Saturday, December 31, 2005

One Dream, One People, One G-d

Parshas Mikeitz begins with the Pharaoh dreaming two mysterious dreams which no one can interpret. Finally he is told that a Hebrew slave in a dungeon has some facility in interpreting dreams. He sends for Yosef who interprets Pharaoh's dream, advises him what to do about it and becomes Egypt's viceroy.

While everyone knows this story, one of the things that strikes you is that Pharaoh's dreams don't seem that mysterious. Cows and wheat clearly refer to agriculture. Lean vs healthy are not too difficult to interpret either. And the number 7 would seem to refer to a period of time. Since agriculture tends to be seasonal, the most likely meaning of the 7 is years.

While we benefit from hindsight in seeing this, it would seem as if Egypt the homeland of magicians and men who specialized in foretelling portents and dreams should have been able to conceive of the answer too. Yosef credits G-d for the answer, but it is not clear that G-d ever provided him with any answers. Various Midrashim and meforishim address this question but I would like to consider the issue from another angle.

The brothers refer to Yosef as the Baal HaChalamot, the Master of Dreams. And indeed we begin with Yosef dreaming two dreams. Then Yosef encounters two more dreams in prison and finally there are Pharaoh's two dreams. Each time the dreams seem to be twinned.

The first time Yosef encounters two dreams he is happy and runs off to tell his brothers and father about them. After all the dreams suggest that he is set for a glorious destiny. His brothers instead see them as a plot to tyrannize them. Yosef sees the dreams as entirely positive and his brothers see them as entirely negative. Yaakov though takes a middle ground. He critiques the dream and yet watches Yosef for signs of its fulfillment.

The second time Yosef encounters two dreams it is in prison. One man sees himself handing a cup to Pharaoh. Another sees birds eating food off his head. This seems even easier to interpret than Pharaoh's dream. Serving wine to Pharaoh suggests a return to a position of honor and birds don't eat food off living men. Yet again it says, there is no interpreter.

When the men dream the dreams, the Pasuk says, Ish Kepitron Halomo. Each Man According To The Interpretation of Their Dream. When Yosef assures them that he can tell them the meaning he says, Halo LeElohim Pitronom. Is Not With G-d Your Interpretation?

Now either they dreamed their interpretation, in which case why would they need it interpreted or it is with G-d. And at no point is it clear that Yosef is recieving prophetic inspiration in regards to the dream, then how is it with G-d?

The Pasuk that discusses the dream is full of redundancies. First it says, VaYeholmu Halom. They Dreamed a Dream. Then it says, Shneihem Ish Halomoi. Both Each Man His Dream. Then Balaila Ehad. In One Night. And finally, Ish Kepitron Halomo. Each Man According To The Interpretation of Their Dream. What are all these extra things telling us? Some of the Pasuk seems to emphasize the unity of the dream, some the separate nature of each man dreaming a dream.

Then the Chief Baker sees that Yosef's interpretation of the Chief Vineter's dream was positive, he asks him to interpret his dream. Why assume that the positive interpretation of the baker's dream will affect his dream, unless they are one dream. And if they are indeed one dream, the Chief Baker had reason to expect a positive interpretation too.

Yet instead one dream has a positive interpretation and the other a negative one. So too in Pharaoh's dream, the dream has a negative interpretation and a positive one in the same dream. There are the seven healthy cows and healthy stalks and seven unhealthy cows and unhealthy stalks. And here too Yosef tells Pharaoh, the two dreams are really one dream.

How can two dreams really be one? To understand this and why Egyptian magicians and wise men failed to interpret the dreams of the baker, the vintner and Pharaoh; it is necessary to understand the pagan view of divinity. Pagans do not see a unity in G-d but rather divisions. One god might handle a particular function and another god another function. Even in Christianity, there are divisions in their god. At its most elemental we have dualism in which there is a god that does good and a satan figure that does evil. But there isn't one G-d from whom both what we think is bad and good stem from.

This is why no one in Egypt could interpret Pharaoh's dreams or those of his officers. They could not conceive that a dream could have foretell both bad and good because they could not conceive that what people perceive as bad and good, both comes from the same source. When Yosef proclaims that the interpretation of dreams belongs to G-d, he is really saying why he has the ability to interpret dreams, not because his knowledge of dream lore is superior to that of the Egyptians or because he sees the revelations as prophetic visions but because these dreams foretell the future and Yosef knows that what is to happen is in the hands of G-d who brings about both bad and good for a common end. Thus the different dreams are all really 'one dream' because they represent the unity of purpose of one G-d.

Yosef viewed his dreams as entirely positive and his brothers as entirely negative. In his succession as a slave and a prisoner, Yosef has come to understand that the interpretations of his dreams belongs to G-d and whatever happens to him, good or bad, is ultimately part of G-d's purpose. Understanding this gives him the ability to interpret the dreams of the baker and the viniter, and then to not only intepret Pharaoh's dreams but to then advise him what to do. What gives him the right to do that? His understanding that dreams are a succession of G-d's plan and that the dreams which hold both negative and positive events will be used to bring about G-d's salvation.

He meets the brothers who do not yet understand this with trials. The events he subjects them to helps bring about their understanding of the ultimate unity of G-d's purpose from the good and the bad we undergo. Only then can he convincingly assure them that everything that has happened to him has been part of G-d's plan and is for the best. Only once they have experienced it themselves can they believe his sincerity and understand that the coming exile of their descendants will also end in a triumphant exodus because both the exile and the redemption are 'one dream.' They are part of one promise that our one G-d made to Avraham for his one people. The dream is one as we are one as G-d is one.

Israelis and Palestinians United in Thinking Munich Sucks

Israelis and Palestinians United in Thinking Munich Sucks


When Steven Spielberg set out to make a film about the Munich massacre, that would feature the massacre as flashbacks during a sex scene, based on a discredited book from a man impersonating a Mossad agent, his dream was to bring Israelis and Palestinians together and beyond all expectations he has. Israelis and Palestinians jointly and in perfect unity agree, Munich sucks.

"I heard the guy who made ET made a new movie and I went to see it even though he is a Jew and in the final days every rock and tree will cry, a Jew is behind me come and kill him," said Ramallah native Abu Salim, 22. "There was no ET in the movie. The movie made no sense. It was all grainy and hard to see and camera went everywhere for three hours. What kind of movie is this?"

