► Show Top 10 Hot Links

Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Virulent Turkish anti-Semitsm will not disappear with Erdogan

by Speranza ( 116 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Anti-semitism, Gaza, Hamas, Iran, Islamists, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey at February 21st, 2014 - 7:00 am

Appeasing the unappeasable is a fool’s errand. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitsm has little to do with what Israel does but the fact that it exists as a Jewish nation. The fact is that Jew haters need no rational reason to hate Jews, it is just in their nature.

by Caroline Glick

Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.

At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.

Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.

The men ran for their lives.

Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.

They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”

Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone.  [.....]

Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.

Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.

In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.

As he put it, “Erdogan’s core values vis-à-vis Jews and Israel prevent him from dealing with this issue in a tolerant, embracing and sustainable way.”

Against this backdrop it should surprise no one that this week Erdogan sunk prospects for a renewal of Turkish ties with Israel.

Immediately after he took office 10 years ago, Erdogan began systematically downgrading Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. This process, which began gradually and accelerated after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, reached its peak in 2010.

In May 2010, Erdogan sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla to Gaza whose aim was to undermine Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of the terrorist-controlled Gaza coast. The flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, was controlled by the al-Qaida-aligned IHH organization. Its passengers included terrorists who, armed with iron bars, knives and other weaponry tried to kill IDF naval commandos when they boarded the Gaza-bound ship to enforce the blockade. [.....]

Erdogan used the incident on the Mavi Marmara as a means of ending what remained of Turkey’s ties to Israel. For three years, he insisted that he would only restore full diplomatic relations if Israel ended its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, apologized for its forces’ actions on board the Mavi Marmara, and paid reparations to the families of the IHH terrorists killed in their assault on the IDF commandos.

In March 2013, Erdogan relented in his demand that Israel end the blockade and acceded to a reconciliation deal offered by US President Barack Obama in a three-way telephone call with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that took place during Obama’s visit to Israel.

Following the phone call, Netanyahu apologized for “operational errors,” by IDF sailors aboard the Mavi Marmara and offered to compensate the families.


But just after Netanyahu made his required gesture of appeasement, Erdogan began delaying the talks, while continuing his anti-Semitic assaults.

Talks eventually did start. And according to Israeli sources, they were about to conclude this week.

Netanyahu was beginning to build political support for his decision to agree to Turkey’s demand for a massive $20 million settlement of claims against Israel by the dead terrorists’ families.

But then Erdogan walked away.

On Tuesday, Erdogan reinstated his initial demand that Israel must end its lawful naval blockade of terrorist-controlled Gaza before he restores ties to the Jewish state.

In many quarters of the Israeli media, Erdogan’s action was met with surprise. Reporters who for years have insisted that Israel can make the problem go away by bowing to Erdogan’s demands are stumped by his behavior.


It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.

Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.

Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.

He has destroyed most of the independent media in the country and sent hundreds of journalists and editors to prison.

The same is the case with independent businessmen.


This week, 17 people were sentenced to two years each in prison for “deliberately insulting the premier and not regretting their actions,” during a small demonstration in 2012 protesting the government’s health policy.

Also this week, Erdogan acknowledged that he calls television broadcasters in the middle of news shows and orders them to stop the broadcast of information he doesn’t want the public to know.

This has included ending the live broadcast of a speech in parliament by the opposition leader, ending coverage of the mass anti-government demonstrations last summer, and removing a news ticker that reported on the corruption scandals surrounding Erdogan and his cronies. [......]

To maintain the public’s support for his burgeoning dictatorship, Erdogan has adopted populist economic policies that have sunk the Turkish economy. To buy the public’s allegiance, Erdogan has borrowed heavily internationally and artificially lowered Turkey’s interest rates, even as the local currency dropped in value in international markets and Turkey’s current accounts deficits outpaced Greece’s on the eve of its economic meltdown.

As David Goldman explained last week in a financial analysis of Turkey’s incipient economic meltdown in The Asia Times, rather than raise consumer interests rates, Erdogan has blamed the Jews by railing against “the interest rate lobby.”

Indeed, since he first invoked the term during the anti-government demonstrations last August, Erdogan has taken to blaming the interest rate cabal for all of Turkey’s woes.

Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks.

The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interview with Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. [.......]

Erdogan’s hatred of Jews, his authoritarian mindset and his Islamist ideology informed his decision to transform Turkey into one of the leading sponsors of terrorism. In addition to its massive support for Hamas, beginning in the 2006 First Lebanon War Turkey began providing assistance to Hezbollah.

Then there is al-Qaida. Turkey has long harbored al-Qaida financiers. And according to IDF Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Turkey hosts three al-Qaida bases on its territory that enable terrorists to transit between Europe and Syria.

