Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

Obamelation: Some Israelis Worry, Fear “Messianic Fervor” of “Obama’s Media”

January 25, 2009

It’s good when Americans, especially top American political leaders and the media that follows them, recall reality now and again.  Israel is not the 51st state of the USA; and it is good for Israelis to remember that too….


If not for the fact that the words running along the bottom of the screen during Tuesday evening’s broadcast were in Hebrew, one might have mistaken Channel 10 for an American network.

ByRuthie Blum Leibowitz  
Jerusalem Post

Factoids about previous inaugurations flowed through the “ticker tape,” as though prepping the public for a pop quiz on the  history of our noble nation. The trouble is that, as noble a nation as the United States is (something all local newscasters suddenly discovered, as soon as it became clear that a Democrat would be occupying the Oval Office), it is nevertheless not ours. No matter how crucial its moves on the world stage are to Israel’s survival and well-being, the US is a foreign country. And it would have been treated as such by the local media had John McCain won the election on November 4.
Indeed, the local media’s anxious awaiting of the arrival of the Great Black Hope on the proverbial white donkey has been so unbridled that they could be as appropriate as their American counterparts for parody in an apt cartoon by Dana Summers in the Orlando Sentinel. In it, a group of screaming fans flinging panties at Barack Obama is reproached by a policeman. “Stop throwing your underwear at him, and make way for the media,” he scolds.

A woman responds by flashing her press card at him. “We are the media,” she says.

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President, and retired military
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The messianic fervor surrounding the meteoric rise of the charismatic candidate, who virtually swiped a seemingly surefire victory in the Democratic primaries from Hillary Clinton – as if out from under her – is the stuff for psychoanalysts and future historians to sift through and sort out.

That most of the American media made this possible on the one hand, and were as affected by it as the voters on the other, is not the least bit surprising. Even revolutionaries must grow weary of lugging around all those heavy protest banners. And even leftists long for leaders they can love. To them, Hillary would have certainly been better than any – gasp! – Republican. She, at least, could have assuaged the anger felt by all those females whose fear of chipping a nail makes it difficult for them to break through the glass ceiling they claim is preventing their promotions.

Read the rest:

Obama Inauguration: No Rabbis, Priests

January 20, 2009

Inauguration audiences on Tuesday will hear the new President deliver the most anticipated Inaugural Address since John F. Kennedy. They’ll hear the Queen of Soul sing and Yo-Yo Ma play. They’ll listen to hear if Rick Warren gets preachy when he prays. But there’s one thing they won’t hear: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam.

That’s because for the sixth straight presidential Inauguration, rabbis won’t have a place on the dais. And the Jewish faith isn’t the only religious tradition that continues to be snubbed. Since 1985, only Evangelical Protestants have played a part in the swearing-in ceremony. That will continue again this year when megachurch pastor Warren delivers the invocation and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, an African-American Evangelical, offers the benediction. At a time when the United States is more religiously diverse than at any other point in its history, and Obama’s entire campaign was built on the notion of a newfound inclusiveness and multiculturalism, it seems a glaring omission. (See TIME’s special report on civil rights and the Obama presidency.)

Time Magazine

The recent Evangelical Protestant monopoly began in 1989, when George H.W. Bush asked Billy Graham to deliver both the invocation and benediction (the opening and closing prayers) at his Inauguration. Graham did the same for Bill Clinton in 1993 and again in 1997. The decision to delegate the religious role to Graham seemed a reasonable alternative to filling the stage with an ever-growing number of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha’i clergy. The famous Evangelist regularly topped the list of people Americans most admired, and he prayed in fairly broad terms, referring just to “God” and using the formulation “I pray” instead of “we pray” to make clear that he was not imposing his Christian prayer on the entire citizenry. (Read Obama’s words on his Christian faith.)

But the absence of non-Christian religious leaders was felt even more deeply starting in 2001, when Graham’s son Franklin ended his invocation with an exclusive statement: “We … acknowledge you alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.” This was not a prayer offered on behalf of all Americans but on behalf of Christians alone. It bookended George W. Bush’s Inauguration with a benediction by Kirbyjon Caldwell that declared, “We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names, Jesus the Christ,” and instructed, “Let all who agree say ‘Amen.’ ” If you didn’t agree, there was apparently nothing for you to do but shuffle your feet.

