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Mordechai Nisan, writing for The Middle East Quarterly, says in devastatingly clear language what we’ve printed many times — there is no peace process and, in all likelihood, never was one due to Palestinian rejection of the basic right of Jews to have a homeland of their own in their ancient land:
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Twenty years on, the two parties find themselves further apart despite years of diplomatic wrangling. It is thus past time to examine and invalidate the paradigm that has taken hold in the hope that a new and less sanguinary one will take root.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Stand For Israel
With all of the news about Iran, we haven’t carried much news of the ongoing catastrophe in Syria. Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post Editorial Page, has put together a timeline that shows the conflict from spring of 2011 to the present – a conflict that has worsened and deepened and, recent U.N.-sanctioned peace talks notwithstanding, only shows signs of accelerating:
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Last Friday: The number of refugees has more than doubled again, to 2,272,722. Given their relative populations, this would be the equivalent of 32 million Americans having fled to Mexico and Canada.
About half of the refugees are children.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel
Middle East analyst Martin Kramer, writing at Commentary magazine, notes that the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel has always stood the Jewish State apart among the nations of the world – save for the United Kingdom. Under the present administration, however, “special relationship” has possibly come to mean something different:
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President Obama does refer to the “special relationship” with Israel, but coming from him, the phrase means a bit less than it once did. That’s because he’s upgraded Britain to something even higher. On the eve of Obama’s visit to Britain in May 2011, he and British prime minister David Cameron published a joint op-ed in the London Times that included this sentence: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship—for us and for the world.” (The headline: “Not Just Special, But An Essential Relationship.”) Suddenly, the word “essential” started cropping up in references to the relationship with Britain (see also two of the Kerry quotes above). “Essential” is now the new platinum card in relations with the United States, and Britain alone holds one.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 8:54 AM | Stand For Israel
During our Thanksgiving and Hanukkah posts, we told you about the oldest Jewish community in the United States and its connections to celebrations of thanksgiving, patriotism, and dedication. Today we bring you news of the 250th anniversary of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., the oldest synagogue building in the U.S.:
The Newport building was completed in 1763 and was dedicated during the [Hanukkah] festival celebrations on December 2nd of that year. The dedication ceremony was a regional celebration attended not only by the congregation, but also by clergy and other dignitaries from around the colony including Congregationalist Minister Ezra Stiles who later became the president of Yale University.
While our Thanksgiving post mentioned George Washington’s connection and relationship with Colonial Jews, the Touro Synagogue was also recognized by our first president and founding father. In a letter written to the congregation in 1790, Washington declared the dedication of the young nation to not only the Jewish people, but to all of its citizens:
“[H]appily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support …
“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants …
“May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”
Take a moment to read President Washington’s words that still hold so much meaning for modern America, and thank God that we are guaranteed the freedom from bigotry and persecution and right to pray and worship.Comments (5) »
Monday, December 2nd, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Stand For Israel
For our money, this article from Israel Hayom by Dan Margalit doesn’t just describe President Obama – the leaders of virtually all Western countries have decided that a nuclear Iran is preferable to a potentially long and costly fight with Iran. Margalit’s point, however, is that everyone now knows that Iran will become a nuclear power:
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The more facts that come to light from the negotiations in Geneva, the more the agreement appears to resemble Swiss cheese. There are many holes in the agreement as well as some serious vagueness. Barack Obama and John Kerry are not persuading the average American that this was any kind of achievement. They simply assume that most of the American public are willing to have their leaders deceive them.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Stand For Israel
As we reported in this morning’s SFI Daily Dispatch, Israeli television reported unusually harsh comments from unnamed “senior White House officials” calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “desperate and weak” and saying they are “not perturbed by his vocal opposition” to the recent U.S. deal with Iran.