Erdogan’s ideological underpinning directs his embrace of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida. But his decimation of Turkey’s economy has made him view Iran as Turkey’s economic savior. And that in turn pushes Turkey even deeper into the jihadist camp.

Obviously in this situation, the chances that Turkey will agree to reconcile with Israel, at any price, is inconceivable.

The surprise that many Israeli journalists have expressed over Erdogan’s seeming about-face on the reconciliation deal brings us to the larger lesson of his transformation of Turkey.

These journalists believe that Israel’s bilateral relations with other countries are based on tit for tat. If I do something to upset you, you will get upset. If I apologize and try to make things right, then you will be satisfied and everything will go back to normal.

This simplistic view of the world is attractive because it places Israel in a position of power. If the only reason that Turkey is mad at Israel is that Israel will not apologize for its response to Turkey’s illegal aggression, then Israel should apologize and pay whatever damages Erdogan demands.

Moreover, Israel should make Erdogan believe the sincerity of its apology by maintaining faith with the myth that he is a responsible actor on the world stage, rather than a prominent sponsor of terrorism and the hangman of Turkish democracy and economic prosperity.

Appeasement is a seductive policy because it is gives its purveyors a sense of empowerment. And at times, when faced with a simple, limited dispute it can work.

But Turkey’s rejection of Israel is not a linear response to a specific Israeli action. It is a consequence of the nature of Erdogan’s regime, and due to his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement, it is increasingly a consequence of the nature of Turkish society.

Kerdemir argued that Turkish anti-Semitism does not necessitate a rejection of Jews and Israel. And that’s true.

The problem is that when anti-Semitism is tied to several other political and economic pathologies, as it is in the case of Turkey, it is impossible as a practical matter for any accommodation to be reached.

THE SWORD-WIELDING restaurateur who responded to the mere presence of Jewish diners in his establishment with murderous rage is no more exceptional than lynch mobs in Ramallah. And as Erdogan’s economic plight worsens and his embrace of Iran and jihadist groups tightens, Turkey’s behavior will only become more extreme, unappeasable and dangerous.

Read the rest-  Why Turkey is gone for good

Iranian trainer killed in Lebanon

by Rodan Comments Off
Filed under Al Qaeda, Headlines, Iran, Islamists, Syria at February 8th, 2014 - 1:18 am

Nusra Front threatened several weeks ago that their agents were in Lebanon ready to strike Hezbollah targets. As we have seen the last month, Hezbollah targets have been struck. Now a group calling itself the Free Sunni Baalbek Brigade killed an Iranian trainer stationed at a Hezbollah camp.

The “Free Sunni Baalbek Brigade” announced on Friday killing an Iranian military trainer in the Bekaa region.

“We claim responsibility for a heroic operation that targeted a top Iranian military trainer on Thursday at a drill camp,” the brigade said on its Twitter account, noting that the operation’s name is “in the heart of the enemy.”

It added: “The attack was carried out at a Hizbullah controlled site in the Hermel plains (in the Bekaa).”

The operation created an atmosphere of panic and confusion among party members, the statement remarked.

“Hizbullah is trying to conceal what had happened.”

This has Nusra Front written all over it.

In other Syrian War news, the US accuses Iran of playing a double game in the Syrian War.

BEIRUT: Tehran is assisting Al-Qaeda operatives based in Iran to transfer Sunni fighters to Syria, the Obama administration charged Thursday.

The accusation, detailed in new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department targeting Iranian terror links, suggests Iranian officials are backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, described by the Treasury Department as an Iran-based Islamic Jihad Union facilitator who “operates there with the knowledge of Iranian authorities,” was designated for providing logistical support and funding to Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network.

This is very interesting.

What we can learn from the twentieth century’s greatest diplomatic disaster – the Munich conference

by Speranza ( 152 Comments › )
Filed under Afghanistan, France, Germany, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Japan, John Kerry, Nazism, Syria, UK, World War II at January 16th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

As the author states, democracy was introduced into Japan and Germany at the point of a gun after those two nations were utterly devastated and had to submit to foreign occupations. No such thing has ever happened to any Islamic nation.  “Nation building” in Iraq and Afghanistan never had a chance in hell of succeeding. The analogies to Munich 1938 are interesting but often misleading.

by Bruce Thornton

During the recent foreign policy crises over Syria’s use of chemical weapons and the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran, the Munich analogy was heard from both sides of the political spectrum. Arguing for airstrikes against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the nation faced a “Munich moment.” A few months later, numerous critics of Barack Obama’s diplomatic discussions with Iran evoked Neville Chamberlain’s naïve negotiations with Adolph Hitler. “This wretched deal,” Middle East historian Daniel Pipes said, “offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid.” The widespread resort to the Munich analogy raises the question: When, if ever, are historical analogies useful for understanding present circumstances?

  what economic recovery
Photo credit: Anna Newman

Since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, one important purpose of describing historical events was to provide models for posterity. Around 395 B.C., Thucydides wrote that his history was for “those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it.” [........]

