Friday, March 28, 2008

RJC: Gen. McPeak Must Be Removed

Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2008) -- Today the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) again called on Sen. Barack Obama to remove Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak as his military advisor and national campaign co-chairman.

"General McPeak attempted to backtrack from the offensive comments he has made about the political influence of American Jewry by conducting an exclusive interview yesterday with ShalomTV. Yet more telling are the comments General McPeak made to The Oregonian on Wednesday, March 26 when he said he 'stood by his position that U.S. policy in the Mideast is influenced by pro-Israeli voters'" said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.

"The issue is not whether American Jews have any influence, the issue is who is to blame for the problems in the Middle East. General McPeak blamed American Jews in 2003 and he blames them still today. It is painfully clear he does not understand the offensive nature of these comments," said Brooks.

"While Senator Obama's campaign has said that he disagrees with General McPeak's comments about the power of pro-Israeli voters, campaign statements are not enough. If Senator Obama genuinely disagrees, than it is incumbent upon him to take action and immediately remove General McPeak as military advisor and national campaign co-chairman," said Brooks.

On Tuesday, the RJC issued a statement calling on Sen. Obama to remove Gen. McPeak, citing a 2003 interview with The Oregonian.

Discussing Middle East politics in the interview, Gen. McPeak stated, "We don't have a playbook for the Middle East. You know, for instance, obviously, a part of that long-term strategy would be getting the Israelis and the Palestinians together at... something other than a peace process. Process is not a substitute for achievement or settlement. And even so, the process has gone off the tracks, but the process isn't enough."
The Oregonian interviewer asked Gen. McPeak whether the problem in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict originated with the White House or the State Department.
"So where's the problem?" the interviewer asked.

Gen. McPeak replied, "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."

"Rather than putting the blame where it belongs -- on the Palestinian leadership and their continued reliance on terror, General McPeak finds it more convenient to blame American Jewry and their perceived influence. This is the same dangerous and disturbing canard being promoted by the likes of Jimmy Carter and authors Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby," said Brooks.


Final Vote on Resolution Recognizing Jewish Refugees Set for Monday


This is the last hurrah for the JJAC--and a great way to go out on a bang!

They will be changing, forever, the discussion of middle eastern refugees--and, hopefully, encouraging a discussion of what has really happened over the past 60 years.

Yes, there were some displaced arabs, but the overwhelming evidence is that there are NO JEWS in most of the arab countries and MANY ARABS in Israel--which points to to the fact that it was the arabs and not the Jews who committed large scale "ethnic cleansing" of their countries--eliminating all Jewish presence in lands that had a historic Jewish community--and taking the lands, valuables, and money of the Jews they pushed out of their countries.

It is about time that the historical record was set straight. Jews are a tiny group of people in a tiny country surrounded by huge countries full of arabs.

Final Vote on Congressional Resolution Recognizing Rights For Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries


CONTACT: Shira Dicker 917.403.3989

WASHINGTON, DC (March 28, 2008) - A dramatic shift in United States policy is on the horizon as the House of Representatives will vote Monday on H.Res.185, which would grant first-time-ever recognition to Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

A phone-in press conference is planned for Monday afternoon, March 31st at 4 pm, EST. Congressional Dial-in number is (866) 914-0429, Access code: 863143#.

Participating will be: Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY); and Congressman Mike Ferguson (R-NJ).

Prior to the adoption of H.Res.185, all resolutions on Middle East refugees referred only to Palestinians. H.Res.185 affirms that all victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict must be treated with equality, including Jewish, Christian and other refugees from countries in the Middle East. It further urges that the President and US officials participating in Middle East discussions must ensure: "That any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees is matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees, as a matter of law and equity."

The Resolution will be the strongest declaration on the rights of Jewish refugees that were displaced from Arab countries. H.Res.185 underscores the fact that Jews living in Arab countries suffered human rights violations, were uprooted from their homes, and were made refugees. The resolution further declares that, "it would be inappropriate and unjust for the United States to recognize rights for Palestinian refugees without recognizing equal rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

Underscoring the importance of H.Res.185, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) stated, "When the Middle East peace process is discussed, Palestinian refugees are often addressed. However, Jewish refugees outnumbered Palestinian refugees, and their forced exile from Arab lands must not be omitted from public discussion on the peace process. It is simply not right to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of Jewish refugees."

Monday's vote follows on the heels of H.Res.185 being unanimously adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on February 27, 2008. A copy of H.Res.185 and a complete Media Kit is available at

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries is a coalition of 77 Jewish communities and organizations in 20 countries, operating under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Sephardi Federation, in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai Brith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the World Sephardic Congress.

Six Amazing Stories of Survival


One of the longest things I have ever posted, but well worth the read! These are amazing stories of survival amid the horrors of the holocaust--and how those survivors committed themselves to the creation of the new State of Israel. This makes me wonder where this sense of sacrifice and commitment went--why are today's leaders so lacking in this heroic sense of selfless Zionism? What happened to this dream??

(If you are looking to skip his story, I highly suggest going to the archive list to click on the next one--this is a REALLY LONG post.)

Realizing the dream: Six Bay Area men and the founding of a nation
by joe eskenazi
staff writer

In the beginning, the Torah tells us, God created heaven and earth. The oceans were made to teem with life and the land blessed with seed-bearing fruit. God said,

“Let there be light,” and there was light.

This is a clean and efficient way to do business. God, notably, did not say, “Let there be a modern Jewish state.” The creation of that, 60 years ago, required immeasurable toil, guile, sacrifice and blood.

Israel was not born through a pronouncement from God or man, but by the efforts of thousands of people.

Many Bay Area men and women put their lives on the line for Israel in 1948.

There are countless stories. Here are six.

David Apfelbaum

David Apfelbaum shifts uncomfortably in his chair — and it really is his chair, as he is sitting at the counter of David’s Deli in San Francisco. He is the eponymous David.

When asked why he would risk his life for the nascent state of Israel, he leans close and speaks in a grave voice barely above a whisper.

“I can tell you one little thing — if you want to hear.

“When I was almost 11 years old, I was in a camp, in Poland, a subdivision of Majdanek. I was hanged.”

He pauses. “By my hands. From a tree. They wanted me to shout out all kinds of things. I knew they would shoot me anyway, and I was a very stubborn child. So I wasn’t going to shout. They took bayonets and put them into my body. I have 18 holes.

“This one,” he says gruffly, jamming a finger right between his eyes, into the now-apparent crater, “you can see.”

Apfelbaum was ripped from the tree and kicked to a bloody pulp. He was hurled into a cramped cellar filled three-quarters of the way to the ceiling with rancid water. For three days and nights he crouched in the bilge, only trotted out twice a day to receive 25 lashes across the back.

“The last time, I could barely hear. My ears, they are full of blood. I had the map of Europe all over my body. A bloody map of Europe. That is my joke,” he says, not smiling.

Finally, with Apfelbaum half-conscious on the ground, a low-ranking SS man asked the camp commandant, “What should we do with this dog?”

“Shoot him” was the immediate reply.

“But he is already dead.”

Apfelbaum was tossed into a chamber amid 50 or 60 rotting corpses. He clawed his way out of the pile of murdered Jews and hid for weeks under barracks, still in the concentration camp.

“And then, you know, typhus.” The 79-year-old sighs and looks down at his wrinkled palms on the counter. “Anyway, I am alive.”

So, in retrospect, it was an easy decision for Apfelbaum to flout international law and smuggle children to pre-state Israel. What’s the worst they could do to a man who’d already seen the worst of it?

“No,” he corrects gently. “I did not see the worst of it. I went through the worst of it.”

After the war, Apfelbaum studied at German universities and taught Hebrew literature in Jewish schools. That was, as he puts it, his “not-secret life.”

Yet after the sun slipped beneath the horizon, he would duck away into the shadows as a secret agent of Bricha (Hebrew for “flight” and “escape”), the clandestine Jewish organization that ferried Jews into pre-state Israel.

A typical group would be 30 or 40 kids from a refugee camp, but sometimes there were 80 or more. Apfelbaum might load them into a train, flatbed trucks or horse carts, or they might even walk all night. But, in the end, he’d pass them on to the next Bricha agent as the children continued their journey to Israel. It would take dozens of men like Apfelbaum to slowly shepherd the kids from Poland down to Italy, where they took to the sea.