First, let’s deal with the comments. Prime Minister Netanyahu is not weak – not politically, militarily, or personally. The declaration otherwise demonstrates how much this official knows about Israeli politics. Netanyahu is desperate, but that’s because a country that has threatened to wipe his own off the map is closing in on its goal of developing a nuclear weapon and Israel’s Western allies just gave the mullahs a big green light. His desperation would be understandable to this unnamed White House official if the official cared at all to think outside of the Washington, D.C. Beltway. The official, obviously, doesn’t know very much about the situation but has some sort of personal dislike of the Prime Minister.
And that’s really what this comment is about – the Obama Administration simply doesn’t seem to like Netanyahu. It’s important to note that this phenomenon is not unique in U.S.-Israel relations – it was fairly well known that Presidents Carter and Reagan disliked Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The first President Bush disliked Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Israeli Prime Ministers who lead during difficult times and stand up for Israel’s interests on the international stage often find themselves disliked by other world leaders, simply because standing up goes against the grain and ruffles the feathers of Arab countries and other countries hostile to the Jewish state. But what is a leader for if not to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect a country’s people and ensure its future?
If the report about these comments is true, it’s a disheartening look into the way that Prime Minister Netanyahu – and the broad Israeli political consensus he represents – is viewed in the White House. But…Read More » Comments (54) »
Monday, December 2nd, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Stand For Israel
The U.S. played a key role earlier this week in brokering a historic – and controversial—deal between Iran and other world powers on the Iranian nuclear program. Iran agreed to temporarily hold off on its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions.
Also this week in Israel in the News:
• The six-month agreement, considered the first step toward a more comprehensive accord aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, has met with strong criticism.
• Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor said the agreement will do nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
• U.S. Congressman Republican Kevin McCarthy of California called for the full dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program “if we want the world to be safer.”
• And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the agreement “a historic mistake.”
• Emergency medical teams from the Israel Defense Forces returned from the Philippines this week after spending 11 days providing aid to typhoon victims.
• Israeli archeologists have discovered some rare ancient pottery and wine jars in the ruins of a Canaanite palace estimated to be 3,700 years old.
This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Founder and CEO Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein on the shared meaning of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 5:00 PM | firstname.lastname@example.org
Much has been made about this year’s convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. But Rabbi Meir Soloveichik writes that Shearith Israel, North America’s oldest community of Jews, has been celebrating the two from the beginning.
While we noted yesterday that Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas first connected Thanksgiving, Jewish tradition, and American patriotism during the days of George Washington and the founding fathers:
Known as the “Patriot Rabbi,” Seixas ardently supported the American cause against Britain. By April of 1789, when the victorious George Washington arrived in New York to be sworn in as the first president of the United States, Seixas joined the city’s Christian clergymen in the inaugural procession. Later that year, when the president proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving, the minister of America’s first Jewish congregation delivered the first Thanksgiving address in a synagogue following the adoption of the Constitution.
As you celebrate over these holidays, give thanks for those who first championed the freedoms of faith we enjoy today, and “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).Comments (2) »
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Stand For Israel
Tonight begins the festival of Hanukkah. Jews around the world will, for eight nights, light the candles on the menorah – adding one each night – and remember the victory of the Maccabees over the Assyrian Greeks and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the service of God.
In many homes, Jewish children will play a game called dreidel. It’s a competitive game in which a four-sided top is spun and the players use either coins (gelt, the Yiddish word for “money”) or, in more modern times, pieces of chocolate. On the top are four Hebrew letters that stand for the phrase nes gadol hayah sham – Hebrew for “a great miracle happened there” (in Israel, the dreidel has a different fourth letter and the phrase is nes gadol hayah po – “a great miracle happened here”).
Miracles. Small ones happen every day and, every now and again, big ones happen. And, of course, the Land of Israel has certainly seen more than its fair share of miracles. In fact, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, famously said, “in Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”
On Monday, we told you that it would take a miracle for Iran to be stopped from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons. We still believe that to be the case. But Hanukkah reminds us that miracles are never quite as far away as they may seem. During this holiday season, we look to the light of the menorah to dispel the gathering darkness in the world.
We wish you a bright and festive Hanukkah and a very Happy Thanksgiving.Comments (18) »
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel