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.

Full Story »

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.

Full Story »

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.”

Full Story »

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.

Full Story »


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

Full Story »

Facebook Faceoff William Mehlman

“The power of the Israel Defense Forces is in the identification of its soldiers with the pain of the State of Israel,“ Jerusalem Post Oped editor Seth Frantzman observed in a recent column. The parameters of that identification was on power-point display in the viral response, as measured in Facebook “likes,” of over 100,000 current and reserve members of the world’s most celebrated military organization to the online publication of a video showing Nahal Brigade private David Admov holding off a gang of Arab teenagers that had surrounded him in Hebron with his Tavor assault rifle cocked to his shoulder.

That Admov saved himself a good deal of pain, or worse as his would-be assailants departed the scene, is incontestable. What that did for the “power of the IDF” is quite another matter, for Admov was summarily arrested, stripped of his Nahal Brigade combat status and sentenced to 20 days in jail. A belated assertion by IDF spokesman Brigadier General Moti Amoz that the private’s punishment had nothing to do with the cocked rifle incident but rather for having allegedly physically confronted one of his commanding officers didn’t create much traction with the tens of thousands, military and civilian, who posted pictures of themselves on their Facebook pages with signs declaring “We stand with David the Nahal soldier!” Ditto, IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Ganz’s order to his commanders to “tell your subordinates in a clear manner that Facebook is not a command tool…It is not a replacement or even a parallel channel for dialogue between commanders and their troops.”

“A telling statement,” Franzman remarks, patently one still deeply informed by an “our’s not to reason why” ethos of a bygone IDF generation. “They claim Facebook is not a channel for dialogue. So what is the channel for dialogue for soldiers who feel they are being sent out to do a job that not only will their higher-ups not do but in the performance of which they are not supported?” Franzman asks.

Marc Goldberg, writing in The Times of Israel concurs that Ganz’s response to what has been dubbed the IDF’s first “digital storm” seriously misses the point. “For a very long time,” he avers, “we have been sending our soldiers into an environment we haven’t trained them for and expected them to cope.” It isn’t dialogue with their commanders these 18 and 19 year-olds seek, he submits. “They’re looking for help. The frustration being expressed here is tangible. What if David hadn’t cocked his rifle and those people had rushed at him?” The fact is that none of the officers commanding him or their superiors want to say it’s OK to load your weapon against “civilians” even in perceived self-defense. “The higher the rank, the less inclined officers are to say these clear words soldiers need to hear.”

Full Story »

From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

Israel Advocacy, New Haven JCRC Style

The New Haven Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) sought to appoint reform Rabbi Joshua Whinston, a member of J Street’s Rabbi’s Advisory Council, to be in charge of Israel advocacy. Appointing a J Street rabbi to head Israel advocacy is like putting Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Dr. Death) in charge of intensive care education or selecting al Qaeda to head the war on terror.
This is the back story. Elaine Braffman, a genuine supporter of Israel, was Israel Advocacy chair of the Greater New Haven Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council. A few weeks ago Alan Hillman, the chairman of JCRC, sent out a lengthy innocuous email to the board with a kicker in the last paragraph, in which he announced that he had asked Rabbi Whinston to co-chair the Israel advocacy committee.
Braffman was incensed at both what was done and the highhanded way in which it was done. She had been informed she had a co-chair via a public email, without being consulted or even told in advance. (When she confronted Hillman with this he replied airily that he knew she wouldn’t agree, so he didn’t tell her.) Her predictable disagreement was based on her justified view of J Street, which has rarely (if ever) found a position or action taken by Israel it can support, as a highly unsuitable voice for Israel advocacy.
Braffman called Sydney Perry, the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation, to find out what was going on and when her call went unreturned concluded Perry supported Hillman’s decision. Accordingly she wrote and circulated a letter of resignation to a limited number of people. It began “It is with great sadness that I am resigning as the Israel Advocacy chair…” and ended “I do believe that members of the Greater New Haven Jewish community have the right to know that with the appointment of Rabbi Whinston, J Street is now the primary voice for Israel Advocacy within the Federation and the JCRC.”
By refusing to depart silently, Braffman forced the JCRC to backtrack. Sydney Perry now says Rabbi Whinston will not be the chair of the Israel Advocacy committee.
But the wobble concerning J Street continues in Federations and JCRCs countrywide. Most are refusing to air the excellent documentary “The J Street Challenge” on the ground that it is “divisive.” For these supposed “community leaders” it’s not J Street that is divisive, but exposure of its activities.
There may be Jews so stupid and credulous that it is enough for them that J Street claims to be “pro-Israel;” indeed a glance at J Street’s glittery Advisory Council with its collection of Jewish Nobel prize winners, professors at major universities and captains of industry, is proof, as if more were needed, that a high IQ is perfectly compatible with political idiocy. Some on the Advisory Council, to be sure, are presumably fully aware of J Street’s agenda, folks like Ambassador George Cranwell Montgomery, former ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Ambassador Ted Kattouf, former ambassador to Syria and the United Arab Emirates, Howard Sumka, former USAID director for the West Bank and Gaza and Robert Pelletreau, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain. Not to mention funder-in-chief George Soros.