“There was one time when we had 85 or 86 youngsters moving from Czechoslovakia to Western Germany. And all of a sudden, I heard some dogs barking. So I must admit, I did something crazy,” he says.

“I started a fire. I figured [the police] would run toward the fire, so I told the children to run the other direction.”

Apfelbaum spoke many languages — German, Russian, Czech, Hungarian and Romanian just for starters — and he had a passport for each nation.

“One of the names was very funny,” he says with a wry smile.

“You know, we didn’t have any butter at that time, so we used the Hebrew word; one of my names was Chemovich, which means ‘the butter man.’”

Another passport was for Kemachovicz, which loosely translates as “flour and butter man” in Slovakian.

“We used to joke and laugh about those names.”

Decades later — and decades ago — Apfelbaum was touring Tel HaShomer hospital near Tel Aviv (“I have been to Israel 56 times,” he notes matter-of-factly). There he was waylaid by some of the hospital’s functionaries who seemed eager to show him a new X-ray machine. So he acquiesced and walked into the darkened room.

When the lights snapped on, Apfelbaum found himself surrounded by young doctors and army officers and Israeli civilians. They were his children — the children he had smuggled into Israel.

“At this party, there were more than 300 of them,” he says, a faraway look in his eyes. “But there are much, much more than that.”

In Apfelbaum’s life, there are no simple answers. So when asked what Israel means to him, he sat for a long time.

“OK, I’ll tell you a little story,” he says.

Apfelbaum takes off his rectangular spectacles, and for just a moment, he rubs the corners of his red eyes.

“The last time I was in Israel was for the funeral of one of my best friends — actually, he called me his brother — David Elazar. We called him Dado.”

Elazar, who would eventually become the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, was chief of the Northern Command during the Six-Day War in 1967. Apfelbaum was in Israel at the time, and Elazar drove him to the Western Wall almost immediately after its capture.

Twenty years earlier, Apfelbaum had somehow escaped the furnace that incinerated thousands of years of European Jewry virtually in its totality. Yet now he walked, stiffly, toward the holiest site in all Judaism. Elazar trailed a few steps behind snapping pictures.

“I didn’t know I was doing this, but later he showed me the film. First, I am walking very slowly, like a man on ice. And then, the closer I come to it, I am walking faster.”

“And at the end — I am running.”

Dr. Bernard Kaufman

Vienna, 1920. Bernard Kaufman was a 6-year-old boy with wavy red hair and watery blue eyes. A portrait of him from the time — outfitted in a navy blue sailor suit, with his hands on his hips — hangs over the mantelpiece of his San Francisco home, all these years later.

Kaufman was out on a walk around town with his father, a doctor, when a barrage of insults clustered around the word “Juden” shattered the morning calm. Father and son were approached by three soldiers on leave from the Austrian army. The trio had had little luck against the Allies; their odds were looking much better against the Kaufmans.

Spit hit the cobblestones, fists were clenched and the attack began. But

this story will not end how you think it will.

“They attacked my father, and I never saw anything like it. My father, he knew how to fight, you know, and he came close to killing three people. He smashed them to bits. This was unbelievable. I still have it — the memory of it is vivid,” Kaufman, now 94, says in a near-whisper.

“The last man, my father hit him so hard I saw the jaw smashed and the bones breaking. And I was a child , so …” At this point, Kaufman loudly emits a noise somewhere between a laugh and a sob. “I didn’t know what to do. But I had to protect my father. So, I put my arms around the man and bit him in the tuchus. It must have been terrible, because he screamed and screamed and he couldn’t get me loose.

“Friends of those three soldiers eventually came and carried them out. What became of them, I do not know.”

Kaufman leans back on his couch, drained by the intense memory. His family did not need the subsequent ascent of European anti-Semitism to become ardent Zionists — yet they bore its brunt nevertheless.

You could say young Bernard Kaufman had his principles beaten into him. He was beaten on the way to school. He was beaten at school, and he was beaten on the way home. He was beaten on the streets, on the trams and in the marketplace. On one occasion, a gang of thugs set upon him after he failed to doff his cap as he walked past a Catholic church. On other days, large boys held him down while a smaller boy jammed a fistful of ham into Kaufman’s mouth. These memories, too, are crystal clear.

But not every recollection of youth is violent and foul. Kaufman smiles when he remembers the 1923 World Zionist Congress, which his family attended in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia. “There was a tremendous ado because while the caucus was in session, President Harding died. So the American delegation formed a special committee to memorialize the president.”

Hundreds of Jews packed the hall. Many of them had walked there from parts unknown, as they couldn’t afford a railroad ticket.

In 1928, Kaufman’s father completed his medical studies and moved the family back to San Francisco (where Bernard was born in 1914), missing the pogroms and desperation that were to follow. Kaufman graduated from Stanford University and Tulane medical school before being drafted into the Army as a medical officer.

His Zionist activism was put on hold as he careened throughout Europe tending to the wounds of American soldiers — at least as far as his superiors knew.

“I became active in trying to get people into Palestine, and I arranged for transportation and food — illegally, of course. All illegally.

“We were successful in some cases, of moving a significant number of people. One time, we moved 3,000.”

When asked how many organizers that required, he grinned.

“Three. There were two shlichim — these were people who came from Palestine to help organize the refugees. And these people were so damn tough. There was absolutely nothing that could hold them back or block their efforts. And they contacted me and asked me to be of help.”

If Kaufman’s activities had been exposed, he risked a probable court-martial. When asked how this would have affected his subsequent medical career, the doctor answered economically: “Adversely.”

He returned to San Francisco, where he was an internal medicine specialist for 54 years. His memories of the late 1940s are, once again, “crystal clear.” There were the days he walked into every Jewish business on Geary from the ocean to downtown looking for donations to the Zionist Organization of America and Israel Bonds (he founded the local branch of the latter). There were the near-fistfights with local member of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism, a national group opposing the formation of a Jewish state. And, of course, there was that night, that unforgettable night.

On May 15, 1948, Israel declared independence.

“There was a mass meeting at the Scottish Rite Auditorium on Van Ness Avenue and there seemed to be masses of people in there,” he recalls with a rapturous look on his face.

“There was a lot of dancing and singing going on. And I danced all night. And I cried all night.”

Kaufman weeps at the memory even now. In fact, he weeps at many memories of the era, even the good ones.

“I don’t know why. Maybe I’m a creampuff,” he says through a teary-eyed smile. “But the memories, they mean so much to me.”

Because when it comes to Israel, the story did end the way Kaufman thought it would — the way he dreamed it would.

“Dreams,” he says of Israel’s founding generation. “They made dreams into realities. And that’s rare. That’s rare.”

Edward Ben-Eliezer

With a sickening series of splintering cracks audible even above the din of the mob, the great wooden doors gave way.

Arab marauders streamed into the home of Massooda Gabbai like invaders breaching a medieval castle. But this was not the Middle Ages; this was Iraq in 1941. It was the “farhood,” the orgy of vengeance and looting directed against the Jewish community of Baghdad after the British invaded Iraq’s capital.

The octogenarian Gabbai grabbed her 11-year-old grandson, Edward Ben-Eliezer, and dragged him to the roof of her palatial home. For two solid days, the looters cleaned out the house, which was full of furniture and carpets stored there as inventory for the family business. The rioters even backed up trucks to the front door.

Bullets whizzed past the grandmother and grandson, fired randomly from the police station across the street, but the mob left the roof alone.

For two solid days, Ben-Eliezer and his grandmother cowered under a lean-to.

“I took my grandmother and I hugged her and didn’t let her go. And the bullets is coming from all over,” he said in his rapid-fire Middle Eastern cadence. “Two days. We didn’t eat.”

As the sun rose on the third day, the pair took advantage of a lull in the carnage to make their escape. They quickly noticed that every door in the Jewish neighborhood had been smashed. But that was far from the worst of it.

“There were parts of bodies and blood all over. There is kids I know from the neighborhood, and they cut [off] their heads or their hands. They slaughtered everybody in the neighborhood. I’m telling you, if we didn’t go on the roof, that would be us in pieces there,” says Ben-Eliezer, 78, his brown eyes staring at the floor of his room in San Francisco’s Jewish Home.

“When looking at all this blood, she put her hand on my face and we started running. I told her, ‘When I grow up, this will never happen to Jewish people again.’ I don’t know why I said that. She put her hand over my eyes and said, ‘Yes, yes, yes’ — three times.”

It was not an idle promise.

