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Virtual Talmud

Something Just Doesn’t Add Up

I am not sure if there is much more to say about this issue, Prof. LeVine. Your problem seems to be more with the people at Pew.

To sum up: Your position expresses little difference between evangelicals, Muslims, and Israelis regarding these groups’ relationship to politics and religion. Doing the math, you might say, evangelicals=Israelis=Muslims. I am sorry, but something here just doesn’t add up.

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jeri fremont

posted July 22, 2006 at 6:13 am

Mr. LeVine uses so many, many words, one could almost miss his mind set: Israel can do no right. He would have you belive that the terrorists have made all the concessions for Peace rather than Israel. He ignores facts on the ground: Hamas was bombarding Israeli towns and cities before Gilad was taken, the tunnels Hamas built under the international border were planned a long time before Hamas got themselves an Israeli to torture. LeVine also ignores the Lebanon Government’s in -effectiveness in carrying out UN Resolution 1559 ordering them to dismantle Hezbollah. LeVine says that Israel was responsible for the creation of Hezbollah. Bet he wouldn’t defend the Ku Klux Klan which was founded by “good” Americans as he is defending Muslim terrorist groups. His bottom line is that Israel must permit itself to die and not do anything about it. What an antiquated, and very off-key song.

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Mark LeVine

posted July 22, 2006 at 8:30 pm

thanks for the comment. but everything you says is a distortion of what i wrote. where exactly do i say that “israel can do no right?” i lived in israel on and off for 5 years in the 1990s. i know full well the right that Israelis can do. their government is a different matter, of course, but that’s the case with all governments. yes, hamas was bombarding israel before the kidnapping, but in fact it had largely observed the ceasefire since the election, certainly in comparison to israel, which has continually attacked palestinian areas, initiated new settlements, and otherwise violated any possible spirit that would be associated with trying to achieve some kind of peace. do you deny this? if so, then please go to the archives of haaretz and read the daily activities for yourself. it is not a good idea to try to compare israeli and palestinian violations of oslo or of just the spirit of peace, because israel will ‘win’ this contest hands down. that’s not a pleasant fact, but it is objectively true nonetheless. and because the government of lebanon can’t control the golem that israel HELPED create–i did not argue that it was its only creator, as you intimate–does that give Israel the right to destroy the entire infrastures of southern lebanon, send half a million people into flight, kills hundreds and injure thousands of civilians? this logic are not very disimilar to osama bin laden and other terrorists, who of course don’t “enjoy”killing innocent civilians, but feel it is justified in light of their larger existential war against an implacable western foe. dehumanization on either side leads to dehumanization on the other, and the blood won’t stop flowing as long as either side continues it. and who says i’m “defending a muslim terrorist group”? where do i defend them? i’ve lived through enough terrorist attacks; i don’t defend them. what i do, is explain them. there is a difference; which i wonder why you seem unable to see. when you accuse me of defending terrorists, however, you are playing a dangerous game that maks it impossible to have rational discussions of crucial and difficult issues. finally, it is insulting for you to argue that i want isarel to “permit itself to die.” i have innumerable friends and relatives in israel. to accuse me of this is utterly inappropriate. what i want, is israel to live–and if it keeps up this activity, i fear that its days as a jewish, zionist democratic state are numbered; if not in months, certainly in the coming years. if you have a problem with criticising israel, i suggest you go read the Prophets.

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Husband, his wife and their se