"I was hoping Munich was the Indiana Jones sequel where he fights Hitler," Menachem Amron, 31 of Okafim said. "Instead it was all wierd and confusing. I couldn't keep track of half the characters, the story makes no sense and I got nauseated from the camera shaking all the time."

Spielberg's plan had been to create common ground between Jews and Arabs and he succeeded as moviegoers leaving the theater early talked enthusiastically about how long and boring the movie was, how impossible it was to follow the plot and jointly demanding their money back from the management.

Even as the movie's advertising touted it as a true story, both Mossad agents and Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre and its aftermath agreed it had absolutely no relation to reality.

A baffled Spielberg who had flown to Israel under the impression that it was Morroco with plans of gambling in the casinos was confused by this turn of events.

"By true story I meant that we took something that really happened, optioned a fictional book about it and hired a playwright with no cinematic experience but a lot of hatred of Israel to write a movie illustrating how futile fighting terrorism is," Steven Spielberg earnestly said while trying to unload half a ton of Dreamworks baseball caps no one wanted. "I wanted to communicate to the Israeli and American public how crucial it is that we surrender to terrorists as soon as possible so they might spare at least some of my mansions."

Spielberg's Israeli marketing strategy for Munich had been to hire Eyal Arad, who had been previously hired by Sharon to market the Disengagement. Unfortunately Arad's marketing strategy for Munich of sending armed men into people's homes in the middle of the night, rousting them from their beds at gunpoint and ordering them to go see the movie, may have backfired.

A bewildered Spielberg finding that hatred of his movie was the only common ground between Israelis and Arabs that resulted from his movie attempted to defend his work.

"We're facing a tragic cycle of violence here. A bicycle of violence and it can only be broken if Israel stops defending itself," Spielberg said. "I realize there are a lot of strong feelings about this, what they are I have no idea since I never bothered to listen. But what has the world come to when a sheltered Hollywood liberal can't fly halfway around the world to condescendingly lecture people he wouldn't pay to get him coffee, on how they should live their lives?"

In response to the negative publicity, Spielberg has scaled down his plan to provide hundreds of cameras to Israeli and Palestinian children so they can film their daily lives and instead provided them with magnifying glasses so they can see their daily lives up close.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Israel and the Three Bears

Israel faces three bears, bigger, big and little. There are now three candidates running for the top spot in Israel. They hold the same essential philosophy on Israel's most important issue, they all support the transfer of some parts of Israel to the Arabs, even though such concessions have produced nothing but more terrorism and death up until now.

The first bear is, Amir Peretz, Israel's answer to Stalin, a union thug with an ugly mustache, is the biggest of the bears. Under him Labor has absorbed most of the Arab parties and supports concessions that may well be limitless. Corrupt even by the corrupt standards of Labor, his only barrier to power is that most of Labor and the left despise him. His poll numbers have been falling in recent weeks.

The second bear is Ariel Sharon, a pragmatist with only one goal, remaining in power by any means necessary. That has so far meant destroying religious Jews, centralizing the army and now planning to create a more 'presidential' form of government after destroying his party and replacing it with one in which he exclusively selects a 1/3rd of its legislators. Along with his planned totalitarian dictatorship, Sharon plans to divide Jerusalem, make extensive concessions to keep his left wing allies, Europe and America happy and keep himself in power. Sharon's poll numbers have been falling as well.

The third littlest bear is Benjamin Netanyahu whose previous term in office climaxed in disarray. Manipulated and taken advantage of by Clinton, under siege by the opposition, his government ultimately collapsed. Now Netanyahu has returned at the helm of a weakened Likud, infested with Sharon's supporters working to undermine their old party and instead of doing battle with Sharon, fighting right wing activist Feiglin within his own party. Netanyahu's platform like Sharon's and Peretz's is to make 'strategic concessions' to the Palestinians. He only differs in that he does not plan a dictatorship and his proposed concessions would be smaller than Sharon or Peretz's.

And yet the same situation remains. Israel faces three bears, bigger, big and little. All of those bears propose to eat up Israel and make it into a porridge for the murderous hordes of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad just waiting outside the gates for their piece. From the heroic mythology of Zionism, we have stumbled into a horrific fairy tale illustrated in blood and the dog and toe tags of the dead.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Jesus' Parents Find No Room at the Suicide Bomber's Inn

No sooner does Christmas come around than the time emerges for displaying and exhibiting the remaining Christians in Bethelehem for the purpose of complaining about Israel. There is of course a steady decline in Bethelehem Christians under Palestinian rule but this is as usual attributed to Israel, despite Bethelehem being under Palestinian rule and Israeli soldiers never even setting foot there.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor proclaimed that "Christ was crying for the town of his birth" due to all the Israeli restrictions and roadblocks. Of course the good Cardinal didn't hear any crying when he moved Father Michael Hill, a known pedophile, around to another parish rather than inform the authorities or at least discharge him from the Church. Father Hill of course continued to molest children and was convicted of sexually assaulting twelve children.

Back then the Cardinal didn't hear any crying, not Jesus' or the children who were abused because of his coverup. Today however when Israel puts up roadblocks to protect its own children from suicide bombers, the Cardinal hears weeping. Not for the Israeli children murdered but for the inconvenienced Palestinians.

And of course every news service promptly picked up the Cardinal's comments. Hurling variations of Christ-Killer charges at the Jews has usually been all it took to spark the usual bouts of anti-semitism. And nothing has changed. News services once again report that if Jesus' parents were alive today they would never be able to reach Bethelehem.

What they fail to report is that Jesus' parents were Jews. If they were alive today, they might have been blown up on a bus or eating at a restaurant. If they survived all that heading towards arab areas, they would risk being gunned down in a drive by, by Arab terrorists. Once in Bethelehem, they would find a town where no Jews live that had been cleansed of any Jewish presence by successions of Christian and Muslim invasions and Arab settlement which now presumes to deny Jews the right to live anywhere in Israel. Had they tried to live there, they would have been killed or driven out as illegal Jewish settlers with the approval and support of the international community.

