Friday, November 28, 2014

Why I Love Israel

I have been asked so many times why I love Israel. It should be an easy question to answer, but the history is such that I cannot give a 140-character answer on Twitter. (I wrote about it extensively in my old blog at, but since my computer was stolen I no longer have access to it so I started this one.) My campaign on Israel's behalf began thirty-six years ago.

As a teenager, I learned about the Holocaust. As was any human being, I was stunned by the information, but unlike most people my shock was not due to the horrors committed by the Nazis. Make no mistake: I realized I was reading about evil incarnate. But, what struck me was the behavior of the Jews. I could not wrap my mind around the psychology of a people so willing to succumb to their deaths. I watched news reel of dozens of SS soldiers lining up hundreds of Jews at a time, and I watched as each Jew stood obediently awaiting his or her machine gun bullet. I was appalled. I kept asking why they did not rush the guards. Sheer numbers dictated someone would come away alive. If they simply stood there, they would all die. What was there to lose?

Although my father was a devout racist, for some reason he understood my bewilderment and when a movie came out about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising he had me watch it. Now, that I understood. Although in the end the people perished, I cheered their valor and will to live. However, this was the only incident of which I was aware of Jews fighting for their survival, so my consternation persisted.

Time passed, I grew up, and as a young adult I became interested in current events. I was always a student of various parts of history; I would pick certain areas of interest and delve into the details with passion. I slowly became a news junkie in my late teens and became aware of some more recent events that tied into the people I had studied in school.

“The Raid on Entebbe” was my first introduction. I saw the movie two years after the event, and I was mesmerized. Were these the same people I watched throw their lives away mere decades earlier? Now they were fighting. Now they were valiant. Now they loved life and yearned to survive. Now they accomplished unimaginable and unparalleled fetes. Who were these Jews?

Yoni Netanyahu captured my imagination. I discovered later that the film took a few liberties with his story, but here was this soldier who clearly loved his people. His eyes sparkled, and the indescribable compassion in this man's voice as he helped his people escape the airport terminal was in sharp contrast to the military professional I had watched moments earlier. When he died, I was aghast. His character stuck with me.

Soon someone emerged on the world stage by the name of Ben Nitay (soon to become Benjamin Netanyahu). He hooked me the moment he first spoke. While he was young and unpolished, his words portrayed a man who was sure of himself, a man of great conviction and unwavering belief in those convictions. Most importantly, what he said made so much sense. Even though I knew very little about Israel at the time, I recognized the voice of authority and from that day forward whenever I heard his name I paid close attention. As the years passed, his input on the events of the day came to be of great importance to me.

I listened to the future Prime Minister, but eventually I came to realize I had not heard him. I was taken by the similarities between Binyamin Netanyahu and his older brother, Yoni. To this day I can still see that apparent dichotomy, the study in contrast, between the firm, indefatigable military man and the person with undisguised gentleness, fondness, and love toward his people. As the years passed, his wisdom never ceased to amaze me, nor does it now. For reasons that will become apparent momentarily I now confess I did not hear the message he was trying desperately to convey over the years. However, now I not only hear him; I read him. I study the Prime Minister intently.

Of course, I had much to learn. I had yet to study the War of Independence, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, all of the interwoven skirmishes; I did not even know the story of how Israel came to be a nation. Slowly I built that foundation of knowledge, and the more I learned the more I wanted to learn. But, my fascination with Israel was interspersed with great confusion as I learned of all of the times the Jewish people had been persecuted. Why? It made absolutely no sense to me. Why did everyone seem to hate this group of people? Why did so many people want them dead? It was not just the Nazis; there were Christians, and the British (who had apportioned the Mandate for Palestine for a future state of Israel in the first place!), and the Russians, and...everyone! What on earth was wrong with the Jewish people that it seemed they were destined to be bullied for all eternity?

I became accustomed to the terrorism. Reports out of the Middle East of bombings in Israel were just another day to me. I am as guilty as most Americans; the stories were so frequent that I became immune. I came to accept that this was just Israel's lot in life. I still did not understand it, but evidently that was just the way it was.

One morning I woke up, turned on my television (which was already on Fox News as that was always the last thing I watched before bedtime), stumbled over to my coffeemaker, poured a cup of coffee, and listened to the anchor describing a building on fire. I turned to look at the screen, and there was a close-up of what appeared to be a high-rise with a gaping hole in the side from which flames were visible. As I began to shake off the sleep, I heard the commentator say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I was awake instantly. Being the daughter of a Navy veteran who fought in two wars, being a veteran of the Air Force myself, the alarms sounded in my head. How could anyone accidentally crash into the World Trade Center? I heard talk of a private plane. That did not jibe with what I was seeing on the screen. Then I heard talk of a commercial jet. Immediately I said to myself, “The majority of commercial pilots are former military. They would put that plane in the ground before they would hit the World Trade Center”. I tried to fathom a situation where the pilot had a heart attack. So, did the co-pilot also have a heart attack? What happened to the navigation officer? Nothing computed.