Not long after his bar mitzvah, he joined the Baghdad branch of the Haganah, Israel’s pre-state army. He smiles, slightly malevolently — “at 14 years old, you can do a lot of things!”

Ben-Eliezer’s parents never found the crates of ammunition he buried in the family’s basement and tiled over. They never realized that the teenager handed over the copious amounts of money he made tutoring wealthy boys to the Haganah, where it was transformed into “anything, you name it — machine guns, pistols, hand bombs, any kind of ammunition you can explode, we had it.”

In short, they didn’t catch on that their son was killing people, sometimes with his bare hands.

“There were some people who were against us: gangsters. And some Jewish people are afraid of them. Well, you need somebody to go and terrorize them. And we used to do that. But we don’t terrorize with noise [weapons]. You just eliminate them — once and forever,” says Ben-Eliezer. His playful smile is gone. He is, quite literally, deadly serious.

“You go there, you and your friend, and you give [the gangster] something to drink. And then you’ll be on top of him. And then you do your job.”

By the time he was 15 or 16, this was a job Ben-Eliezer excelled at.

In addition to military training and “doing your job,” the Haganah also provided Jewish holiday parties, lessons on Torah and spiritual instruction. Ben-Eliezer savors the memory of the “wonderful young lady” who taught Hebrew songs and Jewish history in a dark, fortified basement.

He never learned her real name.

Make no mistake, though — this was not the Boy Scouts. Every week the Iraqi authorities cracked down on the Zionist underground. Every week “10 more beautiful Jewish children” swung above the city streets. In 1947, word got back to him that the government was on to him. Hoping to avoid a date with the hangman, he went into hiding. Perhaps not surprisingly, his assignments from the Haganah became more and more dangerous.

“What can I tell them, no? ‘No, I’ll go to my hanging.’”

Rather than eliminate local gangsters and bullies, Ben-Eliezer turned to hampering Iraq’s ability to wage war with the future state of Israel.

On a moonless night in 1947, he set off with seven other men and a woman. Soundlessly, the platoon made its way through the rough countryside (never through the middle of the fields, never in a straight line).

Finally, the Jews came to rest in the shadows of an Iraqi military base. Aligned in a crescent in front of them were eight hulking bombers. Eighteen hands began snapping together wires, clips and explosives. The troops fanned out, depositing a package beneath each plane and circling back to a central location; all eight bombs were wired to a detonator like a lethal string of Christmas lights.

One by one, the Haganah fighters sprinted past the detonator and into the darkness. The last soldier, who operated the switch, was the fastest runner; he would have the shortest head-start following the explosions. Finally, he dropped the lever.

With a blinding flash, the eight bombers were engulfed in a fiery chain reaction. Debris thudded to the ground and Arabic shouting and gunfire rippled through the night. In the confusion, one of Ben-Eliezer’s colleagues tripped and broke his neck.

More than 60 years later, Ben-Eliezer shakes his head. He’s still angry.

“Oh, that was stupid,” he spits out. “That was a stupid loss. You know, when someone is hurt and dead, you say that guy is stupid. He didn’t watch himself. You don’t feel sorry for him because if you are a good soldier, you learned to watch yourself. That is what you are taught.”

With that lesson drilled into them, the eight remaining soldiers could grit their teeth and run off into the night. If there was to be grieving, it could come later.

It was now too dangerous for Ben-Eliezer to stay in Iraq. So he attempted to sneak into Iran to get to Israel, walking at night and hiding in caves during the day. This time, however, the Iraqi police caught up with him. His party was shot at, captured and dragged back to Mosul, where they were locked in a synagogue.

Ben-Eliezer pauses. Then, improbably, he smiles.

“You know that sentence, ‘If you have money, it will take you places?’” Well, it solves a lot of problems,” he says with a chuckle.

Money not only takes you to places, it takes you away from them. Haganah agents arrived at the synagogue. Money changed hands — lots of money, evidently. Ben-Eliezer’s group of 22 Jews was provided with a pair of cars. They drove all night, deep into Iran’s interior, ending up at a Jewish refugee camp. Several months later, a massive passenger plane rumbled into the dusty encampment. More than 400 Jews clamored aboard, bound for Israel. Ben-Eliezer was one of them.

Over the next several years the kibbutznik fought to get his 10 siblings and parents into Israel. He also brought his grandmother, to whom he’d promised all those years earlier that Jews would never again be slaughtered defenselessly.

Ben-Eliezer, who immigrated to the Bay Area in the 1950s, sits quietly for quite a while. And then he speaks.

“She was very healthy and beautiful until the last day of her life. She lived to 104.

“And she died — in Israel.”

Ralph Anspach

The hulking cargo truck rumbled down the dusty Israeli highway. Sweating in the back beneath a canvas canopy, Ralph Anspach suddenly noticed there were dozens of trucks like his on the road — as well as flatbeds, limousines, hearses and any other variation of engine connected to wheels that could carry a man to battle.

Anspach was outfitted in a mismatched medley of a jacket, pants, a tunic and boots, topped by a helmet that didn’t fit.

The men were as varied as the clothes they wore and the vehicles they rode to uncertain fates. And yet, there was a palpable — and audible — camaraderie.

“We were part of this long convoy full of young people, singing,” recalls Anspach, 82, smiling at the distant memory.

“We were all happily singing, joyfully singing on our way down south.”

Anspach had on that very day joined an anti-tank brigade. He asked his newly minted commanding officer about their artillery guns. The officer flashed him a smile. What artillery guns?

Slightly bewildered, Anspach queried if it might be prudent to turn the hell around.

The C.O. grinned. “Don’t worry. The boys are going in tonight to capture Hill 113. There’s an Egyptian base on top of the hill and they have four six-pounders.”

But Anspach did worry. He was an artilleryman in World War II, and the first thing any soldier learned — really, the first thing — was that if capture is imminent, you must destroy the tiny firing mechanisms within the artillery guns. Without them, the cannons are as useless as a car up on blocks.

The C.O. grinned again. The boys — “he always talked about ‘the boys’” — stole a bunch of firing mechanisms years ago from the British. He was sure everything would work out — and it did. Not for the many young Jews whose bodies were strewn about Hill 113 in the Negev when Anspach arrived, of course. But the guns were there, and the Israelis took them.

“We used to call it ‘Bevan Ordinance,’” jokes Anspach, referring to Aneurin Bevan, a British government minister at the time.

“The British gave the Egyptians all kind of ordinance when they left, and then we would take it from them.”

In a way, it was Bevan who convinced Anspach to put down his college textbooks and pick up a gun to defend a nation he had never visited.

Anspach was a young college student at the University of Chicago, where Bevan’s wife Jennie Lee, a Labor member of the British Parliament, was delivering a symposium.

Following the speech, a professor cornered Lee and asked her why Labor, which ran on a platform of allowing Jews into Palestine, was now sending troops to keep them out by force.

“I will never forget the way she looked at him in this scathing British way and said, ‘Young man, how naïve can you be? Haven’t you ever heard of oil?’”

Anspach, now a retired San Francisco State economics professor, shakes his head. “And that tells you more than thousands of tomes that have been written. The Jews didn’t have any oil, but the Arabs did. That gave me some real insight into the world.”

By that time, however, Anspach had gleaned plenty of insight. His family had left the semi-autonomous state of Danzig just a few steps ahead of the Gestapo. By the time they fled, purity laws formally forbade Jews from going to the movie theater or the beach (Anspach, who had bright blonde hair and turquoise eyes, went anyway).

When Anspach marched into the New York office of the Jewish Agency and said he wanted to fight, he received an exceedingly cool reaction. Fighting for a foreign army would be illegal, he was told. The Jewish Agency wanted no part of any illegal activities. Perhaps he’d be interested in joining an organization called “Land and Labor for Palestine”? He would pick fruit to replace the agricultural workers risking their lives in the war.

Anspach was not high on the idea of sailing 6,000 miles to pick some oranges. And yet, by the time he was sent to his fifth doctor and received his fifth physical, he caught on that Land and Labor for Palestine had bigger plans for him than climbing trees.

So did the FBI. During an initiation in the Catskills, government helicopters buzzed the resort where all the young Jewish men were staying.

“They told us to go outside and play pingpong, because you’re here on vacation,” recalls Anspach.

He was passed tickets to a steamer headed for France. A man with an English-language newspaper tucked under his arm would meet them at the dock. They were to follow him — discreetly.