posted July 24, 2006 at 2:49 am

As I write this, Israeli troops are massing on the border with Lebanon, preparing for a huge invasion, the likes of which Lebanon has not seen since 1982. The Israeli Defense Force airplanes have been steadily bombing southern Lebanon back to the Stone Age for over a week, and have killed at least 330 innocent civilians, as compared to Hezbollah’s rockets, which have killed a grand total of 15 Israeli civilians. The Lebanese prime minister has said on CNN that a minimum of 500,000 people have been displaced by the relentless bombing of civilian areas, but a United Nations spokesman says the number may be as high as 900,000 – more than 22% of Lebanon’s entire population – and have leafletted 300,000 more, warning them to get out, and get out immediately, and retreat at least 25 miles from the Israeli border. Israel has systematically bomb-cratered street intersections throughout Beruit and other Lebanese cities, leaving the streets impassible to traffic – including, of course, emergency vehicles responding to reports of bombed apartment blocks. Many civilian targets, which have nothing to do with Hezbollah, have been targeted, including the airport, fuel depots, power stations, freeway overpasses and even a toilet paper factory – now there’s certainly a nest of Hezbollah militancy! Asked why they were targeting civilian infrastructure which in no way assists Hezbollah, a non-plussed Israeli military spokesman candidly told the BBC, “they [the civilians] need to learn that there is a price to be paid for supporting Hezbollah.” The spokesman failed to realize that this was a frank admission that Israel is committing war crimes – targeting civilians is a direct violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is signatory, and it is the crime for which many Nazi war criminals were sent to their executions at Nuremburg. Israel has officially claimed that their objective is to convince the Lebanese that harboring Hezbollah is not worth the price. Yet it is clear from many of the interviews aired by CNN by refugees, that while many of the civilian victims of Israel’s aggression didn’t support Hezbollah before or were indifferent, they certainly support Hezbollah now and will do everything they can to support its objectives, but this counterproductive result has not stopped Israel. Israel’s most consistent “mistake,” historically and now, is to fail to accept that when you take away from a man everything that he has, he then has nothing left to lose – disposession only serves the cause of radicalism. Far from convincing the Lebanese of the wisdom of opposing Hezbollah, Israel is serving as the best recruiting tool Hezbollah could ever have wished for. Just as the occupation in Iraq has done for Al Qaeda. Unlike the United States, Israel’s leadership cannot be so stupid or so removed from reality as to not understand that. So, what then, is the grand strategy at work here? One possibility, a very dark one, is that the ultra-Zionists running Israel these days, have a broad, very long-term plan – to ethnically cleanse and depopulate Lebanon by forcing the Lebanese out with this bombing and invasion, and prepare Lebanon for Israeli colonization, much as they did with the Arab Partition of Palestine in 1948 and again in newly-conquered areas behind the armistice line after the 1967 war. If that is the plan, it is well underway – with a fifth of the population already displaced after only a week of fighting, it clearly wouldn’t be that difficult to displace most of the rest of the population by making their lives difficult and unpleasant, and prepare Lebanon to be occupied by Israeli settlers. With 100,000 Lebanese currently leaving Lebanon each day, it won’t take long. How likely is this to be their strategy? Well, this strategy has a venerable history – it worked well for Israel in 1948, it worked again in 1967, and it is still working today in the West Bank – there are more Palestinians living in refugee camps abroad than are currently living in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank put together, and the unique armored Caterpillar bulldozer, destroying the homes of innocent Palestinians, has become one of the very symbols of Israel. We know that there are right-wing Israeli ultra-Zionists, including some in government, who actively push the idea of a Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, free of Arabs – they haven’t been bashful about saying so, and their policies in government betray that strategy (for its entire history, Israel has steadfastly refused to declare its international boundaries). If that is what Israel is trying to do, the four million Lebanese they are currently displacing will create a vast, inexhaustible pool of radicalized terrorists from which radical Islamicists will draw for decades to come, a pool so vast that Israel will never even begin to contain the acts of terrorism that will occur on its soil, and against Jews and Israeli interests abroad, more or less in perpetuity. The ultra-Zionists had better be careful what they wish for, because they might just receive it. On the other hand, U.S. military strategy analysts quoted on CNN, who have looked at what Israel is doing on the ground, say that the strategy behind it is clear to them: create such a huge mess that the rest of the world will be forced to come in behind Israel to clean it up – and thereby clean up Hezbollah in the process. They may even want to provoke a wider conflict with Iran and Syria, and force the U.S. to clean up that mess, too. Israel has in the past not been reticent to say that they would like to see that happen. That strategy is likely to fail for the same reason that the possible ultra-Zionist strategy above would fail – the radicalized Lebanese would look at what has happened in Iraq, and say, “not in my backyard!” Any foreign troops occupying Lebanese soil – any foreign troops, regardless of who they are – will be met with violence and terrorism. There is considerable unanimity among Lebanese on this point, unanimity that was not there three decades ago – it is the biggest lesson the Lebanese have learned from thirty years of Syrian occupation and civil war fomented and financed by outsiders. The United Nations, NATO, the European ex-colonial powers, and other multinational military and security agencies, clearly saw the mess in which Israel entangled itself for two decades in its occupation of Southern Lebanon, and they want no part of getting so entangled themselves in a peacekeeping effort. So instead of moving in to rein in Hezbollah, they are far more likely to rein in Israel through diplomatic sanctions and force Israel to clean up the mess themselves under U.N. supervision, whether the U.S. or Israel likes it or not. There is already a move quietly afoot in the Security Council to do just that. Everyone can see that Israel is killing twenty-two innocent Lebanese civilians for every innocent Israeli killed by Hezbollah’s rockets, and the wildly disproportionate force being used to “even the score” for Hezbollah’s nearly forgotten capture of two Israeli soldiers, is clearly not justifiable by any wild stretch of moral reasoning. Only the United States, led by a president with a kindergarten mentality (“It’s all Hezbollah’s fault” – yes, he more or less said that!) is standing in the way of that happening. So who is Israel trying to suck into this, then? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? The only nation it can. The Neo-conservatives running policy in Washington, most of whom are themselves Jewish and rabidly right-wing ultra-Zionists, have been, at Israel’s behest, campaigning hard for wars against Syria and Iran for a decade, though they have failed to provoke them – until now. America’s fundamentalist president, with his apocalyptic fantasies and his kindergarten depth of thinking, has been sold this as being his role to play in the return of Jesus. Makes one shudder at the destructive power of ignorance, ego, blind faith and self deceit. Will the United States be that stupid? It certainly will if the Neo-conservatives running this administration have anything to say about it. It is exactly what they wa
nt to see happen. If the U.S. and Israel found themselves in conflict with Syria and Iran as well as bogged down in a wildly unpopular occupation of Iraq, there is no telling what could happen in the Middle East. It could involve a theater-wide war – involvement of Syria will draw in Iran, which could and probably would close the Straits of Hormuz to shipments of Middle East oil. That would force the involvement of other nations dependent on that oil. Even the possibility of World War III is being bandied about. A possibility that the Neo-conservatives themselves have actually thought of, and have said they wouldn’t mind seeing happen – doing as they do to put what they perceive to be Israel’s interests above those of the nation they “serve.” They call it “creative destruction.” Why would they care? They’re rich enough to buy immunity to the effects of war on themselves. They’re not sending their kids off to get shot at. Indeed, most of them have never even been in the military themselves. Isn’t it comforting having fifth-columnists like that running policy in Washington? Wouldn’t you like to take the U.S. back from the ultra-Zionists? Well, you can start on the 7th of November.

