REGISTER NOW: AFSI’s Fall Chizuk Mission to Israel – OCT. 26-NOV. 5, 2014

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

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

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Email: afsi@rcn.com



The July 19th passing of Inez Weissman, eight days before her 90th birthday, ends a chapter in the decades-long battle for the repatriation of Russian Jewry that stretched from the Houses of Congress to the mean streets of Moscow, their hidden enclaves of Zionist activists and their Samizdat manifestos. Inez, co-founder of the U.S.-based Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, was a commanding presence at both those venues, a young Anatoli Sharansky serving as her Russian outrider. When the fight for the emancipation of Russian Jews ended victoriously, Inez redirected her passion toward Israel, emphasizing not only its right to safety and security within defensible borders, but the fulfillment of its Biblical manifest destiny. As founder and chair of the Portland, Oregon chapter of AFSI, she hammered away at these themes in the Northwestern media and in her own weekly radio program. Since her illness, AFSI’s Portland chapter has been vested in the capable, dedicated hands of Beth and John Newman, but Inez will never be replaced. She was one of a kind.


Out of the Fog of War William Mehlman

Irrespective of any “cease-fire” that may have been cobbled together by the time these words appear, it would be historic folly to view “Operation Protective Edge,” entering its 17th day at this writing, purely within the context of the number of rockets dropped on Israel or the kill-rate Israel has exacted on the tunnel city of terror Hamas and its Islamic Jihad partners created below the surface of Gaza.
In underscoring a “mowing the grass” strategy Israel may have to periodically implement as long as its erasure from the map of the Middle East remains an idée fixe among the most intractable elements of the Arab world, Prime Minister Netanyahu pointedly made no reference to “pulling up the weeds” lurking below the new mown Gazan grass. His reluctance to open that can of worms in the middle of a war is understandable, but keeping it on the shelf indefinitely is no longer an option.

The “weeds” were planted in 2005 with an utterly irrational –“insane” would not be a stretch — Israeli decision to ensconce an internationally recognized terror organization within spitting distance of its western Negev border. The fact that the destruction of the Jewish state was and remains that organization’s raison d’etre seemed to little matter. Those weeds, however, could not have sprouted without germination. And that process, as Bar Ilan University historian Dr. Mordechai Kedar observes in a recent blog, was set in motion 12 years earlier when Israel’s “New Middle East” dream merchants, glowing with Oslowean triumphalism, lured their nation into bed with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. “We went to bed with the PLO,” Kedar noted, “and woke up with Hamas lying beside us.”
What should have brought that romance to an abrupt, immediate halt, was the imposition of a 1993 order from then-President Bill Clinton to permit 415 Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, all convicted murderers, to return to Gaza from their Lebanese exile. The Dream Merchants never turned a hair, hypothesizing that a reformed, resuscitated Yasser Arafat and his PLO, grateful to Israel for ending their 11-year Tunisian exile, would surely “take care of Hamas for us.” The truth, Kedar asserts, is that “they laughed at us all the way to the bank,” while we allowed them”to bring in an army of terrorists in the expectation that our greatest enemy would ensure our security.” We all know how that turned out.