From there, Anspach ended up at a transit center in the south of France. Israeli volunteers mixed with Holocaust survivors in the illegal camp; all the western countries had agreed to block immigration into Israel. And yet, French gendarmes smoked their Gauloises and bickered among themselves, even while the camp residents performed military exercises in plain view.

“At that time, the French were very good,” says Anspach, who now lives there up to eight months a year.

Finally, a hodgepodge of bedraggled refugees and strong young men disguised as bedraggled refugees was carted to Port Bouc. A 500-ton riverboat steamer “that looked like it would have been used on a movie set as a derelict in the Mississippi” idled at the quay. Names were shouted out, and Jews boarded the ship one by one. But the names had little relation to the people hopping off of the dock.

“These must have been lists of people the French agreed to,” speculates Anspach. “Anyway, my name was Sarah Rabinovich.”

So, it was “Sarah Rabinovich” who ducked for cover and choked on acrid black smoke while Egyptian planes “used us for target practice” atop Hill 113.

“Sarah Rabinovich” fired his six-pound gun — and, later, top-of-the-line German 57-millimeter beauties with the swastikas still on them — at Egyptian armored compounds or troop positions as bullets whistled by (not once, incidentally, did the anti-tank brigade encounter a tank).

Yet it was decidedly not “Sarah Rabinovich” who was nearly shot to pieces outside of Auja. It was easy to tell; after all, Anspach was caught with his pants down — literally.

“One time in Auja, I was relieving myself in the desert; you’d often go a little ways away. And all of a sudden, this Egyptian Spitfire [warplane] tries to kill me!” Now he grins at the absurdity of the situation. He did not back then.

“He made two [strafing] runs. And there I was, hugging the ground. I didn’t even have a gun with me.”

Anspach’s war ended in a remote settlement called Um Rash-Rash. The Jordanians were put to flight and the Jews stripped off their dust- and sweat-caked uniforms and streamed into the Red Sea. In the distance, three British destroyers prowled the waves, providing a visual hint to the Israeli army that attacking nearby Aqaba, Jordan would be unwise.

Um Rash-Rash has a new name now: Eilat.

In the years since he returned to the United States, Anspach has learned a great deal about the war he fought and the Jewish state he helped create. Apparently, he was some sort of imperialist aggressor, and his vastly superior army used high-tech weaponry to stave off bands of ill-supplied and poorly organized Arabs.

“I heard so much of that when I was teaching [at SFSU]. The Jews won because of Holocaust guilt and the imperial feeling behind them. That is not how it happened. All the imperialism — it was on the other side!” he recalls, his persistent smile long gone.

It wasn’t imperialism that motivated Anspach. It was something far more palpable. He remembered his last day on German soil. An SS man in a showy black uniform glanced at Anspach and his brother’s passports.

“He asked us whether we were Jewish and we said ‘yes.’ And he said, ‘Boys, I hope we’re not going to see you here again, fighting us,’” recalled Anspach.

At the time, the Anspachs offered a curt “no, sir” — on the outside.

“Both my brother and I thought the same thing. ‘You son of a bitch. You just give us a chance to get that gun.’”

Jacques Torczyner

Names, places and dates. It was Johnny Cash who sang “I’ve Been Everywhere,” but Jacques Torczyner really has — and he’s got the names, places and dates to prove it.

With startling alacrity, the 95-year-old Rossmoor resident rattles off the play-by-play from Zionist meetings on several continents or recalls long, windswept walks along the Seine with future Israeli heads of state.

It has been an improbable life for a man who would have been content simply carrying on his father’s Antwerp diamond business. But the Nazis had other plans.

The entire Torczyner clan fled Belgium, traveling on the lam from Paris to the Pyrenees, where they walked over the border to Spain. From there, the family took a boat to Cuba. And on Dec. 17, 1940 — Torczyner remembers the dates for everything — they landed in Miami.

“And we made such a big mistake!” he says. “We had cousins who asked us to buy land on Collins Avenue, but we went to New York. Oh, if we’d done that, we’d have made a lot of money!”

In New York, Torczyner soon maneuvered himself to the top of the political department of the World Zionist Organization. Before long he was the right-hand man of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, the fiery and outspoken Zionist orator.

Silver told Torczyner to join the Republican Party — “there were no Jews there.” And that suited Torczyner fine. Along the walls of his flat are photographs of him in various stages of life with every major Republican figure from Sen. Robert Taft to President George H.W. Bush.

Silver’s name is not as well known as the men and woman currently pictured on, say, Israeli currency. But the Cleveland rabbi and Zionist Organization of America president was a powerful influence on the people and government of the United States regarding the formation of a Jewish state. And his man in the trenches was Jacques Torczyner.

It was Torczyner who oversaw the North American delegate election for the World Zionist Congress in December 1946. On the table were two courses of action: Should Israel declare statehood, or hold off in exchange for Britain’s promise of allowing 100,000 Jewish refugees into pre-state Israel?

This election was all about rounding up the most delegates. Torczyner had delivered the plurality of delegates to the plenum, and the vote went the ZOA’s way: A declaration of Jewish statehood was recommended. The decision came at 4 a.m., and Torczyner still remembers how future Israeli President Chaim Weizmann and his “moderates” slumped off into the night after losing the day to Silver and David Ben-Gurion.

It was a major day in Torczyner’s life, and for more than the obvious reasons. “Silver had said, ‘Jacques, in your campaign for the World Zionist Congress, if you don’t succeed, I’ll chop your head off.’”

Yet the groundwork for a declaration of Israeli statehood — and the inevitable war to follow — was long in the making.

On July 1, 1945, Torczyner, Ben-Gurion and 16 others filed into the East 57th Street apartment of Rudolph Sonneborn in Manhattan.

For nearly seven hours, Ben-Gurion spoke. At the end of the day, the Haganah had been founded. Sonneborn would soon be running weaponry to Israel.

“Ben-Gurion said something that nobody in America would like to hear. He said we cannot create a state without a war,” recalls Torczyner.

“And he explained how we must be able to defend ourselves — because don’t forget, America had made an embargo on weapons to the Mideast.”

Torczyner recalls walking the streets of New York with future Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, whose pockets were bulging with cash for purchase of guns on the down-low.

When asked where Kollek made his purchases, Torczyner gives a wicked grin.

“I don’t know, he didn’t take me there. This was illegal, don’t you forget.”

On Nov. 29, 1947, Torczyner sat in the stands at a former skating rink in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., that had been converted into a United Nations building. By a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions, the U.N. voted Israel into existence. It wasn’t a particularly nerve-wracking day for Torczyner. He knew the votes were there.

“Let me tell you, I know we had the votes and I’ll tell you why. On Thursday, it was Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, we didn’t have the votes. So we forced the U.N. to observe Thanksgiving and because of the weekend, they postponed [the vote] until Saturday,” he recalls.

Spotted a few days, Torczyner and his ZOA allies began working individual delegates. When asked what methods of persuasion they employed, he grins again.

“I won’t tell you. I don’t want to corrupt you. But the only way for some of them — you know how.”

He rests on his couch, surrounded by books and maps and photos of Silver, Weizmann and Ben-Gurion. His more youthful self stares out from many of the photos as well.

“I think I can tell you that this was a historic moment in Jewish history. So I was part of Jewish history,” he says with a nod.

“And now, 60 years later, I am worried about the future.”

Rabbi Jack Frankel

In 1948 it was not a cliché to shout “round up the usual suspects.”

And in 1948, Rabbi Jack Frankel was one of the usual suspects.

When Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Security Council mediator for the brewing Israeli-Arab war, was shot to death Sept. 17 of that year by Jewish extremists, every suspicious character for miles around was hustled into a jail cell.

Frankel was bearded, sunburned and sweaty after fighting in the Negev.

“I looked like a rhapsody in rummage,” he says.

He soon found himself in a cell next to a man who carried a .45-caliber automatic in the same little box as his tefillin.

Days went by. As he protested for the hundredth time that he was an American volunteer soldier who didn’t have anything to do with assassinations, he suddenly found himself being stared at from afar by a pair of stern, unblinking eyes.

And, for just a moment, he was free. He was 11 years old again and sitting at the terminus of 69th Street between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Back then there were only two houses on the entire sandy block. He would take his old dog out to the rotting scow on the bay, and beneath the blazing Brooklyn sun Frankel would devour Alexandre Dumas or Raphael Sabatini before sprinting home, grabbing a broom out

of the closet and whacking his much older brother on the derriere while bellowing “I’m Captain Blood, and I challenge thee to a duel!”