Both historians believed the past could inform and instruct the present because they assumed that human nature would remain constant in its passions, weaknesses, and interests despite changes in the political, social, or technological environment. As Thucydides writes of the horrors of revolution and civil war, “The sufferings . . . were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular cases.”  [.........]

In contrast, the modern idea of progress––the notion that greater knowledge of human motivation and behavior, and more sophisticated technology, are changing and improving human nature––suggests that events of the past have little utility in describing the present, and so every historical analogy is at some level false. The differences between two events separated by time and different levels of intellectual and technological sophistication will necessarily outweigh any usefulness. [......]

An example of a historical analogy that failed because it neglected important differences was one popular among those supporting the Bush Doctrine during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush Doctrine was embodied in the president’s 2005 inaugural speech: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Promoting democracy and political freedom in the Middle East was believed to be the way to eliminate the political, social, and economic dysfunctions that presumably breed Islamic terrorism. Supporters of this view frequently invoked the transformation of Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union from aggressive tyrannies into peaceful democracies to argue for nation building in the Muslim Middle East.

Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, used this analogy in his 2004 book The Case for Democracy, which was an important influence on President Bush’s thinking. Yet in citing the examples of Russia, Germany, and Japan as proof that democracy could take root in any cultural soil, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sharansky overlooked some key differences. Under Soviet communism, a highly religious Russian people were subjected to an atheist regime radically at odds with the beliefs of the masses. Communism could only promise material goods, and when it serially failed to do so, it collapsed. As for Germany and Japan, both countries were devastated by World War II, their cities and industries destroyed, the ruins standing as stark reminders of the folly of the political ideologies that wreaked such havoc. Both countries were occupied for years by the victors, who had the power and scope to build a new political order enforced by the occupying troops. As political philosopher Michael Mandelbaum reminds us, in Germany and Japan, democracy was introduced at gunpoint.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of these important conditions existed when U.S. forces invaded. The leaders of these countries are Muslim, thus establishing an important connection with the mass of their people. Unlike Nazism and communism, which were political fads, Islam is the faith of 1.5 billion people, and boasts a proud, fourteen-centuries-long history of success and conquest. For millions of pious Muslims, the answer to their modern difficulties lies not in embracing a foreign political system like democracy, but in returning to the purity of faith that created one of the world’s greatest empires. Moreover, no Muslim country has suffered the dramatic physical destruction that Germany and Japan did, which would illuminate the costs of Islam’s failure to adapt to the modern world. Finally, such analogies downplay the complex social and economic values, habits, and attitudes––many contrary to traditional Islamic doctrine––that are the preconditions for a truly democratic regime.

More recently, people are invoking the Munich analogy to describe the Syria and Iran crises. But these critics of Obama’s foreign policy misunderstand the Munich negotiations and their context. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens, arguing that Obama’s agreement with Iran is worse than the English and French betrayal of Czechoslovakia, based his assessment on his belief that “neither Neville Chamberlain nor [French prime minister] Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. ‘Peace for our time’ it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.”

Stephens, however, is missing an important historical detail that calls into question this interpretation. France in fact did have the “military wherewithal” to fight the Germans. The Maginot line had 860,000 soldiers manning it––nearly six times the number of Germans on the unfinished “Western Wall” of defensive fortifications facing the French—and another 400,000 troops elsewhere in France. Any move east by the French would have presented Germany with a two-front war it was not prepared to fight. Nor would Czechoslovakia have been an easy foe for Hitler. As Churchill wrote in The Gathering Storm, the Czechs had “a million and a half men armed behind the strongest fortress line in Europe [in the mountainous Sudetenland on Germany’s eastern border] and equipped by a highly organized and powerful industrial machine,” including the Skoda works, “the second most important arsenal in Central Europe.” Finally, the web of military agreements among England, France, Poland, and the Soviet Union was dependent on England backing France, which would not fight otherwise, and without the French, the Poles and the Soviets would not fight either. Had England lived up to its commitment to France, Hitler would have faced a two-front war against the overwhelming combined military superiority of the Allies. And he would have lost.