I don't know about Christ but someone should weep over that.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Three Garments

Parshas Vayeshev features the removal and deceptive use of three garments. Firstly the brothers remove Yosef's garment and dip it in blood and send it to their father implying that it is proof of Yosef's death. Then Tamar allows Yehuda to think she is a prostitute and obtains his cloak among other things as collateral under false pretenses and then sends it to him to see if he will acknowledge it or not. Finally Potifar's wife takes Yosef's garment and presents it claiming that it is proof that he attacked her.

Where else prior to this do we see the deceptive use of a garment? With Yaakov himself. When Rivka had Yaakov dress himself in Esav's clothing to obtain his bracha from Yitzchak. Like the brothers and Tamar but unlike Potifar's wife, Yaakov did not explicitly lie but gave answers that allowed Yitzchak to assume that he is Esav. So too the brothers sent a bloodied garment allowing Yaakov to make the inferences and Tamar sent Yehuda's cloak and other collateral asking him whose these are. By contrast Potifar's wife explicitly lied making false claims about Yosef.

Some might have said that Yaakov's birthright was falsely gained through a disguise. And so his children are taken through three 'removals of garments.' Each of them reveals something about them, tests them by forcing them to confront a situation that allows them to transcend or descend.

The first removal of Yosef's garment shattered the family, sending Yosef off to slavery and the brothers into deception and guilt and Yehuda into an exile among pagans and fathering unworthy children. It revealed the underlying problems and dark sides of the family of Yaakov.

The second removal of Yosef's garment revealed that he would suffer degradation, humiliation and imprisonment rather than transgress demonstrating that he would stay loyal to G-d even in slavery. The exposure of Yehuda's garment demonstrated that even in exile he would place the truth above his dignity. Both Yosef and Yehuda in foreign lands demonstrate that they could prevail in the coming slavery and exile in Egypt.

The act of public humiliation for the sake of the truth prepares Yehuda for his ultimate confrontation with Yosef, to acknowledge what was done and be prepared to accept the consequences paving the way for the reunification of the family of Israel. Where the first removal exposes their 'dark sides', the next two removals allow them to shed them and take on the roles that would bring them to genuine leadership and the descent into exile not as a degraded people but as honored nobility.

Finally this dispelled any doubts about the legitimacy of Yaakov's birthright which had been gained by a disguise, by animal hides and stolen garments. By removing the three garments it demonstrated the weaknesses of his children and also their ability to transcend them and it is that rather than perfection that is the requirement for the nation they would become.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ten Little Known Facts about the NYC Transit Strike

10. A key sticking point in the strike negotiations has been the union demand for massages and pedicures during hourly lunch breaks.

9. Transit performance ratings have actually improved during the strike.

8. Hour of exercise gained by walking to work is expected to save over 1 million lives over the next decade.

7. The UN has offered to mediate the strike with the likely result that it will drag on for years and end in mass genocide.

6. Confusion has been caused by the MTA using quantum physics to explain why their surpluses exist and don't exist at the same time in different quantum states.

5. Transit union negotiator demands broadcast incomprehensibly over subway intercom leaving mediators to wonder whether they can really provide them with, "Dbrghst Bdghts Ldfsrt Thgrsth Wtsgrdts."

4. Many fellow transit unions have joined the walkout including Subway Rats Local 302, Crazed Homeless Panhandlers 901 and A Train Muggers 305, promising not to work until their demands are met.

3. Transit workers finding that doing nothing all day is a lot like their old job but pays less.

2. MTA announces accelerated plan to replace all transit workers with stainless steel robots who sleep on the job and don't speak English.

1. Transit workers replaced by monkeys on 1, 2 and 3 lines resulting in improved job performance, better customer service and less offensive odors.

0. MTA slogan, Support Us So We Can Double Your Fares. Union Slogan, Support Us So We Can Triple Your Fares.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Millionaire Peacemakers of Ignorance

It seems to be a rule of nature. No sooner does some Jewish buisnessman make his first million, then even though his knowledge of Judaism extends only as far as not eating pork, which he eats anyway, he declares his dream of bringing peace to the middle-east.

In this month's stupendous outpouring of benevolence down upon the proliteriat, Steven Spielberg proclaimed his plan to bring Middle East peace by making a movie. No not 'Indiana Jones VI - The Quest for Arafat's Swiss Bank Accounts,' it's a movie that explains that fighting terrorism is really pointless. Had Spielberg made a movie about the Holocaust that featured Jews and Nazis realizing they're both stuck in a rut and need to make friends with each other instead of fighting, that would be the rough equivalent of Steven's new opus, Munich.

The irony that Munich is traditionally known for Prime Minister Chamberlain's craven appeasement of Nazism and that the Munich terrorists who killed the Jewish olympic atheletes were set free escapes Spielberg. As with all deep thinkers whose deep thinking ends at the border of liberal dogma, Spielberg comes up with a predictable scenario in which fighting terrorism is shown to be difficult and problematic and the only real solution is yes, peace. This Spielberg believes will finally save the Israelis from themselves. Mel Gibson wanted to convert everyone to Jesus, Steven wants to convert everyone to Oslo. Never mind that both are dead and discredited, a false god's worshippers never give up easily.

Now granted being forced to sit through Hook has touched off some wars in small African countries but Spielberg's last few movies have been mostly ignored. A.I. bombed at the box office. Minority Report was greeted with yawns. Catch Me If You Can has long since been forgotten. The Terminal bombed despite the presence of Tom Hanks. War of the Worlds was best known for its Scientology associations. The odds of anyone, let alone a nation caring about a Spielberg movie at this point are roughly the odds of Jesus coming back from the dead to appear in the next Indiana Jones movie. Now Spielberg's studio was sold to Paramount for a measley 1.6 billion dollars. After over a decade of striving, SKG Dreamworks has managed to sell for less than the world gross of any three Pixar films. Good luck bringing peace, Stevie.

But this largess isn't enough. Craig Newmark of Craig's List too emerges with a plan for Middle East peace. Craig's List is best known as a place to sell stolen goods, run various cons and for perverts to meet up with each other. Craig's plan for Middle East peace isn't held up by such petty things as knowledge of Judaism which he freely admits he doesn't have. He's not even too sure what Tikkun Olam, the unholy focal point of liberal Judaism, means. He's completely secular and lists Israel as being in asia. He compares the Bush administration to Stalin and from this well of brilliant sociopolitical knowledge, he decides it's 'incumbent on him to help achieve peace there.'