“I couldn’t sit for a week when he got through with me,” he says.

And, just as quickly, he was back in the dingy Israeli cell.

The piercing eyes focused on Frankel were framed by a flowing beard. The Chassidic rabbi walked, slowly, toward the bars.

“Yankel Frankel — that’s you, isn’t it?”

It was Rabbi Avraham Shapiro, the prison’s chaplain and the headmaster of the Brooklyn yeshiva Frankel had attended for more than a decade starting at age 5.

“Last I saw you, you were running away to join the Marines. Now you’re in a jail cell. What happened to you?”

The former Ner Tamid rabbi loosens his tie, leans

back in his chair and runs a hand through his full head of silver hair. A cable car rumbles and clangs its way past his Powell Street apartment.

He offers a wan little grin and exhales deeply. Simply put, a lot happened to him.

At 81 — or, as he puts it, “four times 20 and 1” — Jack Frankel looks younger than his years. But 15-year-old Yankel Frankel was already shaving, smoking and three years into a job driving a milk truck. When he volunteered for the Marines, they took him.

Three months later, when it was revealed that he was shy of his 16th birthday, he was given his honorable discharge. He enrolled in Brooklyn College (“who could refuse a veteran?”). Not quite a year later, he ran away again and joined up. This time, they didn’t catch him until he was 17, which was the entrance age.

Frankel has taken great pains to extirpate much of his World War II experience from his memory. On being shot down off Saipan and spending nine days as a “guest” of the empire of Japan, he only notes, “They could have taught the Germans some of the essence of torture.”

Frankel was freed when the Americans overran the island.

Another time, when he was in the advance invasion force of Okinawa, a fellow yeshiva boy happened to leap into Frankel’s foxhole. As shells soared over, illuminating the night, the two reminisced about “the rebbe who used to pull the strap off his pants if you came in late — and, one day, he dropped his pants.”

After the war, Frankel began working for the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ostensibly, he was a roving radio man — and Frankel does have a remarkably good radio voice, even today. In reality, he was smuggling people and armaments to Israel. After moving “a shipment” of 100 refugees out of Hungary, Frankel decided it was time to smuggle something else into Israel — himself.

The 21-year-old left his passport with a friend in France. Posing as a Yiddish-speaking Polish refugee, he and 1,800 other ragged souls trudged onto a creaking death trap of a ship meant to accommodate no more than 400 passengers. (“When Leon Uris came to interview us before he wrote his “Exodus” he said, “I can’t exaggerate this.” And I said, “This is the truth!”)

The coast of Israel was in sight when the British diverted Frankel’s ship to Cyprus. The refugees, many of them camp survivors, were shepherded behind barbed wire once again.

It was a short stay for Frankel. Haganah fighters infiltrated the camp. Anyone who was willing to hoist a gun for the Jewish state was welcome to join them. Frankel and others cut wires and crawled their way to freedom. Once more, he boarded a rusting ship of dubious seaworthiness and was off.

Once more, the British intervened. This time, however, there would be no return to Cyprus. Those who could swim (and even some who couldn’t) leapt overboard and paddled for the Israeli shore. Frankel was fished out of the water by a bear of a man. He was congratulated for joining the Palmach (and if he didn’t like it, he could go back in the water). What’s more, if he didn’t learn how to ask for food in Hebrew, he’d go hungry.

Frankel was outfitted in Czech shorts, an English shirt and a French Foreign Legion cap. Completing the mix-and-match ensemble, his boots were heavy British clogs.

Finally, he was handed a Czech rifle from 1903 (unfortunately, Frankel was not the direct beneficiary of the modern rifles he had earlier obtained for Israel from the Philippine government in a deal struck in Vienna).

Frankel does not go into heavy detail about his combat experience in Israel. But it is safe to say that he did not find himself exchanging gunfire with an enemy as fanatically set upon victory as the Japanese in Okinawa. This was a life-or-death struggle for the Jews — and friends did die in Frankel’s arms — but the average soldier in the invading Arab forces just wanted to survive.

Little wonder, then, that Frankel’s forces prevailed in Safed thanks, in essence, to the world’s largest noisemaker.

Ostensibly, the Davidka was a 3-inch diameter mortar jury-rigged by Israeli forces. As a weapon, it was of limited utility — it packed barely any bang and was wildly inaccurate. The massive, 90-pound shells it fired were actually larger than the mortar itself, protruding grotesquely from the barrel of the cannon (hence the inaccuracy).

But it made a hell of a noise.

“The noise in those hills really reverberates. It was a hollowish, eerie, shuttering sound. Anyway, it scared the hell out of the Arabs, and they took off,” Frankel recalls.

The very Davidka that Frankel credits with “saving our necks” now stands in the center of Safed — in Davidka Square.

Frankel was later transferred into the Israel Air Force. He flew in tiny Piper Cubs, opening the door and tossing grenades onto the Arab soldiers below. The planes flew so low that men hurling grenades out the door were often hit with their own shrapnel.

On other occasions, Frankel and others pushed huge boxes of broken glass out the back of a C-47 cargo plane, scattering thousands of shards across the runway of Cairo’s airport.

“It was that kind of war,” he says of these makeshift methods of maiming and killing.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what happened to Yankel Frankel. That’s what he told his old headmaster, Rabbi Shapiro, when the latter got him out of jail.

And that’s what he told the Israeli soldier he hitched a ride with from the airport — a young officer named Ariel Sharon.

But that’s another story.

University of California System Actually Hires a Jewish Pro-Israel President!



Am I reading this correctly? The bastion of liberalism, anti-Israel hate speech--the University of California System--has hired a JEW?

A GREAT MIRACLE!! (Can the Moschiac be much further behind??)

It is obviously a time of miracles--so don't give up hope!!

Next thing you know, the Shas weenies will actually leave the government!

Friday March 28, 2008

Incoming U.C. prez, wife tout pro-Israel, Jewish résumés
by tom tugend

Wedged among the usual academic honors and awards in the official biography of Mark Yudof, unanimously chosen by a search committee as the next president of the University of California system, are some uncommon entries.

Yudof proclaims that he and his wife, Judy, are the co-recipients of a Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award, and that he served on the board of directors of the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, and on the B’nai B’rith Advisory Council in Austin, Texas.

Yudof, who was lured from his post as chancellor of the University of Texas, was expected to be confirmed by the U.C. Regents on March 27 (later than j.’s press deadline). As such, he will be based in the president’s office in Oakland, taking the helm of the world’s leading public research university, with 10 campuses — including Berkeley, Davis and Santa Cruz — about 220,000 students and an $18 billion budget.

Even more impressive is the Jewish résumé of Judy Yudof. She is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, representing 760 synagogues, the first woman to hold the post in the organization’s 89-year history.

When she assumed the presidency, she bluntly told reporters, “I didn’t decide to run because I’m a woman, but because I have the leadership skills.”

She currently serves on the council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and on the international board of Hillel.

Three years ago, the couple gave $50,000 to the United Synagogue’s Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem. The Yudofs have two children, Seth and Samara.

Mark Yudof, 63, was born in Philadelphia and started his academic career in 1971 as an assistant professor of law at the University of Texas, Austin. During 26 years as a teacher and administrator, he earned a reputation as an authority on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law.

After a five-year stint as president of the University of Minnesota, Yudof returned to the University of Texas in 2002, this time as chancellor of the 15-campus system.

In a 2003 interview in the Dallas Morning News, he is characterized as “an energizer, outgoing, and at meetings he rarely lets a moment pass without a quip.”

As he described himself, “I am what I am. I have my weird sense of humor and I’m proud of it. What I’ve found works best for me is transparency, being direct and being honest.”

Yudof is not above poking fun at himself, pointing to his habit of getting lost and his obsessive love of pancakes.

Even as chancellor, he has continued teaching classes and likes to open the session by asking students, “How did the university oppress you this week?” Off-campus, he has lectured on Maimonides at local synagogues.

Along with 10 other American university heads, he visited Israel last July, where he proposed joint research between Israeli and American universities.

He recently reported on his trip at the U.T. Hillel center, where, as “a longtime supporter of Israel,” he advocated strong academic ties with Israel and urged students to study in the Jewish state, according to a report by

A recent phone call to the Hillel center in Austin was answered by Sam Ellison, a junior and public affairs chair for the campus chapter of Texans for Israel.

Ellison said that he had met Yudof during their joint involvement with the campus White Rose Society, dedicated to studies of genocides.

