Hanukkah 5776: The Lights that Never Dim: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Dec. 6, 2015 — While celebrating Hanukkah we remember the heroes and heroines of the Jewish People who never put down their weapons, nor gave up their faith.
Lighting Candles for Liberty: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2015— Modern human accomplishments seldom outstrip miracles of the past, but those who light the candles for Hanukkah beginning Sunday night are involved in an even greater struggle for political and religious freedom than the Maccabees in their time.
The President Plays Defense: Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 2015 — President Obama showed Sunday night that he realizes the growing threat from Islamist terror is a grave risk to his political standing in his last year in office.
America’s Pathological Denial of Reality: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2015— How much lower will America sink before it regains its senses?
San Bernardino Murders Expose Failure to Address Radical Islam: Pete Hoekstra, IPT, Dec. 4, 2015 — Law enforcement and intelligence officials continue to gather evidence on the motivation Wednesday's mass murder in San Bernardino, Calif., but nearly all indications thus far suggest Islamist radicalization was a significant factor.
The Lost Meanings of Biblical Names: Aviya Kushner, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2015
Eiffel Tower Hanukkia Spreads Light on the First Night of Hanukka: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2015
Yad Vashem Presents Online Exhibition: the Festival of Light During the Holocaust: Jewish Press, Dec. 6, 2015
California Attack Has U.S. Rethinking Strategy on Homegrown Terror: Peter Baker & Eric Schmitt, New York Times, Dec. 5, 2015
CIJR, Dec. 6, 2015
In Loving Memory of Malca z”l
While celebrating Hanukkah we remember the heroes and heroines of the Jewish People who never put down their weapons, nor gave up their faith. Let us remember all our beloved sisters and brothers who were murdered at the hands of killers across Jewish history. The lights of Hanukkah will forever illuminate their memory for future generations.
We, the Jewish People, must never let history repeat itself. We must and we will go on, one generation after the other, until the end of days. Nothing is more miraculous than the survival, both physical and spiritual, of Am Israel, the Jewish People. The Jewish People live today and forever! Our life is a life lived by and for Jewish values, for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come, and for Judaism itself.
The waves of hatred we are currently witnessing against the State of Israel and the Jewish People are nothing new: they teach us what we must, and we will, remember: Never Again! Am Israel Chai! The Jewish People live, today and forever!
Let us never forget the innocent and beloved people who were murdered by Amalek, who our tradition teaches arises in every generation—today, by the hands of heartless Islamic terrorists. Let us remember our brave new Maccabees, our beloved Jewish heroes, the young Israeli soldiers who have given their lives in the ongoing struggle for freedom, independence and security of the Land of Israel, the pride and glory of the Jewish State, the miraculously restored State of Israel.
Ours is along and resilient history not only of surviving, but of flourishing, and as we defied the thugs, murderers and haters in the past, so shall we defy all our enemies today. We go on, one generation after the other, remembering our roots, and growing stronger today in and through our ancient Homeland.
Hazak, Hazak V’Nithazek! Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another!
Hag Hanukkah Sameach! Have a happy Hanukkah holiday!
(Baruch Cohen is CIJR’s Research Chairman and a member of the Holocaust Memorial Center)
Ruth R. Wisse
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2015
Modern human accomplishments seldom outstrip miracles of the past, but those who light the candles for Hanukkah beginning Sunday night are involved in an even greater struggle for political and religious freedom than the Maccabees in their time.
The festival commemorates the recapture and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem almost 22 centuries ago, initiating eight decades of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. Today’s defenders of Israel fight not only for their own restored political and religious freedom but for the right of all nations to freedom from increasingly violent and maddened enemies. Jewish political history is well represented by the emblematic legend of the oil that was required to consecrate the Temple after its defilement at the hands of the Hellenistic Seleucid rulers. Thought to be enough to last only a single day, the oil burned for the eight days needed to obtain a new supply.
I was amused recently to find this caution on a Jewish website: “Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.” Yet obviously the miracle of the oil corresponds to the improbable victory of the Maccabees over insurmountable military odds. Hanukkah celebrates not war but the self-rule that was unattainable without it. Like Judaism itself, the festival fuses religious and national experience.
If Jews celebrate for eight days the war they won against the Greeks, they mourn for three weeks the war they subsequently lost against the Romans. The extended period of national grieving in the Hebrew summer month of Av commemorates the destruction of both the second Temple in the year 70 and the first Temple by the Babylonians six centuries before that. Taken together, the biblical Book of Lamentations and the Book of Maccabees show how important political autonomy was to the Jews and how harrowingly they felt its loss.