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Santi Fernandez

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:03 am

You make me laugh. 100,000 people leaving Lebanon every day? If, as you claimed, the 900,000 displaced are 22% of Lebanon’s population, and people were leaving at the rate you claim, there would be no-one left in Lebanon. You don’t have to be an engineer to do that math. Oh, and if you’re really curious about the cause of this war, you should read the Koran, especially where it says that Jews speak blasphemy, and tell falsehoods to Muslims, and are cursed by Allah until the end of days. When you have 2.4 billion people fed a steady stream of this propaganda married with the exclusionist militancy of their religion (“Fight the unbeliever who is near to you . . . strike at his head and his neck until he surrenders”), the result is Hezbollah. If you got your wish and Israel never existed and the Jewish people evaporated, they would move to Turkey and steal across the Bosporus to suicide bomb Macedonia and Thrace.

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posted July 25, 2006 at 4:06 am

Seven reasons the Holy land belongs to Israel In a speech before the Senate in 2002, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe stood against world opinion and offered seven reasons why Israel alone is entitled to possess the Holy Land. I was interested the other day when I heard that the de facto ruler, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, made a statement which was received by many in this country as if it were a statement of fact, as if it were something new, a concept for peace in the Middle East that no one had ever heard of before. I was kind of shocked that it was so well received by many people who had been down this road before. I suggest to you that what Crown Prince Abdullah talked about a few days ago was not new at all. He talked about the fact that under the Abdullah plan, Arabs would normalize relations with Israel in exchange for the Jewish state surrendering the territory it received after the 1976 Six-Day War as if that were something new. He went on to talk about other land that had been acquired and had been taken by Israel. I remember so well on December 4 when we covered all of this and the fact that there isn’t anything new about the prospect of giving up land that is rightfully Israel’s land in order to have peace. When it gets right down to it, the land doesn’t make that much difference because Yasser Arafat and others don’t recognize Israel’s right to any of the land. They do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. I will discuss seven reasons, which I mentioned once before, why Israel is entitled to the land they have and that it should not be a part of the peace process. If this is something that Israel wants to do, it is their business to do it. But anyone who has tried to put the pressure on Israel to do this is wrong. We are going to be hit by skeptics who are going to say we will be attacked because of our support for Israel, and if we get out of the Middle East that is us all the problems will go away. That is just not true. If we withdraw, all of these problems will again come to our door. I have some observations to make about that. But I would like to reemphasize once again the seven reasons that Israel has the right to their land. The first reason is archeological evidence The first reason is that Israel has the right to the land because of all of the archeological evidence. That is reason, No. 1. All the archeological evidence supports it. Every time there is a dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that Israelis have had a presence there for 3,000 years. They have been there for a long time. The coins, the cities, the pottery, the culture–there are other people, groups that are there, but there is no mistaking the fact that Israelis have been present in that land for 3,000 years. It predates any claims that other peoples in the regions may have. The ancient Philistines are extinct. Many other ancient peoples are extinct. They do not have the unbroken line to this date that the Israelis have. Even the Egyptians of today are not racial Egyptians of 2,000, 3,000 years ago. They are primarily an Arab people. The land is called Egypt, but they are not the same racial and ethnic stock as the old Egyptians of the ancient world. The first Israelis are in fact descended from the original Israelites. The first proof, then, is the archeology. The second reason is historic right The second proof of Israel’s right to the land is the historic right. History supports it totally and completely. We know there has been an Israel up until the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered the land. Israel had no homeland, although Jews were allowed to live there. They were driven from the land in two dispersions: One was in 70 A,.D. and the other was in 135 A.D. But there was always a Jewish presence in the land. The Turks, who took over about 700 years ago and ruled the land up until about World War I, had control. Then the land was conquered by the British. The Turks entered World War I on the side of Germany. The British knew they had to do something to punish Turkey, and also to break up that empire that was going to be a part of the whole effort of Germany in World War I. So the British sent troops against the Turks in the Holy Land. One of the