Yudof will be the second Jewish president in the 140-year history of the University of California. The first was David Saxon, who served from 1975 to 1983.

As U.C. president, Yudof will consult frequently with Gene Block, who took over as chancellor of UCLA last year.

Block was a visible figure in the Jewish community in his previous position as provost at the University of Virginia. He has been less involved since coming to Los Angeles, but he and his family attended High Holy Days services at UCLA Hillel last year.

We know Islam is anti-Jewish when a Former Moslem Calls Cathoicism Less Anti-Semitic


Oh boy.

Look, it’s great he wants to express his religious tendencies in a particular way and he feels confident that he has adopted the religion he thinks fits him best, but please don’t try to whitewash Catholicism!

Perhaps Catholicism is less anti-Semitic at this moment in time, but it hasn’t been so over an extended historical period.

Does “Inquisition” mean anything to him? How about “Expulsion of the Jews”?

One's choice of religion is fine--but, as philosopher
George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The Catholic Church under the current Pope is quickly forgetting the lessons it learned and the healing that came with John Paul II. Covering up the past will only make the Catholic Church more receptive to the influences of anti-Semitism that already exist and are already raising their ugly heads.

I know that he is at a critical point where he has just converted and has to be careful what he says about the Church, but I don't think being dishonest with oneself will assist in the purpose of faith.


The gospel according to Allam
By Adi Schwartz, Haaretz Correspondent

Magdi Allam, the most famous Muslim in Italy, and one of the leading and most courageous intellectuals in Europe today, converted to Christianity last Saturday night. The fact that the baptism was held at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome during Easter midnight Mass - the so-called "mother of all masses" - and was performed by Pope Benedict XVI himself, has made huge waves in Italy and throughout the Christian and Muslim worlds. The exalted occasion also transformed Allam's conversion from a private act of faith into a public political event.

"It was the most beautiful day of my life," Allam told Haaretz this week, in a phone conversation from Rome. "I was reborn. This was a radical choice, which has changed my entire past and has begun a new life. On that day, the Magdi Allam inside me, who believes unambiguously and unquestionably in the principles of liberty and choice, was reborn in the framework of religion. For me it was both Easter and the Feast of the Nativity."

Since the beginning of the decade Allam, 56, has been writing pieces in Corriere della Sera, Italy's most influential newspaper, in which he has sharply condemned radical Islam and warned of the danger from within it constitutes, which he sees as lying in wait for democratic and liberal Europe. In 2003, Hamas declared a death sentence on him because of his criticism of terror attacks in Israel; since then the Italian government has assigned him a round-the-clock bodyguard. Together with his late countrywoman Oriana Fallaci and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch writer and politician of Somali origin, Allam has been one of the few intellectuals in Europe who have dared to challenge the prevailing belief in multiculturalism as the cure for the social rift between Muslims and Christians on the Continent.

However, Allam did all this as a Muslim. He was born in Egypt and in the 1960s he was an enthusiastic admirer of Gamal Abdel Nasser. For many years he also perceived Israel as an aggressive, racist, colonialist and immoral entity. Even after he emigrated to Italy in 1972, he continued being active on behalf of the Palestinian cause - writing, lecturing and taking part in demonstrations by the Italian left against Israel and in support of what he then called "the Palestinian resistance."

After a long and agonizing path, he says, he came to the conclusion that the Arab states' refusal to recognize Israel in the 1950s and '60s was to the Palestinians' detriment, and that the Muslim culture in which he was raised nurtured falsehood, tyranny, hatred, violence and death. In recent years, he concluded that the universal defense of the value of the sanctity of life goes hand in hand with the defense of Israel's right to exist.

Last year, Allam, winner of the 2006 Dan David Prize (for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social achievement), published the book "Long Live Israel: From the Ideology of Death to the Civilization of Life, My Story," which is forthcoming in Hebrew.

"After the book was published, I was severely attacked," he says. "They called me a traitor, a Zionist and an agent of the Mossad. They sentenced me to death again. This fact made me wonder why many Muslims lose the ability to conduct a conversation when Israel's right to exist is brought up for discussion." That, Allam explains, is one of the reasons for his conversion to Christianity.

Unstinting support
In his columns for Corriere della Sera, where he also serves as deputy editor, Allam expresses sweeping and unstinting support for Israel. In his March 1 column, he compared Hamas to the Kurdish PKK resistance movement: "If a comparison is made between the way the media have covered the battle Turkey has conducted against the PKK in Iraq, on the one hand, and the battle that Israel has conducted against Hamas in Gaza, on the other, one can see the clear discrimination against the Jewish state. At a time when phrases like 'slaughter of children' and 'murder of civilians' appear only when describing the activity of the Israeli army, neutral or even sympathetic descriptions are reserved for the Turkish army - such as '77 Kurdish rebels were killed.' When the bombs are Israeli, they inform us in detail about the number, and sometimes also the names, of those killed. However, the Turkish bombs always kill only adults, of the male sex, who consciously chose the path of violence."

In "Long Live Israel," he wrote that the culture of hatred and death the West today attributes to Muslims is not stamped in the DNA of Islam. But this week he sounded even more decisive, declaring that it is no longer possible to talk about moderate Islam, but only about moderate Muslims. "It is necessary to continue to try to hold a dialogue," he says, "but only with those who acknowledge the supremacy of certain values, such as the sanctity of life and free choice."

In a letter he published this week in his paper, in which he explained his conversion, Allam wrote: "I asked myself how it was possible that those who, like me, sincerely and boldly called for a 'moderate Islam,' assuming the responsibility for exposing themselves in the first person in denouncing Islamic extremism and terrorism, ended up being sentenced to death in the name of Islam on the basis of the Koran. I was forced to see that, beyond the contingency of the phenomenon of Islamic extremism and terrorism that has appeared on a global level, the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive."

Similar things were said about two years ago by the person who baptized him, Pope Benedict XVI. In a speech he delivered at Ratisbonne University in Germany in September 2006, the Pontiff aroused a great deal of anger in the Muslim world when he spoke about the violent nature of Islam. This week Allam said this was a crucial event for him on the way to becoming a Christian. "I was one of the few people in Italy who defended the Pope's remarks, not only in the name of freedom of speech, but also with respect to the contents. What the Pope said was correct historically. The Pope's speech showed me more than anything else that there is someone who combines faith and reason, and that Benedict XVI precisely embodies my thinking. For me, Christianity is a religion of goodness and wisdom, so very different from Islam."

Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno, apparently, could have expressed a different opinion of the extent of the free will and wisdom endorsed by the Catholic Church over the years. But for Allam, at this moment in time, 2008, the Church is identified with the culture of the West, which reveres the values of liberty and the sanctity of life, in supposed contradistinction to the culture of narrow- mindedness and hatred in Islam.

'Religion of goodness'
Asked how he reconciles with the fact that during the course of history, many people, Jews and non-Jews, were murdered in the name of that same "religion of goodness," Allam replies that he deplores those deeds in the most vociferous way. These were "atrocities and historical errors that were committed in the name of religion. The last Pope, John Paul II, apologized for some of them at least. In any case, I will continue to be a person who defends the truth, no matter what it is, even if it concerns mistakes the Church has made."

This week Allam was describing his baptism in almost mystical terms. "I have discovered the one true God," he wrote in Corriere. He called the fact that his baptism was conducted by the Pope "the most beautiful gift I could have received." Easter Mass is customarily a time when the Pope performs the rite of baptism, and Allam is not the first Muslim to undergo conversion. Nevertheless, the exalted public ceremony transformed the event into a clear political statement.

In order to head off in advance the anticipated angry reactions to the ceremony, the Vatican published an unusual statement on Sunday, in which it noted that "for the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it." The statement noted that the Pontiff conducted the ritual without making any personal distinctions regarding the identity of the convert, and said all newcomers to the faith were "equally important before God's love and welcome in the community of the Church."

The president of the Grand Mosque of Rome, Mario Scialoja, said, "It is necessary to respect the personal choice that Magdi Allam has made," but the London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi wrote on its front page: "The Pope is arousing the anger of Muslims because of the baptism of a former Muslim who supports Israel." The Arab television networks and Internet sites related to the timing of the rite, on the most important day in the Christian calendar, as a crude provocation. After all, they wrote, the baptism could also have been held in a small church in Rome, by a minor priest.