Then Jon Scott, in a moment of professionalism I will never forget, calmly announced that “...There was another one! We just saw...we just saw another one. We just saw another one apparently go...another plane just flew into the second tower. This raises ser...this has to be deliberate, folks.” I was dumbstruck, as was everyone else in the world. A couple of hours into that fateful day, I became very angry with myself. Some news junkie I turned out to be. It seemed my addiction was very selective. My initial confusion as to who was attacking America had been explained by Jon Scott with the name Osama bin Laden. I really had not paid much attention to him except for the U.S.S. Cole. It seemed to me he was a blow-hard spoiled rich kid who could not find anything better to do with himself than to live in a cave and make idiotic videos proclaiming America's downfall. I remembered an episode of one of my favorite shows, “7th Heaven”, where women in Afghanistan were depicted wearing something called a “burka”. I had dismissed it, saying, “Well, if they are stupid enough to wear them...”. I remembered hearing about Buddhas being blown up. I had scoffed, “Well, what do you expect? They live in the Stone Age”.

Suddenly, stories I had selectively filtered out came pouring back to me and I was livid. How did I not see? Why did I disregard so many warnings? All of the evidence had been there had I paid attention, yet I had not. Along with the homicidal rage I felt for months after September 11th, 2001 was a rage against myself. How could I have been such a fool? What about the first World Trade Center bombing, with the Arab dude whose name I did not bother to memorize because Arabic names are weird, anyway?

And then I flashed on Israel. All of the par-for-the-course attacks that I had so jadedly dismissed. Prime Minister Netanyahu took immense criticism for something he said shortly after 9/11. He said that now America understood what Israel goes through every day. Some have grotesquely distorted that statement to mean he was “glad” it happened, a repugnant accusation. I know exactly what he meant, and he was right. What did I mean, “par-for-the-course”? What was “par-for-the-course” about what just happened to my country?

It was not just Israel that I had ignored. The Iranian Hostage Crisis galled me to no end. I was active duty at the time, and we all resented the presence of Iranian “students” on our bases during that debacle. The marine barracks in Beirut. Lockerbie. Dubai. The list goes on. I dismissed each incident out-of-hand. After all, they had their roots in the Middle East. What else did I expect?

Soon, people came out and urged America to show “restraint”, to which John Gibson appropriately replied, “Restraint my rhymes-with-bass”. Others said we should try to “understand why they are mad at us”. My reply? Who cares? America had been violated, our sovereignty challenged. A foe made the decision that we did not deserve to exist, and that he was going to mete out his version of justice: Wipe out the “Great Satan”.

What until that day had been casual historical research became a full-time mission on two fronts: Learn about America's enemy, and learn about Israel's dealings with such terrorism. As it turned out, the two fronts merged into one: Islam.

This post is about my love of Israel, so with the above as background let me come back to the subject at hand. Because I vowed to myself that I would never be caught with my “pants down” again, I turned back to Israel to see how she dealt with terrorism. While I was learning about her roots, I was also studying that tiny nation to see how she had managed to survive her incessant attacks and, in so doing, I found God.

Yes, those who read my blog know I had a lengthy experience with Christianity before my decision to convert to Judaism. On that subject, I have also expressed my one fatal flaw when it came to my relationship with God: “faith”. My conclusion (over-simplified for the purpose of space), in studying Israel's ability not only to survive, but to thrive despite great forces committed to her destruction, comes down to the following parable I once read. A man was asked why he believed there was a God. His reply was the same as my own, “I know God exists, because Israel exists”. It is the only possible conclusion.

There are so many stories about instances in just the past few decades where, in the middle of overwhelming odds, something inexplicable changed the course of events, leading Israel to victory against those who wish to obliterate her. The War of Independence alone is unfathomable without Divine Intervention, but there are other stories such as a mine field in Syria where a sudden dust storm saved soldiers' lives and enabled them to complete their mission as planned. Many who have read the Bible are familiar with the story of Michmash, where Jonathan slew the Philistines despite being at an impossible tactical disadvantage. What most do not know is the lesser-known story from World War I, where a British officer at that very location was reading his Bible, saw the story of Jonathan and the Philistines, decided to duplicate his feat, and defeated the Turks in the same fashion. And, of course, there is always Entebbe. Anyone who has studied that mission knows the plethora of reasons why it should have failed. Yet, not only was it successful but to this day it is the gold standard for hostage rescue missions.

So, why do I love Israel? Because Israel led me to HaShem. That is a debt I can never repay, but at least I can help her fight for her existence and do my part to counter those who slander her mercilessly.

