Mideast

NOVEMBER 2013 MIDEASTOUTPOST ONLINE

In Memoriam – Charlotte Wahle

AFSI mourns the death of our beloved volunteer of over twenty years. Charlotte Wahle was an army wrapped in a small body. She lived in Washington Heights from which she commuted to the AFSI offices doggedly in any weather until serious illness felled her. She was an avid reader of Outpost and every month sent a handwritten letter of praise or minor criticism. She knew more than anyone about the founding of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra and cherished a portrait of Arturo Toscanini who was its first conductor. She loved symphonic music and insisted that it always sounded better when performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Those who knew Charlotte were amazed at her tenacity and devotion to AFSI. She was at every demonstration, wrote letters to the editor, and was a driving force in the AFSI office. In addition, Charlotte was active in her synagogue, in politics, and with her many friends.

At her funeral a devoted group of family and AFSI friends, who made up a large part of her extended family, paid their last respects. An Israeli flag was placed at her grave symbolizing her great passion for Israel.
There is a cliche which is so apposite: “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Her memory is an inspiration and a blessing.

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans For a Safe Israel

Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel

1751 Second Ave. (at 91st Street)

New York, NY 10128

Tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717

Email: afsi@rcn.com

Mideast

WILLIAM MEHLMAN: SABEEL’S WAY

“There are only two kinds of people in the end,” C.S. Lewis remarks in one of his novels. “Those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell have chosen the latter.”

With its customary flair for infernal grace, The World Council of Churches, the Geneva-based umbrella under which 590 million Christians in 350 mainline Protestant and Orthodox denominations are gathered, has once again opted for the supremacy of its collective will over every evidence of God’s will in respect to the existence of Israel and the rights of the Jewish people. The latest airing of this Hell-bent last word in replacement theology was prominently on display at the recently completed WCC “World Week For Peace In Palestine Israel.” Billed as an opportunity to “take peaceful actions together,” the conclave wasted no time defining its theme, “Jerusalem the City of Justice and Peace,” as a call for “advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum, WCC’s muscular political arm, made it clear, however, that noble as it may be, kicking the Jews out of Judea and Samaria might have to wait on more immediate concerns. Chief among them, reported Giulio Meotti, covering the event for INN (Independent News Network), was the proposed “elimination of Israel’s presence in the ‘Holy Basin’” via “an alliance of the Islamic mosques and the Christian Sepulcher which would exclude the Jews from the Temple Mount.” This write-off of the Jewish people and their state, theologically effectuated in a prayer created for the event which by implication addresses the Israelis as “those who have no value for life,” , is rooted in a Christian Liberation Theology that was all the rage in the 1970s and 80s. “A faddy form of Christian Socialism where Replacement Theology met Marxism,” Christian Zionist Shelley Neese notes in a piece for the Jewish Connection, it fell on hard times with the defeat of its progenitors, the Marxist revolutionaries in Central America, and the breakup of the Soviet Union from which they drew their material support and ideological mojo. Its reemergence three decades later in the combative garb of a “Palestinian Liberation Theology” declaring Judaism’s role in God’s Covenant to be a myth, thus voiding, pari passu, all of the land promises justifying Israel’s rebirth, is almost universally recognized as the signal achievement of the Rev. Naim Stefan Ateek, the Palestinian-born, American-educated director of the Jerusalem-based Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. In its 24 years under the stewardship of this former Canon of Jerusalem’s St. George Episcopal Church, Sabeel (“the way” in Arabic) has orchestrated a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel stretching from the rural precincts of Presbyterian America to the far reaches of the World Council of Churches, while serving a dual role in reshaping the liberal conscience of mainline American Protestantism into a battering ram against the Jewish state.

Mideast

RAEL JEAN ISAAC: FROM THE EDITOR

Peace Process Hustle

As negotiations with the PA, led by the witless Tzipi Livni, continue under wraps, Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary of the PLO, called Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people proof Netanyahu was a “racist” and “the number one extremist in Israel.” There are two possible outcomes to these “negotiations:” they disintegrate (perhaps in a new intifada) or Israel engages in more unilateral withdrawals on the model of Gaza (with the same consequences), in the worst case recognizing a sovereign Palestinian state.

