Hanukkah Should Shine a Bright Light and Unite us all in the Battle Against Evil: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News, Dec. 12, 2017 — Charles Dickens’ famous opening words from his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities” accurately describe how many American Jews are feeling this year at the start of Hanukkah, our Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown Tuesday.
A Capital Idea: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Dec. 8, 2017 — President Trump on December 6 ended all hope of Middle East peace, recklessly encouraged terrorism, and ruined U.S. relations with all Arab countries.
How to Bring Peace to Palestine: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Dec. 11, 2017— The Canadian Government is sending $25,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is uniquely dedicated to supporting Palestine refugees.
Iranian Terror. Argentinian Cover Up. Justice at Last?: Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017 — One morning last week, Argentines woke up to a political earthquake: A judge had charged a former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with “treason against the homeland,” punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Most Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful and Portable: Allan Levine, CIJR, Dec. 15, 2017
WATCH: Trump Elaborates on Ancient Jewish Ties to Jerusalem at White House Chanukah Party: United With Israel, Dec. 8, 2017
List of Reasons Why all Foreign Countries Should Follow President Trump on Jerusalem: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 7, 2017
Thoughts for Vice President Pence: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2017
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Fox News, Dec. 12, 2017
Charles Dickens’ famous opening words from his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities” accurately describe how many American Jews are feeling this year at the start of Hanukkah, our Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown Tuesday. Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness .…”
In 2017 American Jews have never been so free to pursue the American Dream. We have many blessings to be thankful for in this great country, which has opened its doors to Jews from around the world. And yet, we sense a new season of darkness casting shadows on our collective future. Jewish paranoia? No. For decades, FBI annual hate crime statistics have identified African-Americans as the top target of race-based hate crimes. Jews – despite being just 2 percent of the U.S. population – are atop the list of targets of religious-based hate crimes.
But anti-Semitism this year has been different in scope and diversity. This year saw Jewish Community Centers targeted by over 120 bomb threats. The evacuations of Jewish toddlers from child-care centers at these Jewish Centers – and the months of not knowing who was behind the criminal bomb threats – devastated young Jewish parents. Older Jewish students in grades K-12 were subject to bullying and worse. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic invective, graffiti, overt threats and intimidation were directed against Jewish students who dared stand up for the Jewish State of Israel on our nation’s university campuses from coast to coast.
For example, Jewish students at Rutgers University were confronted by a blatant anti-Semite among their tenured professors who posted anti-Jewish statements and cartoons on Facebook. Fortunately, Professor Michael Chikindas was removed by Rutgers last week as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the university, was barred from teaching required courses and will receive training in cultural sensitivity. But despite all the promises of an intimidation-free campus, too many such bigots are consistently shielded in the name of free speech, while Jewish students are left twisting in the wind.
Even before President Trump’s declaration last week that he recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel – a simple acknowledgement of reality – universities, some churches and elements of the progressive movements had legitimized those who demonize Jews and anyone daring to publicly declare support for the Jewish State. The anti-black and anti-Jewish outpouring of hatred by neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and their allies in Charlottesville, Virginia in August introduced a new, younger, social media-savvy generation of anti-Semites and racists.
Gone are the days when neo-Nazis had to leave hate-filled flyers on car windshields. Today these hatemongers deploy bots to personalize attacks on Jewish reporters, upload high-quality videos of their marches, and fully deploy the bells and whistles of social media to find new recruits. Radical imams promote overt Jew-hatred and some have even declared “death to the Jews” at mosques in our nation. There has been nary a response from other clergy, law enforcement or politicians. Public solidarity against history’s oldest hatred has grown dimmer even as anti-Semitism grows.
Last week I testified at the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington on the growing threats of domestic terrorism as it relates to the Jewish community. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, expressed genuine concern about the scope of hate in America today and asked if the answer was more money. I told the congresswoman that while we could always use more funds to bolster the security of our institutions, some problems will not disappear by throwing money at them. We need the grassroots in all our communities to fight together against hate.
This brings me to a core lesson for Jews and all Americans from the story of Hanukkah, which commemorates two very distinct miracles. The first miracle was the incredible victory of a ragtag band of outnumbered Jewish fighters, known as the Maccabees, over a powerful Greek military force controlling the Land of Israel more than 2,000 years ago. Yet our ancient sages downplayed the military miracle.