And so I fight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


     Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for all that God has provided for us. I join in that celebration. God has given me much. He provides for me every day. Perhaps not in the way I would like, but I am always taken care of in one way or another.
     Tonight, as people go home to their families in anticipation of "Turkey Day", I will be out on a street corner hoping to catch a few stragglers willing to donate enough money to me so that I can eat tomorrow. You see, I am one of the many homeless American veterans people read about every day. I came to Washington, D.C. back in June of this year in anticipation of the (then) upcoming Benghazi hearings. As an activist, I wanted to witness those hearings and offer information I compiled in my own research of the incident.
     Two days after I arrived, my motel room was broken into and everything I owned was stolen from me. Since my divorce, I have not been able to accumulate money in the bank so it was a devastating loss. In that one instant, my life changed. I not only had no money; I had no identification and no bank card with which to access my paltry disability payments. Without my cell phone, I did not even have the phone number to call and report my card stolen. Of course, all of my work was also gone.
     It took some time, but eventually I found a resource from which I was able to contact the correct institution and get a replacement bank card, but the money was gone and I had to wait until the next deposit before I had any cash. Meanwhile, I had to find someone to send for (and pay for) my birth certificate, which took almost two months to arrive from California. I then had to get proof from the Social Security Administration that "proved" my identity, although they refused to issue me a new card until I obtained official photo identification (one of many run-arounds I  have encountered during this process). I then had to find a way to "prove" I live in D.C., which was challenging since "living on the streets" is not a physical address. Finally, just two weeks ago, I received a District of Columbia identification card, although I am unable to replace my Texas Driver's License at this time.
     Most of the people I know have no idea of my current circumstances. That is not because I am too proud; it is simply because I learned in a very short period of time that everyone has his/her own problems, and most people do not want to hear someone else's sad story. I found myself getting irritated when fellow homeless people wanted to bend my ear about their situations. Contrary to the popular saying, misery does not love company.
     I support myself on the good will of others. The little bit of money I receive from disability each month allows me a brief respite from the streets; I go to a motel and act human for a couple of days, buy needed personal items, and the like. But, it is not enough to be able to find housing for myself. There is a "rapid re-housing" program in D.C., but based upon my income I do not qualify. Barack Obama proclaimed that he wanted all veterans off the streets by 2015, and supposedly initiated a program to do precisely that. Yet, the Veteran's Administration has been of no use to me, and there is only one month left before the president's alleged deadline. I do not hold out hope for that.
     Anyway, I do not write this for the proverbial pity party. I have simply decided to go public. I comment online about everything under the sun on a daily basis, yet very few people know my story. Here it is. As soon as the weather clears, I will be heading out hoping for the good will of whatever strangers I encounter this evening, and I thank God in advance for whatever He is going to provide, because I know that He will provide.
     I wish everyone the best Thanksgiving as I give my own thanks for God's daily provisions.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Har Nof Massacre

     Tuesday, November 18, 2014. Yet another day in Jewish history that will live in infamy. For anyone who still has not heard about what happened in Jerusalem, or who is unfamiliar with the details, here is one link describing the horror:
     The images are shocking and become more so as one reads the article and begins to understand the actions that preceded the massacre captured in these photographs. But, believe it or not, these were not the pictures that stabbed me in the heart. There was one that was far more powerful to me. It was circulated on Twitter, and it was gut-wrenching. A rabbi was standing behind a dais containing a large Tanakh. He was slumped over the podium with his head on the Tanakh, and I could hear the one-word prayer he was screaming from the depths of his soul:
     "Why" yet another slaughter? "Why" must we be killed? "Why" do You allow this to continue? "Why" can we not just be left in peace? "Why" do people hate us? And, the unspoken speculations as to the answers to those heartfelt pleas for understanding: Is it because we observe the Sabbath? Is it because we do not attend church on Sunday? Is it because we wear tzittzit? Is it because we do not believe Jesus Christ was Massiach? Is it because we celebrate Chanukah and not Christmas? Is it because we speak Hebrew? What have we done that is so wrong as to justify such atrocities?
     The calls I heard from Jews that day were interesting to say the least, and very understandable. Let us remove the "Palestinians" from East Jerusalem. Send them to Gaza, or just deport them altogether. Send them back to Jordan. After all, that is where they belong. Get rid of the problem once and for all. As I was having these discussions with people, I kept hearing another word. "Evacuate." Let us "evacuate" the "Palestinians" from East Jerusalem. "Evacuate" them to Gaza. "Evacuate" them back to Jordan. I have heard that term before. It was used in 1943 at the Wannsee Conference, where the "Final Solution" was crafted, by Adolph Eichmann.
     The use of comparisons between the Jews and the Nazis is inherently anti-Semitic, as is described very well in this article I was sent recently:
     This essay is absolutely spot-on, but I must warn my dear Israeli friends and all the people who are calling for the above "solution" to the "'Palestinian' problem": If we do not wish to be compared to the Nazis, we must take great care not to sound like the Nazis.
     So, what is the answer to this problem? Hell if I know. As I stated on Twitter this week, I do not think God Himself has the solution. (Before someone cries "Blasphemy!" I am being facetious.) The "Palestinians" are only the latest manifestation of a systemic illness that has existed throughout history: Jew-hatred. I do not have the answer. I only know that ethnic cleansing is not it.
     What fuel feeds the illness of Jew-hatred? Blood libel. I have touched on it many times. Blood libels are simply lies that are spread to justify the killing of Jews. "Jews killed Christ." "Jews brought the Black Plague." "Jews kill Christian boys to use their blood in the making of matzot." "Jews are destroying our economy and/or our way of life." Surprisingly, the very people who claim these libels are "in the past" are still using them today, despite slight variations in the wording. "Jews own the banks." "Jews own the media." "Jews own Congress." "Jews own the British Parliament" (Great Britain is having a great laugh at that one). "Jews (those evil 'Zionists') are conspiring to take over the world." "Jews are committing genocide (in 'Palestine')." "Jews are committing atrocities." "Jews are committing human rights violations." "Jews stole 'Palestine'." "Jews have apartheid in Israel" (shamefully, this particular refrain is echoed by the likes of Miko Peled and Jimmy Carter, among other prominent so-called 'humanitarians').
     These libels, as well as the newest one ("Jews plan to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque"), are what led to the bloodshed in Har Nof this week, and they must be stopped. Again, I do not know how to do so other than to fight anyone who speaks such slanders. I just know that Israel's only hope for survival is to fight, not only physically but psychologically and philosophically. The disease of anti-Semitism is the most virulent strain any medical doctor has ever treated. While we try to come up with the cure, we must take any and all precautions we can imagine to protect ourselves and, most importantly, to protect the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
     Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet. "Blessed is the Judge of Truth."
* * * * *
FOOTNOTE: Special thanks to one of my Twitter followers, who sent me a direct message that morning expressing her concern. She said when she heard about the massacre her first thought was of me and my reaction. That was a very sweet and thoughtful missive, and I appreciate it immensely. Let me reiterate what I told her: It was not about me. But, the fact that someone thought of me at that terrible moment was encouraging in that I am having an impact. I hope that I continue to do so.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The "Synagogue of Satan"