If only Craggie had decided to pitch in sooner. For decades the Israelis and Arabs were waiting for Craig Newmark who can barely spell Judaism on a good day, to come along and solve all their problems. In Craig's enlightened wisdom, the problem is ",more of perception than substance." This may be something like the perception that half the people who use Craig's List are registered sex offenders and the other half the retired widows of deceased Nigerian Generals looking for someone to deposit their money in a Swiss bank account.

According to Craig you see the problem is that both Israelis and Palestinians want peace but they haven't realized that the other side wants peace too. Now he believes, if there's a survey that shows both sides want peace; there'll be peace. Sometimes you wonder why Dot Com buisnesses go out of buisness and then sometimes you stop wondering.

Fortunate are the Jewish people. We no longer have prophets among us or Kohanim to bring our sacrifices or even large numbers of good people who will stand up for Israel and the Jews but we have no shortage of ignorant millionaire peacemakers whose only contribution to the Jewish people is to find ways to further undermine Israel's attempts at defending itself with moral relativism.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

German Ties to Al Queda and Islamic Terrorism

On June 14, 1985 Arab Hizbullah terrorists hijacked TWA flight 847 from Athens to Rome. They rounded up passengers with Jewish sounding names. 23 year old Navy diver Robert Stethem was taken off the plane, beaten and tortured and then shot. Mohammad Ali Hamadi one of the terrorists responsible has been released by Germany and returned back to Hizbullah in Lebanon despite American requests to extradite him.

Had this been a unique case it might be possible to overlook it but that is far from the case. Instead Germany has proven to be a haven for terrorists.

In 1972 the Olympic games were held in Munich when Arafat's terrorists attacked taking Israeli Olympic atheletes hostage. German authorities attempted several failed rescues with unqualified police officers who did not even open fire. While the hostages tried to chew through their ropes, the terrorists murdered them before being killed themselves. The Olympic committee did not halt the games and refused Israel's request for a permanent memorial as this might "alienate other members of the Olympic community."

Germany returned the bodies of the terrorists to Libya where they were buried with full military honors. That same year Germany freed the three surviving terrorists in an exchange after another airplane hijacking. Arafat who saw the terrorists off telling them, "Allah Protect You," and Mahmoud Abbas who financed the attack would become leaders of the Palestinian authority, internationally praised and acclaimed as men of peace.

On September 11th, 2001 Muslim terrorists hijacked four US airliners matching the record of Arafat's PLO terrorists who had innovated airplane hijacking in modern terrorism. The attackers including the mastermind Mohammed Atta were part of what was known as the Hamburg cell in Germany which planned and ultimately executed the murders of thousands of Americans. Working out of Mosques and Islamic bookstores little was hidden from German authorities who showed no concern with videotapes, books and sermons calling for a Jihad against America.

Among those later arrested in Germany was Mounir Motassadeq who was tried and convicted as an accessory to the attacks of September 11th but his conviction was overturned on appeal and he was finally only charged and convicted with being a member of a terrorist organization and given a sentence of only 7 years. If he is not freed before then, based on Germany's track record he will be released to an arab or muslim country from which he cannot be extradited.

Abdelghani Mzoudi, an associate of Mohammed Atta and a member of the Hamburg cell was also arrested in Germany and tried and acquited by a German court. Mamoun Darkazanli, who was a top associate of Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda financier. He had power of attorney over an Al Queda bank account in 1998 and was not arrested by German authorities. He has appeared on US most wanted lists and was an associate of three of the 9/11 hijackers and was questioned by German police in 2001 and released. After the Madrid bombings, Spain requested his extradition and a German court denied it and he continues as a free man in Germany today.

There is an obvious reason why Germany remains a favored base of operations for terrorists in Europe and why unlike England, France, America, Holland and Spain; Germany has remained unmarked by Islamic terrorism. Germany has supplied a safe harbor and a base of operations for terrorists while refusing to cooperate and outright obstructing international anti-terrorist efforts. While France is better known for opposition to the War in Iraq, the French have made arrests and fought terrorism domestically. Germany has given terrorists a free ride in the most explicit ways.

Post 9/11 Germany has become a fount of 9/11 conspiracy theories and historical revisionism aimed at claiming that the attacks were the work of the United States government thus doing for September 11th what they had earlier done for the Holocaust. While incitement to terrorism and racism is supposedly illegal, the Frankfurt book fair featured an outpouring of Anti-Semitic and Anti-American literature.

The question is not whether Germany has ties to Islamic terrorism, the question is how deep do they go. German inteligence had a major hand in the destruction of Yugoslavia by backing first Croatian militants and then the foreign Jihadists who came to fight alongside the KLA, including Iranians and Al Queda. The two greatest terorist attacks of the last 50 years, Munich and 9/11, were planned by groups operating on German soil whose perpetrators were released.

There is a clear and unambigious pattern of terrorists operating out of Germany and when Arab or Muslim terrorists are arrested by Germany, extradition is refused and sooner or later the terrorists end up being freed. Mohammad Ali Hamadi has now been freed and is back with his terrorist comrades in Lebanon. Mounir Motassadeq, the only man convicted of the 9/11 attacks will be free as well in several short years.

Is this incompetence by German law enforcement which is among the best in the world? Is it contempt for America and sympthy for terrorists? Or is it something more?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Election Night in Israel as Israel struggles to Survive

Netanyahu has managed to prevail in the Likud primaries against two candidates who were nothing more than trojan horses for Sharon. First came Mofaz who spoke out against Sharon and when his numbers looked bad, scampered off right away to Sharon's party. Then came Shalom running on his wife's money, his wife's family being the owners of Yediot.

With Mofaz gone, Sharon's people who had remained behind in the Likud turned over the grassroots operations and activists to Silvan Shalom. Sharon's indicted son's top operative worked tirelessly on Shalom's behalf. Polls showed Shalom pulling in high numbers, the polls of course were as reliable as Maariv itself, since Gallup had been pushed out of Israel and the polling handled by local operators. Shalom meanwhile had gotten to know many in the Likud personally. To quote from the Jerusalem Post.