Destroying Israel—Twice
Shimon Peres will live in infamy for his role in laying the groundwork for the Oslo agreement with the PLO in 1993. As Oslo’s failure has become ever more obvious in the ensuing thirty years, Peres remains as obdurately blind as ever. Now that Secretary of State Kerry’s most recent grandiose effort—end the conflict once and for all in a few months–has blown up (an outcome as sure as death and taxes), Peres predictably has learned nothing. Says he: “We must find a way to restart the negotiations. My estimate is that Abu Mazen wants to achieve peace.”
Moreover it turns out—by his own account—that Peres was responsible for another decision that could prove fatal for Israel: the decision not to take out Iran’s nuclear program. In an interview with Israel Channel Two on Independence Day Peres boasted that he prevented Israel from attacking Iran. Along with elements in the military and intelligence services he had insisted the U.S. could be counted on to deal with the problem. As has become all too apparent, the Obama administration’s idea of dealing with the problem is not to prevent Iran from making nuclear bombs but to ensure that Israel does not act to prevent it.

Full Story »

MK Omer Bar-Lev “Invents” Bar-Lev Line II Mark Langfan

(Editor’s note: This article offers an answer to the words of the song Marlene Dietrich made famous “When will they ever learn?” The answer is never. Despite all evidence, there are Israeli politicians—including some who may well reach a position of power—who cling to the notion of retreat to something close to the 1949 borders as a panacea rather than a death sentence.)

A rocket fired from Judean and Samarian mountains into Tel Aviv is like firing a rocket from Brooklyn into Manhattan.
The Titanic was “unsinkable” until it sank on its first voyage. France’s Maginot Line was “unbreachable” until the German Panzers simply went around it. The Nazi secret-code Ultra was “unbreakable” until the Allies continuously broke it throughout World War II.

General Haim Bar-Lev, and the entire IDF, thought his eponymous “Bar-Lev” line on the Suez Canal was unbreachable until, one morning when Jews were in synagogues fasting in October 1973, the Egyptians breached it in two-hours-flat with water cannons.

So much for “genius” engineers and generals.

General Bar-Lev’s son, Omer Bar-Lev, is an MK (Labor) in the present Knesset. MK Bar-Lev is a highly decorated retired IDF officer. And MK Bar-Lev is not just a highly-decorated officer–he was the commander of the elite legendary commando unit Sayerat Matkal. And MK Bar-Lev also commanded the Jordan Valley unit of the IDF and worked with Achari, which encourages Israeli army enlistment. All of these are great achievements.
MK Bar-Lev, however, seems to think he has invented a new “unbreachable” defense line–the 1967 Green Line (more or less) or The Clinton Parameters. At the recent Jerusalem Post conference, he stated he wants to unilaterally retreat from much of Judea and Samaria. This resembles a case of like-father-like-son. In 2014, MK Bar-Lev is invested into a chimera as was his father in 1973. And MK Bar-Lev has just as sure a sense of invincible military power as had his father.

MK Bar-Lev uses three elements of “logic” to “prove” Israel should unilaterally leave Judea and Samaria and let whoever, and whatever fill the void.
1) Israel is a “Jewish” country and by Israel’s unilateral retreat from large areas of Judea and Samaria, it will return Israel to being “Jewish.”
2) After the 2005 Gaza retreat, although 15,000 Gaza rockets have since been fired into pre-1967 Israel, MK Bar-Lev says, “No one wants to re-invade, and re-occupy Gaza, so how was retreating from Gaza so bad? Therefore, it was the right decision to make.”
3) Since Israel is apparently content with the Gaza situation, Israel will be happy with the “West Bank” unilateral retreat situation of the future, even when that brings rockets to Tel Aviv.