     The past twenty-four hours have been among the most painful of my life. I have always prided myself on being intelligent. I have always thought I was bright. People have told me I am bright. People have told me I am intelligent. On the last IQ test I took in 2003, I scored a 148. Supposedly, I am Mensa material.
     When I was in the Christian religion I embraced it wholeheartedly. I worked with a discipler, I went to Bible studies, I hosted Bible studies, I attended seminars, and I studied on my own. I went through the New Testament several times, memorizing key verses. I read the Old Testament as well, but the emphasis in Christianity is on the New Testament so that is where I focused my attention. I even read the Book of the Revelations a couple of times, but since I was not really interested in end times prophesies I did not pay much attention. I do remember a handful of sermons on the subject, and I remember a reference to the "Synagogue of Satan" warning of the dangers of turning away from Christ.
     When I first started college, my major was pre-law. I devoured every law class the school had to offer, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Once I exhausted all of the legal courses I went to my school counselor for the first time. He advised me to change my major to English because of all the reading and writing involved in law school. So I did. Even though I went cross-eyed in primary school at the mere mention of adjectives and adverbs, I studied the intricacies of the English language. I learned the importance of words. I became a stickler for using just the right word to convey a given message. I have used the skills I acquired during the course of my education to write countless articles, essays, research papers, editorials, legal, briefs, and so on.
     One of the courses I was required to take was critical thinking. It was my performance in that class which resulted in my first college scholarship. In her recommendation, my professor wrote "LaDonna is in the top ten percent of all of the students I have had in twenty-two years of teaching this course". High praise indeed.
     Someone on Twitter shocked me yesterday with information concerning a phone call between the Reverend Billy Graham and President Nixon. That information caused me to reevaluate things I thought I knew about Christianity. My readers know of the issues I have regarding that religion; there is no reason to regurgitate them here. But, late last night one thing struck me like a ton of bricks.
     "The Synagogue of Satan."
     I thought I knew words. I thought I understood language. I thought I excelled at picking apart words and phrases in order to discern their meaning. I thought I was intelligent. I thought I understood Christianity. I thought the "Synagogue of Satan" was a euphemism for the apostate church, those who had turned away from "The Word". I distinctly remember a sermon making that very claim. Even though the verse in question mentions Jews by name, Christian literature and sermons blend both Christians and Jews under this heading to condemn those who do not serve Christ.
     If I am Mensa material, if I am so intelligent, why did it never occur to me to ask the question:
     How many Christian churches are called "synagogues"? 
     Before the reader jumps in to explain that the writers of the New Testament were Jewish, let me point out that those same writers had no trouble using the word "church" when speaking of the so-called "Rapture", nor of the "bride of Christ", nor when chastising wayward Christians.
     No. The "Synagogue of Satan" is specific.
     It refers to Jews.
     But it gets worse. For within the verse itself is an accusation that I always thought was taken out of context, given that this verse was merely a euphemism. Revelations 2:9 reads as follows:
     "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the Synagogue of Satan."
     How many times have I had this argument with people who used this very verse to condemn Jews? How many times has someone made the allegation that there are such things as "real" Jews and "fake" Jews? How many times has this libel been given to me as a statement of fact? I never realized the source of this lie. I never made the connection, and because of my thoughtlessness I have unwittingly participated in the very blood libels I have fought so vigorously to oppose.
     I am a fool. I am an idiot.
     I, too, have blood on my hands.
     I hang my head in shame.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why We Must Fight on Israel's Behalf