From the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

The True Disproportion

Israel is being assailed by the media with the “disproportion” canard—that is, the fact that more Arabs are being killed than Jews in the war with Hamas makes Israel morally culpable.
There is disproportion aplenty but not where the BBC and CNN simple-mindedly put it.
The most fundamental disproportion is of goals: Hamas wants to wipe Israel—and Jews—from the map, while Israel wants to live in peace.
Then there is the disproportion in media attention to casualties. At the very time media and politicians alike were obsessing over civilians killed (i.e. human shields cynically deployed by Hamas), seven hundred people were killed in two days in Syria, the most in such a short period since the civil war there began. You’d have to go to Beirut’s newspapers to learn all about it—in the rest of the world a tiny fraction of that number killed in Gaza received overwhelming coverage.
Even more telling is the disproportion in moral outrage. Tens of thousands take to the streets on behalf of Gaza in cities throughout Europe (and several in this country). Millions killed in the Congo and Rwanda elicited nothing like such fervor. If the Moslems, who make up a good part of the unruly demonstrators, are so concerned about the fate of fellow Moslems, why so little emotion or action over the vast number of deaths in Syria and Iraq? The “progressive” Christian denominations who assail Israel are curiously indifferent to the uprooting of ancient Christian communities by Moslem fanatics, most recently in Mosul.
In the end disproportion is too mild a term for the upside-down moral universe of Western “elites.” In the Freedom House Map of Freedom 2% of the population of 21 Middle Eastern countries with a combined population of 405 million are “free.” You have to magnify the map and look hard to find the 2%–Israel is, of course, the tiny island of freedom. Two percent of the population. A hundred percent of its freedom. And for those morally corrupt Western elites, the pariah is the 2% representing freedom.

Shimon Says: A Farewell Pearl

Shimon goes out as President of Israel on a pearl of assininity. In a July 11 interview with the Israeli paper Makor Rishon he intoned: “Why learn from mistakes? After all, you will make other mistakes. The biggest mistake is to look back. That’s what Lot’s wife did.” This of a piece with previous Shimon pronouncements on the uselessness of studying history which Roger Gerber and I collected in Shimon Says (available from AFSI), e.g. “The past interests me like last year’s snow”; “There is nothing to learn from history;” “I am totally uninterested in the past”; “I have become totally tired of history, because I feel history is a long misunderstanding.” Given the huge damage he has done to Israel, would that Shimon could be rubbed out of the past!
Peres’s undoubted popularity is the single greatest indictment of the intelligence of the Israeli public.

ADL’s Camp Interfaith

Charles Jacobs deserves high praise for his continued vigilance in exposing the indefensible behavior of some major Jewish organizations that purport to defend Jews. In an article co-authored with Ilya Feoktistov in American Thinker he asks “How would you feel if you sent your son or daughter to an Anti-Defamation League summer camp only to find out that the camp’s youth coordinators are supporters of a convicted Al Qaeda terrorist?”
While the response of most would probably be shocked surprise, it shouldn’t be. The ADL is dedicated to every trendy PC cause, including combatting Islamophobia, to the point where ADL would better be called the Anti-Defamation of Muslims League.
Jacobs is referring to brothers Bilal and Ammaar Mirza, long associated with the ADL camp, who are also active in a Boston area Islamist movement that has coalesced around defense of local jihadist Tarek Mahenna, currently serving a 23 year sentence on assorted conspiracy-to-murder charges. The Feds intercepted conversations in which Mehanna gloats over a terrorist video where Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq rip open the ribcages of U.S. solders, pour gasoline in their chest cavities and set them on fire. Yet calling for Mehanna’s release ADL youth program coordinator Bilal Mirza described him as exuding “the qualities of intrinsic humanity.”
Inconveniently for the ADL, Jacobs’ organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance filmed the Brothers Mirza along with their father Farooq taking part in multiple rallies organized by the “Free Tarek” movement and documented the vicious rhetoric from speaker after speaker at these rallies. Bilal Mirza is himself an anti-Israel ideologue who a year after he started working at ADL’s Camp Interfaith uploaded on Facebook an album of pictures from a trip to Gaza entitled “If you support Israel, look at the destruction you support.”
As Feoktistov and Jacobs write, “ADL’s leaders have deserted their organization’s mission, its members, and its donors. It’s time for its donors to tell them ‘Enough.’”