Nonetheless, unlike nations that disappear upon conquest, Jews proved uniquely able to live among other peoples both within the land of Israel and outside it. In the almost two millennia when the land was under foreign occupation, Jews pursued their way of life wherever they were allowed to do so. This ability of Jewish minorities to accommodate themselves to non-Jewish majorities tested the latter’s ability to tolerate and coexist with Jews—successfully doing so has everywhere been a sign of political maturity, just as failure has been a harbinger of repression.
All the spiritual-intellectual resources and creative powers of adaptation that Jews had cultivated in their centuries of dispersion were not enough to protect them from anti-Semitism, an ideology that held Jews themselves accountable for the aggression against them. Where Greek and Roman rulers had tried to crush the Jews by ravaging their way of life, modern European leaders, including those who had made the greatest claims for human progress, scapegoated Jews for their own societal failures and applied their ingenuity to new methods of persecution and, in the end, mass murder.
Here begins the modern miracle. On that same continent, European Jews mobilized a movement of Jewish self-emancipation that would replenish and repossess the land of Israel. Had Zionism organized earlier, or Nazism later, millions more Jews would have propelled the return to Zion. But just as oil that sufficed for a day lasted as long as it had to, Jews in numbers scarcely sufficient to win a battle held off the entire Arab League in the 1940s. Within three years of their mass destruction, the Jewish people had reclaimed sovereignty in their too-long-occupied land.
How good it would be if we could do without miracles. Instead of organizing their unity against their Semitic brethren, Arab leaders might have chosen coexistence, if not peace. In the years following the establishment of modern Israel in 1948, many new Arab states came into being—Bahrain (1971), Comoros (1975), Djibouti (1977), Kuwait (1961), Mauritania and Somalia (1960), Sudan and Tunisia (1956), United Arab Emirates (1971) and Yemen (1990). With Lebanon having been formed in 1941, Jordan in 1946, and Libya in 1947, and with Algeria gaining its independence in 1962, this means that most Arab League countries emerged at the same time as the Jewish state or afterward. Had Arab leaders accepted the partition of Palestine in 1947 and negotiated the exchange of Jewish and Arab refugees, there would have been no need for history’s most lopsided war—their war against the Jews—and no need for spectacular proofs of Jewish grit.
The endurance of Jews as a self-accountable people is rendered all the more remarkable by the record of nations incapable of accepting their existence. Arab and Muslim leaders who fomented anger, grievance, blame and aggression against the state of Israel unleashed a violence they can no longer contain, one that has spread across the globe. Israel applies its ingenuity and resources to helping to stave off the resulting carnage and safeguard the civilized world. One could do without this miracle, but a miracle it is.
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 2015
President Obama showed Sunday night that he realizes the growing threat from Islamist terror is a grave risk to his political standing in his last year in office. What he didn’t show is that he is willing to consider any changes to his failing strategy to defeat the threat from Islamic State.
The President’s 13-minute Oval Office speech, only the third of his tenure, at last acknowledged that last week’s attack in San Bernardino by a radicalized Islamist couple was an “act of terrorism.” It would have been hard for him to say otherwise after his own FBI director, James Comey, had admitted this reality on Friday. Mr. Obama was looking increasingly detached from reality, and the speech was an attempt to recover from his claims that the growing jihadist threat is “contained.”
Yet the President devoted most of his speech to defending the strategy he has pursued for 16 months against Islamic State without much success. He cited his bombing campaign, but he didn’t mention that the vast majority of sorties drop no bombs because of the limits he has placed on the military. He mentioned the recent allied bombing of Islamic State’s oil infrastructure, but then why has the U.S. waited so long to take this initiative? Mr. Obama was, as usual, especially forceful in explaining why he is refusing to deploy more U.S. ground forces to take the battle to the Islamic State homeland in Iraq and Syria. But also, as usual, he offered up the false dilemma between his own policy and sending tens of thousands of troops to “occupy foreign lands.”
No one is proposing that U.S. ground troops should occupy either country. Even the most ambitious advocates of taking the war to Islamic State would deploy only some 10,000 or so troops, such as special forces or Apache helicopter teams, to assist local Sunni Arabs who would do the bulk of the fighting on the ground. An expanded U.S. ground force would provide tactical expertise and above all signal to our allies in the region that the U.S. is committed to defeating Islamic State as rapidly as possible. No one in the region believes that now.