Those of us who are privileged enough to live in America will never understand the uniqueness of Israel. We know that Israel is a democracy, and in our minds that establishes a picture of what life is like for those who live there. Sure, we know there are terrorist attacks (at least those of us who are educated and not brainwashed by the current blood libels being spread about the Jewish state), but mostly we think about freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom to live, freedom from tyranny. We feel a kinship with Israel because of that. After all, here in America our biggest (political) problem is whether a Republican or a Democrat will be in office four years from now. We grumble, depending upon our individual political bent, about whichever party is in the White House at the time (I am not going to discuss the issue of this specific administration; I am painting a backdrop). We worry about the debt, and the deficit, and the elderly, and education, and the cost of living, and global warming (well, some do). Face it, life in America is pretty spoiled. Even though we have our own national security issues, day-to-day life in America is mundane, and with the brief exceptions of a handful of major wars, it has remained that way for 238 years. No coup attempts. Yes, we had the shame of slavery with which we had to contend. But, no one has taken over our government and said, "Christians can only live in Oklahoma. Jews will live in Hoboken, NJ, and Muslims can live everywhere else. Those who are atheists will have to obtain the consent of the local government in which they wish to reside."
No one will ever take over America unless we let them. I admit that belief has been wavering for the past six years, and we still have two more to weather, but the referendum last week tells me there are enough of us who are firmly rooted in the foundations of this country that we will not allow the enemy to overtake us. We are strong. We are armed (those of us who have not fallen prey to the danger of liberalism). We know how to use those arms. If need be, we will take our fight to the streets of our individual towns, and will fight whatever enemy we must fight, and we will prevail. America is a force with which to be reckoned, and anyone who underestimates us will be in for a very rude awakening.
Israel is not our sister state. Israel is our younger brother. Israel, as a people, has been around for thousands of years. Israel, the state, has only been around for sixty-six years. He is young (ordinarily the feminine is used to refer to a country, but for the purpose of this illustration I am using the masculine). He is just starting to come of age, and with it is experiencing the inevitable growing pains. Israel is tasting freedom, and that taste is sweet. Despite having been attacked several times, Israel has beaten overwhelming odds more than once and has not only survived, but is thriving. Inherent in that victory is a tendency to forget his vulnerability. Like any teenager, Israel wants to step out on his own; "sow his oats", so to speak. Israel has it all down cold. Israel does not need anyone. Israel likes to have friends, but do not cross him. In this description, I refer not to the current leadership of Israel, but rather the populace.
We have all had the experience of watching someone younger come into his own. It is cute and, at the same time, aggravating. We are amused when little brother wants to kick our ass. We know full well he is in over his head, but we let him try anyway because we know he is growing and going through the learning process. "O.K. Let's see whatcha got, but hurry up. (pause) Are you done now? Good. I'm hungry."
What is not so amusing is when he gets himself into trouble because of his over-confidence and lack of wisdom, which only comes with age. Israel--the general population--is not as acquainted with its history as it needs to be. Two generations have passed since statehood, and memories are fading. In some cases, there is complete oblivion as to the history of the Jewish people other than the Holocaust, making it an anomaly of history and something that need never be feared again despite the slogan, "Never again". Survival skills are honed out of necessity. When there is no necessity, survival skills dull. For sixty-six years the Jewish people have not had to worry about an orchestrated campaign for their extermination. Yes, they listen to Mahmoud Abbas, Ismael Haniyeh, Khaled Meshaal, and various clerics with their hate-filled mantras, but largely such bellicose refrains fall on deaf ears as is demonstrated by something Danny Danon said while being interviewed on the subject of Iran about a year ago. When asked about the latest call for Israel's annihilation by the Ayatollah Khameini, he replied, "Well, that is Iran. They are always saying that. We are not worried about talk. We are only worried about actions."
Is this the prevalent thinking in Israel? Words do not matter? Is it the traditional "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" philosophy, is it a dismissal of such speech as "the boy who cried wolf" ("How many times can you call me an ape and say I should die? Yawn."), or is it a complete lack of awareness of history coupled with a dulling survival instinct? If the history of the Jewish people has taught us anything it is that words mean everything.
Every genocide begins with words, whether it be actual blood libels or simply depersonalizing adjectives such as "apes", "pigs", "canaries", "marranos", or "mifchling". The label does not really matter; it is the mere existence of the label that is the problem. No longer are Jews people. Jews are "they" (as David Aaronovitch so wisely pointed out at the Oxford Union debate in Qatar). Stereotypes are proffered as truth: "They" own the banks. "They" own the media. "They" own the government. "They" have all the wealth. "They" are dirty. "They" are evil. The result of such refrains is to feed the underlying fear I have spoken of in the past. "They" are a threat. "They" must be dealt with. In fact, in Judaism speech is the fourth of five steps involved in behavior, the fifth being action. Words precede deeds. Words are a warning sign of what is to come: the Solution to the problem.
During the latest battle cry from Israel's populace there has been a growing chorus of "Who cares about world opinion? They are going to condemn us anyway. Let's just kick Hamas' ass!" As I thought about this post, the refrain struck me as rather curious. Most Israelis are familiar with Krav Maga. Have they forgotten the most dangerous fight in which to engage is a street fight, because there is no control over the environment? Israelis who want to "kick ass" are experiencing the tunnel vision everyone who is trained in martial arts is warned against. The fighter needs to be aware of his surroundings. If while killing your assailant, another walks up and shoots you, you are just as dead. A GOOD FIGHTER KNOWS WHEN TO RETREAT. The current environment in which Israel finds itself is shrieking "danger", and the average Israeli on the street seems to be deaf.
Those who are familiar with me have been waiting for this to tie in to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and here it is. I had a lively debate the other night with someone over the Prime Minister, specifically his apparent equivocation on dealing with the various threats facing Israel at present. What people are witnessing and mislabeling as the Prime Minister's "waffling" is actually his survival instincts in overdrive. The call for Israel's destruction is cacophonous. We even have pro-"Palestine", pro-Hamas, pro-Islamic State rallies in Ferguson, Missouri, for God's sake! The Prime Minister is a student of history, and he is feeling the same overwhelming sense of alarm that I am, only far stronger. I said in my last post the environment is ripe for another genocide, and each day that passes only adds to my trepidation.
Iran calls for Israel's destruction, and releases a video mock-up of a nuclear attack on the Jewish state. The Palestinian Authority calls for Jews to be denied entry to the Temple Mount by any means necessary. Hamas continues its quest for the annihilation of Israel. Imams worldwide cry out for the extermination of Jews. Rallies in Germany, France, Great Britain, Norway, even the United States of America (just to name a handful) repeat these calls for genocide. The frenzy is rapidly reaching a crescendo, the sharks smell Jewish blood, and...the Prime Minister is too "chickenshit" to do anything. Is that it? Has 'Bibi' "lost his way", as Danny Danon lamented? Or, IS HE TRYING TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL OF HIS PEOPLE?
The eagerness to defend one's country is an admirable attribute. The willingness to die for one's country is the most courageous demonstration of loyalty there is. Nothing is wrong with feeling the energy and the desire to stand up for what is right. Such devotion is inspirational. But, Little Brother, there is danger you do not see. The Prime Minister sees it, and thank God he is Prime Minister. He was born for this time. He knows the warning signs and, more importantly, he knows what tactics have been used in the past and under what circumstances. Israel has finely tuned the survival skills necessary to work within a hostile environment over the past several thousand years, having had innumerable opportunities for practice. The problem is, the situation is fluid, just as it has been throughout the Jews' existence. For example, while the present State of  Israel has had previous American administrations that were less than supportive, with some even working at cross-purposes, never before has Israel had to deal with an American president who is openly hostile to Israel's existence. Such hostility is not foreign to the Jewish people; this pattern has repeated itself throughout history. Israel has never known more than a few decades of uneasy peace at any one time in its entire existence. But, it is new to this current generation who does not seem to have the necessary survival instincts to detect the enormity of the danger and who does not seem to have the patience to watch the necessary maneuvering required for Israel to be successful in overcoming the current threat. The Jewish state is in a street fight and is surrounded by would-be assailants. The decision must be made whether to engage in war, or to retreat.
We must rush to our little brother's side, and not just America but everyone worldwide who loves Israel. Now is the time to support Israel like never before, and that includes defending Israel against those who are attempting to undermine Prime Minister Netanyahu's work at this very fragile time. No matter how "bad" Israel is, little brother needs our help. Let us not fail the Jewish people the way we have so many times in the past. Rather than minimizing or discounting the threat, let us address it. Rather than criticizing or allowing others to criticize the Prime Minister, let us stand with him as he fights for the survival of our dearest sibling. Above all, let us give him the time and support he needs to make the wisest decision he can based upon a lifetime of study. In short, let us love him like a brother.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Prime Minister Netanyahu