For non-Christians, but particularly for Jews who had gotten used to having a place on the dais, the development was deeply disturbing. After all, traditionally, the religious roster at presidential swearing ins looked something like the set-up to an old joke: “A priest, a pastor and a rabbi walk into an Inauguration …” Rabbis prayed at a majority of Inaugurations that took place between 1949 and 1985, as did Catholic priests.

It is true that Jewish religious leaders weren’t on the dais in 1937, when Franklin D. Roosevelt first introduced the tradition of an Inaugural prayer. Up until then, presidential Inaugurations did not include prayers. Instead, the vice-presidential swearing in took place at a separate ceremony in the Senate chambers, after which the Senate chaplain usually offered a prayer. Roosevelt decided to merge the two events and brought the chaplain along to participate as well. But in a shrewd political maneuver, Roosevelt also opened up a second religious slot on the program for Father John Ryan, an influential figure in Catholic social teaching and a prominent supporter of the New Deal. As Mark Silk, professor of religion at Trinity College, has written, Ryan was not only known as “the Right Rev. New Dealer,” but he was also the most effective critic of Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious right-wing, anti-Roosevelt priest. Ryan’s participation in the Inauguration helped insulate Roosevelt against Coughlin’s attacks and shore up the growing – and critical – voting bloc of Catholic Democrats.

Obama Didn’t Need Rick Warren for Prayer; Others Abound

 Obama’s Path to Faith Was Eclectic, Diverse

For Barack Obama, Middle East Pressure Cooker Intensifies With Each Unchecked Israeli Move

January 4, 2009

With global respect for the United States at an all time low and hopes in Barack Obama at an all time high, how much more pressure and drama can a new President of the United States tolerate?

Well, Israel, the Middle East and George W. Bush are adding fuel to the proverbial fire.

An Israeli tank enters the Gaza Strip from Israel on a combat mission, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas gained momentum. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Photo: AP

Bush’s totally unbowed support for Israel and his deaf ear to pressure from the Arab world has resulted in gridlock in the United Nations Security Council.  It now looks as if the U.N. may not even consider another cease-fire proposal between Israel and Hamas until Tuesday.

The U.S. has blocked two previous cease-fire resolutions.

Many nations would like to see Isreal ordered to agree to a cease fire; but U.S. non-compliance has allowed Isreal to forge ahead in its air, and now ground, assault upon Gaza.

For right or wrong, the U.S. position on Israel is under siege: putting even more pressure on Barack Obama to come up with a solution more people can agree to in the Middle East after he is inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Maybe Mr. Obama can still replace Rick Warren with a Muslim for the invocation….

 Gaza, Israel Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

 Arab Nations Enraged At U.S. On Gaza, Palestinian Deaths
Gaza: International Community Allowing Isreal To Bleed Hamas?
Gaza and Obama’s “Deafening Silence:” Arabs and Muslims Wonder

In this Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 file photo, Pastor Rick Warren ... 
Rick Warren: Needs an all inclusive prayer…. and a very big rug….

Arab Nations Urged To Cut Off Oil to Isreal, Allies

January 4, 2009

An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel’s supporters in response to the Jewish state’s offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA said commander Bagherzadeh described oil as “one of the powerful elements of pressure” on the Jewish state’s Western backers in the “unequal war” faced by Palestinians in the coastal strip.

“Pointing at Westerners’ dependence on the Islamic countries’ oil and energy resources, he (Bagherzadeh) called for cutting the export of crude oil to the Zionist regime’s supporters the world over,” IRNA said, referring to Israel.


IRNA gave only the commander’s last name but it may have been referring to Mirfeysal Bagherzadeh, a brigadier-general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There was no immediate comment from other Iranian officials.

Iran, which often rails against the United States and Israel, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and a leading member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Top exporter Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades.

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Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands ... 
Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Israeli troops backed by scores of tanks are battling Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads, surrounding the battered territory’s main city on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.(AFP/Shay Shmueli)

Iran Urges Arabs to Condemn Israel and All “Zionists”; Calls Palestinian Losses “Real Holocaust”

December 31, 2008

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot even say the word “Israel” and has said the “Zionist state should be wiped from the earth,” is now urging the Arab League and all Arabs and Islamists to rise up against Israel.

Said Ahmadinejad: “The ongoing crimes committed by the cultureless Zionists in Gaza have saddened all advocates of liberty and freedom worldwide and pleased savages. Women, children, youth, the pious and devoted, and shelter-less men are being murdered in their land in the heaviest siege that does not allow entry of food and medicine for the crime of insisting on their basic human rights.”