generals who was leading the British armies was a man named Allenby. Allenby was a Bible-believing Christian. He carried a Bible with him everywhere he went and he knew the significance of Jerusalem. The night before the attack against Jerusalem to drive out the Turks, Allenby prayed that God would allow him to capture the city without doing damage to the holy places. That day, Allenby sent World War I biplanes over the city of Jerusalem to do a reconnaissance mission. You have to understand that the Turks had at that time never seen an airplane. So there they were, flying around. They looked in the sky and saw these fascinating inventions and did not know what they were, and they were terrified by them. Then they were told they were going to be opposed by a man named Allenby the next day, which means, in their language, “man sent from God” or “prophet from God.” They dared not fight against a prophet from God, so the next morning, when Allenby went to take Jerusalem, he went in and captured it without firing a single shot. The British Government was grateful to Jewish people around the world, particularly to one Jewish chemist who helped them manufacture niter. Niter is an ingredient that was used in nitroglycerin which was sent over from the New World. But they did not have a way of getting it to England. The German U-boats were shooting on the boats, so most of the niter they were trying to import to make nitroglycerin was at the bottom of the ocean. But a man named Weitzman, a Jewish chemist, discovered a way to make it from materials that existed in England. As a result, they were able to continue that supply. The British at that time said they were going to give the Jewish people a homeland. That is all a part of history. It is all written down in history. They were gratified that the Jewish people, the bankers, came through and helped finance the war. The homeland that Britain said it would set aside consisted of all of what is now Israel and all of what was then the nation of Jordan–the whole thing. That was what Britain promised to give the Jews in 1917. In the beginning, there was some Arab support for this action. There was not a huge Arab population in the land at that time, and there is a reason for that. The land was not able to sustain a large population of people. It just did not have the development it needed to handle those people, and the land was not really wanted by anybody. Nobody really wanted this land. It was considered to be worthless land. I want the Presiding Officer to hear what Mark Twain said. And, of course, you may have read “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer.” Mark Twain–Samuel Clemens–took a tour of Palestine in 1867. This is how he described that land. We are talking about Israel now. He said: A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. Where was this great Palestinian nation? It did not exist. It was not there. Palestinians were not there. Palestine was a region named by the Romans, but at that time it was under the control of Turkey, and there was no large mass of people there because the land would not support them. This is the report that the Palestinian Royal Commission, created by the British, made. It quotes an account of the conditions on the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea in 1913. This is the Palestinian Royal Commission. They said: The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track, suitable for transport by camels or carts. No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the Yavnev village. Houses were mud. Schools did not exist. The western part toward the sea was almost a d
esert. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many villages were deserted by their inhabitants. That was 1913. The French author Voltaire described Palestine as “a hopeless, dreary place.” In short, under the Turks the land suffered from neglect and low population. That is a historic fact. The nation became populated by both Jews and Arabs because the land came to prosper when Jews came back and began to reclaim it. Historically, they began to reclaim it. If there had never been any archaeological evidence to support the rights of the Israelis to the territory, it is also important to recognize that other nations in the area have no longstanding claim to the country either. Did you know that Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913, Lebanon until 1920? Iraq did not exist as a nation until 1932, Syria until 1941; the borders of Jordan were established in 1946 and Kuwait in 1961. Any of these nations that would say Israel is only a recent arrival would have to deny their own rights as recent arrivals as well. They did not exist as countries. They were all under the control of the Turks. Historically, Israel gained its independence in 1948. The third reason is the practical value The third reason that land belongs to Israel is the practical value of the Israelis being there. Israel today is a modern marvel of agriculture. Israel is able to bring more food out of a desert environment than any other country in the world. The Arab nations ought to make Israel their friend and import technology from Israel that would allow all the Middle East, not just Israel, to become an exporter of food. Israel has unarguable success in its agriculture. The fourth reason is humanitarian concern The fourth reason I believe Israel has the right to the lan