I am appalled. I am dismayed. I am flabbergasted at the display I am witnessing out of Israel. Many of us in America fantasize about having Prime Minister Netanyahu as our Commander-in-Chief. We see "Bibi's" unadulterated love for his country and for his people. In stark contrast, we see Barack Obama's open contempt for our own, and we pine for a leader like Israel's.
Hearing Mr. Danon's pronouncement that "'Bibi' has lost his way" was stunning. How old is Mr. Danon? How dare he portray the Prime Minister as a doddering old fool who somehow needs his guidance? But his is not the only voice I am hearing. I understand there are those MKs who aspire to the job of prime minister. God only knows why; being the leader of Israel is by far the most thankless job on planet Earth. But the chorus is also coming from the rank-and-file. Citizens who are angry, and frustrated, and tired of the endless barrage of attacks. That reaction is completely understandable.
What amazes me is the level of testosterone at present. It seems everyone wants to bomb someone or something, which is human under the circumstances. I am fascinated by biology; evidently when testosterone begins to flow, it short-circuits the brain. Exactly who or what should be bombed? I have had this discussion many times with Israelis on Twitter, and the answers are pretty evenly divided between Gaza and Iran, so I will address both.
I admit to one of my shortcomings: I have no love for the "Palestinians". It is true that their incessant whining, pity-partying, and victim mentality have not endeared me to them, but my real problem is the despicable display I saw from them on 9/11. I will never forget it. Nevertheless, I do not wish to see innocent civilians die if it is at all avoidable. The question is how to determine who is "innocent". Conversely, how can Israel know with certainty who all the terrorists are in Gaza and distinguish them from whatever "innocent civilians" there may be? Blow Gaza off the map? It works for me. Annex Gaza by force? That works for me as well. But those are my own emotional reactions, and both options are unwise and inherently dangerous. I will explain why right after I mention Iran.
So, it is finally time to attack. After years and years of saber-rattling back and forth between Iran and Israel, things are about to reach a head. For the past two decades, Prime Minister has been called a "hawk" and a "war-monger". He just wants to nuke everyone. The man is dangerous. He is a fanatical, blood-thirsty Zionist. People are afraid of him. At least they were until now. Now that the bloodlust is strong. Now the Prime Minister is weak. He is "chickenshit". He has no guts. He "has lost his way". No, he has not, nor has he changed. No one sane wants to see Israel pull this trigger, because anyone who is sane understands the deadly repercussions of this act. Do people think that Hezbollah is just going to sit on the sidelines and watch? What about Russia? Even North Korea? None of the groups who have aligned themselves with Iran will have any reaction whatsoever? Who cares, right?
What about the international community? Immediately Israelis bristle. Who gives a damn about the international community? The United Nations can go to hell. For that matter, so can the United States. I do not disagree with those sentiments. However, as I study I am learning, and I have learned that for Israel's survival world opinion is crucial. Rather than expound at length over what I have previously stated, please see my last post entitled Why I Must Go Back on My Word for a detailed explanation. In short, without at least some portion of the world on Israel's side, she is a sitting duck and ripe for the taking.
I remember after 9/11 my unrelenting (what President Bush called) "bloodlust". I wanted to see something blow up besides the World Trade Center, and I really did not care what. When POTUS said Afghanistan, I said, "Turn it into the New Grand Canyon"! "Nuke it!" I could not have cared less about "innocent civilians", and when the media began making note of such casualties I was angry. "Innocent civilians"? I just watched 3,000 innocent civilians turned into a dust cloud! Who cares?!
But, in retrospect, now that things have calmed, I realize it is a good thing I was not president. What I wanted was understandable, but it was wrong. George W. Bush was not driven by my testosterone. Dearest Israel, neither should Prime Minister Netanyahu be driven by yours.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Why I Must Go Back on My Word