But as far as Allam is concerned, this is the crux of the story. He is the one whose life is being threatened, he is the one who has to go around with bodyguards - something that has never been condemned in the Arab press - but his decision to convert is suddenly an intolerable blow to Muslim feelings. Just as in the affair of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, he explains, what is perceived in the West as an individual's basic right is a harsh insult to Islam.

"When a Westerner decides to convert to Islam, that's fine," he says, "but when a Muslim converts to Christianity, it is suddenly the end of the world. Everyone condemns him, as though he has done something of which he should be ashamed."

The reason for this, Allam suggests, is Europe's weakness and flaccidity, and above all the multicultural model, in the name of which everyone is equal and no one can be criticized or let their feelings be hurt. In Italy, every Muslim can go to a mosque, but in the Arab world there is ongoing and long-standing discrimination against religious minorities. Nevertheless, he asks, who complains about the situation of the Christians in Saudi Arabia?

This week Allam decided to stop sitting on the fence and to change his religion and even his name. Henceforth call him "Magdi Cristiano Allam."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beit Shemesh 'Burka' cult leader Busted for Child Abuse



It is not tzniut to make a spectacle of modesty. She obviously had a lot to cover up--and I am not talking her body.

I am thinking the whole super-tzniut issue was a psychological reaction to the deep sin that was her life.

May Hashm stay close to these children for healing, may the woman make full Tshuva.


Mar 27, 2008 0:20 | Updated Mar 27, 2008 0:57
Beit Shemesh 'Burka' cult unveiled

A fringe sect of Jewish women with a Taliban-like dress code will be overcome by a major spiritual crisis after the arrest of the group's leader on charges of child abuse, haredi sources in Beit Shemesh predicted Wednesday.

According to haredi media and a well-informed source in Beit Shemesh, the 54-year-old mother of 12 who is suspected of serious child abuse and failing to report multiple cases of incest among her children, is none other than the head of a sect of women who adhere to a dress code more stringent than that of the most extreme Muslim sects and a rigorous health food diet.

"We always knew those women were crazy," said Shmuel Poppenheim, a spokesman for the Eda Haredit - one of the most zealously religious groups in Israeli Orthodoxy - who lives in Beit Shemesh. "Now we have been vindicated, and those women will have to stop their insane behavior."

Another Beit Shemesh resident and haredi journalist, who preferred to remain anonymous, predicted that the arrest of their leader would send the sect spiraling into a "major spiritual tailspin that would lead to its demise."

"I do not envy those women," said the source. "They are going to be facing some major soul-searching."

None of the sect's members, who reportedly number as many as 50 in Beit Shemesh and are also scattered around Safed and Jerusalem, could be reached by The Jerusalem Post for comment. They do not speak with men, even by telephone.

On Tuesday, police announced that they had arrested a woman last month whose name could not be divulged. Police suspicions were aroused after neighbors complained they had heard a child crying for help and objects being broken in the home, a police investigator told a Jerusalem court at a remand hearing on Tuesday.

The Beit Shemesh resident is also suspected of failing to report multiple cases of incest among her children. She was remanded for six days by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Until the arrest was publicized, the small Beit Shemesh community of women who wear burkas, multiple layers of clothing and full face coverings, was regularly ostracized by the local haredi community.

"We pulled them off buses and yelled at them, 'Desecrators of God's name!'" said a Beit Shemesh source.

Until now, these women sought comfort in one another and in their leader.

Even in Beit Shemesh, made up of some of the most religiously extreme sects in Orthodoxy, such as Satmar, Toldot Aharon and Shomrei Hachomot, this group of women was considered ridiculously - even psychotically - zealous.

The women who belong to the sect lack any recognized rabbinic backing. They rarely leave their homes. When they do, their female children, dressed in long robes, accompany them. The women's extensive face coverings make it dangerous for them to cross the street unattended.

Every week, these women met in their leader's apartment to hear her speak and receive her teachings.

A female Ma'ariv reporter who was allowed to participate in one of the lessons described the leader of the group as "a pile of clothing lumped in the middle of the small living room."

The reporter said the leader wore 10 skirts, seven long robes, five head scarves tied on the front of her head and three more tied on the back of her head.

The vast majority of the women who belong to the sect have secular backgrounds.

"As newcomers to the intricacies of Orthodoxy, they lack the kind of grounding and feeling for tradition enjoyed by most religious people who grew up in religious families," said Poppenheim. "Even the strictest rabbis who require women to wear black head coverings and black stockings understand that a woman must allow herself to be a woman."

Traitor Barenboim to Play in Jerusalem


Why hasn’t the government revoked his right to enter Israel? The man has already been granted PA citizenship. It seems he has already chosen his side of the border. Why is a traitorous man like this allowed in the country when good Jews are going to jail to protect their towns, citizens are being shelled, and we have lost so many to terrorism?

Let him give his concert in Gaza.


Mar 27, 2008 17:45 | Updated Mar 27, 2008 18:51
Barenboim to conduct concert in J'lem

Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will lead an orchestra of 33 young Israeli and Palestinians in Jerusalem Friday in what he called a concert "against ignorance and lack of curiosity" on both sides of the conflict.

At a news conference Thursday in the concert hall of the YMCA on the Jewish side of the city, Barenboim said Friday's two performances, entitled "A concert for two peoples," will be the first time the young musicians have played together in public.

Barenboim, who was born in Buenos Aires and grew up in Israel, is a contentious figure there for championing Palestinians' rights and the works of Hitler's favorite composer, Wagner. He drew fresh fire in January when it became known that he had accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship in recognition of his work to promote musical education for young Palestinians.

He said Thursday he would not be taking part in festivities later this year marking 60 years since the founding of the state of Israel, which Palestinians mark as the anniversary of what they call al-Naqba, Arabic for "the catastrophe."

"It is 60 years of Israel's independence, which also means that it is 60 years of suffering of the people who were here," he said.

He described Friday's planned performance as "an anti-political gesture."

"This concert is a recognition of the fact that the conflict is primarily a human conflict and has to be solved as such," he said. "We have to take this conflict away from the political and military area and bring it back to what it really is."

Along with the late Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, Barenboim formed the West-Eastern Diwan orchestra, which brings together young Israeli and Arab musicians. Some will be playing in the smaller ensemble Friday in a program of works by Mozart and Mendelssohn.

In December, Israeli military officials prevented a Palestinian member of the Diwan group from entering the Gaza Strip to take part in a festival of baroque music there, leading to the cancellation of a planned performance in a Gaza church.

"It is not very intelligent to stop activities like this," Barenboim said. "I cannot really see the link between that and the security of the state of Israel, and I think that it's very stupid to provide the 200 people who were going to go and hear this baroque music with one more element of hatred."

Jail Time for Jews Protecting Jewish Town from Arab Mob


This is just one of many—too many—cases of Jews being prosecuted for living outside of “green line” Israel and daring to protect their lives and their possessions from the aggressive and out-of-control arab population.

Why are they out of control?

Because they have never had to be responsible for their actions, they have never had to face justice, and they have never had to answer to anyone.

They burn the tombs of our patriarchs, kill our citizens, terrorize our children, desecrate our burial grounds, defile our holy places, and threaten us daily--yet , if we raise one finger in defense, our own “just-us” arrests our people, incarcerates our people, calls our people criminals.



Two Brothers on Their Way to Jail for Protecting Jewish Town
by Hillel Fendel

( IDF combat unit veterans Danny and Yitzchak Halamish are set to begin 7-8 month prison terms next month - unless President Peres accepts their request for a pardon.

They have been convicted of attacking Arabs who infiltrated the fields of their town - but they claim they did not shoot at all, and that the Arabs attacked them.

The story began one day in February 2004, when an Arab gang entered the fields just outside the young Jewish community of Maaleh Rechavam in eastern Gush Etzion.

In accordance with accepted procedure, the local security officer - hired by the Defense Ministry - called two members of the local fast-response security team, Danny, 35, and his brother Yitzchak, 28, and the three went out to banish the Arabs from the fields where Jewish children play.

It did not go smoothly, however. The mob of 20 Arabs attacked the Jews with rocks and even with sticks, and then surrounded them. The security officer shot at the ground in front of the Arabs, and then he and the Halamish brothers retreated.

"The next thing we knew," Danny Halamish told Arutz-7, "the police came to arrest us - after the Arabs claimed that we had attacked them!"

Though the Jews filed a counter-complaint, the police later acknowledged that they never even interrogated the Arabs, Halamish said, "because of the weak claim that the Arabs had complained first..."

