of Haaretz, the policies of those leaders were advancing the peace process.

When participants challenged him concerning the morality of such an approach, Landau responded with the extraordinary assertion that "more immorality happens every day at a single roadblock [in Judea and Samaria] than in all the scandals put together."

He then unashamedly assured those present that Haaretz was ready to repeat the process in order "to ensure that Olmert goes to Annapolis."

Even former Bolsheviks in the audience must have gasped at such views, openly stated, which incorporated all the hallmarks of the Stalinist era.

It is surely scandalous for the top editor of what purports to be a reputable and prestigious daily newspaper to publicly proclaim - and take pride in - having deliberately "soft-pedalled" and possibly even covered up acts of corruption by senior political leaders in order to promote his own political agenda, and, moreover, boast that his paper would continue to do so in the future.

'Nuff Said.