Yesterday, I was asked by a dear Twitter follower to use the hashtag #TempleMount4ALL on my tweets so that it will trend. I was in a hurry to be somewhere, I was about to sign off, so without thinking I agreed to do so. Now that I have had time to think about it, I must rescind my agreement, and here is why.
In a utopia, Jews could do what they have every right to do. In a utopia, Arabs would leave Jews alone. In a utopia, the rest of the world would leave Jews alone. In a utopia, Jews would not have been slaughtered mercilessly because of various blood libels. In a utopia, right and justice would prevail.
But we do not live in a utopia. We live in a world filled with ignorance, which breeds fear, which breeds bigotry, which breeds hatred, which breeds genocide. If today's Jews understood their history, they would be hard-pressed to continue haranguing Prime Minister Netanyahu, thoughtlessly fighting his efforts to keep his people safe, lambasting a man undeserving of such attacks, presuming that a commitment to the "status quo" is evidence of cowardice.
It is not.
It is prima facie evidence of his extraordinary understanding of history, and it is prima facie evidence of his selfless love for the State of Israel. I can never explain what I know as meticulously as the Prime Minister's late father, Professor Emeritus Ben-Zion Netanyahu, but I keep my blog simple so the reader does not have to be a Rhodes scholar to understand what I am saying. So, here is the threat I perceive, that I believe the Prime Minister perceives, and that I believe he is trying desperately to thwart.
All of the genocides perpetrated against the Jewish people that have been documented over the past 2,000 years, beginning with the pogrom in Alexandria in 38 C.E., have followed the same pattern. First, the Jews are driven from a given region. They flee to another where the residents allow them to remain. The Jews start to grow roots. Then the problems begin. I explained my definition of "tolerance" in a previous post as being "bigotry in disguise". Tolerance says, "I am superior to you, but I will allow you to remain as long as you do not become a threat to me".
Jews were tolerated in their new environments. They learned the culture, the philosophies, and the politics of the region. Jews thrived in many different areas of expertise. Eventually, they were entrusted with key positions by the powers-that-be.
And became a threat to the indigenous residents. Jews were now holding positions of authority, many of which paid lucratively, "taking" jobs away from those who "belonged" (hence, the stereotype of the money-grubbing Jew). The people who "allowed" Jews to live among them began to resent their "intruders". The jobs Jews were being given rightfully "belonged" to them, not the newcomers. The Jews now threatened the economic well-being of those who had initially welcomed them. I mentioned in another post that various blood libels are the "accelerant" of the three ingredients needed to produce fire. Add to the accelerant of "Jews killed Messiah" the fuel of "Jews are threatening my existence".
Enter politics. The authorities saw the rumblings within the community. They were also ever-mindful of the Catholic church and its iron-fisted control over its territories. So, the leadership began precluding Jews from the very positions they had been given just a short time ago. The citizenry saw the shift in policy, which caused a dramatic increase in both the accelerant and the fuel. (There were other complicating factors, but I am focusing in on this one aspect for the purposes of this post.) Then came the spark, which took many forms from pogrom-to-pogrom. Once, it was the death of a boy. Another time, it was the Black Plague. Sometimes, it was mere suspicion based upon ignorance of Judaism and the Jewish people. But, many times the spark came from within the Jewish community. Jews began resenting one another for a wide variety of reasons. Some shared the resentment of the indigenous residents because they did not hold the higher positions being given to others. Some resented what they saw as traitorous behavior on the part of those Jews who had attained authority.
Whatever the particular spark, the result was the same: Massacre.
The current environment is ripe for another such massacre. Anti-Semitism is rising dramatically throughout the world. The blood libel this time is Israel's "genocide" of the "Palestinians". The rumblings are reaching a fever-pitch. That is the accelerant. The fuel is the position being taken by many within the so-called international community, fed by organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International, etc., which consistently decry Israel for alleged "war crimes" against the "Palestinians". (Add to this the accelerated pace at which the "Palestinians" are demanding "their" land, and the growing support for that claim.)
Now all that is needed is the spark. What will light this fire? How about Jews completely rejecting the claims of the Arabs, however bogus those claims may be? How about demonizing their own leadership that is trying to prevent the fire? How about demands that remove the status quo, that refuse any attempt at a compromise? How about stubbornly asserting rights with no regard to the deadly consequences?
The Temple Mount is now the potential ground zero for another genocide. To MKs who are rebel-rousing (and who have no business undermining the government for which they work), to rabbis who want to "help" HaShem rebuild the Temple (the first time a Jew decided to "help" HaShem fulfill a prophesy, the result was Ishmael!), to Christians who want to see Jesus no matter how much (more) Jewish blood it costs, I beg of you:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mea Culpa (?)