“This is while leaders of arrogant, corrupt, bullying and oppressive powers and their affiliates, explicitly or implicitly support the criminals who commit these brutal acts by remaining silent.”

The Iranian president went on to add that “The disgraceful Zionists are not demonstrating their power, rather this is a show of their weaknesses. Killing civilians and defenseless people will not lead to the supremacy of the murderers. Zionists and their tyrannical patrons have reached a dead-end and are on the verge of decline. Such crimes only further darken their disgusting track record. The US regime and some European governments should know that they too will be held accountable for these crimes.”

He called Israel’s action in Gaza “The real Holocaust.”

In the past Mr. Ahmadinejad has said that israel fabricated the holocaust for its own reasons.

“Therefore, the people of Gaza represent all peace-seeking masses against all ugliness, aggressions and savagery. These people are sacrificing their lives to help uphold human dignity”
said Ahmadinejad.

Today Ahmadinejad said,  “If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?” the president told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran.

“Aren’t these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television. 

From Peace and Freedom

 Gaza Is “Proxy War to Eradicate Israel” Funded By Iran
Volunteer suicide bombers seek to attack Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)


Iran’s president told the Arab League, which meets on Wednesday, it must act quickly to end Israeli attacks on Gaza Palestinians adding that setting up a committee or making speeches was not enough.

But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not suggest any specific action by Arab states, some of which had been criticised by non-Arab Iran for not doing enough to help protect Palestinians after more than 380 had been killed.

“If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?” the president told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran.

“Aren’t these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television.


He added that setting up a committee and making speeches was not adequate and would allow Israel to continue its actions.

Arab foreign ministers hold an emergency session at the Cairo-based Arab League on Wednesday. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Cairo would propose a way to contain the current conflict to the ministers.

Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, has often been singled out for criticism by Iranian protesters for not doing more to help Palestinians. Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel, and Iran, which does not recognise the Jewish state, do not have full diplomatic ties.

Iran Cleric Tells All Muslims To Rise Up Against Isreal; Tumult in Mideast
Gaza Is “Proxy War to Eradicate Israel” Funded By Iran

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Obama Support For Israel Uncertain; Gaza Attacks Complicate Policy Making

December 29, 2008

George Bush and Condoleezza Rice failed.  Numerous heads of the United Nations have failed.  Palestinian and Arab leaders have failed.  Now maybe Barack Obama will inherit the Middle East peace process like many before him.

With less than a month until the inauguration, the U.S. president-elect could inherit a Middle East in international crisis  — and it will be his to fix or suffer through.

The death toll from a weekend of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has topped 300, Palestinian medical sources said Monday.

Israel’s air assault began a third day amid wide ranging condemnation from the international community.

The United States has always been Israel’s number one ally: but with a new president to take office on January 20, 2009, new policy is being formulated in the U.S. that involves Israel now….


The deaths of hundreds of Palestinians in Israel‘s deadliest-ever air assault on Hamas further complicate President-elect Barack Obama‘s challenge to achieve a Middle East peace — something that eluded both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

The Bush administration has blamed the renewed violence on the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, saying it broke a cease-fire by firing rockets and mortars deep into Israeli territory. The Arab world, however, has reacted with rage to the aggressive Israeli counterattacks, which have left at least 290 Palestinians dead and more than 600 wounded.

It’s unclear whether Obama will be as supportive of Israel as President George W. Bush has been.

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Fire burns late Sunday or early Monday in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing what it says are Hamas targets.

Fire burns late Sunday or early Monday in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing what it says are Hamas targets.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to Obama, chose his words carefully Sunday, saying the president-elect would honor the “important bond” between the United States and Israel.

“He wants to be a constructive force in helping to bring about the peace and security that both the Israelis and the Palestinians want and deserve,” Axelrod said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Obviously, this situation has become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks. As Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded. But it’s something that he’s committed to.”

Pressed about how much support Obama will offer Israel, Axelrod said: “He’s going to work closely with the Israelis. They’re a great ally of ours, the most important ally in the region. … But he will do so in a way that will promote the cause of peace, and work closely with the Israelis and the Palestinians on that — toward that objective.”

Israel had been carrying out its attack exclusively from the air, but the Israeli Cabinet has authorized the military to call up 6,500 reserve soldiers for a possible ground invasion.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean, Israel certainly has the right to self-defense, of course. Hamas has not recognized Israel’s right to exist. … But I’m hopeful that as this transition comes, as we look to January, that strong presidential leadership can make a difference here.”