The lessons of Munich, and its value as a historical analogy, have nothing to do with a material calculation. Rather, the capitulation of the British and the French illustrates the perennial truth that conflict is about morale. On that point Stephens is correct when he writes that Chamberlain and Daladier did not have “public support,” and he emphasizes the role of morale in foreign policy. A people who have lost the confidence in the goodness of their way of life will not be saved by the material superiority of arms or money. And, as Munich also shows, that failure of nerve will not be mitigated by diplomatic negotiations. Talking to an enemy bent on aggression will only buy him time for achieving his aims. Thus Munich exposes the fallacy of diplomatic engagement that periodically has compromised Western foreign policy. Rather than a means of avoiding the unavoidable brutal costs of conflict, diplomatic words often create the illusion of action, while in reality avoiding the necessary military deeds. For diplomacy to work, the enemy must believe that his opponent will use punishing force to back up the agreement.

This truth gives force to the Munich analogy when applied to diplomacy with Iran. Hitler correctly judged that what he called the “little worms” of Munich, France and England, would not use such force, and were only looking for a politically palatable way to avoid a war. Similarly today, the mullahs in Iran are confident that America will not use force to stop the nuclear weapons program. Iran’s leaders are shrewd enough to understand that the Obama administration needs a diplomatic fig leaf to hide its capitulation to their nuclear ambitions, given his doubts about the rightness of America’s global dominance, and the war-weariness evident among the American people.  [........]

The weakening faith in American goodness that afflicts millions of Americans, and the use of diplomacy to camouflage that failure of nerve and provide political cover for the leaders charged with protecting our security and interests, are a reprise of England and France’s sacrifice of Czechoslovakia in 1938. That similarity and the lessons it can teach about the dangers of the collapse of national morale and the risky reliance on words rather than deeds are what continue to make Munich a useful historical analogy.

Read the rest - The lessons of Munich


US and Iran both helping the Iraqi Regime

by Rodan ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Headlines, Iran, Iraq at January 6th, 2014 - 11:24 pm

The US and Iran are both helping the Shia Regime of Iraq fight Anbar Tribal Fighters and al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

TEHRAN — Even as the United States and Iran pursue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East.

While the two governments quietly continue to pursue their often conflicting interests, they are being drawn together by their mutual opposition to an international movement of young Sunni fighters, who with their pickup trucks and Kalashnikovs are raising the black flag of Al Qaeda along sectarian fault lines in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The United States, reluctant to intervene in bloody, inconclusive conflicts, is seeing its regional influence decline, while Iraq, which cost the Americans $1 trillion and more than 4,000 lives, is growing increasingly unstable.

At the same time, Shiite-dominated Iran, the magnetic pole for the Shiite minority in the region, has its own reasons to be nervous, with the ragtag army of Sunni militants threatening Syria and Iraq, both important allies, and the United States drawing down its troops in Afghanistan.

Why are we taking sides in the Iran vs. al-Qaeda fight? This is a fight between 2 evil forces who when allied, have killed thousands through terror. This is just a disgrace that we are getting involved in a terror fight.

The big question is what the US will do next time Israel and Hezbollah fight?

Al-Qaeda threatens Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander

by Rodan ( 4 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Hezballah, Iran, Islam, Islamic Terrorism, Special Report at January 3rd, 2014 - 12:08 am

Once upong a time, al-Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were allies. With their offshoots Nusra Front and Hezbollah engaged in a death match in Syria, it was only a matter of time before the parent organization would turn on each other. Al-Qaeda struck first with their bombings of the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Now they up the ante and are threatening to strike Iran itself and kill the leader of the IRGC, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Al Qaeda said that it is planning to assassinate Iran’s top military general, underscoring tensions in the rocky relationship between Tehran and the global terror network.

Al Qaeda claimed in a recent statement to have sent two of its terrorist forces into Iran with the goal of killing Qassem Soleimani, the general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“We will not assassinate the commander of Iran’s Quds Force by gunshots, but we intend to kill him by a suicide attack,” al Qaeda was reported to have said in a late December statement reported on in the Iranian state-run media.

It remains unclear who in al Qaeda issued the reported statement.

Grab the popcorn and enjoy the festivities on Islamic vs. Islamic violence.



John Kerry’s security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar bill

by Speranza ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under Egypt, Gaza, IDF, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Palestinians at December 26th, 2013 - 8:40 am

Netanyahu knows that Obama/Kerry/Brennan/Hagel are not exactly great friends of the Jewish State and therefore he needs to play “rope-a-dope” with this administration until hopefully the American people will put into office someone who sees the world as it is rather then as it ought to be.

by Caroline Glick

Like his supporters, US Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently been asleep for the past 20 years.

Kerry has proffered us security arrangements, which he claims will protect Israel from aggression for the long haul. They will do this, he argues, despite the fact that his plan denies the Jewish state physically defensible borders in the framework of a peace deal with the PLO.

There are several serious problems with Kerry’s arrangements. But in the context of Kerry’s repeated claims that his commitment to Israel’s security is unqualified, their most glaring flaws are rooted in their disregard for all the lessons we have learned over the past two decades.

Kerry’s security arrangements rest on three assumptions. First, they assume that the main threats Israel will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will emanate from east of the Jordan River. The main two scenarios that have been raised are the threat of terrorists and advanced weaponry being smuggled across the border; and a land invasion or other type of major aggression against Israel, perpetrated by Iraqis moving across Jordan.

It is to fend off these threats, Kerry argues, that he would agree to a temporary deployment of Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley even after Israel expels all or most of the 650,000 Israeli civilians who live in Judea, Samaria and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem.

We will consider the strategic wisdom of his plans for defending Israel from threats east of the Jordan River presently. But first we need to ask whether a threat from across the border would really be the only significant threat that Israel would face after surrendering Judea, Samaria and much of Jerusalem to the PLO.

The answer to this question is obvious to every Israeli who has been awake for the past 20 years, since Israel started down the “land for peace” road with the PLO. The greatest threat Israel will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will not come from east of the Jordan. It will come from west of the Jordan – from the Jew-free Palestinian state.


There is no peace camp in Palestinian society. There are only terrorist organizations that compete for power and turf. And to the extent there are moderates in Palestinian society, they are empowered when Israel is in control, and weakened when Israel transfers power to the PLO. Back in halcyon 1990s, Israeli supporters of “land for peace” told us, “It’s better to be smart than right.”

By this they meant that for peace, we should be willing to give up our historical homeland, and even our eternal capital, despite the fact that they are ours by legal and historic right. That peace, they promised, would protect us, neutralize the threat of terrorism and make the entire Arab world love us.

Over the past 20 years, we learned that all these wise men were fools. Even as the likes of Tom Friedman and Jeremy Ben Ami continue to tell us that the choice is between ideology – that is, Jewish rights and honor – and peace, today we know that they are full of it.

Our most peaceful periods have been those in which we have been fully deployed in Judea and Samaria. The more fully we deploy, the more we exercise our legal and national rights to sovereign power in those areas, the safer and more peaceful Israeli and Palestinian societies alike have been.

The only way to be smart, we have learned, is by being right. The only way to secure peace is by insisting that our rights be respected. We won’t get peace for land. We will get war – not from the Iraqis or anyone else to our east, but from the Palestinians. And since the Palestinians are the people Kerry is intending to empower with his peace plan and his security arrangements, both his peace plan and his security arrangements are deeply dangerous and hostile.


But this is ridiculous. When Israel withdrew from the international border between Gaza and Egypt, it wrongly assumed two things – first, that the regime of Hosni Mubarak would always be in power, and second, that Mubarak’s regime would secure the border.

In the event, Mubarak, Israel’s peace partner, did not secure the border. According to then Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, in the three months after Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, the Palestinians smuggled more weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt than they had in the previous 38 years, when Israel controlled the border.

And of course Mubarak did not remain in power. He was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

While it is true that for now, the Egyptian military has wrested control over the country from the Muslim Brotherhood, and is reportedly cooperating with Israel in the Sinai, there is no reason to assume that the present conditions will prevail.

Kerry’s security arrangements along the Jordan Valley are predicated on two similarly dim-witted notions. First, that the Hashemite regime will remain in power forever. And second, that the Hashemites will want to protect the border forever.

Given the instability of the Arab world as a whole and the fact that the overwhelming majority of Jordanians are Palestinians, the most likely scenario is that the Hashemites will be overthrown at some point in the eminently foreseeable future.

Moreover, even if King Abdullah II manages to remain in power, his children are half Palestinian. So even if the Hashemites remain in power, there is no reason to believe that their commitment to peace with Israel will be maintained over time.  [...........]

The third foundation of Kerry’s security arrangements is that Israel can trust America’s security guarantees.

This position of course was completely discredited by the nuclear deal that Kerry and President Barack Obama have concluded with Iran, which paves the way for the genocidal Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons.

After the Iran deal, only the most reckless and irresponsible Israeli leaders could take American security guarantees at face value.

Israelis frustrate the land-for-peace processors from Washington because we have actually been awake for the past 20 years. And we refuse forget what we know.

Land for peace was killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Jordan is not forever.

And US security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar bill.

Read the rest - Kerry’s oh-so 90′s security nonsense

Musings from a Prague winter

by Speranza ( 231 Comments › )
Filed under Anti-semitism, Communism, History, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Judaism, Nazism, World War II at December 12th, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Even the most casual visitor to Prague senses the melancholy that seeps from its very stones. The beauty of the city intensifies the sadness. The 20th century was cruel to the Czech lands.

by David Horovitz

PRAGUE — To visit Prague from Jerusalem in the dying days of 2013 is to grapple with a potent historical concoction.