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posted July 25, 2006 at 4:11 am

The fourth reason is humanitarian concern The fourth reason I believe Israel has the right to the land is on the grounds of humanitarian concern. You see, there were 6 million Jews slaughtered in Europe in World War II. The persecution against the Jews had been very strong in Russia since the advent of communism. It was against them even before then under the Czars. These people have a right to their homeland. If we are not going to allow them a homeland in the Middle East, then where? What other nation on Earth is going to cede territory, is going to give up land? They are not asking for a great deal. The whole nation of Israel would fit into my home State of Oklahoma seven times. It would fit into the Presiding Officer’s State of Georgia seven times. They are not asking for a great deal. The whole nation of Israel is very small. It is a nation that, up until the time that claims started coming in, was not desired by anybody. The fifth reason is Israel’s friendship The fifth reason Israel ought to have their land is that she is a strategic ally of the United States. Whether we realize it or not, Israel is a detriment, an impediment, to certain groups hostile to democracies and hostile to what we believe in, hostile to that which makes us the greatest nation in the history of the world. They have kept them from taking complete control of the Middle East. If it were not for Israel, they would overrun the region. They are our strategic ally. It is good to know we have a friend in the Middle East on whom we can count. They vote with us in the United Nations more than England, more than Canada, more than France, more than Germany–more than any other country in the world. The sixth reason is a roadblock to terrorism The sixth reason is that Israel is a roadblock to terrorism. The war we are now facing is not against a sovereign nation; it is against a group of terrorists who are very fluid, moving from one country to another. They are almost invisible. That is whom we are fighting against today. We need every ally we can get. If we do not stop terrorism in the Middle East, it will be on our shores. We have said this again and again and again, and it is true. One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them. Since its independence in 1948, Israel has fought four wars: The war in 1948 and 1949–that was the war for independence–the war in 1956, the Sinai campaign; the Six-Day War in 1967; and in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, the holiest day of the year, and that was with Egypt and Syria. You have to understand that in all four cases, Israel was attacked. They were not the aggressor. Some people may argue that this was not true because they went in first in 1956, but they knew at that time that Egypt was building a huge military to become the aggressor. Israel, in fact, was not the aggressor and has not been the aggressor in any of the four wars. Also, they won all four wars against impossible odds. They are great warriors. They consider a level playing field being outnumbered 2 to 1. There were 39 Scud missiles that landed on Israeli soil during the gulf war. Our President asked Israel not to respond. In order to have the Arab nations on board, we asked Israel not to participate in the war. They showed tremendous restraint and did not. Now we have asked them to stand back and not do anything over these last several attacks. We have criticized them. We have criticized them in our media. Local people in television and radio often criticize Israel, not knowing the true facts. We need to be informed. I was so thrilled when I heard a reporter pose a question to our Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He said: Mr. Powell, the United States has advocated a policy of restraint in the Middle East. We have discouraged Israel from retaliation again and again and again because we’ve said it leads to continued escalation–that it escalates the violence. Are we going to follow that preaching ourselves? Mr. Powell indicated we would strike back. In other words, we can tell Israel not to do it, but when it hits us, we are going to do something. But all that changed in December when the Israelis went into the Gaza with gunships and into the West Bank with F-16s. With the exception of last May, the Israelis had not used F-16s since the 1967 6-Day War. And I am so proud of them because we have to stop terrorism. It is not going to go away. If Israel were driven into the sea tomorrow, if every Jew in the Middle East were killed, terrorism would not end. You know that in your heart. Terrorism would continue. It is not just a matter of Israel in the Middle East. It is the heart of the very people who are perpetrating this stuff. Should they be successful in overrunning Israel–which they won’t be–but should they be, it would not be enough. They will never be satisfied. The seventh reason is that God said so No. 7, I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says: The Lord said to Abram, “Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. ….. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.” That is God talking. The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, “I am giving you this land,” the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true. The seven reasons, I am convinced, clearly establish that Israel has a right to the land. Eight years ago on the lawn of the White House, Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. It was a historic occasion. It was a tragic occasion. At that time, the official policy of the Government of Israel began to be, “Let us appease the terrorists. Let us begin to trade the land for peace.” This process continued unabated up until last year. Here in our own Nation, at Camp David, in the summer of 2000, then Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak offered the most generous concessions to Yasser Arafat that had ever been laid on the table. He offered him more than 90 percent of all the West Bank territory, sovereign control of it. There were some parts he did not want to offer, but in exchange for that he said he would give up land in Israel proper that the PLO had not even asked for. And he also did the unthinkable. He even spoke of dividing Jerusalem and allowing the Palestinians to have their capital there in the East. Yasser Arafat stormed out of the meeting. Why did he storm out of the meeting? Everything he had said he wanted was offered there. It was put into his hands. Why did he storm out of the meeting? A couple of months later, there began to be riots, terrorism. The riots began when now Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount. And this was used as the thing that lit the fire and that caused the explosion. Did you know that Sharon did not go unannounced and that he contacted the Islamic authorities before he went and secured their permission and had permission to be there? It was no surprise. The response was very carefully calculated. They knew the world would not pay attention to the details. They would portray this in the Arab world as an attack upon the holy mosque. They would portray it as an attack upon that mosque and use it as an excuse to riot. Over the last 8 years, during this time of the peace process, where the Israeli public has pres
sured its leaders to give up land for peace because they are tired of fighting, there has been increased terror. In fact, it has been greater in the last 8 years than any other time in Israel’s history. Showing restraint and giving in has not produced any kind of peace. It is so much so that today the leftist peace movement in Israel does not exist because the people feel they were deceived. They did offer a hand of peace, and it was not taken. That is why the politics of Israel have changed drastically over the past 12 months. The Israelis have come to see that, “No matter what we do, these people do not want to deal with us…… They want to destroy us.” That is why even yet today the stationery of the PLO still has upon it the map of the entire state of Israel, not just the tiny little part they call the West Bank that they want. They want it all. We have to get out of this mind set that somehow you can buy peace in the Middle East by giving little plots of land. It has not worked before when it has been offered. These seven reasons show why Israel is entitled to that land !!!!!! God Bless you,