Surely nearly all Americans also agree with Mr. Obama that the U.S. is not at war with all Muslims, and we should not lash out at Muslim-Americans. President Bush offered similar counsel after 9/11 and there has been no evidence that Americans are discriminating against Muslims. But the best way to deter such a backlash is for Mr. Obama to assure Americans that he is doing all he can to defeat Islamic State and stop its attempt to radicalize Americans.
On that score, we wish we had heard him address the recent reduction in the U.S. ability to collect telephone records. The Associated Press reported on the weekend that the law Mr. Obama signed this summer governing the collection of metadata means the FBI can’t collect the phone records of the San Bernardino killers beyond the last two years. Republicans should press to have this U.S. data collection ability restored as part of the current budget negotiations, and Mr. Obama should have to publicly defend his opposition.
Perhaps the oddest note in the President’s speech was toward the end when he claimed that the U.S. will defeat the jihadist threat because we are “on the right side of history.” History is made, not delivered as a birthright, and victory against killers has to be won. Islamic State has been gaining so much ground precisely because it has appeared to be winning. Mr. Obama has yet to show that he knows what it takes for the U.S. to win.
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2015
How much lower will America sink before it regains its senses? Wednesday, two Muslims walked into a Christmas party at a community service center in San Bernardino, California where one worked. They were wearing body armor and video cameras and carrying automatic rifles, pipe bombs and pistols. They opened fire, killed 14, and wounded 17. The murderers, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik were killed by police.
Speaking to the Daily News, Farook’s father said his son, “was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.” Farook’s neighbor told the paper that over the past two years, Farook exchanged his Western dress for Islamic gowns and grew a beard. These data points lead naturally to the conclusion that Farook and his wife were jihadists who killed in order to kill in the name of Islam.
But in America of December 2015, natural conclusions are considered irresponsible, at best. In an interview with CNN following the shooting, US President Barack Obama said the massacre demonstrates that the US needs stricter gun laws. As for the motives of the shooters, Obama shrugged. “We don’t yet know the motives of the shooters,” he insisted. In other words, while ignoring what in all likelihood drove Farooq and his wife to murder innocent people, Obama laid responsibility for the carnage at the feet of his political opponents who reject his demands for stricter limitations on gun ownership. Here is the place to note that California has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the US.
According to the victims, Farook and his partners were able to reload their weapons and shoot without interruption for several minutes until the police arrived because there was no one to stop them. Obama wasn’t alone in deflecting attention away from the likely motivations of the murderers. Wednesday evening, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), held a press conference at the Islamic Center of Orange County. Farook’s brother in law, Farhan Khan was carted out before the cameras to tell the world that he for one had no idea why his brother in law opened fire.
Two other speakers at the event were Hussam Auyloush, CAIR’s regional executive director and Muzammil Siddiqi, the director of the Islamic Society of Orange County. Auyloush insisted that he had no idea would could have possibly prompted Farook and his wife to murder those gathered at the center. Auyloush raised the prospect that they could have been mentally ill, or perhaps they just didn’t like the victims, or maybe they were garden-variety extremists.
For his part, Siddiqi insisted that Islam had nothing to do with the shooters’ decision to murder innocent people, (how he could be so certain, is unknown). Siddiqi added that he hopes law enforcement bodies will conduct a full investigation into the “people and motives,” behind the attack. To a degree, the very fact that Siddiqi had no compunction about stepping in front of the cameras just hours after the attack is proof that the US has lost its way.
If American elites were even semi-competent, Siddiqi would have faded into the shadows, never to emerge again 15 years ago. Siddiqi is a known jihadist sympathizer. His close ties to jihadists have been a matter of public record since 2000. In October 2000, Siddiqi spoke at an anti-Israel rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC. There he warned the American people that they must abandon their support for Israel lest “the wrath of God” be unleashed against them.
According to a profile of Siddiqi compiled by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, (IPT) in the late 1990s Siddiqi gave a speech extolling jihad and foreseeing Israel’s replacement with an Islamic state. Among other things, Siddiqi said, “In order to gain the honor, jihad is the path, jihad is the way to receive the honor.” Siddiqi converted Osama bin Laden’s senior aide, American jihadist Adam Gadahn. Gadahn converted to Islam at the Islamic Center of Orange County in 1995. According to a 2007 New Yorker profile, Siddiqi employed Gadahn at the Center in the years following his conversion. It was during this period that Gadahn was radicalized. He then went to Pakistan and joined al Qaida.