Days before we leave, the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has publicly branded my country the “sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region” and declared that we Israelis “cannot be called human beings.”

Evidently unperturbed by the vicious rhetoric, deaf or indifferent to its echoes from the genocidal days of Nazi-dominated Europe, world leaders have later that very same day entered negotiations with Khamenei’s representatives. And they have emerged not long afterwards with what gives every appearance of being a shoddy, inadequate accord that, for the first time, legitimizes Iranian enrichment of uranium — paving the way, at improbable best, for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state; at more likely worst, for Iran to defy the tired, indulgent international community and became a full-fledged nuclear power.

The deal is dreadful, the timing and the celebrations among the foreign ministers in Geneva frankly sickening. Khamenei publicly dehumanizes the Jews on Wednesday. By early Sunday, the world’s powers have signaled that he may gain the tools to expedite our destruction, and have warmly embraced his foreign minister for deigning to accept their capitulation.

And so to the capital of the Czech Republic, 75 years after the Czechs were betrayed by the world’s powers in slightly different constellation, a young nation handed over to the Nazis. Take this, just don’t come after the rest of us. Please, Herr Hitler.

When they’d first negotiated their parameters a mere two decades earlier, Czechoslovakia’s strategists had worried about how to protect so small a country in so treacherous and central a geostrategic position — for their new republic, at the seething heart of post-World War I Europe, was just 600 miles long and 150 miles wide at some points, barely half that at others. These, their diplomats had argued, were barely defensible borders. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry reading back over those discussions, when you’re living in a country nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

In the event, a combination of British and French perfidy, and their own uncertain leadership, meant the Czechs did not so much as attempt to defend themselves in the face of Hitler’s rapacious ambition. They had Europe’s 6th largest army at the time. It was deployed and eager for battle. The order never came.

From left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement, which gave the Sudetenland to Germany. (photo credit: German Federal Archives / Wikipedia)

Bill Clinton’s secretary of state Madeleine Albright, born in Prague a year before Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler that doomed her native land, bitterly charts the despicable sellout in “Prague Winter,” a fine and fascinating book that melds personal memoir with Czechoslovakia’s 1937-48 story. She writes, of the 1938 Munich surrender, and the British prime minister’s inability to recognize Hitler’s evil, that “in Chamberlain’s universe, people might be flawed, but they worried about their souls and did not set out to do monstrous things.”

Flash forward three-quarters of a century, sit in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, and pray that it would be false, false, false, to substitute Obama’s name for Chamberlain’s in that sentence.


Two thousand Jews live in Prague today — officially. Unofficially, there may be as many as 10,000. A large proportion apparently prefer to eschew formal affiliation with the community. Why on earth would they do that, when officials argue that Prague is perhaps the best place in Europe to be Jewish these days?

Part of the answer is written on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue, founded by one of my illustrious Horovitz ancestors almost 480 years ago. The nearby Old-New Synagogue is the oldest in Europe — dating back to the 13th century, replete with a wooden, Star of David-topped chair named for the community’s preeminent 16th century scholar and mystic Rabbi Judah Loew, widely known as the Maharal of Prague — and the oldest still in use outside of Israel. They don’t pray in the Pinkas shul anymore. They lament. For on its walls are inscribed the names of 80,000 Czech Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Endless rows of victims' names, inscribed on the walls of the Pinkas synagogue (photo credit: Courtesy)

The endless rows of Jews’ names were first rendered in the late 1950s. But after the Soviet Union was allowed to crush Czechoslovakia’s bid to break free of Communist domination in 1968 — the second betrayal — Moscow had the memorial destroyed.



Jews here over the centuries, at the mercy of their national hosts, suffered their characteristic horrors interspersed with periods of relative calm. For more than 300 years, from the early 1400s through to 1787, they were barred from burying their dead anywhere outside the designated Jewish cemetery. An estimated 12,000 tombstones remain in the Old Jewish Cemetery now, including that of Rabbi Loew, but the body count is far higher — perhaps 200,000. Hopelessly short of space, the community laid its graves one on top of the other; ten deep in places. The level of the ground inside the cemetery walls is markedly higher than on the road alongside.Rabbi Loew's tombstone in Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery (photo credit: MKPiekarska/Wikipedia)

Unique among former centers of Jewish life in Nazi-occupied Europe, Prague’s Jewish ghetto survives to this day in part because it escaped bombing by the Allies, but mainly because the Nazis apparently intended to maintain the site as a “Museum Of An Extinct Race” — a memorial to the proud genocide that finally rid the world of the historical scourge of Judaism.