"wheeler-dealers on city councils, branch chairmen with nicotine-stained teeth, Egged union leaders - he has nurtured hundreds of these, knows their first-names and wives, and before every holiday and new year, summons them to a lavish get-together. On the primaries trail, they were all out in force."

These were the odds Netanyahu had to overcome to win. The left wing media, the organization Sharon and Shalom had formed within the Likud and one of the most powerfull families in Israel. Netanyahu's actual margin of victory proved the poll numbers to be completely fradulent and raises further questions about Sharon and Peretz's supposed leads. Yet the battle has only begun.

Sharon's plan was to bring either Mofaz or Shalom to power and use him as a puppet to control the Likud and thus have two parties in his pocket, his new party and the Likud. Feiglin was supposed to leech enough votes away from Netanyahu to let one of them win. Now that this ploy has failed, Sharon's essential plan goes forwards positioning himself as a moderate in contrast to the right wing Likud and left wing Labor. He also hopes that many disappointed Shalom supporters upset by Netanyahu's economic reforms will migrate to his party.

Yet tonight is a good night. In contrast to the predictions, Netanyahu proved the polls wrong which suggests the polls show that his finishing third may be just as much hot air. Sharon has had a setback and Labor is becoming openly an Arab party. The election remains Netanyahu's to win or lose.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Coming Storm

It's always worst before the storm.

The sky darkens, storm clouds move across the horizon, wisps of clouds racing like smoke across the heavens. A wind picks up blowing aside leaves and wrappers and raising waves along the water. Seagulls circle and whirl as if blown around by the wind trying to break free and unable to escape its force.

Like birds at sea which will take refuge from storms on the ocean on the masts of sailing ships, the seagulls land on the railings near people and do not stir taking refuge from the coming storm.

I am reminded of a day like this one early in september. The towers, both of them, stand tall above downtown. At seaport by the Fulton Street fish market, a band is playing poorly, a middle aged couple in worn jeans sway along to the music.

Seagulls circle the flagpole from which the american flag hangs like vultures. The flag blows, its redness like a flame, the seagulls whirl agitatedly sensing the coming storm. I did not know then what was to come but I felt a distinct feeling of unease. A sense of dark times on the horizon.

It wasn't long in early september when the storm came. The towers burned and fell and from the office buildings near seaport lines of men and women marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to safety.

Outside now the rain is falling, the threatened storm is here. And yet as I read the pages of the daily newspapers I wonder if the real storm is not still to come.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why Iran's Anti-Semitism is actually Good Public Relations

On the surface it would seem that the President of Iran's behavior in attacking Israel, Jews and ridiculing the Holocaust at the time the question of Iran's nuclear weapons is being seriously talked about in the international circles is self-destructive. After all it creates a negative picture of Iran and displays its leader as a bigot who hates Jews and wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

It's however completely naive to think so.

Consider two other world leaders who responded to mounting international pressure over their military buildup and territorial invasions of their neighbors with persecutions of the Jews and attacks on Israel. Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

While on the surface this seems unrelated, targeting the Jews while you are engaging in territorial invasions is good public relations. Let us consider a few things.

First the world holds a lot more people who hate Jews than who like Jews by a factor of a 1000 to 1. Attacking the Jews win a leader all sorts of sympathy and admiration around the world no matter how the media may officially criticize him. By attacking the Jews Hitler and Saddam distracted attention from their ambitions to conquer and occupy their neighbors. (Similarly after 9/11 Osama suddenly began delivering speeches about Palestine and the Jews and when Russia was undergoing revolutionary turmoil the Czar intensified the persecutions of the Jews.) As a result both WW2 and the Gulf War were tagged with the stigma of 'Wars for the Jews.' (As well as the War on Terror and the Russian Revolution.) This made it difficult to gather support for international campaigns against Hitler and Saddam.

Secondly by attacking the Jews, a leader reassures the international community that he is not planning to attack them but only the Jews. While on the surface Iran's comments are bad public relations, under the surface Iran is telling the world that it will only use nuclear weapons against Israel... and not against Europe or Russia. This reassures countries vital to Iran's nuclear program who have a UN veto that the only ones in danger from Iran's nuclear program are the Jews. Similarly Hitler's and Saddam's campaigns against the Jews was meant to reassure the international community that they were a threat to the Jews rather than the world. Even those countries which are not overtly anti-semitic prefer a regime that has hostile intentions towards the Jews rather than one which has territorial and expansionistic ambitions.

Thirdly by attacking the Jews, the President of Iran makes the issue about the Jews rather than about his nuclear weapons. In the movie, 'The Manchurian Candidate,' Angela Lansbury's character proclaims;

"Who are they writing about all over this country and what are they saying? Are they saying: "Are there any Communists in the Defense Department?" No, of course not, they're saying: "How many Communists are there in the Defense Department?"

So too the Iranian President has shifted the discussion from 'Is Iran developing nuclear weapons?' to 'Did the Holocaust happen?' This opens up a separate area of debate that moves from debating Iran's policies to debating the merits of the Jews. Though it is Iran which is developing nuclear weapons the burden shifts somehow to the Jews. Suddenly the discussion is not about the threat posed by Iran to the world but whether the Jews have a right to exist.

This is the classic strategy. While the world argued over whether the Jews were worth saving Hitler moved to conquer Europe. While Russians argued over whether any opposition to the Czar was inherently Jewish, the Czar cracked down on the opposition. While Saddam hurled Scuds at Israel he was fighting American troops. While Iran's President rants about the Jews, he prepares the nuclear weapons that the religious fanatics of Tehran will use not only against Israel but to blackmail the world and to pave the way for an Iranian caliphate encompassing much of the Middle East.

The 'Jews' are trigger words that get the world's attention and tyrants and terrorists have used that to great effect. Arab Terrorism and Islamic extremism have been all blamed on the Jews rather on Arabs and Muslims. In the United States Charles Lindbergh ranted that it was the Jews who wanted America to fight Hitler. When the Gulf War came around Pat Buchanan took up the cry that it was a war for the Jews. Now Iran threatens the world and the world ignores the threat in favor of debating the Jews.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Not A Muslim Beach Party

Back when coke came in bottles, Lawrence Welk was in full swing and The Shirelles were topping the charts; this might have been the plot for one of those beach movies with Frankie Avalon and Anette Funicello. Gangs of nasty thugs invade the beach, attack the lifeguards and mess up everyone's good time and it's up to the surfers to drive them off.