Amazing Israel

Each month, we hope to cull for you from Michael Ordman’s invaluable site (www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot) a few examples of Israeli research and development in medical and scientific technology. Thanks to Ruth King for singling out a few of the most promising achievements reported this month:

Laquinimod reduces brain damage in MS patients. In Phase III trials, Israel’s Teva reported that its Laquinimod oral treatment for multiple sclerosis reduced neuro-degeneration, slowing the progression of locomotor disability. Laquinimod might also help treat Crohn’s disease, lupus nephritis, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Israel’s Elfi Tech monitors your pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood flow and much more, non-invasively with the help of a sensor smaller than a dime. It has just been selected as a finalist of the Nokia Sensing XChallenge. (This one is thanks to NoCamels.com)

Putting the spring back in broken hearts. Tel Aviv University scientists have manufactured cardiac tissue from spring-shaped fibers. The elastic tissue mimics the expanding and contracting heart and is more suitable for transplants than tissue made from straight fibers.

Ignore Agreement-Violations at Your Peril

Mideast

RITA KRAMER: THE DEVIL THAT NEVER DIES

The controversy aroused by Daniel Goldhagen’s new book The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism, has to do with the extent, not the existence, of Jew hatred–most generally expressed as opposition to Israeli policies–in today’s world. Goldhagen maintains that the global spread of technology has led to an explosion of anti-Semitism in recent years to levels not seen since the years leading up to the Holocaust. In a review of Goldhagen’s book in The Wall Street Journal on September 12, 2013, Anthony Julius takes issue with Goldhagen’s argument.

Julius, a distinguished literary and legal figure and the author of Trials of the Diaspora, a definitive history of anti-Semitism in England, criticizes Goldhagen’s book as a deplorable work, its research unreliable and its conclusions unbalanced.

While author and critic disagree on the extent and intensity of anti-Semitism today, neither of them denies its widespread existence. The disagreement seems to center on questions of scholarship and the nature and uses of data. Which leaves the unarguable fact that anti-Semitism is not dead or even dying and that once again Jews in Europe and indeed in countries throughout the world are being made to feel unwelcome.

A look at the bitter past, when it was critical that Jews be admitted to places of refuge, with persecution enforced in Germany and horrors already on the horizon, is a lesson on why Israel matters, a reminder of how the existence of the Jewish State has changed the Jewish fate. Now there is a door open when once doors everywhere were shut in the faces of the helpless threatened. In the decade leading up to World War II Europe’s pervasive anti-Semitism was fastened on by Hitler but had not yet reached the final solution–plans for technological extermination. At the time Germany would seem to have been ready to settle for ridding itself of its Jews. And so the possibility of “resettlement” was proposed to an indifferent world. And how better to postpone action and pass the humanitarian buck than by organizing a conference?

Mideast

RAEL JEAN ISAAC: A PERES CLONE IN THE WINGS?

Israel’s great buffoon, President Shimon Peres, is getting long in the tooth. Judging from Martin Sherman’s recent blistering article in The Jerusalem Post (Oct. 10) his replacement is on hand: Israel’s Minister of Finance Yair Lapid. Sherman’s title gives you an idea of what follows: “Into the Fray: What an Idiot!”

While Sherman surprisingly does not mention Peres, his description of Lapid bears uncanny similarities to Simple Shimon: “a good-looking, charismatic, over-confident fool, an affable ignoramus with no intellectual gravitas, devoid of moral principle, but with the gift of a silver tongue and the unmistakable–and largely undisguised–penchant for demagoguery and dictatorship.”

Other characteristics of Lapid that Sherman goes on to cite are also remarkably close to Peres: “without any background in military matters,” “whose scholastic achievements do not even include high school matriculation.” (Peres, almost alone of able-bodied young men at the time never served in the army and his education consisted of three years of high school followed by graduation from the Ben Shemen agricultural youth village). And then there’s Lapid’s “pontificating to all and sundry on how the affairs of the nation should be run”–no one surpasses Peres in that regard!