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posted August 4, 2006 at 11:10 am

Miram: While I admire your humanitarian concern, may I suggest you keep in mind that the Bible is not a history book and these archaeological facts are skewed. If one wants to use the reasoning that the Jews were there first and kept an unbroken link, then the amount of land referred to shrinks considerably. G-d said so? Genesis is part of the Bible. That’s not proof. Nothing about religion is about proof. Religion is about belief. If something is proven, then it cannot be believed, instead it is known. When someone says to another, “prove it.” s/he is saying s/he does not believe. To demand proof is to refuse to believe, but be willing only to ‘know’. Therefore it follows, that believers do not base their faith on facts. If their faith is not based on facts, whether the facts are provable or not, is irrelevant. Since faith is not validated by facts, nothing that requires facts to validate it, is relevant to religion. Therefore, religion cannot be a basis for land ownership or right to land ownership/occupation. It is an ungrateful misuse of the sacred gifts bestowed on us by G-d to use them as weapons for material and political gain. Instead, it is high time the ownership of Israeli land be seen for what it is, a fight over a perceived resource (land) scarcity, using religion as an innocent scapegoat. The importance of this distinction is political issues can not be solved with religion, for the simple reason that political decisions are based on accepted facts and religion cannot offer them. Thank you for taking time to read this and while we might disagree, I hope you know I offer my opinions with respect and with no intention to offend you or anyone else.

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posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »


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