On Those Tunnels Rael Jean Isaac

It’s Rosh Hashanah, September 24, 2014. Bustling Israel has come to a standstill as most people celebrate at home or fill synagogues. And then suddenly from each of a plethora of tunnels burrowed under Gaza two hundred heavily armed Hamas fighters burst onto Israeli soil, flood into adjacent kibbutzim and communities, murdering thousands, dragging others back to the tunnels to serve as hostages for future “demands.” Tunnel entrances have been stocked with tranquilizers, handcuffs, ropes and other material to subdue the hostages and there are side rooms to keep them concealed and “safe” from rescue. In some cases the terrorists of Hamas will be seen to arise literally out of the earth in the midst of settlements, for the tunnels go under kindergartens and dining rooms with bombs set directly underneath to produce maximum terror and destruction when they are set off. Israel is in even greater shock than it was when the Yom Kippur War took the country by surprise in 1973.

That’s not the stuff of nightmares. It is the Hamas plan that Israel has belatedly pieced together from prisoner interrogations as reported in the Israeli paper Maariv. It would have been implemented in a couple of months if Hamas had not overreached, refusing to accept the ceasefire that the Netanyahu government had agreed to prior to the ground invasion. Israeli officials now say the attack “would have made Israel drop to its knees.”
All of which raises some disturbing questions about Israel’s leadership. Why did they not know about these tunnels? Or if they did know, why did they fail to act?
As to the first question, did Israel not cultivate high level intelligence networks in Gaza that would have informed them of the extent and purpose of the tunnels? This is a shocking failure at the start. Nor should Israel even have needed high placed spies. These were not rough single-man tunnels like the one painfully fashioned by Edmund Dantes under the Chateau D’If in The Count of Monte Cristo. These tunnels were a strategic threat Hamas had been working on for years, costing $1 million each, 13-16.5 feet wide, extending for up to one and a half miles, often with electricity and other amenities, intersecting with one another for maximum flexibility. To expedite the digging, Hamas had established a special force called Nukba (the Chosen Ones) which operated round the clock on three shifts. The end result was what an astonished Israeli official called “another terror city” beneath Gaza.

There were plenty of warning signs. Israel knew as a result of the 2006 Lebanon war that Hezbollah had constructed massive tunnels with Iranian aid, tunnels which had sharply lowered Hezbollah’s casualty rate. As Lee Smith observes in The Weekly Standard, the knowledge and doctrine go back to North Korea which developed tunnels—in effect underground cities where hundreds of thousands of people lived—during the Korean War to neutralize the effect of U.S. bombing campaigns. Iran has been North Korea’s largest customer with North Korea helping to build the Iranians’ underground nuclear weapons facilities. Recently a U.S. federal judge ruled North Korea and Iran were liable for providing support to Hezbollah during the 2006 war, assisting “in building a massive network of underground military installations, tunnels, bunkers, depots and storage facilities in southern Lebanon.” Was it so hard to connect dots to Hamas which Israel knew was receiving extensive Iranian aid? If connecting dots was too rigorous, they could have spoken to the children. In an interview with Channel 2, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her they hear digging beneath their beds. Her children can scarcely have been the only ones.


Do We Owe Gaza Our Pity? Jack Engelhard

John Kerry and Barack Obama appear focused on the suffering of “civilians” in Gaza as the IDF continues to find more killer tunnels that were built by those Hamas busy beavers…and I put quotes around “civilians” because if the information comes from Hamas or the UN they’re about as reputable as your long lost uncle in Zimbabwe.
Remember, the UN was shocked, shocked to find Hamas rockets stashed in Gaza’s UN schools. Shocked, I tell you.

For pity’s sake Kerry deplores Israel’s “disproportionate” response. Israel can’t seem to make him happy.Obama quickly took action to console himself and his secretary of state.
He shipped $47 million over to Gaza. Half of that automatically goes straight into the pockets of the Hamas leadership so that those thugs can spend more time in their villas on the Riviera. (You expect them to actually live among their own people?) The other half goes to buying materials for more tunnels in time for the next war.

