Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zisha Schmeltzer, Yoely Lebowitz, and Yoely Stauber, Singing in the Snow

The "KING" Mordechai Ben David, in Photos - מרדכי בן דוד המלך לנצח

Ancient Tunnel Discovered Beneath Jerusalem

The U.N. Gangs Up on Israel—Again Only a U.S. veto can prevent the adoption of a resolution that will make peace harder to achieve. ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

Although I have opposed Israel's civilian settlements in the West Bank since 1973, I strongly believe that the United States should veto a resolution currently before the U.N. Security Council that would declare illegal "all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." This condemnatory resolution is being supported by all members of the Security Council other than the U.S. So it will pass unless the U.S. exercises its veto power.
There is a big difference between a government action being unwise, which the Israeli policy is, and being illegal, which it is not. Indeed, the very Security Council resolution on which proponents of the condemnation rely makes it clear that the legal status of Israel's continued occupation isn't settled.
Passed in 1967, Resolution 242 (which I played a very small role assisting then-U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg in drafting) calls for Israel to return "territories" captured during its defensive war of 1967. The words "all" and "the" were proposed by those who advocated a complete return, but the U.S. and Great Britain, which opposed that view, prevailed.
Even partial return of captured territories is conditioned on "termination of all claims of belligerency" and "acknowledgment of the sovereignty . . . of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
Resolution 242 does not mention the rights of nonstates, such as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Hezbollah, the latter two of which do not accept the conditions of the resolution. (Nor do Iran and several other states in the region.) It would be wrong for the Security Council retroactively to rewrite Resolution 242, which is the foundation for a two-state solution—Israel and Palestine—44 years after it was enacted.
But the real reason the U.S. should veto this ill-conceived resolution is that it is inconsistent with U.S. policy, which has long advocated a negotiated resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put it: "We continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the longstanding conflict."
A negotiated resolution will require the Palestinian Authority to acknowledge that some of the land captured by Israel from Jordan, after Jordan attacked Israel, rightfully belongs to Israel. These areas include the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the Western Wall—which were illegally captured by Jordan in its aggressive and unlawful 1948 war calculated to undo the U.N.'s decision to divide the area into Jewish and Arab homelands. Additionally, there will have to be land swaps that recognize the realities on the ground. Areas such as Ma'ale Adumim and Gilo, for example, have become integral parts of Jewish Jerusalem.
Finally, Resolution 242 explicitly requires that Israel have "secure and recognized boundaries," an implicit recognition that its pre-1967 boundaries were neither secure nor recognized. Some territorial adjustments will be essential if Israel is to remain more secure than it was in the lead-up to the 1967 war.
The Palestinian Authority seems to understand at least some of these realities, as reflected in the recent disclosure of 1,600 internal documents by Al Jazeera. In one 2008 document, Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurie is quoted proposing that Israel annex all settlements in Jerusalem, with the exception of the Jewish areas of Har Homa and part of the Old City of Jerusalem. Some on the Security Council, however, clearly don't understand.
The current draft of the proposed resolution condemns "all Israeli settlement activities." Read literally, this condemnation would extend to the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and those areas that even the Palestinian Authority concedes must remain under Israeli control. Israel will not, and should not, return "all" such territories. The U.S. does not believe it should, nor do reasonable Palestinians.
So what then is the purpose of the utterly unrealistic resolution now under consideration? It simply gives cover to those Palestinians who do not want to sit down and negotiate directly with Israel. It is also a stalking horse for the Palestinian effort to secure a further U.N. resolution unilaterally declaring Palestinian statehood—a result that neither Israel nor the U.S. would recognize.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to negotiate without any preconditions. He promises generous proposals, which could lead to Palestinian statehood relatively quickly. The Palestinian Authority, however, has set preconditions to any negotiations, most specifically a second freeze on all West Bank and East Jerusalem construction. While I favor such a freeze, I do not believe that it should be a precondition to negotiations.
Let serious discussions begin immediately about the borders of the two states. As soon as the borders are decided, Israel will stop building in all areas beyond them. This is the only way toward peace. A Security Council resolution unilaterally deciding the central issue of the negotiations will only make matters worse.

Israel: the St-ART Up Nation, the newly launched web portal showcasing the vitality of Israeli film, music, literature and the visual arts, connects people with Israel and the nation beyond “the conflict.” The site is attracting a global audience, including visitors from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Indonesia.
Omanoot – “art” in Hebrew – is the brainchild of Edoe Cohen, who received a grant from the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, a worldwide network of young social entrepreneurs created by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman. Cohen worked with ROIers from around the world to develop the site.
“Everybody knows about Israeli technology and start ups, but the same creative energy is pouring into the arts,” said Cohen, 32, a serial artistic entrepreneur based in Tel Aviv who was bringing Israeli performers like Idan Raichel and HaDag Nachash to US campuses while still a university student. “We want to bring that energy to the world. Why do people fall in love with Israel? It’s not the politics. It’s the culture and the vibrancy of our society.” today spotlights Israel’s flourishing film scene, including documentaries and shorts by film students at Israel’s leading film schools (with English captions). Eventually, it will offer full-length Israeli features. In the coming months, Cohen and his 15-strong volunteer staff from North America, the UK, France and Israel will add music, literature and other visual art forms to the site.
Cohen is passionate about exposing the entire gamut of Israeli art. “Israel’s cultural diversity is remarkable,” he emphasized. “We’re committed to featuring artists of every ethnicity and religion. Nor will we shy away from art that might be critical of Israel. That’s part of being a thriving democracy.”
While is a commercial venture supported by advertising, it sponsors, its teaching and curriculum arm. Jewish  day schools and Hebrew schools in the US are using the lesson plans, as is Jerusalem’s Ma’aleh Film School.

PM's Address to the Knesset Marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Have the lessons of the Holocaust been learned?

For us, The Jewish people, the answer is yes.
For the rest of the world, the answer is no, or at least not yet.

Today, 66 years after the horror, we are here, in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of our nation.  We, the representatives of the Jewish nation, are holding a special ceremony to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

The lesson that we have learned, first of all, is that we are here, in our sovereign country, in our capital city.

We have learned another important lesson, probably the most crucial lesson to be learned from the atrocity, from the chain of atrocities that brought about one much worse; this has continued for hundreds and thousands of years, since we lost our country and our sovereignty, and since we lost our capability to defend ourselves.  The lesson learned was that we had to restore the capacity of the State and the army for self-defense. 

This lesson was understood by Herzl even before the great atrocity took place.  He foresaw it, and we implemented it.  

But there is one other lesson. At the end of the Holocaust, there were 11 million Jews in the world.  Before it, there were 18 million.

Even at a very slow rate of natural increase of the population, there should have been almost 30 million Jews in the world, but in fact, there are only 13.5 million; much less, half of what there should be.  This did not happen by physical loss; it happened because of assimilation and the loss of identity.

The only place where the Jewish people has grown is here, in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel.  We have continuous substantial and blessed growth.  There is no nation that could live on a demographic pin head.  Therefore, while cultivating our country, we must continue to encourage aliyah, bringing Jewish people to Israel, and to prevent their assimilation abroad.  All the projects that we operate – Birthright, Masa and also Moreshet – are aimed at our young adults and also young Jews abroad. They are essential elements in assuring our future. 

Have we learned the lesson?  The answer is yes.  Has the world learned the lesson?  Well, I think one thing is clear: the fact that global anti-Semitism is renewing and expanding is obvious.  If anyone thought that Anti-Semitism stopped after World War II and the Holocaust, it is now evident that it was only a hiatus.  The same forces that you mentioned joining together, share a new/old anti-Semitism with the world, and so we must fight it, globally too.  For that, I congratulate my friend Silvan Shalom, who, when serving as Foreign Minister, brought about an important United Nations resolution – marking this day, a resolution which was adopted by the UN.

This resolution is indeed implemented in many countries, which is an important achievement and in many ways also unique, at least in the ability to propose an Israeli draft resolution to this organization, which I am well familiar with, I spent a long time there.  It was a milestone.  But I still ask: does the world that condemns that anti-Semitism also condemn this anti-Semitism?

Every now and then, very feebly – it isn't just anti-Semitism; it is the regime – a member country of the UN, the regime of ayatollahs – stands up and knowingly and openly calls for the annihilation of at least another six million Jews, without even a hint of pretense.  And nobody says a thing.  Well, that's not exact. Here and there a comment might be heard, but where is the anger, the outrage?  Where is the outcry?  Where is the "J'accuse?"  I'm not asking about us.  We are here; we've learned our lessons.  But where is the global uproar that should have risen from advanced communities around the world in response to explicit declarations of genocide, of exterminating a people, that same people!

We must be honest with each other.  Diplomacy is, first and foremost, identifying the situation as it is.  If we want to change it, we must understand it.  And we have a very disturbing historical phenomenon.  I don't think that it is only hard for us, but for all civilized people, all civilized peoples, who allow such an affliction, such statements, such savagery, barbarism and primitivism to be uttered and spread.  It is said; it spreads, becomes acceptable, commonplace, and always prepares the ground for the next action and also prevents those actions that will not take place.

I am aware that there are many leaders and good-hearted, conscientious people around the world.  I know that they think what I think.  I know that in their hearts, they tell themselves what I am saying today from this podium.

However, that will not suffice.  Because in the face of this regime, that calls for our annihilation, and arms itself with weapons of mass destruction in order to fulfill its nefarious intentions, there should be a much stronger protest.  This makes me somewhat disheartened, my friend Silvan. 
I was in that institution, I served in it as the representative of Israel.  One day I heard that there were rumors about a file about Waldheim, who was then President of Austria. It might have been the Secretary-General of the UN. The Secretary-General said he had a profile about a war criminal in some UN archive.

What was this archive? It turned out that there was a war-criminal archive instituted by Churchill and the Allies during the war to collect material against Nazi criminals and their collaborators.  They gathered the information, and listened and discussed and prepared the files and at the end of the war they took these files, brought them to the UN, and locked them in the basement, where they just lay for decades. 

I asked if I could go in there, and they said "no."  I asked why, and was told that I needed the consent of all the allied countries, 18 or 19 countries, I think, and there was no such approval.  Well, it took me a year until I got the okay and was taken to the archive. 

It wasn't exactly in the basement, it was on the first floor of a UN building somewhere in New York. I walk in and see boxes upon boxes; I go to 'W,' pull out the box: Waldheim, Kurt, and various notes.  My hair stood on end (I had more hair then). Horrible things, lying there, hidden for dozens of years.  I look at the next file (I didn't start taking boxes out, it was the same box): Birkenau 1944, records of exterminations, the death marches, trains, the S.S., it's all documented.  1944, but I think I also saw files that referred to 1943. 

My friends, these 18 countries, perhaps the best statesmen in history, distinguished men, truly great men – they knew.  They knew in real time, and not from this particular testimony that I have just mentioned.  There are plenty of testimonies: terrible things that are very hard to read.  They knew, but they did not act. 

Why did they not act? Because they were busy fighting the major battle against the Nazis, which was their main concern.  But how hard would it have been to bomb the railway tracks leading to the death camps?  When you go there, and many of you have been there – I was there with some of you, several times – you see they could have bombed the camps. They were already bombing that awful chemical plant only seconds away.  They would only have needed to tilt the plane a bit and could also have bombed the ramp and two incinerators, and the tracks.  It wouldn't have made the slightest difference to their war effort.  They knew and they did nothing.

Today they are very aware of it.  They know, they hear, they see, they photograph.  You don't need special intelligence, you only need to turn on the television, hear the news, read the newspaper.  Will they act?  Will they talk?  Will they really talk?  Will they attack?  Will they condemn?  

The Iranians say that it's against the Zionists, anti-Zionism.  It was Martin Luther King who burst that bubble better than anyone else.  He said, and I quote: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semintism!"

Martin Luther King.  That's right.  So that's what the Iranians say.  But this is the truth.  It is not only a threat against us, because it always begins with the Jews but never ends with the Jews.  The hatred of Jews kindles an overall fire, and I expect that on this day, when I applaud the world for marking the most heinous crime in world history and the history of our people which was perpetrated against our people – I hope others will also learn the lesson.  We already have.

I expect the world to learn the lesson and start fighting in words and in deeds against the new anti-Semitism.  That is what I expect and I am certain, my friends, that you expect the same.

Former US Deputy A-G: Pollard didn't harm US;Philip B. Heymann asks Obama to commute agent's sentence which he calls "entirely out of line with others engaging in similar behavior."

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard did not do any damage to the United States by passing classified information to Israel, former US deputy attorney-general Philip B. Heymann wrote US President Barack Obama Wednesday in a request to commute Pollard's sentence.

Heymann is James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, the author of two books on terrorism, and director of Harvard Law School's International Center for Criminal Justice. In his letter to Obama, he became the first US official to state that he has reviewed Pollard's complete record and found no evidence that helped America's enemies.

"Pollard's conviction was justified but his sentence was entirely out of line with others engaging in similar behavior and it was made less-than-legitimate by a treacherous recommendation of the then secretary of defense [Caspar Weinberger]," Heymann wrote. "There is no evidence that Pollard intended to harm the United States or help its enemies."

Officials active in the effort to bring about Pollard's release noted that he was charged with one count of passing classified information to an ally "with no intent to harm the US." They said that "no intent to harm the US" was legalese for there being no evidence that damage was done.

Nevertheless, for years American officials claimed in the media that Pollard's actions caused damage to the US. Heymann confirms that the official record contains no evidence to support such a claim.

Heymann became the second senior Harvard Law School professor to write Obama asking for him to commute Pollard's life sentence to the more than 25 years he has already served. The first was Charles Ogletree, who was a mentor to both Obama and his wife Michelle.

"Having already served a severe sentence, Pollard is now supported by political and religious leaders across the political spectrum in seeking a commutation," Heymann wrote Obama. "I join them with deep conviction as to the justice of their shared cause."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formally and publicly requested that Obama release Pollard on January 4. Since then, Obama has not commented on the request and his spokesman only said that the request was received.

PMW: PA Libel: Israel encourages drug use among Arabs in Jerusalem

A senior Palestinian Authority official has repeated the PA libel that Israel actively supports and encourages drug use among Palestinians.

At a seminar in Bethlehem, Dr. As'ad Al-Ramlawi, Director of the PA Health Ministry's department of First Aid and Chairman of the Palestinian National Council to Fight AIDS, accused Israel of encouraging drug use among Palestinians in Jerusalem. He "noted that these authorities [Israel] encourage the Arabs who have been arrested for drugs to use [drugs], while the Jews who are imprisoned for similar crimes are rehabilitated," the official PA daily reported.

The event was organized by the PA and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The PA's Jerusalem governor, Adnan Husseini, expressed the same accusation last year:
"Unfortunately, the number of [drug] addicts and users in the city of Jerusalem and its environs is more than 15,000. This is part of the systematic attack of the occupation state [Israel], which seeks to destroy the [younger] Palestinian generation, to drown it in a cycle of violence and alienation from national identity, and to wage war against morality and good character."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), July 8, 2010]

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on the recurring accusation by the PA that Israel actively spreads drugs among Palestinians.

The following are reports in the official PA daily on the accusations by the PA officials:

Headline: "During a seminar in Bethlehem on the subject of drugs and criminal justice - a warning against the occupation's role in disseminating drugs, as is happening in Jerusalem"  
"The seminar, organized by the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, opened yesterday at the 'Dar Jasir' hotel in Bethlehem, under the title 'Development of a Plan for Integrative Cooperation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to Fight Drugs, Prevent Crime, and Renewal of Criminal Justice.' Dr. As'ad Al-Ramlawi, Director of [the Health Ministry's department of] First Aid and Chairman of the National Council to Fight AIDS... announced that one out of three youths in Jerusalem uses drugs. He accused the occupation authorities of encouraging [drug] use in Jerusalem, and noted that these authorities encourage the Arabs who have been arrested for drugs to use [drugs], while the Jews who are imprisoned for similar crimes are rehabilitated."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 11, 2011]

"Under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs, a day seminar [was held in] Izariyeh about the drugs plague. [PA] Jerusalem governor Adnan Husseini said: 'Unfortunately, the number of [drug] addicts and users in the city of Jerusalem and its environs is more than 15,000. This is part of the systematic attack of the occupation state [Israel], which seeks to destroy the [younger] Palestinian generation, to drown it in a cycle of violence and alienation from national identity, and to wage war against morality and good character.' Executive Director of the Administration for Social Affairs, Badran Badir... called to invest additional efforts in order to diminish the scope of this phenomenon, which is impacting on our people and on its strength, and which the occupation [Israel] is exploiting for its own purposes."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), July 8, 2010]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SERAPHIC SECRET: Ground Zero Imam: “Apostates Against Islam Must be Jailed”

Liberals pride themselves on their tolerance and support of moderate Muslims. But let's explore this for a minute.
Can a liberal be trusted to distinguish between a moderate and an Islamist?
Apparently not, because the Ground Zero Mosque, a blatant example of Islamic supremism, is constantly invoked by liberals as a fine example of moderate Islam.
Pop Quiz: Does anyone discuss moderate Judaism or moderate Christianity?
Of course not. Because Judaism and Christianity are not built on ideologies that demand the subjugation or annihilation of those who do not share their beliefs.
But we constantly hear about moderate Muslims, which in and of itself is an admission that radical Muslims are, um, somewhat prominent.
The truth is, there are moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. Those who are moderate do so in defiance of Islam, which, as practised, is cruel, oppressive, despotic, intolerant and imperialistic.
And to those who support the Ground Zero Mosque, we point to their second Imam who is just as cruel, intolerant, oppressive, despotic, intolerant and imperialistic as their first Imam. In short, a stealth Salafist.
Those who leave Islam and preach against the Muslim religion must be jailed, declared the imam who has become the new face of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City.
"If someone leaves the din, leaves the path privately, they cannot be touched. If someone preaches about apostasy, or preaches their views, they're jailed," stated Imam Abdallah Adhami in a November lecture obtained and reviewed by WND.
Adhami was discussing the Quranic view of apostasy, or Muslims who decide to leave the Islamic religion.
According to Shariah, or Islamic law, the consensus view in Sunni Islam is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted against his will.
Full story here.

Hezbullah has enough votes to take over Lebanon

ISRAEL MATZAV: Alan Dershowitz rips J Street over the 'blood libel' charge

Alan Dershowitz goes after J Street for its criticism of Sarah Palin's use of the term 'blood libel,' on the one hand, and its silence in the face of even worse references to the Holocaust by Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tn), Norman Finkelstein and other on the Left. I recommend that you read the whole thing. Here's his bottom line.
Yet, although J Street, which claims to be a pro-Israel lobby, went out of its way to criticize Palin's remarks, it has not leveled comparable criticism against Finkelstein and other prominent leftists who abuse the language of Jewish suffering. The reason is obvious: Many J Street supporters adore Finkelstein, cheer him at his lectures and echo his demonization of Israel. J Street does not go after Finkelstein for the same reason it refused to go after Richard Goldstone: If it did, it would lose support from many on the hard left, which it is trying to cultivate. (One of J Street's leading activist and supporters, Letty Pogrebin, has praised Goldstone as a modern day prophet and supported the most egregious statements made in his report.)

Why J Street felt it necessary to enter the kerfuffle about the use of blood libel may not be obvious to those who actually believe that J Street is a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby that limits its activities to issues surrounding the Israeli Arab conflict. After all, J Street does not claim to be in the business of defending the Jewish people against defamation as does the ADL. Nor is it a protector of Jewish sensitivities as is the Wiesenthal Center. But to those of us who understand what J Street really is, its attack on Palin makes perfect sense. J Street is a lobby for the Democratic Party in general and for the Obama Administration in particular. That's why it doesn't deviate from the Obama line, doesn't criticize the Obama Administration, and doesn't miss an opportunity to dump on Republicans, even those who support Israel.

J Street will respond to this charge of a double standard by arguing that Sarah Palin is a prominent public figure, a potential presidential candidate, while Finkelstein and others on the hard left who abuse the language of Jewish suffering are marginal figures. But that misses the mark. Those of us who are liberals have a special obligation to criticize abusers of the left, just as those who are conservatives have a special obligation to criticize abusers of the right, such as Patrick Buchanan. It's too easy for J Street to pile on when the alleged abuser is a conservative Republican. It's far more difficult, and costly, for J Street to go after fellow leftists who abuse language, especially those with large followings among its supporters. But that is their responsibility if they are to assume the role of protector of Jewish sensibilities. I doubt it is a role they are willing to assume, except when it serves the interests of their real clients: the Democratic Party, the Obama Administration and the left. That is why they went after Sarah Palin, even though her remarks had nothing to do with Israel or peace.

Any genuine lobby group for Israel and for peace must assure that support for Israel and for peace remains a bipartisan concern. J Street wants to turn it into a partisan wedge issue that divides Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, young and old. That's why they focus so much criticism against Republicans who support Israel. Such divisions do not serve the interests of peace or Israeli security.
Unfortunately, much of the Jewish community (including a lot of the comments and emails I get) seems to be afflicted with Palin Derangement Syndrome. It's good to see someone like Dershowitz - who was still considered a liberal the last time I checked - put them in their place.

Agudas Yisroel Writes to Obama for Pollard’s Release

Agudath Yisroel of America recently submitted a lengthy letter to the president explaining why it believes Jonathan Pollard should be released at this time.
In accordance with a directive received from our Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah a few years ago, Agudah is calling on friends and supporters to convey to the White House their support for clemency for Jonathan Pollard.  Contact information is as follows: 202-456-1414 or202-456-1111.
The Agudah letter is as follows:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC  20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization, I wish to renew our longstanding humanitarian plea that Jonathan Pollard, who has already served 25 years of his life sentence, be granted executive clemency.  We have made this plea to several presidents over the years - but with each passing year that Mr. Pollard languishes in prison, the urgency of the plea is compounded.
We acknowledge, as we always have, that Pollard’s crime was extremely serious.  But we maintain, also as we always have, that the exceptional severity of his sentence is troubling.  His espionage took place during a time of peace.  The country for which he was charged with spying, Israel, was and is a staunch ally of the United States.  He received his sentence after a plea bargain, not a trial.  Each of these factors, on its own, should have softened the harshness of his sentence; taken collectively, they render his sentence of life in prison virtually incomprehensible.
Indeed, the 25 years Pollard has already served - let alone the life sentence imposed upon him - is entirely out of line with sentences served by others convicted of spying for friendly governments.  As Representative Barney Frank and 38 of his colleagues wrote to you last month:
We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served - or not served at all - by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us. It is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.
We respectfully add our voice to those of Representative Frank and his colleagues in asking you to recognize that Jonathan Pollard has more than adequately repaid his debt to society through the quarter-century he has already spent in federal prison.  The length of his incarceration, considering the nature of his crime and the fact that he entered into a plea bargain, is itself a compelling justification for the humanitarian exercise of your executive clemency authority.
There are, however, two additional factors that strongly militate in favor of clemency: the fact that the government, in a variety of ways, did not play fair in the process leading up to the imposition of Pollard’s life sentence; and the fact that Pollard lost his opportunity to appeal his life sentence due solely to his own attorney’s shoddy lawyering.  It is fair to assume that Pollard is still sitting in jail today only because both the government and his lawyer deviated from the norms that characterize our system and sense of American justice.  There is something very wrong with that picture, and we respectfully ask you to set it right.
Let me elaborate on these two additional points:
1.   The Government’s Troubling Conduct:   After entering into a plea bargain agreement with Pollard, the government proceeded in a manner that was in substantial tension with the commitments it had made under the agreement.  In the words of Judge Stephen Williams, the dissenting vote in the 1992 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals 2-1 ruling rejecting Pollard’s §2255 motion to withdraw his guilty plea:
On its side, the government made three promises of significance here.  First, it would bring to the court’s attention “the nature, extent and value of [Pollard's] cooperation and testimony” and would represent that the information supplied was of “considerable value to the Government’s damage assessment analysis, its investigation of this criminal case, and the enforcement of the espionage laws.”  Second, it would not ask for a life sentence (this promise was implicit but is not contested by the government), though it would be free to recommend a “substantial period of incarceration”.  Third, the government limited its reserved right of allocution to “the facts and circumstances” of Pollard’s crimes.  The government complied in spirit with none of its promises; with the third, it complied in neither letter nor spirit. [United Statesv. Pollard, 959 F2d 1011, 1034 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (Williams, J., dissenting) (citations omitted; emphasis added).]
These factors led Judge Williams to describe the government’s conduct as “a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” 1032.
The two judges who formed the court’s majority disagreed with their colleague’s bottom line, but they too acknowledged “the grudging nature of the government’s compliance,” 959 F.2d at 1026; that “the government’s presentation was certainly not generous - it could well be thought stingy,” id.; and that “the government was engaged in rather hard-nosed dealings with the defendant,” id. at 1030.  The majority took note of the “rather polemical tone” of Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s pre-sentencing memorandum to the district judge, id. at 1017, conceding that the Secretary’s words might accurately be characterized as “rank hyperbole.”  Id. at 1025. The majority did not disagree that the government’s unflattering description of Pollard’s character and motivation constituted a breach of its pledge to limit its allocution to the “facts and circumstances” of the case; it merely held that any such breach, “troublesome” though it may be (id. at 1026), did not rise to the level of a “fundamental defect” in the sentence that resulted in a “complete miscarriage of justice” sufficient to warrant §2255 collateral relief.  Id. at 1028.
The government’s inappropriate handling of the case after it entered into the plea agreement extends beyond the manner in which it carried out its terms of the bargain with Pollard. As I pointed out in an article I wrote for the June 1997 Middle East Quarterly, it was only after the government had secured Pollard’s guilty plea that it began speaking in terms of the harm Pollard caused to the United States.  Pollard’s indictment had charged him under the federal law that makes it a crime to deliver defense information “to the advantage of a foreign nation” - conspicuously avoiding charging him under the parallel law that makes it a crime to deliver such information “to the injury of the United States.”  Pollard thus had good reason to assume, when he agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge of spying for an ally where there had been no charge of harm to the United States, that he would receive something less than a life sentence.
After his plea, though, the government began to sing a different tune, essentially converting the charge from the less morally culpable crime of benefiting a foreign nation to the more serious crime of injuring the United States.  Thus, as elaborated in the afore-mentioned Middle East Quarterly article, the government submitted a Victim Impact Statement that spoke in various ways of the harm Pollard had caused to American interests; Secretary Weinberger submitted a declaration raising the specter that Pollard had endangered American lives; and then, in a second submission on the eve of sentencing, the Secretary went so far as to accuse Pollard of “treason” - a legal term that Article III, Section 3 of our Constitution defines as levying war against the United States or aiding America’s enemies.
What happened, in other words, is that the government leveled a charge of lesser moral magnitude against Pollard, secured his guilty plea, and then post-facto changed the focus of the sentencing process by upping the ante on Pollard’s crime.  This may have been clever prosecutorial strategy - but it was not fair play.
2.   Pollard’s Lawyer’s Failure to Appeal the Sentence:  There is yet another reason why there is something fundamentally unfair about Pollard’s life sentence.  It is by now clear that Pollard’s original lawyer made a number of serious tactical mistakes in his representation of Pollard - most egregiously his failure directly to appeal Pollard’s life sentence.
The devastating consequences of that failure are spelled out quite clearly in the D.C. Court of Appeals’ aforementioned 2-1 ruling against Pollard’s §2255 motion to withdraw his guilty plea, in which the majority point out that “in a §2255 collateral challenge, an appellant, in order to gain relief under any claim, is obliged to show a good deal more than would be sufficient on a direct appeal from his sentence. §2255 is not a substitute for a direct appeal.  …The mood, atmosphere or ‘rhetoric’ of the government’s allocution - upon which the dissent relies - might justify relief on direct appeal of the sentence, but it is unlikely to satisfy the rigorous test of §2255.” (United States v. Pollardsupra, 959 F.2d at 1020, 1029-30 [emphasis added].)  In other words, had Pollard’s lawyer decided directly to appeal the life sentence on the grounds that the government had breached the plea bargain agreement, chances are that he would have prevailed on that appeal.  But the lawyer, for whatever reason (or for no reason), did not file an appeal - and the rest is tragic history. It is therefore fair to ask as a matter of simple justice whether Pollard should be made to suffer such severe consequences - spending the rest of his life in prison - as a result of his lawyer’s egregious mistake.
That Pollard committed an extremely serious crime and deserved to pay for it is clear.  But it is also clear that for a man to spend his entire life in prison based on questionable tactics by the government in its prosecution of a case and an inexplicable blunder by his lawyer simply does not comport with fundamental fairness.  It may be too late, under the applicable statutes of limitations, for a court of law to allow Pollard to withdraw his guilty plea or appeal his sentence on the basis of these considerations. United Statesv. Pollard, 290 F. Supp. 2d 153 (D.D.C. 2003). But it is not too late for the President of the United States to take them into account when considering Pollard’s clemency application.  The genius of our constitutional system is that the Chief Executive has the power, entirely independent of the courts, to act in a humanitarian manner that upholds our nation’s most noble traditions of fair play and compassionate justice.  This is a case that screams out for the exercise of such humanitarian executive authority.
Let me conclude with a simple plea from the heart.  By no means does Agudath Israel of America condone what Pollard did.  He is no hero.  But he committed his crime more than a quarter-of-a-century ago.  He has expressed remorse for his actions.  He has languished in prison for 25 years.  He is in declining health.  He is a broken man. We respectfully echo the words of former CIA director James Woolsey:  ”He’s served long enough.”
During this holiday season, Mr. President, Agudath Israel of America implores you, respectfully but urgently, to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
Many thanks for your consideration of this plea - and many thanks for your courageous leadership of our great nation.  As always, you have our blessings and every good wish.
Rabbi David Zwiebel, Esq.
Executive Vice President

Monday, January 24, 2011


Super Nanny helps skvere couple from collapse

Gross Jewish Candy

Bluejay: Musical Child Prodigy

Jay Greenberg signed his compositions "Bluejay" because that particular bird was small and made a lot of noise -- just like him. Jay says that music came to him, fully composed all the time. He couldn't turn it off. His professors say they had never seen anything like it before, and in terms of historical context, nothing like his talent had been seen or heard since the likes of Mozart, Mendelssohn or Saint-Saens.

His father, Robert Greenberg, is a professor of Slavic languages at Yale University. His Israeli-born mother also has no musical background, but Jay found himself attracted to music from an early age, having begun playing the cello at the age of two.

Although i haven't found it not clearly written it seems obvious that he is Jewish. 

JERUSALEM 2111 Last Stand

Allen West condemns PLO flag in Washington

Freshman Representative Allen West (R-Fl) has joined House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwomanIleana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) in condemning the PLO flag flying in Washington (Hat Tip: The Right Scoop).
The office of U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, says the freshman congressman is publicly condemning the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, for raising its flag outside its offices in the nation's capital.

"The raising of this flag is an attempt to legitimize an organization with a known history of terrorist actions," West said, in a written news release.

"By allowing this flag to be flown, the United States is extending a diplomatic right that we refrain from offering to even our own allies, like Taiwan. This action is a diplomatic slap in the face of our greatest of allies, Israel."

He was joined by another South Florida congressperson and fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in condemning the flag-raising. They're asking President Obama and the Department of State's Foreign Missions to yank back the permission that was given to the PLO to raise it.
Make that two representatives who understand that the PLO is still a terrorist organization. Do I hear three?

Jew York

This is the thing about TV, especially something wit the immediacy of a newscast – you’re always this close to a massive screwup. WLKY, a Louisville-based station, experienced an unfortunate brush with this reality while giving viewers a rundown of yesterday’s AFC Championship Game.
The unfortunate chyron writer either needs to watch their typos or their hatred of East Coast “elites” after letting this graphic get on the air.
We’re pretty sure the football Jets do not hail from the town of “Jew York.” Yes, the graphic says the Jets are from “Jew York.”

An Israeli Mobile Phone Provider's Hasidic Blues

An Israeli mobile phone provider is in trouble over an aborted ad campaign aimed at Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Cellcom [1], the country's most popular mobile carrier, received a rare order from the Israeli Communications Ministry to stop a marketing campaign targeted at haredi (ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic) Jews. The laws of the Middle Eastern country grant the Communications Ministry wide latitude to intervene in the business practices of mobile phone providers.
The trouble comes from a price war between Cellcom and Mirs [2], a smaller mobile carrier with extensive ties to the haredi community. Mirs has become popular among Israel's haredi Jews thanks to their aggressive marketing of kosher phones [3]--inexpensive handsets that are crippled in order to disable their text messaging, voice mail, gaming and application functionality.
While most kosher phones are blocked from accessing the internet entirely, several high-end models permit access to a handful of websites approved by influential haredi rabbis.
In a legal development that would be unlikely to arise in the United States, Mirs filed a cease and desist order against a Cellcom marketing campaign targeting haredi Jews. Surprisingly, the Communications Ministry acted on their behalf and forced Cellcom to end their haredi marketing campaign [4].
Mirs alleges that Cellcom's intentional poaching of their customers violated Israeli law. According to Gad Perez of the Israeli business daily Globes, “the ministry based its decision on the grounds that if Cellcom had targeted the haredi community as a whole, it would not have intervened, but the direct targeting of Mirs' customers violated the terms of Cellcom's license.” According to a letter sent by Mirs to the Communications Ministry, Cellcom's pricing plans were “predatory.”
Cellcom was offering a highly-discounted package to haredi customers which included 2,000 minutes of airtime a month for US$10, a handset rebate and compensation for any costs incurred by changing carriers.
Israel has approximately 730,000 haredi Jews. Haredi clergy have largely frowned upon the use of mobile phones while accepting them as a necessary evil. One influential rabbi, Ovadiah Yosef of the theocratic-leaning Shas parry, formulated a missive urging yeshiva students to avoid purchasing smartphones [5]:
We heard of small, new devices that let you watch movies and surf the internet, heaven forbid, and reach all sorts of foul places--in one instant a man can stumble and fall, heaven forbid, to the bottom of the pit […] Therefore […] we urge [you] to keep as far away from these dangerous devices as possible, keep restraint and beware.
Other statements made by the sometimes controversial Rabbi Yosef have targeted women, homosexuals, atheists, liberals, Arabs and Jews of Eastern European descent.
Mirs specifically targeted the haredi community with a series of pricing plans that catered towards members' lifestyles with low monthly subscription fees, cheap extra handsets and free minutes monthly for all family members. Haredi Jews, following the Biblical injunction to “be fruitful and multiply,” traditionally have had large families. A large portion of the Haredi community lives on public assistance [6], which has also assisted Mirs in market penetration through low-cost, no-frills plans.
Micromarketing of custom-tailored mobile phone plans to specific demographics is common practice in Israel among all mobile providers. These include special phone plans tailored towards soldiers [7],Arabs [8] and Israelis working in foreign countries [9].
Cellcom did not incur any fines or penalties due to the Communications Ministry's ruling.
[Image by Wikipedia user Effib [10]]
Follow the author of this article, Neal Ungerleider, on Twitter [11].

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE by Rabbi Berel Wein

Even though Tu B’Shvat occurred last week I still have figs, dates and other fruits in prominent display in my kitchen. So, I do not feel too guilty about writing this belated article about the day of Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for the trees of our beloved land. Throughout the years of the Jewish exile, the day of Tu B’Shvat falling in the midst of the winter season served as a heartening reminder of our unbreakable connection to our land and eating its fruits confirmed the holiness of Israel, the people and the land.

I remember that as a child in the freezing Chicago winters, my parents would insist on my eating a piece of “boksar” – carob – to commemorate Tu B’Shvat. The “boksar” was hard as a rock and tasteless as wood. Yet I noticed that my parents, Jews of an earlier generation who were born before there was a State of Israel or a time when free and open worship was really allowed at the Western wall without Arab or government interference, ate their pieces of “boksar” slowly and with great affection.

 Only later in my life did I realize that eating that piece of “boksar” validated their hope and belief that the Land of Israel would yet flourish and grow under Jewish sovereignty and that the vineyards and orchards of the land promised to us by our prophets would become abundant reality.

Every society needs physical symbols to validate its faiths and aspirations. That is why countries have flags and seals. The fruits of the Land of Israel became the flag and seal of the Jewish people vis a vis its beloved homeland even when there was little Jewish population and no Jewish sovereignty present there. The pieces of fruit served to remind Jews of who they were and where they came from and most importantly where they really were heading.

In 1882 Baron Edmond de Rothschild’s Carmel (East) Wine Company produced its first bottles of wine in Rishon L’Ziyon. At that time Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (Netziv) was the rav and head of the famed yeshiva in Volozhin in then Lithuania. He was also the titular chairman of the Chovevei Tziyon – The Lovers of Zion – the organization that encouraged Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel and helped support monetarily the nascent but growing population of the “yishuv hayashan” – the pre-Zionist settlers in the Land of Israel of the nineteenth century.

His nephew, Rabbi Baruch HaLevi Epstein (the author of Torah Temima, a popular commentary to the Torah) lived with his uncle and aunt in their home while being a very young student at the yeshiva. He recorded for us in his writings that the Carmel Wine Company sent a bottle of wine from its fist production efforts to Rabbi Berlin in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the Jewish settlers in the Land of Israel.

When that bottle of Israeli wine finally reached the small village of Volozhin and was delivered to the house of Rabbi Berlin, the great rabbi entered his bedroom and changed into his Shabat garments in honor of a bottle of wine produced by Jews from the grapes of the Holy Land and upon which all of the agricultural mitzvoth of the Torah had been fulfilled.

I have often thought about this vignette when I hear observant Jews say they prefer wines from France, Argentina, Chile, Australia, South Africa, California, etc. over Israeli wines. They just don’t get it. The lesson of the “boksar” of Tu B’Shvat has apparently not yet taken hold in their souls and psyches.

So Tu B‘Shvat is not just a date (no pun intended) on the Jewish calendar year. It represents our undying and never failing attachment to the Land of Israel. It connects us to the two thousand year old entry in the Mishna that called the day of fifteen Shvat the New Year for trees in the Land of Israel.

The day is a slight holiday in Jewish ritual and synagogue service. I still ate “boksar” this year and its taste has not really materially improved. Yet I enjoyed every bite and I again saw my parents eating it with me. Though there were many other tastier and more delicious Israeli fruits on the table before me, none carried with them the emotional message in my heart that the “boksar” piece did.

So to me the message of Tu B’Shvat did not end last week with the passing of the day.  Rather it serves every day to strengthen our claim to this piece of holy ground and to confirm the great times – each person under his vine and fig tree in security and happiness – that was promised to us by our prophets.