You visit the cemetery, with its desperate mash of crammed and crumbling tombstones. You read the names of the Nazis’ victims in the adjacent Pinkas shul. You head next to the Ceremonial Hall, which presents in nauseatingly excessive detail the activities of the Prague Jewish Burial Society. You watch the flow of politely interested gentile tourists, and you imagine them thinking to themselves, “Ah, how interesting, so these were the Jews. Ah, I see, this is how they lived.” And you have to suppress the urge to scream that, “No, we’re not all dead. We’re still here.” Still thriving, actually. And still threatened.

The 20th century’s two betrayals resonate, profoundly, in the psyche of the modern Czech Republic, Kraus believes. But 1968 had an inevitability. The US had liberated its third of the former Czechoslovakian Republic at the end of World War II, and gone, ultimately leaving the country under Soviet domination, and Moscow was not about to allow it to break free. In 1938, by contrast, the Czech boasted alliances, treaties, solemn pledges of military assistance. All of which proved empty.

For the reviving Czechoslovakia after World War II, Israel’s insistent 1948 fight for life, such a contrast to their undignified surrender a decade earlier, was particularly admirable. There were also Jews in high places in the new Czech leadership, returned refugees from Moscow and London. Misidentifying modern Israel as a potential Communist foothold in the Middle East, Moscow too smiled upon the nascent Jewish state. All that together helps explain Czechoslovakia’s affirmative response to beleaguered Israel’s War of Independence pleas for military assistance — in the form of crucial fighter planes, arms, spare parts, and the training of pilots.

Decades later, perceived parallels of small gutsy nations surrounded by enemies again help explain why today’s Czech Republic is arguably Israel’s biggest supporter in Europe; it was the only European country to vote with Israel, the US, Panama and four Pacific island states against the accession of “Palestine” to the status of nonmember observer state at the UN in 2012.  [.......]


German troops hold a military parade in Prague's Wenceslas Square, March 19, 1939. (photo credit: AP)

No. It did not require hindsight to realize that appeasement would not stop Hitler. Just the kind of willingness that Chamberlain lacked and Churchill possessed to honestly assess a deeply unpalatable reality. And not only did appeasement fail to stop the Nazis, it also made matters a great deal easier for them. Losing no time and no lives in the conquest of Czechoslovakia, they commandeered the Czech army’s invaluable weaponry, and rolled murderously forward.


Madeleine Albright is not the only US secretary of state to have learned late in life that her origins were Jewish. In Albright’s case, both parents were Jews — later converting to Roman Catholicism — and many of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust.

Madeleine Albright (photo credit: US State Department)

As I’m leaving Kraus’s office, and he’s urging me to read Albright’s “Prague Winter,” he happens to mention that the biography of the current secretary of state, John Kerry, is not dissimilar — that Kerry’s grandfather was Jewish, born Fritz Kohn, southeast of here in Moravia. Growing up in increasingly anti-Semitic Vienna, Fritz and his older brother Otto converted to Roman Catholicism and then, in 1901, Fritz Kohn changed his name, to Fred Kerry.

Turns out there’s more to the story. Grandpa Fritz/Fred also married a Jew, a musician named Ida Loewe, and she too converted to Catholicism.

If that family name rings a bell it’s because Ida Loewe was a descendant of the same family as Prague’s luminary Rabbi Judah Loew — buried right here in the Old Jewish Cemetery. So Secretary Kerry can trace his roots to one of Jewish history’s most eminent Kabbalists.

John Kerry is sworn in as secretary of state by Justice Elena Kagan, Feb 1, 2013 (photo credit: US State Department)

Not all of Ida’s family escaped their religion, or the Nazis. Two of Kerry’s grandmother’s siblings, Otto and Jenni, were killed in concentration camps, just around the period that, at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, Rosemary and Richard Kerry were celebrating the birth of their second child, and first son.


Ancestry on my mind, my wife, daughter and I take the 40-minute train journey from Prague to Horovice. Unlike our previous roots trip two years ago to Frankfurt — where my great-grandfather had founded the Borneplatz Synagogue in 1882, and where it was burned down on Kristallnacht 56 years later — our two sons cannot join us this time. They are protecting their country now, one in the north, the other in the south.

A vestige of Judaism at Horovice's former synagogue, now a church (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)


An early 20th century shul building remains, built hundreds of years after my ancestors had moved to Prague. It’s been turned into an Evangelical Church.


Panoramic view of Prague (Photo credit: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

We walk south through the Czech capital, on an unremarkably freezing cold December day, to the church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius.