Meanwhile there is this war, and this war is being waged to cry pity for the Palestinian Arab cause. This war is less about gaining territory and more about gaining sympathy. This is a war made for television. Watch the theatrics on CNN and the BBC and see how your emotions are being played.

The images of Arab sorrow (seldom Jewish grief) are orchestrated to light the fuse of anti-Semitism throughout the world. It’s working.It is working among the usual suspects.

But how do we, as Jews, react when asked to share the humanitarian concerns afflicting the other side?

I was asked this question point blank: You are Jewish, after all, part of a nation famed for its compassion. So do you pity the poor Arabs in Gaza?

Yes I do…but at number 613. Let me be clear. Before I pity them, I have 612 other assemblies, civilians, individuals and entire nations to pity first.
So they will have to wait their turn.

My first pity goes to the IDF soldiers fighting and in too many cases dying against the barbaric plague that has infested Gaza and mankind.

From there on the list is too long before I reach Palestinian Arab suffering. At this rate I may never get there at all.


Theological Rabies in the Presbyterian Church USA Fay Voshell

Francis Schaeffer once said, “Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.”
Schaeffer, a theologian, may have been off by a few years, but he certainly predicted the future of the Presbyterian Church USA, which has now embraced just about every single leftist ideological tenet.
The PCUSA has joined the drift to the Left that for decades has characterized other mainline entities such as the Episcopal and Methodist churches. But it is a bit of a surprise to see the PCUSA has recently warmly embraced anti-Semitism.

As Mark Tooley reports in The American Spectator, “The PCUSA is now the only major U.S. denomination divesting against Israel, with even the Episcopal Church and far-left United Church of Christ having declined the honor.”

The leadership of the denomination has backed divestment from three firms doing business with Israel. Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, and Motorola are on the list, supposedly because they assist Israel’s “occupation.”
Israel’s “occupation?”

Tooley explains:
“A radical Presbyterian study guide, ‘Zionism Unsettled,’ denouncing Israel as an Apartheid state in recent months generated much uproar, especially from Jewish groups. It was thought the backlash against that resource might help defeat anti-Israel divestment, but the opposite may have been true. Commissioners perhaps felt moderate by voting against the extremist study guide while supporting divestment, which supporters naturally insisted was not anti-Israel but merely pro-peace.”

There is a lesson here for those “moderates” in the religious and political world who think they can bargain with and find a middle road on which they can travel with the devilish “pro-peace” Left.
It can’t be done.

But more importantly, there is a lesson to be learned from the PCUSA’s anti-Semitic stance.

Theology matters.

Wrong theology sanctioning anti-Semitism especially matters, as the premises reach into secularized politics. Secular politics merely extracts the “God words” and puts the anti-Semitic ideas into practice, as history reveals.


Modern Hebrew: The Past and Future of a Revitalized Language by Norman Berdichevsky Reviewed by Rael Jean Isaac

To the extent people know the amazing story of the rebirth of Hebrew as a modern language, they are apt to identify it with the single-handed efforts of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, famous for having refused to allow his infant son to hear a word of any other language in his first years.

While not disputing Ben Yehuda’s role, Berdichevsky gives us a wealth of fascinating information about what he calls “the epic transformation of the classic language of the Bible into modern ‘Ivrit’, the national language of the dynamic state of Israel, its everyday vernacular spoken by seven million people.” He describes Hebrew’s influence on English, the inspirational example of modern Hebrew for the revival of a host of “minor languages” including, among many others, Irish, Welsh, Basque, Catalan and Maltese, and the influence on Hebrew of the many languages that bear witness to the three thousand years of Jewish experience, among them Akkadian, Greek, Persian, Arabic, German and Yiddish. None of this is academic or difficult to follow: Berdichevsky never loses sight of his goal of keeping the interest of the lay reader.
In an interesting sidelight, we learn of the parallels between Ben Yehuda and Lazar Ludwig Zamenhof, who created Esperanto. Born within a year of one another in similar homes only 250 miles apart, both sought a career in medicine (although Ben Yehuda’s health forced him to drop out) and both saw their work as a means to enhance the standing of the Jews, in Zamenhof’s case through fostering international solidarity via a common language. (His last major project was translating the Old Testament into Esperanto). Berdichevsky, himself something of an expert on Esperanto, demonstrates how Zamenhof used the logical structure of Hebrew in creating it. Although Ben Yehuda would have to be counted far more successful in achieving the mission he set for himself, Berdichevsky offers the interesting factoid that, after Einstein, Zamenhof is the Jew whose portrait has appeared on the postage stamps of more countries than anyone else. As far as postage stamps go, Ben Yehuda is the loser.