One comment by Sherman concerning Lapid gets to the core of his–and Shimon’s–strength: “Lapid has the telegenic presence and charm to make utter nonsense sound almost intelligent, the wildly implausible, almost reasonable–unless you listen to what he has to say.” Lapid, says Sherman, issues “with commendable self-assuredness, proclamations that [are] either meaningless, self-contradictory or unfounded.”

Supreme self-confidence married to appalling ignorance leads both men to make staggering errors of fact. Sherman cites a few of Lapid’s bloopers (exposed in an article by Israeli journalist B. Michael). Note that these are in Lapid’s writings so he lacks the excuse that his tongue ran away with him. Writing of ancient Greece, Lapid enumerates its great figures: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Copernicus. Anyone with a rudimentary education knows that Copernicus was a sixteenth century astronomer with no connection to Greece, ancient or modern. Lapid then lists the great Renaissance artists: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Giacometti… Oops. Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor who died in 1966. In a long essay on the U.S. Constitution Lapid praises it because it was not written by a committee but one inspired individual, John Adams. Sherman notes that Michael explodes at this one: “Good grief! The U.S. Constitution was composed by a committee comprising dozens of people. John Adams was not even in America at the time.”

Getting closer to home, Lapid’s knowledge of the basics of the Bible is no more impressive: he speaks of the “four patriarchs.” Michael says caustically he has no idea who the fourth might be–“perhaps Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and…Copernicus!”

Mideast

MICHAEL WILDER: WHY I LIVE IN HEBRON

A few days ago, speaking to a group of young adults, one of the people asked me what’s my motivation to live in Hebron. My answer contained a few elements.

Usually my first stop on tours is Tel Rumeida, a great place to start. Because this neighborhood is actually ancient Tel Hebron. If Ma’arat HaMachpela is where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried, this is where they lived. Two walls, one 4,500 years old, dated to the era of Noah, and another, 3,700 years old, from the times of Abraham and Sarah, ensconce a stairwell, over 4,000 years old. We are almost 100% sure that our Forefathers walked these stairs.

Today, the stairs reach the only road accessing this neighborhood. Archeologists have explained to us that under that road, at the end of the stone stairs, are probably the Gates to the ancient city of Hebron.

This site is, for me, probably one of the most important places, not only in Hebron, but in all of Israel, and in the world. Why? Tomorrow, together with literally tens of thousands here in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, we will read in the Torah how Abraham, almost 4,000 years ago, purchased the Caves of Machpela for us, his children. The Torah states twice, specifically, exactly where this transaction occurred, when he paid 400 silver shekels (today valued at $700,000) to Efron the Hittite. That place is, the gates to the city.

Standing with groups, looking at this spot, I tell them that it is very possible, even likely, that this is where Abraham purchased Machpela. And what I always find amazing isn’t so much that Abraham was there then, but that we are still here today. How many people can say, after 4,000 years, this is where they began, and where they continue to live today?

This is our roots, the roots of Judaism, the roots of Monotheism. Any person, any group of people, any religion that professes a belief in one G-d, this is where it all began. Quite literally, this is the beginning of humanity as we know it today, the beginning of the end of human sacrifice, of a belief in the one and only Creator of the Universe, our G-d. It is difficult to get closer to our roots than at this very place.

Mideast

GERTRUDE HIMMELFARB: RESPONSE TO “EVANGELICALS AND ISRAEL”

Editor’s note: Readers who want to learn more of the bond between evangelicals and Israel should go to David Isaac’s Zionism 101 site, www.zionism101.org, which tells the history of Zionism through videos. It includes six units on Christian Zionism. The first unit is entitled “The Jews’ Society” and the second is entitled “Lord Shaftesbury”–these two units explore the subjects of Himmelfarb’s essay below.

The following comments are a historical footnote to Robert Nicholson’s splendid essay, “Evangelicals and Israel.” Addressing himself to American Jews, he rebukes them for being distrustful of the millions of evangelical Christians who have been staunch supporters of the Jewish state and the Jewish people. But he also rebukes the growing minority of evangelicals who have recently withdrawn that support and are now actively hostile to Israel and Jews.