Full Story »

Zionism 101: Far Better Than the Courses at Vassar or Stanford, and about $60,000 Cheaper Edward Alexander

(Editor’s note: Zionism 101 was Herbert Zweibon’s last project. Herb had become increasingly concerned with the need for basic Zionist education and had come up with this innovative way to use short films on the Internet to build a comprehensive course on Zionist history. He pegged David Isaac to carry out the project and David enlisted his brother Rafi. The Isaac brothers are implementing the idea both because of its importance and in honor of Herbert Zweibon, whom they had known since childhood. Herb Zweibon’s son Mark continues to fund the project as a tribute to his father’s legacy.)

To those of us old enough to remember the first Israel Independence Day, in 1948, it stands as one of the few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live that a martyred people has ever made. It has turned out to be much more than the thinly veiled form of assimilation that many of the orthodox at first mistook it for, or a solution to a personal identity crisis for people who felt no longer able to be “Jewish.” It has emerged, through much struggle, as integral to Judaism and not just to that mélange of habits, tendencies, and cultural styles called “Jewishness.” Cynthia Ozick has rightly described Zionism as the modern flowering of a great series of diverse intellectual and pietistic movements, all of them rooted in the yearning for human dignity symbolized by the Exodus from slavery that has characterized Jewish civilization for thousands of years. The creation of Israel just a few years after the Holocaust was, in the words of Ruth Wisse, the most hopeful sign for humanity since the dove returning to Noah from the primeval flood holding an olive branch.

Of course, you would never learn this from the typical college course on the subject of Zionism or Israel or the (misnamed) “Arab-Israeli Conflict.” At Vassar, for example, the chairman of Jewish Studies gives a course that openly boasts of its lack of objectivity and its full allegiance to the Arab “narrative”; at Indiana University a “chaired” professor in Jewish Studies offers a course on the subject in which the writings of Judith Butler and Jacqueline Rose are included among “Zionist” writings. (This is analogous to a school of medicine offering “Euthanasia 101? in its curriculum of “Life-preserving strategies.”) At Stanford you will be told by a political science professor (and former head of MESA–the Middle East Studies Association) that he makes no pretense at impartiality, and that “the state of Israel has already lost any moral justification for its existence.” For such instruction (frequently delivered by unkempt professors dressed in sweatshirts and blue jeans) about Israel and Zionism (to say nothing of what remains of world literature, history, and philosophy in the present

Full Story »

A Secret Memo

On May 8, 2014, two days after the White House released its fourth National Climate Assessment Report, this secret exchange occurred between two top White House staffers. (They used phony initials worrying—rightly as it turned out–the email might be leaked):

PJ: Al Gore, move over! With this Report, it’s tornadoes in your living room, right this minute. Hurricane Sandy is coming to take out your neighborhood any day now. Forget rising seas taking out New York a hundred years from now. End fossil fuels now, today, before they end you tomorrow morning.

AD: Still, the polls show climate change at the bottom of issues the public wants the government to address.

PJ: Bad marketing. All that babble about global warming. If you’re old and cold that sounds good. Climate change is worse. It sounds as scary as Donald Duck. Climate disruption hits home. What disrupts your life? Divorce. Disease. Losing your job.

AD: We scored with pollution. Thanks to us the words go together like cream and sugar—carbon dioxide pollution. Good going when you think that without carbon dioxide there are no plants and without plants there is no “us.”

PJ: Wasn’t it Prince Phillip who said he wanted to be reincarnated “as a killer virus to lower human population levels”?

AD: Let’s not go down that road. I still see a problem with credibility. The Heartland Institute said the report “reads like a press release from the Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists—probably because it essentially is a press release from the Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

AD: You must be joking. The Heartland Institute is a bunch of deniers no one ever heard of. We’ve had a great press, Washington Post, New York Times. U.S. News and World Report is my favorite: “The National Climate Assessment dramatically changes the economics of climate change.” Whatever it costs, it’s better than food you can’t afford, water you can’t drink, your home that’s swallowed up by the sea.

PJ: Maybe this report will galvanize the public. But if not, what about a backup?

AD: There’s something in the works. On disease. Al Gore talked of galloping malaria. But in America, who worries about malaria? Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, now you’re talking. And we’ll have a report showing how they can only be explained by climate disruption. We’re lining up doctors to sign it now. We aim for 97% of them. If you are a denier–expect no reimbursements under Obamacare.

PJ: You don’t think this is a stretch?

Full Story »


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 web site:

August 2017
« Jul