There’s a chapter on Hebrew’s at times bitter rivalry with Yiddish to serve as the national language. And Hebrew’s victory was at times marred by harsh tactics. Berdichevsky writes that as late as 1951, for example, the government agency charged with approving the public showing of films and plays issued a directive banning presentation of a play in Yiddish in Tel Aviv and threatened fines for the actors. Similarly the Yiddish newspaper was allotted very limited access to the government’s control of the supply of paper and had to resort to the black market where the only paper obtainable was yellow, green and red, leading to comical multi-colored editions.

In the Soviet Union, where the heavy hand of government was no laughing matter, Hebrew was condemned as a “reactionary tool” and only Yiddish considered the legitimate tongue of the “toiling masses.” The result was an almost total prohibition of any expression of thought or cultural activity in Hebrew. Berdichevsky writes: “Nowhere else and against no other language (except Esperanto in Nazi-occupied Europe) was such a policy invoked by any regime to strangle a language into total silence.”


Stop Negotiating “The Right to Exist” Ruth King

Before World War II, a significant portion of the global population –including Palestinian Jews–were ruled by European colonial powers. At the conclusion of the war, decolonization accelerated and from 1945 to the 1980s scores of nations in Asia and Africa acquired sovereignty.
Concomitantly, these countries joined the United Nations. From 35 in 1946, the UN grew to 127 member states by 1970, and at present there are 193. According to Freedom House, only 87 of them, roughly 45% of the total, are genuine democracies.

Some former colonies retained much of the infrastructure and economic institutions of their former rulers, but most remained suspicious and hostile to European-style government, political ideas, and economic institutions.

In Africa, the outcome of independence has been especially discouraging. Of the 55 countries in the African Union (Morocco, a former colony of France is not a member) only a few–Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Benin, Ghana, Mauritania and Senegal–have achieved a measure of freedom and stability.

Famine, epidemics, tribal wars, massacres, coups and jihads against innocent civilians have plagued the continent. Millions upon millions have died and millions live in abject fear and misery. Celebrities come and go and wring their hands, get their photo ops and then move on. A racist media and an indolent and hypocritical Congressional Black Caucus ignore their plight.

In Asia, during the same period (1946- 1981), the Philippines, Israel, India and Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, all gained their independence and became members of the United Nations. Israel, India and the Philippines are the only democracies in the group. The vast majority of these countries are repressive at best. In Muslim states oppression of women, dissidents and harsh Sharia laws are increasingly common. Taiwan, a democracy, was expelled by the United Nations to accommodate The Republic of China in 1971, and its bid to rejoin was formally rejected in 2007. Taiwan remains an economically stable democracy without the “benefits” of UN membership.

Assorted despots and tyrants now rule a majority of the member states in the United Nations. Along with representatives from relatively free African nations, their emissaries bash Israel with metronomic regularity, and are joined from stage left by a chorus of European pundits and “statesmen.” The supposedly “reformed” United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 and as of 2013 had passed more resolutions condemning Israel than all of the rest of the world combined. This is all the more mind boggling when in fact of all the countries achieving independence in the post war period, Israel is the most successful western-style democracy, with high standards of civil rights and advanced scientific, academic, and cultural institutions rivaling those of any in the West.


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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