Two years ago, I was provoked to write The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England from Cromwell to Churchill, in a similarly critical mode, reproaching the present-day English (not English Jews) for betraying their own evangelical tradition, which was so respectful of the Jewish religion and people and so enthusiastic in favor of a Jewish state, and for succumbing to an anti-Israel fervor very nearly indistinguishable from anti-Semitism.

Evangelicalism was at its height in England in the early 19th century, with Lord Ashley (later the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury) its most prominent and vigorous champion. “An Evangelical of the Evangelicals,” he described himself. It was evangelicalism that prompted both his zeal as a social reformer (of factories, education, and child-labor practices) and as a “missionary,” as he saw it, to and from the Jews. “Who will be the Cyrus of Modern Times,” he inquired in his diary in 1826, “the second Chosen to restore God’s people?” (Cyrus, king of ancient Persia, permitted the exiled Jews to return from Babylonia to the land of Israel.)

Mideast

ALI SALIM: STRAIGHTENING THE DOG’S TAIL

This is the season for pilgrimages to Mecca and the Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha), but the Arab world is occupied instead with internecine murder and bloodletting. As the Arab states come apart at the seams, gangs with no respect for human life flock in — among them the Muslim Brotherhood, the Al-Nusra Front, Hamas and Al-Qaeda — blowing up markets and mosques. Their advent is surreal: waving green and black flags they shoot everything that moves; and rape, slaughter and loot, all in the name of Allah (S.W.A.T.).

The situation in the Arab world is like the Shi’ite Islamic vision of the Yaom al-Kiama, the End of Days, with the sinners following the False Messiah, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal. It is ironic that the rulers and citizens of states that provide a safe haven for terrorists — sending their death teams to attack innocent civilians in the West — during the Feast of the Sacrifice now find themselves the victims of the same murderers they so willingly armed.

The Arab and Muslim incitement to massacre — and the provision of arms and ideological support for most of the Islamist and Palestinian terrorist organizations — have almost completely disappeared while the Arabs are now busy destroying themselves. The world stands by and watches as millions of Arab and Muslim refugees are expelled, murdered, raped and robbed. Millions of people who fled their homes live in cardboard boxes with plastic sheeting to keep out the rain and cold; and masses of hungry African refugees drown in the sea in a desperate attempt to reach a safe haven in the West. In Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, civilians are murdered or flee with nothing; while Egypt is in the midst of a civil war, and millions of homeless refugees have scattered throughout the Middle East.

Mideast

RUTH KING: DESTINATION ISRAEL

One could be forgiven for thinking that there are billions of Jews in the world. A day hardly passes without headlines involving Jews, and, of course, the requisite criticism of Israel. There are Broadway plays about old Jews telling jokes, bad Jews arguing, the current Nobel prizes, and even a delightful PBS film (Broadway Musicals-A Jewish Legacy) about the outsize number of Jewish composers, lyricists, producers, directors and performers.

Now, even travel sections of newspapers and magazines tout vacations in Israel and the new hot city is “cool” Tel-Aviv. The October issue of Travel and Leisure calls it a “…coastal city , an electrifying mix of stylish hotels and high design landmarks–all along miles of white sand beaches” and goes on to describe restaurants, shops, museums, tours, great Bauhaus architecture, markets and the “buzz” of the street in glowing terms in a six page spread.

On October 23, 2013 the pop singer Rihanna, ignoring boycotts, performed in Tel Aviv to a standing room only crowd. After two songs she said: “Thank you Tel Aviv! It’s been too long since I’ve been here, and you guys had to wait longer than usual and for that I apologize.”

My first thought was “you’ve come a long way Tel Aviv” since you started as a settlement in “disputed territory” in 1909, almost a decade before the Balfour Declaration.

In fact, Israel abounds with lovely and historic and “cool” cities founded in the 1800s. One of the most charming is Zichron Yaakov with its ancient cobblestones which line the main car-free street and square. Baron Edmond James de Rothschild,(1845-1934), a member of the Rothschild banking family and an early, passionate supporter of Jewish settlement in Palestine, was a founding patron of Zichron Yaakov (named after his father Jacob) in 1882, and was laid to rest there 20 years after his death.

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

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