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Israeli cabinet calls up reservists as Gaza strikes continue

December 28, 2008

Israel’s cabinet approved a call-up of reservists today, as its military continued attacking Gaza, destroying the main security headquarters after killing more than 280 Palestinians in a first round of strikes yesterday.

Israeli tanks were seen deploying in southern Israel, close to the Gaza Strip, raising the prospect that the air raids – which brought the biggest loss of life in a single day in Gaza for more than 40 years – might escalate into a major ground offensive.

An Israeli soldier directs a tank near Kibbutz Niram, in southern Israel, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Israel's Cabinet authorized a callup of thousands of reserves soldiers, suggesting plans to expand a campaign against Gaza rocket squads that has already killed some 280 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The latest Israeli attack flattened most of the buildings in the security headquarters, the second time the compound had been attacked in two days. At least four Palestinians were killed.

Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel, with two missiles reaching as far as Ashdod, an Israeli port about 18 miles north of Gaza. One Israeli was killed in a rocket attack on Saturday.

By Rory McCarthy
The Guardian, UK

In addition to the 280 dead, at least 600 Palestinians have been injured. Most of the dead appeared to be policemen or security officials affiliated with Hamas, although there were reports of dead civilians. An Israeli air strike yesterday killed seven teenage students at a UN vocational college for Palestinian refugees while they waited for a bus to take them home, said Christopher Gunness, a UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman.

At its regular weekly meeting in Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet approved a reserve call-up, which may indicate a much larger operation is proposed. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, reportedly told the meeting that the fighting in Gaza would be “long, painful and difficult”.

“Israel will continue until we have a new security environment in the south, when the population there will not longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the prime minister.

A UN security council statement called for a halt to the violence, but the US squarely placed the blame for the fighting with Hamas, the Islamist movement that won Palestinian elections three years ago and then seized full control of Gaza last year. A fragile five-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza finally collapsed 10 days ago.

Related from CNN: Obama Watching Gaza Closely:

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Israel called up 6,500 reserve soldiers and moved tanks, infantry and armored units to the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion. Some 280 Palestinians died in the first 24 hours of the campaign against Gaza rocket squads.

Read the rest from AP:

Anti-Semitism floods Internet after Madoff scandal

December 20, 2008

Anti-Jewish commentary is flooding the Internet in the wake of Bernard Madoff’s arrest on charges of masterminding one of the biggest Wall Street frauds in history, campaigners said Friday.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said there had been “an outpouring of anti-Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites.”

Bernard L. Madoff, the Chairman of Madoff Investment Securities, ... 
Bernard L. Madoff, the Chairman of Madoff Investment Securities, is seen speaking in 2007.(Philoctetes Center/Handout/Reuters)

Madoff, 70, is Jewish and a prominent member of the powerful US Jewish community. He is alleged to have defrauded investors, including a number of Jewish-related charities, of some 50 billion dollars.

“Site users have posted comments ranging from deeply offensive stereotypical statements about Jews and money — with some suggesting that only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale — to conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel,” the ADL said in a statement.

“Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.

“Nowadays, the first place Jew-haters will go is to the Internet, where they can give voice to their hateful ideas without fear of repercussions.”

Madoff’s $50 Billion Scam Included Buying Influence in Washington

Iran’s Ahmadinejad is at it again; predicts Israel’s end

December 13, 2008

I love how Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opens his mouth and spouts hate about Israel and it’s reported as news. And then I oblige by posting his diatribe here. Ahmadinejad’s latest affront was saying that Israel will soon “fade away from the earth.“

“The crimes being committed by the Zionist regime [Israel] are happening because it is aware that it has reached the end of the line and will soon fade away from the earth,“ Mehr news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during an anti-Israeli rally in Tehran.

I think anti-Israel rallies are pretty common in Tehran. Fortunately, Ahmadinejad is full of proclamations but not prophesies.

Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
The God Blog
The Jewish Journal

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an official meeting ... 
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an official meeting with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Deng Alor in Tehran in this file photo from October 21, 2008.(Raheb Homavandi/Reuters)

What We Know About Mumbai Terrorists: Mad Dogs Off The Leash

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

Mumbai Terror Survivor Bought Cheap and Promised Pay “Dead or Alive” By Pakistan Handlers

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)