But it's not 1965 anymore but 2005 and when the thugs are Lebanese Muslims in a Sydney beach in the media retelling the surfers are the violent racists abusing various poor unnamed middle eastern men who then have no choice but to go on a violent murderous rampage.

Beachgoers in Sydney had long suffered a situation which Lebanese gangs invaded the beaches, told women there that they were whores and deserved to be raped. They attacked any of their boyfriends and husbands who tried to interfere and then finally attacked and beat two lifeguards, one to unconsciousness. In the Australian beach culture, lifeguards are sacrosant volunteering to help people. The police refused to do anything and finally some of those surfers fought back and were of coursed tarred with racism and thugism by the same media that willfully refuses to see what was being done there all along.

Muslims don't go for beach parties much or surfing and so no one else can either. And after all in England Piglet from Winnie the Pooh has been banned from many places now and beach culture is far more offensive to Muslims than even a toy pig. Clearly it must go and anyone who resists is a racist. Anyone who fights back is jailed. This is the world we are coming to and the surfers who once rode the waves are sinking fast.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Angels, Pillars and Stones and Two Destinies

This week's Parsha begins and ends with angels, oaths and pillars. At the beginning of the Parsha Yaakov sleeps and dreams of angels ascending and descending a ladder, makes an oath that if G-d keeps him safe and provides for him this will be the place of the house of G-d and sets the stone he has slept on as a pillar. At the end of the Parsha Yaakov is pursued by Lavan and after a harsh exchange, he makes a pillar or heap of stones, exchanges oaths and then encounters angels.

Both occur in exactly that order which occur in inverse order the second time around. His encounter with the angels follows the oaths and the pillar whereas the first time he first sees the angels, then makes an oath and finally makes the pillar.

What occurs between these two series of events comprises the entire Parsha. Yaakov like Avraham and Yitzchak goes into a temporary exile among a people with foreign and immoral ideas who seek to exploit him. After a period of struggle he comes out wealthy and powerfull and those same people recognize that G-d is with him. For Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov these disputes involve wells. Avraham and Yitzchak struggle with Avimelech and the Phlistim over the wells that they dug and Yaakov contends with Lavan over his daughter Rachel whom he met at the well and then the flocks watered at the well.

A well is the expression of hidden life, where a river is easy to see and to obtain water from, a well must be sought for and dug out and then defended. A river only has to be approached, a well requires exertion and effort. Yaakov comes upon a well which is closed and which cannot be opened by any ordinary man and opens it for the benefit of all. Avraham and Yitzchak dig wells which are seized by the Phlistim and stopped up. As Lavan did, the Phlistim realize that they are blessed through Avraham and so Avimelech comes to Avraham and Yitzchak and offers them a treaty.

Using langage similar to Lavan, Avimelech asks for treaties that promise him Avraham will not harm him or his children and hypocritically claims to have done him good. There is one more similarity to Lavan. Like Lavan, G-d appears in a dream to Avimelech on behalf of both Avraham as a warning. And each time with Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov they come seeking an oath are used to designate the treaty that will assure them they will not be harmed by a man they realize is blessed by G-d.

There is one more important similarity. Each even occurs after a seperation. Avimelech comes to Avraham after Avraham has sent away Yishmael leaving the way clear for Yitzchak to inherit his legacy. Avimelech comes to Yitzchak after Esav sells his birthright to Yaakov leaving the way clear for Yaakov to inherit Yitzchak. But no such seperations occurs for Yaakov, none of his children are cast away. But when the treaty is made between Yaakov and Lavan it comes after not one but three seperations, each important, have occured.

First Yosef, Rachel's first son is born, seperation Yaakov's children in a fundamental way. Secondly Yaakov departs from Lavan separating himself and his family from Lavan's. Between them though is the seperation of the animals. Lavan asks what wages Yaakov wants and Yaakov uses a plan to cause the animals to be born colored and speckled and only later does he reveal to his wives that this was a message from G-d. The entire incident seems rather odd at best.

Does G-d really need to appear to give Yaakov tips on animal husbandry? And instead of telling Yaakov how to go about doing it, the angel shows him speckled animals mating with the flock and then tells him, I know all that Lavan does to you. The result is cryptic and difficult to understand. We see G-d blessing Avraham and Yitzchak and Yosef and Yaakov too so that they prosper, why not simply have Yaakov divide a share of animals and have them prosper while Lavan's grew weak and died? Wouldn't this be a greater miracle and show clearly as was done with Avimelech that G-d favors Yaakov, rather than having him resort to a trick?

The question then must become what does it all mean? Not merely the animals but Yaakov contending with Lavan, dealing with his trickery for most of the Parsha. What is the significance of it all and why tell it all to us? We aren't informed in the same elaborate ways what Avimelech or others tried to do to Avraham or Yitzchak.

The Hagadah tells us that Arami Oved Avi, an Aramean tried to destroy my forefather, namely Lavan. Yet we don't really see Lavan destroying Yaakov. We see him cheating and manipulating him and refusing to let him leave. In their final confrontation, Lavan claims that Yaakov's wives and children are his. When Yaakov relates to Rachel and Leah his dream of the angel and the animals, which isn't related to us before then, Rachel and Leah clearly divide themselves and their children from Lavan as a foreign entity. What is the significance of relating the story of the angel and the animals to them?

When Lavan claims that the wives and the sons are his, what does he really mean? That they are his property? Rachel and Leah state clearly that he treats them as strangers. So in what sense are they 'his.' That his traits are in them.

When Lavan chases after Yaakov he searches their tents and the tents of their maids but no one else's for his idols. If he really felt that everything Yaakov owned was his literal property, he wouldn't have bothered searching for the idols but declared that it all belongs to him. The idols are significant to him because it would prove that his daughters share his corrupt traits and that those traits are passed down to Yaakov's children as well and that the Jewish people that would come from them would be 'his', rather than Yaakov's. And in this Lavan would succeed in destroying Yaakov and the Jewish people.