Lately, I have come under attack over my views on Christianity. After much consideration, I believe it is time to try and explain myself. The reader cannot possibly understand my feelings of betrayal. Of horror. Of outrage. My grandmother was a devout Christian. My great-grandmother was a devout Quaker. My family has deep religious roots that somehow skipped my parents. My family also has a rich history of fighting bigotry, again with the notable exception of my parents, who seem to have been a genetic anomaly.
Those people who know me understand I have devoted my life to research. I love knowledge. Sometimes, that knowledge becomes a curse, and this is one of those times. I will never see the word "Christian" again without abhorrent images coming to my mind. Images of Jews being locked inside of buildings while fanatics set the building on fire. Jews being tied to stakes and set ablaze. Jews being skinned alive. Jews being beaten to death, and then dragged through the streets until their bodies were so mutilated they no longer resembled human beings. Jews being tortured by unimaginable means until they "confessed" to the "crime" of being Jews. Jews being crucified (no, Jesus was not the first). Jews being suspected of "evil machinations" even after being forced to convert to Christianity. Jews being driven from their homes. Jews being exiled. Jews being forced to wear "identifying" insignia (no, that did not originate with the Nazis).
What is the root of this damnable hatred? In this particular instance, it is Christianity. Beginning in 38 C.E. (long before Islam), Jews were massacred for the "crime" of being Jews:
Those who have read my previous posts have gotten a sample of my theological objections to Christianity. But, the purpose of this entry is to explain what some on Twitter have dubbed my "hatred". I am struggling to understand the heinousness of the Christian doctrine. I have stated many times (such statements have been repeatedly ignored) that I do not blame every single Christian for the history of that theology. I know there are many who simply do not know any better. But, I DO damn the doctrine, and I believe I always will, for it is such blood libels as "Jews killed Messiah!" and "Jews kill Christians for matzos!" that have led to the deaths of millions of Jews. Long before anyone ever heard of Hitler.
Christian apologists are quick to point out that, "That was then. This is now. We would never go along with such things these days." Really? Well, let us start with the fact that the matzos story is still circulating among Islamic circles to this day:
I hope the reader paid close attention to that second video...every second. Here we see the excuses. It is "proven" that Jews use Christian blood for matzos. There is a conspiracy that only a select few "researchers" have uncovered. Notice the "Jews own the media" comment? Let us add to that "Jews own the banks. Jews own the government. Jews are conspiring to take over the world." Never mind the mathematical impossibility of this ridiculous mantra (15 million controlling 7 billion? What are you smoking?). This is NAZI PROPAGANDA worthy of an award from Goebbels! (As an aside, the reference to the Jewish tribes of Medina is particularly damnable. How can one be descended from tribes Mohammad ERADICATED by beheading and enslaving their members?!)
Then, let us move on to whether or not Jews killed Jesus. I covered that in a previous post as well. But, the signs at local pro-"Palestine" rallies still tell the tale that the Christian church started: "Christ-Killers!" These libels are dangerous, because they are deadly, and their homicidal track record is proven.
I have been fighting this propaganda campaign for a very long time. People have questioned my tactics; they may or may not have a point. I do listen to such criticism. That is not to say I mindlessly agree with it, but I would be a fool not to weigh such input. I do. But, I am writing this in hopes of making the following impression: When I hear/see/read such things, I see DANGER. REAL DANGER. "Mein Kampf" was not "freedom of speech". It was a death warrant. And, what I have learned of Christianity not only makes me embarrassed for having ever embraced such a doctrine, not only makes me wonder what my grandparents would have had to say, but it SCARES ME. The underlying dogma is DEADLY. THAT is what provokes such reactions within me. Perhaps the reader can understand that.
So, yes. I have some serious work to do. I have no idea how to reconcile the ghastly atrocities committed in the name of Christianity with some "kumbaya" attempt to make peace with it all. This danger is alive and well. If it were confined to the 15th century, I could put it in its proper place. But, it continues to live in this day and age and therefore is a very real, present enemy. I have much work to do, and I ask for patience from those who wish to crucify me. There is much to digest, and I am only human.