It was the second miracle that is the centerpiece of Hanukkah. This was the rekindling of the lights of the Menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with only a small container of pure olive oil that was untainted by the idol-worshipping occupiers. The oil, which should have kept the menorah lit for only 24 hours, lasted for eight days.
Our sages understood that military might is necessary in confronting and defeating evil. But they knew that embattled civilizations can only survive if they can defeat the enemy in the marketplace of ideas. The Maccabees, like all freedom-loving heroes through the ages, prevailed because they knew what they were fighting for. They would not allow their values about the sanctity of humanity to be erased by a conqueror, however powerful. Tuesday night and for the seven nights that follow, Jews around the world will place the lit menorah where neighbors and passersby can see it. By doing, so we remind ourselves and the world that ultimate victory is only won when individuals have the courage to stand up and take on evil together. It’s a lesson that must be applied this Hanukkah by Americans of all races and creeds if we are ever to prevail against evil.
Weekly Standard, Dec. 8, 2017
President Trump on December 6 ended all hope of Middle East peace, recklessly encouraged terrorism, and ruined U.S. relations with all Arab countries. Or so one would think reading the reactions to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The foreign minister of Sweden called the decision “catastrophic.” Not to be outdone, the veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would lead to “chaos, lawlessness, and extremism.” That wasn’t enough, so Erekat added, “President Trump just destroyed any possibility of a two-state [solution]” and “President Trump tonight made the biggest mistake of his life.”
The move that produced this hyperbole was announcing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the United States would eventually build an embassy there. This was done in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which Congress passed with huge bipartisan majorities. This week, Democrats couldn’t exactly eat those votes, but they could sure chew on the edges. Here was Nancy Pelosi: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish homeland. But in the absence of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem now may needlessly spark mass protests, fuel tensions, and make it more difficult to reach a durable peace.” In other words, I used to be for it but now Donald Trump is for it so I’m not.
In the American Jewish community there was extremely widespread support—but the head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, cemented the view that it is a branch of the Democratic party by saying, “while we share the president’s belief that the U.S. Embassy should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process.” The “right time” for him is apparently just after the arrival of the Messiah.
Why all the hyperbole? After all, it’s a simple fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and has been ever since its War of Independence ended in 1949. When an American president or secretary of state goes to see the Israeli prime minister or speak to the Knesset, that’s where he or she goes. In 2016 Barack Obama went to the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem to deliver a eulogy for Shimon Peres. The White House released the transcript under the heading “Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel.” Nine hours later, it released a corrected version with Israel crossed out, like this: “Jerusalem, Israel.” This ludicrous action raised a question: In what country did Obama and his White House think Peres was being buried?
This absurd incident helps explain why Trump took his action. It was a victory for common sense and as well for history. After nearly 70 years, it was long past time for the United States to acknowledge what is obvious: Like every country, Israel has a capital, and it is unacceptable that Israel be the only country on earth that is refused the right to choose that capital. Refusing to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of the campaign, as old as Israel itself, to deny the Jewish state legitimacy. So what explains the ridiculous overreaction? For someone like Pelosi, there’s a simple rule: Never give Donald Trump credit for anything, period. For the Europeans, hatred of Trump combines with longstanding anti-Israel bias, especially in the foreign ministries. The many phony statements of regret and copious crocodile tears about possibly forthcoming violence broadcast the clear hope that there would be plenty of rioting, just to prove Trump wrong. For Arab regimes, fearful of public sentiment that is always pro-Palestinian and often propelled by simple Jew-hatred, the path of least resistance and greatest safety was to denounce Trump’s move.
There will be violence if Arab rulers want violence, and very little if they want to stop it. The Palestinian Authority itself is the main exhibit here. It should be held responsible for violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank because its overreaction and its deliberate mischaracterizations of what Trump has done will fuel violence. When the PA closes schools, as it did the day following Trump’s remarks, so students can be free to riot, it is encouraging violence. We have seen this play before, initially under Yasser Arafat and as recently as July, when two Israeli policemen near the Temple Mount were shot and killed and Israel installed metal detectors to prevent weapons from being brought there. The Palestinians might have said, “well, there are metal detectors all over Mecca, and for the same reason, to stop terror, so what’s the big deal?” Instead the ruling Fatah party called for “days of rage” and got them. What is the proper American response? To bow to threats of violence or to do what President Trump did and move forward? After all, when threats of violence and acts of violence are seen to change U.S. policy, there will be more of them. If, instead, they achieve nothing, there will be fewer of them.
Philip Carl Salzman
Frontier Centre, Dec. 11, 2017
The Canadian Government is sending $25,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is uniquely dedicated to supporting Palestine refugees. Some observers say that UNRWA actively supports Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews. Hamas controls Gaza, from which it launches rocket and tunnel attacks on Israel. “’I’m horrified,’ said Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent, who said there is ample proof that ‘massive amounts’ of UN aid have been redirected to support Palestinian military efforts against Israel. We have abundant evidence that UNRWA is part of the problem.” Conservative M.P. Andrew Scheer said that “UNRWA is an obstacle to achieving peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Canadian official policy states that “Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” The goal of Canadian aid to Gaza and the West Bank is to “support the establishment of a law-based, peaceful and prosperous society.” Canadians need to ask themselves whether Canada’s financial aid advances to cause of peace, or impedes it.
Champions of Palestine argue that Palestinians are victims of Israeli imperialism and colonialism, theft of Palestinian land, ethnic cleansing and genocide, apartheid, and white supremacy. Jewish Israelis are thus alleged to be oppressors of Palestinians, and the Palestinians are victims of Israeli oppression. It follows from this, goes the argument, that the hundred years of Palestinian mob violence and terrorism against the Jews in Palestine and Israel, the repeated invasions by Arab armies, the Palestinian and Arab refusal to engage with Israel or to “normalize” relations, the Palestinian rejection of all peace plans offered, and the continuing incitement to violence by the Palestinian Authority, are justified by the demand for Palestinian liberation from oppression. However poorly this argument fits with the facts, many Canadians seem to believe it. The demand for “liberation” from “oppression” is, however, not the same as a desire for peace. In fact, the Palestinians have multiple reasons for not wanting peace with Israel, all feeding together to strengthen one another and to reinforce the determination to reject peace:
The first reason that Palestinians reject peace with the Jewish State of Israel is the despised status of Jews in the view of Islam. Jews are viewed in the foundational texts of Islam as, at best, stubborn rejecters of the true faith, and, at worse, enemies of Islam. For 1400 years, Jews in Islamic lands had to pay heavy taxes not to be killed, accept ritual humiliation and a wide range of restrictions, and provide labour for the Islamic state, in order to claim “dhimma” protected status as subordinates. The idea that Jews could be politically independent and run their own state and society is monstrous to Islam and to many Muslims, and a violation of God’s order. The Palestinian Hamas Charter (Article 7) openly calls for the elimination not only of Israel but of all Jews everywhere: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews. (Related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).” (Hamas Charter, Article 7)
The second reason why the Palestinians reject peace with the Jewish State of Israel is that for 1400 years Palestine—so named by the Roman Empire after two centuries of wars with the Jews, to erase the names Israel and Judea—was occupied by invading Islamic forces, first the Arabs as they expanded their Empire from Europe to India, then the Ottoman Turks. Under Islamic law, lands governed by Muslims became Islamic waqf, Islamic foundations, which belong to Muslims in perpetuity. The establishment of a Jewish state on land long controlled by Muslims is thought by Muslims to be theft from God. Making peace with Jewish Israel would mean that the Palestinians would be surrendering Islamic territory to Jews, and by doing so betraying Islam and God…
[To Read the Full Article, With Footnotes, Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz
New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017
One morning last week, Argentines woke up to a political earthquake: A judge had charged a former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with “treason against the homeland,” punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Her crime? Nothing less than covering up Iran’s role in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Americas before Sept. 11. On July 18, 1994, Ibrahim Hussein Berro, an operative of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, drove a van filled with 606 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil into the Buenos Aires Jewish community center, known as AMIA. More than 300 Argentines were wounded; 85 were murdered. It remains the bloodiest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history.
From 2004 until 2015, our friend, the prosecutor Alberto Nisman, tirelessly pursued the truth behind this crime. He knew from his investigation that the attack was an Iranian-planned operation. And he determined that Ms. Kirchner was behind a cover-up designed to whitewash Iran’s role. What drove Ms. Kirchner? Argentina faced deep economic problems at the time, and the financial benefits of closer relations with Iran might have tempted her. Her government also had populist ties to Iran and the Bolivarian bloc of nations led by Venezuela. Whatever the reason, never has Ms. Kirchner been formally charged in the crime. Until now.
When the federal judge Claudio Bonadio handed down the 491-page indictment against Ms. Kirchner; her foreign minister, Hector Timerman; her handpicked intelligence chief; her top legal adviser; two pro-Iran activists; and 10 others, he didn’t mince words. He called the attack on the Jewish community center an “act of war” by Iran and accused Ms. Kirchner of covering up the role of senior Iranian leaders and their Hezbollah proxies in exchange for a trade deal. If only Alberto Nisman were alive to see justice finally being pursued.
Three years ago, Mr. Nisman was set to testify to the country’s Congress on Ms. Kirchner’s role in the cover up. The day before his testimony, on Jan. 18, 2015, he was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires, with a bullet in his head. This, despite the fact that he had a 10-man security detail paid to protect him. Within hours, Ms. Kirchner announced that Mr. Nisman had committed suicide. In the days that followed, she strangely claimed his death was part of a lovers’ spat. Finally, she changed her story once more: His death may have been the result of rogue intelligence operatives.
When we heard the news of Mr. Nisman’s death and of Ms. Kirchner’s suspected cover-up, we were horrified, but not entirely shocked. Anyone who had followed Mr. Nisman’s pursuit of this case knew that he was assuming grave risks by taking on both a terrorist state and his own government. Through a decade of investigation, Mr. Nisman received death threats against not only him but his children as well. One email he told us about had a picture of bloodied and brutalized bodies lying on the ground, with a note saying this would be the fate of his young daughters if he did not cease his investigation.
None of it stopped him. Fearless and resolute, Mr. Nisman and his team had determined that former Iranian and Hezbollah officials planned the AMIA attack. He was able to show definitively that the plan included no less than Iran’s former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; its minister of intelligence; its foreign minister; the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the head of the corps’ elite Quds force; the Iranian cultural attaché in Argentina; and the third secretary at Iran’s Embassy in Buenos Aires, as well as the former head of Hezbollah’s external security. His investigation led Interpol to issue red notices — akin to international arrest warrants — against six of the perpetrators. Argentina itself issued arrest warrants for Mr. Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati, then foreign minister, which Iran predictably disregarded.
But Mr. Nisman did not stop there. In May 2013, he released a 500-page indictment outlining how Iran had penetrated not just Argentina, but also Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, Trinidad, Tobago and Suriname, and how it used mosques, social service organizations and its own embassies to radicalize and recruit terrorists. Mr. Nisman also shared information that helped American authorities determine that Mohsen Rabbani, the Iranian embassy cultural attaché and one of the AMIA bombing masterminds, helped four men, including his disciple, a Guyanese official named Abdul Kadir, plot to blow up the fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport in New York. Mr. Kadir is serving a life sentence in the United States for the foiled plot, which could have led to the loss of countless lives.
In a normal democracy, investigating the murder of a man like Alberto Nisman would be a top priority. But Ms. Kirchner and her allies assured that justice for Mr. Nisman’s murder was stymied for years. That changed three months ago, when, under Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, a fresh investigation by the Argentine national police found that Mr. Nisman had been drugged with Ketamine, a drug used to sedate animals, then brutally beaten before he was shot in the head…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!
Most Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful and Portable: Allan Levine, CIJR, Dec. 15, 2017—No doubt many traveling readers who've carried the Hanukkah/Chanukah Menorah & candles or oil while traveling during this well-known family centered Jewish holiday can relate memorable tales of others joining in with them, when engaging in honoring this practice in public places.
WATCH: Trump Elaborates on Ancient Jewish Ties to Jerusalem at White House Chanukah Party: United With Israel, Dec. 8, 2017—President Donald Trump, addressing the annual White House Chanukah party, repeated his commitment to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. Demonstrating the ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, he told the story of Chanukah, including the miracle of the oil – “a sign of God’s presence in his dwelling place and a symbol of the faith and resilience of the Jewish people.”
List of Reasons Why all Foreign Countries Should Follow President Trump on Jerusalem: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 7, 2017—Arab and Muslim leaders and spokespersons have been trying to frighten the entire world in order to prevent other nations from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – Trump’s declaration notwithstanding – and from relocating their embassies to Jerusalem. It’s time to tell the world what it should have realized a long time ago.
Thoughts for Vice President Pence: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2017—Dear U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. As you prepare to visit Israel next week, I ask you to take a few minutes to contemplate history and to think about fate.