Lavan reasoned that even Rivka who seemed righteous produced a Yaakov and an Esav so that the traits of their Rivka and Lavan's parents were in them as well. So too his daughters might seem righteous like Rivka but they would inwardly have his family's traits too polluting and contaminating Yaakov's line.

When the angel appears to Yaakov and shows him the animals mating and tells him that he knows all that Lavan does to him, he's not merely offering him a tip to get rich quick, he's showing Yaakov that Lavan's belief is wrong. Lavan does not own Yaakov's family and he has not succeeded in polluting his line. By the demonstration of the separation of the animals Yaakov then demonstrates to Lavan why he's wrong.

The angel shows Yaakov speckled animals mounting the flock. Yaakov tells Lavan to seperate out all the speckled animals and animals with various specified markings. When Lavan does so, an additional term is introduced, animals with white on them and the term used is 'Lavan', the same as Lavan's name. Yaakov had seemingly allowed Lavan to take away all the animals that were 'his' by markings and in Lavan's mind, these were Lavan's animals as they all belonged to him. As Lavan believed that from his family must be born those who share the same traits as him, so too the animals who are unmarked must give birth to unmarked animals. White must give birth to white, Lavan must give birth to Lavan and dark must give birth to dark.

Yaakov plants the sticks that this is not so. When the animals come to drink water, the influence of the sticks guides them to who their children will be. As Avraham and Yitzchak dug and established wells, Yaakov's entire sojourn in Lavan's house and the tribes that would be born began with meeting Rachel at the well which he uncovered to reveal the living water within for the animals. Now again he used their watering to show that Lavan's beliefs were wrong, that he had no share in his family anymore than he did in the flocks and that the children that would be born from his daughters would be Yaakov's rather than Lavan's.

As water from a well comes from a hidden source, so too the living qualities in a person that give them life can be hidden and a well can be found even in a wicked family. In Rachel and Leah, Yaakov had found the wells in a parched land and opened them to water others by creating a family that would become a nation. So too each time Avimelech was forced to realize that the land might be his but the wells were not and the water that came from them belonged to Avraham and Yitzchak.

When Lavan finally encounters Yaakov he realizes there will be no separation. No Yishmael or Esav will come from Yaakov whose children are fully righteous and not at all his. Instead of trying to separate Yaakov's family he makes a separation between himself and Yaakov's family and so we return to the pillars, angels and oaths.

The pillar Yaakov planted on his journey to Lavan was for the Bais Hamikdash, the place where the family that had yet to be and to become a nation would worship G-d. Yaakov's oath requested that G-d provide him with the physical necessities as indeed G-d in his dream had promised that he would inherit the land and his children would become as numerous as dust, a physical inheritance rather than the spirtual inheritance of stars.

Now the pillar Lavan plants reaffirms the separation between them. No more would Yaakov's family seek out Lavan's family. They were divided permanently with obligations spelled out in the oath to Lavan's daughters who were now also permanently parted from him. Only then once this is concluded does Yaakov see the angels but this time they are not descending or ascending but coming towards him.

Yaakov has dwelled many years in Lavan's house, coming there with nothing and returning with everything. G-d's promise to him has been fully fulfilled and Yaakov has produced most of the Jewish people who will go on to build a house of G-d and through this finalize the separation between Yaakov and Lavan, between the way of G-d and Lavan's treacherous and idolatrous ways. The greatest task and challenge that Yaakov faced was overcome and fulfilled and he was now coming home.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

First they came for the Nazis and then the Liars

For all that some Jews embrace Niemoller, he of the famous 'first they came for the communists' poem; he was a Nazi and enthusiastically supported Hitler until Hitler's policies, not those involving Jews of course, violated his Christian principles he also commanded troops in a right wing coup that predated Hitler and described Nazism as based on a 'solid moral christian foundation'

He voted for the Nazi party and made speeches on behalf of Nazism and Hitler. His difference with the Nazis came not over killing Jews but killing Jews who had converted to Christianity (a position he shared with the Catholic Church) but he remained an ardent nationalist even from Dachau, he wrote a letter volunteering to serve in the navy when WW2 began.

His allies attempted to pass off the letter as a forgery but when Niemoller was rescued, he admitted it was authentic and that he had "never quarreled with Hitler over political matters, but purely on religious grounds".

In other words Niemoller had not disagreed with Hitler only to the extent that Hitler disagreed with Christianity. Niemoller remained a despicable personage who milked sympathy for Germany while at the same time calling President Truman, the second greatest murderer in the world after Hitler.

After the war he developed ties to the Soviet Union, advocated against the Cold War, befriended the Viet Cong leadership and received many prizes and honors from the brutal Soviet regime while denouncing the West.

The famous poem he was credited with, never appeared in his writings or was credibly authored by him, though it has been attributed to him. Its actual source remains unknown.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Mission of the Mother

As Parshat Toldos begins Rivka is having a difficult pregnancy, her children are fighting inside her. Rivka asks, Im Ken Lama Zeh Anochi, a phrase which can be translated in a number of meanings. But the most literal is, If So Why Am I? Commentaries tell us that Rivka had despaired of her life entirely. G-d then informs her that there are two quarelling nations inside her and that one will go on to oppress the other. How is this remotely reassuring to tell a worried pregnant woman that this state of affairs will continue on into their adulthood and to their descendants as well? It would seem that there could be little better formula for despair for a mother to know her children will hate and fight each other forever.

But let us first consider why was Rivka so upset? Was it merely because she had a difficult pregnancy? It doesn't seem that a difficult pregnancy would have driven her to such measures. Her question seems to suggest that the two children fighting inside her makes her existance.

Rivka had married Yitzchak and in doing so inherited the burden of expectations of the family of Avraham whom his father had blessed with the blessings G-d had given to him. The blessings had gone to Yitzchak rather than to his older brother by another mother who was wicked and undeserving of them. Rivka could recognize on her own and did, that her two children were fighting. What this meant to her however was that instead of producing another Yitzchak as Sarah had, whose place she had taken, she was producing one or more wicked children who were unfit to carry on the heritage of Avraham. Rather than being another Sarah, she was another Hagar.