The site is just a kilometer away from the cave in which Kobi Mandell, 13, and his friend Yosef Ishran, 14, were brutally murdered while hiking in the area in 2001. The murderers, who were apprehended just this past week, were still on the loose at the time of the Halamish incident.

The Halamish brothers and the local security officer spent a few days in jail, and were soon accused and convicted of assault and battery. The security officer, who admitted that he had shot, asked for and received a pardon for "personal reasons." But the two Halamish brothers say they "have nothing to confess, since we did not shoot. But even more importantly: I have no intention of apologizing for having gone out to protect Jews. Even if I have to sit in prison for a few months, I will not say that it is wrong to do what I did. What do we have a State for, if not to protect ourselves? The State has lost its way..."

Danny, married with two children, says that though his legal position is solid, "the courts have taken the strange position that because we didn't make certain claims at the right time, our conviction stands. This is unheard of. First of all, our legal claim is one that can be made at any time, and the courts are simply not following the law. But regardless of this: How can they send two upstanding citizens to jail merely because of a technicality? This is totally unjust."

Police Shoot the Guns Themselves, Thus Neutralizing the Evidence
The brothers say that when their weapons were taken from them, they were confident that the ballistics tests would show that they had not been fired. This would support the finding that all the bullet casings had been shot from the security officer's gun. However, the police did not check the guns; instead they fired them themselves, claiming to want to see if they were in working order. Thus, the brothers' claim that they had not shot could no longer be proven.

Despite the lack of evidence against the brothers, and despite a recommendation by the probation officer that the sentence be only community service, Judge Amnon Cohen and two other judges of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that they believed the Arabs, and sentenced the brothers to seven and eight months in prison, respectively. The judges said they wanted to put them in jail to "serve as a lesson to others."

The brothers' subsequent appeals to the District Court and the Supreme Court were rejected, largely because the claim about the lack of police ballistic tests should have been submitted earlier.
"The justice system simply doesn't know how to deal with Arab aggression. Therefore, the easiest targets for their frustration are those on the frontline, like us."

Rigged in Advance
Asked how he explains these rulings, in light of the lack of evidence against him and his brother, Danny said, "For one thing, I think it was rigged in advance. The evidence and the witnesses were not really important; what really counted is what we call 'the commander's spirit' - it's fairly clear what the authorities on top want, and the judges often go along with that. Even Ariel Sharon had to fall in line; when he was in legal trouble, he knew what he had to do in order to stay on the right side of those in charge..."

Don't Know How to Deal With Arab Violence
"But more significantly," Halamish continued, "is the fact that the justice system simply doesn't know how to deal with Arab aggression. Therefore, the easiest targets for their frustration are those on the frontline - like us, in this case, and Shai Dromi, and the settlers [Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria] in general. If the legal system were to exonerate us, this would be an admission that we are doing the security job that the country is supposed to do on its own, but is failing at."

Danny emphasized several times: "I have no regrets. We were called to take part in protecting Jewish lives, and we came without hesitation - not like the policeman outside Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav who remained outside until the danger passed."

"The judicial system expects soldiers, policemen and farmers who face danger to make sure to observe the law perfectly," Danny feels, "even at a risk to their own lives. So why does the legal system itself violate the laws? The system is defending its mistaken rulings in the various courts, at the expense of two people who did nothing wrong - and this is not the first time."

Asked what aid he would like from the public, Danny said, "There are two planes. Firstly, I would like the public to know what is going on with the legal system here. Tzviya Sariel [the 18-year-old girl who was in prison for 3.5 months for refusing to cooperate with the system; she was released last week] has fired one of the first shots. She yelled, 'The Emperor has no clothes!', that is, that the system is unjust - and her claim was proven by the fact that the system, instead of dispatching her case quickly, kept her in prison for an inordinately long time. People have to know that the legal system is not working properly."
Supporters are asked to fax Pres. Peres and phone the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

"Secondly," he said, "we have filed a request for a pardon from President Shimon Peres. If people will fax his office [02-5611033; from abroad, replace leading 0 with international access code and 972], and demand justice, it could have an effect."

As of now, Danny and Yitzchak are scheduled to enter prison on April 10 - though there is a possibility this date will be pushed off while their request for a pardon is processed.

Attorney Sheftel's Presentation
Attorney Yoram Sheftel, representing the two brothers, said in one of the appeals, "My clients were convicted amidst total disregard of the police blunder in not having performed ballistic checks on the guns... In addition, the Arab identification of the brothers was done improperly, and is not acceptable as evidence."

Furthermore, Sheftel said, "there are no grounds for the judge having rejected my clients' claim that they acted with proper authority as part of their community's security team. Actions like the one they took are routine in many towns in Judea and Samaria."

Sheftel then took a broader view:
"Despite the terrible situation of Arab terrorism throughout Israel, and especially in Judea and Samaria, one would think - when reading the ruling of the lower court, and especially when reading the invective-filled cross-examinations of the Danny and Yitzchak and their witnesses - that there is no such thing as Arab terrorism in Yesha. One would further think that the [Halamish brothers], who are among the pioneers of Yesha and have no criminal background, are part of some group of bullies who attacked a serene group of shepherds for no reason at all. A false picture is painted as if we are dealing with a clash between base lawbreakers and innocent Arab shepherds who simply went out to graze their sheep in a pastoral meadow in serene Switzlerand. In fact, however, the Jews were forced to act to save their lives and prevent a situation that in the past has claimed the lives of Jews who were afraid to act the way they did."

In addition to faxing Pres. Peres, supporters in the U.S. are also advised to phone the Israel Embassy in Washington (at 202-364-5500) and ask to speak to the military attache. The message, according to Gush Etzion activist Datia Yitzchaki, should be one of "outrage by Israel's abdication of military responsibility of its own soldiers, who now face jail terms solely because they helped protect Jews." Callers are also advised to say they plan to discuss the case with their Congressional representatives.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Your Taxes are Paying Terrorist's Bills


I'd just like to take a moment to get completely sick to my stomach at the idea that Bush has taken our hard-earned money and given it to terrorists.

Doesn't this, technically, make me break US law? Are we not all giving material support to terrorists when we pay our tax bill?

Can we sue?? (I bet it will never get to court, but I'd love to see the trial if it did!)


Americans paying rent for terrorists?

Militants complain they don't have enough money to cover their bills
Posted: March 23, 2008
4:36 pm Eastern
By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Just days after it was announced the U.S. would transfer $150 million directly to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' government, members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the declared military wing of Abbas' Fatah party, were told they would receive cash grants, WND has learned.

According to Palestinian militant sources familiar with the issue, earlier this month, 20 members of the Brigades leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah complained to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad they did not have enough money to pay their bills, including, for many of them, rent for their apartments.

Last week, according to the informed sources, Fayyad told the complaining Brigades leaders he would provide them with a one-time grant of $3,000 each, or $60,000 to the Ramallah-based Brigades leadership.

The sources said after Brigades leaders in other West Bank cities, including Hebron and Nablus, heard of the grants, they also demanded pay increases.

"Some of the other fighters accused Fayyad of favoring the Brigades leaders in Ramallah since that's where Fayyad lives," said a militant source. "So he gave grants also to other cells."

(Story continues below)

The sources estimate at least $350,000 in grants to Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leaders were pledged by Fayyad since last week. Some of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leaders serve in Fatah security forces while others only work in the Brigades.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, deadly shootings and rocket attacks. It is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization even though U.S. policy considers the Fatah party to be "moderate."

Many members of the Brigades openly serve in Fatah's official security forces.

Fayyad's purported grants to the Brigades come after the U.S. announced last week it will transfer $150 million directly to accounts controlled by Fayyad, marking the first time in eight months America has transferred money directly to the PA instead of to nongovernmental agencies.

President Bush pushed Congress to remove a hold on a $150 million aid package to be transferred to the PA. Bush said the PA was in economic trouble and needed the money at a time it is "threatened" by extremists and negotiating with Israel.

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee earlier halted the aid fearing it would be used to fund terrorism.

Fayyad claimed to reporters last week the U.S. money, due to be transferred tomorrow, would go directly to the Palestinian national treasury to be used for running what he termed a cash-strapped government.

"We see this [U.S. aid] as significant, especially because it underscores the confidence with which our financial system is viewed internationally," Fayyad said at a signing ceremony last week at the U.S. consul general in Jerusalem.