In 1992 Siddiqi hosted a blind sheikh named Omar Abdel Rahman at the Islamic Center. He stood beside Rahman and simultaneously translated his lecture about jihad to the audience of worshipers. The next year, Rahman masterminded the first jihadist attack on the World Trade Center. During the 1990s, Siddiqi served as the president of the Islamic Society of North America, a known Muslim Brotherhood front group. In 2007, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holyland terror financing trial…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
IPT, Dec. 4, 2015
Law enforcement and intelligence officials continue to gather evidence on the motivation Wednesday's mass murder in San Bernardino, Calif., but nearly all indications thus far suggest Islamist radicalization was a significant factor. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at an office party for county workers, Farook's colleagues, and later were killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers. Preliminary investigative work already has found that Farook was radicalized and communicated with extremists.
It should not surprise anyone as Steve Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism have been sounding the alarm on the manifestations of radical Islam in the West for two decades. There are consequences to discounting weak immigration controls, caliphates in the Middle East and Libya and Muslim Brotherhood front organizations such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which have access to loud microphones which are used routinely try to divide law enforcement and American Muslims.
They all create abundant space and time for Islamist terrorism to emerge in the West. Missing documents in failed states facilitate the nearly unrestricted movement of jihadists under the guise of refugees across borders. Wholly owned murderous jihadist states provide the freedom to prepare and instigate attacks, as well as write and disseminate ideology through sophisticated propaganda measures.
The threat is in fact very real. In recent weeks, jihadists unleashed an onslaught in Paris that left 130 innocent men, women and children dead. In February a radicalized gunman opened fire on a free speech debate and synagogue in Copenhagen. A month before, jihadists committed a massacre at the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a nearby kosher market.
The San Bernardino murders prove that the U.S. is not immune, and it's not like it hasn't happened before.
A California college student reportedly carrying an ISIS flag, references to Allah and writings about beheadings recently stabbed four innocent people. In May, jihadists armed with AK-47s attacked hundreds of people at an event in Garland, Texas that sponsored a Muhammad cartoon exhibit and contest. In 2009, Major Nidal Hasan opened fire and killed 13 people, mostly unarmed service members at Fort Hood, screaming "Allahu Akbar."
They were all aided and abetted by a president that is absolutely incapable of uttering the words "radical Islam." The administration banned the words from the halls of the White House, any reference is nowhere to be found in Obama's statement on the most recent Paris massacre, scrubbed the FBI training manual of any text that might offend Muslims, described the Fort Hood murders as "workplace violence" and regularly hosts top level meetings with representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Law enforcement and intelligence need to conduct a thorough investigation to determine all possible causes and links to terrorist organizations, but Americans can no longer accept the administration's willful blindness to reality. It is Islamist terrorism. Radical Islam and all of its barbaric, evil elements fundamentally hate Western liberal democracies based upon basic Judeo-Christian values. Such attacks will only become more common and more violent until the president – after seven years in office – and America finally takes the threat seriously.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Sameach, Happy Hanukkah Holiday!
The Lost Meanings of Biblical Names: Aviya Kushner, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2015—The Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which starts this Sunday night, celebrates the triumph of a small Jewish army over Greek rule in Judea in the second century B.C. The Maccabees, as they are called, were determined to resist Hellenization and worship as they believed.
Eiffel Tower Hanukkia Spreads Light on the First Night of Hanukka: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2015 —Just weeks after Paris saw some of its darkest days, around 6,000 people gathered to add some much needed light to the city on Sunday by lighting the hanukkia at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, celebrating the first night of Hanukka.
Yad Vashem Presents Online Exhibition: the Festival of Light During the Holocaust: Jewish Press, Dec. 6, 2015 —In honor of the festival of Hanukkah, Yad Vashem presents a fascinating online exhibition of photos, artifacts and testimonies from the Yad Vashem Collections. The miracle of Hanukkah and the Menorah itself symbolize Jewish resilience and continuity, reflected in the ways this holiday was observed throughout Europe before WWII, in the Holocaust years, and at displaced persons camps and children’s homes following the war.
California Attack Has U.S. Rethinking Strategy on Homegrown Terror: Peter Baker & Eric Schmitt, New York Times, Dec. 5, 2015—The day before Thanksgiving, President Obama reassured Americans there was “no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland.” Seven days later came an explosion of gunfire and the deadliest terrorist attack in America since Sept. 11, 2001.