G-d's message however told her differently. G-d emphasized that there were two nations both inside her womb and that would be born outside it and that one would prove superior. This meant that first her children were not fighting because they were both wicked and liked to fight, but because they represented two ways of life, only one of which could prevail. Her mission was not simply to bear children for Yitzchak but by her actions to choose which would prevail.

When Avraham had to choose the son who would carry on his legacy, it was Sarah who pushed him towards expelling Yishmael whom he had fondness for in favor of Yitzchak. This too would be Rivka's mission, to sway Yitzchak towards Yaakov over Esav whom he favored. Similarly Leah and Tamar would be forced to use extraordinary and sometimes deceptive measures to sway Yaakov and Yehuda to see that the future of the Jewish people would be born. Even down to King David's father and mother a similar event had to take place.

To this day while the father determines the blessings of tribal ancestry, e.g. to be a Kohen or a King, it is the mother that determines whether the child is fit or not fit to recieve for them the child of a non-Jewish mother remains non-Jewish while the child of a Jewish mother is Jewish regardless of the father. It is through her that the child's future comes about.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Money for Barry Chamish, No Money for Gush Katif Families

Over three tons of winter clothing arrived from America meant for expelled families from Gush Katif. Clothing drives were held for warm winter clothing for families who have been cut off from their clothing and posessions. While Israel shipped over 90 tons of relief supplies for Katrina evacuees, its own citizens expelled by their own government have been left without basic necesitties. People who have not forgotten their brothers and sisters, Jews and non-Jews, have stepped forwards and donated clothing, time and money to help.

Enter Barry Chamish.

Barry Chamish is a UFO researcher, conspiracy theorist and a Jewish holocaust denier who has become affiliated with some on the right, an affiliation that is entirely one sided because Chamish has always been out for himself and only himself. Of all the contempt, apathy and condescension directed at the refugees of Gush Katif, Chamish achieves a new disgusting low of hate and greed.

Chamish who has previously directed hateful and contemptous language at settlers that is the equal of anything Shulamit Aloni or Shinui have said and that we would all be condemning if someone on the left had written things like,

"So stop looking for handouts. Stop the sob stories of being forced out of hotels you thought the government was going to actually pay for. Quit the tales of misery and alienation."

"This is one of the better appeals for money for the Gush Katif refugees. Don't give them a nickel!"

"But more to the point: Screw You, Gush Katif."

"Nobody admires a beggar for long."

Now Chamish sinks to a new depth repeating his message and continuing to advocate against any donations to expelled families while smearing those same people.

"I further warned, that anyone who propped up their misery through charity would be dooming the refugees to permanent poverty. I wish it wasn't true, but all media reports illustrate that in just three months, the once thriving residents of Gush Katif have sunk into violence, despair, divorce, drug abuse, crime and hopelessness."

Let us look at these 'beggars' that Chamish sneers at, who according to him are now the lowest of the low, criminals and junkies. Deprived of money and basic necesitties, communities have stayed together and stuck together caring for each other and each other's children chipping in for generators and tents and sharing cooking duties. Atzmona completed a temporary school building and some residents are making plans to rebuild their towns on their own. The secretary of the former Alei Sinai refused to release the names of residents for charity requests because it would damage their dignity. These are Chamish's beggars.

Compare this to New Orleans, compare it to refugees in Africa and Indonesia, compare it to the Palestinians that Chamish has called for reducing them to.

"After the deluge, a friend of mine told me she had spent the day helping the Gush Katif refugees, bringing them food and setting up their computers. I asked her, "Are you nuts? You're not helping them, you're helping the "government" of Israel. They got them into this mess, now they can get them out of it. Learn from the Arabs already. Do not rehabilitate the refugees."

In Chamish's warped worldview, as in Sodom, charity is evil. The charity that has unified the refugees is evil. To give warm winter clothes to children now living in the cold of the Golan Heights is dooming them. Jews helping their fellow Jews is evil. Not quite though.

In a display of shameless greed that even shocked me, after the cry not to donate to the expelled families of Gush Katif, in the very same post; Barry Chamish called for himself.

As much disgusting displays as I have seen in the last year, the level of cynicsm involved in Chamish demanding donations for himself and condemning donations for refugee families is still shocking. There are depths to which people sink to that are almost incomprehensible.

After smearing the people who were thrown out of their homes and lost everything as criminals, junkies and human refuse who shouldn't even be given warm winter clothing, Chamish goes into a long convulted tale involving crooked publishers, the mafia (yes the mafia) and loan sharks and cries that he's on the verge of bankruptcy and in danger of his life and needs money and solicits donations.

It continues to be mindboggling to me how anyone who claims to be a Jew, who claims to have integrity, who claims to care about Israel and Yesha would associate themselves with such bottomfeeding filth. His work on the Rabin assasination does not begin to excuse everything he has done afterwards.

It does not excuse his Holocaust denial and his affilation with Neo-Nazis which has been extensively documented including his affiliation with, a neo-nazi site which claims Jews are out to take over the world and supports Ernst Zundel, his accepting an invitation to a Holocaust denial conference to sell his books there and his claims that the Holocaust was funded and executed by Jews such as the Rothschilds.

He has obstructed the fight against disengagement with conspiracy theories, false rumors and random libels accusing anyone who disagrees with him of working for Shabak or the New World Order.

He has now turned into open and explicit greedy self-promotion while smearing the heroes of Gush Katif in vile ways that would be at home in Shinui or Meretz. His main outlets remain Neo-Nazi and conspiracy theory sites, yet he continues to be published and defended by Reuven Koret of Israel Insider and occasionally interviewed on Arutz 7. His rantings continue to be distributed and people defend him with variations on 'yes, well, but he was right about Rabin.'

He was right about Rabin but wrong to get in bed with Neo-Nazis, to smear the expelled refugees of Gush Katif as drug addicts and criminals, to promote Holocaust denial, to solicit money for himself while smearing those who really need it, to disgrace all of us with his very presence. It's past time to bring an end to Barry Chamish's presence on the right.

After a previous round of mocking the refugees, Chamish wrote to promote his own books; "I will be at your rally in Jerusalem. I will set up my table and hope my books fall into the right hands. Don't anyone ask me to dance."

Don't dance Barry, just go.