Reinhard Heydrich (photo credit: German Federal Archives/Wikipedia)

It’s getting dark and it’s easy to miss the memorial plaque above a bullet-scarred section of the church’s outer wall facing Resslova Street. Here is where, on June 18, 1942, hundreds upon hundreds of SS troops attempted to extricate seven Czech soldiers who had taken refuge in the church after assassinating Reinhard Heydrich — the Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (the occupied Czech Republic) and prime architect of the Holocaust. (He chaired that year’s Wannsee Conference, which formalized the Final Solution.)

Members of the Czech army-in-exile who had been airlifted in from the UK, the parachutists had killed a demonic figure, beloved by Hitler as “the man with an iron heart,” in an operation of astounding daring as Heydrich was being driven to his headquarters at Prague Castle on the morning of May 27. (The attack very nearly failed, when the submachine gun used by Jozef Gabcik, the principal gunman, jammed; his colleague Jan Kubiš then threw a modified anti-tank bomb at the car, fatally wounding Heydrich.) And the soldier-assassins had ended up here, surrounded and with no means of escape.

Jozef Gabčík (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Three of them died in gunbattles high in the church; the remaining four killed themselves in the crypt after resisting tear-gassing and flooding, and fighting off the SS troops, for hours.

Jan Kubiš (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

The bronze memorial lists their seven names along with that of Bishop Gorazd, the clergyman who had earlier asked that the assassins take refuge elsewhere, but told the Nazis he took personal responsibility for their being there. Gorazd was arrested, tortured and executed by Nazi firing squad, along with the church’s priests and lay leaders.

The immediate consequences of the killing of Heydrich were devastating. An estimated 5,000 Czechs were murdered in reprisals ordered by Hitler; the entire village of Lidice, falsely implicated in the plot, was liquidated and razed. But the bullying Nazis’ veneer of invulnerability had been smashed, an incalculably valuable achievement.

The massacre at Lidice (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

That single act emphatically did not turn the tide of the war (though the brutality of the reprisals finally brought home Hitler’s unlimited capacity for evil to some in the international community). But there’s no telling what impact the ruthless, cold-hearted Heydrich might have had in restraining some of Hitler’s increasingly deranged military strategies as the war continued, and thus whether his presence might have prolonged the Nazi nightmare.

The memorial to Heydrich's assassins at the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius (photo credit: Blanicky/Wikipedia Commons)

The assassination had been approved by the Czech government-in-exile in London — a belated assertion of sovereign responsibility and determination. It was a moment in which the Czechs demonstrably fought back, stood up to their aggressors, and said no to the Nazi emissary who had declared, on his appointment the previous September, his intention to “Germanize the Czech vermin.”

Heydrich had traveled in an open Mercedes convertible because he knew nobody would dare to tangle with him. They dared.

Read the rest - Ancestry, guts and betrayal: Musings from a  Prague winter

Farsi, Farce-y, What’s In a Word?

by 1389AD ( 133 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, Nuclear Weapons, Open thread at December 9th, 2013 - 3:00 pm
Obama: 'So you're building a toaster?' Khamenei: 'Of sorts'Ineptocracy
New Word Inspired by the Obama Administration

No, Virginia, there is no Obama Claus
But there are Obama CLAWS.

Allen West: Obama is a disgrace

Woe to America’s allies

by Speranza ( 114 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, Israel, Japan, Joe Biden, Russia, South Korea at December 9th, 2013 - 9:04 am

As an Israeli Deputy Prime Minister recently stated (paraphrasing) “We have 2 1/2 more years of Obama, we need to hold out and then he will be gone”.

by Charles Krauthammer

Three crises, one president, many bewildered friends.

The first crisis, barely noticed here, is Ukraine’s sudden turn away from Europe and back to the Russian embrace.

After years of negotiations for a major trading agreement with the European Union, Ukraine succumbed to characteristically blunt and brutal economic threats from Russia and abruptly walked away. Ukraine is instead considering joining the Moscow-centered Customs Union with Russia’s fellow dictatorships Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This is no trivial matter. Ukraine is not just the largest European country, it’s the linchpin for Vladimir Putin’s dream of a renewed imperial Russia, hegemonic in its neighborhood and rolling back the quarter-century advancement of the “Europe whole and free” bequeathed by America’s victory in the Cold War.

The U.S. response? Almost imperceptible. As with Iran’s ruthlessly crushed Green Revolution of 2009, the hundreds of thousands of protesters who’ve turned out to reverse this betrayal of Ukrainian independence have found no voice in Washington. Can’t this administration even rhetorically support those seeking a democratic future, as we did during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004?

A Post online headline explains: “With Russia in mind, U.S. takes cautious approach on Ukraine unrest.” We must not offend Putin. We must not jeopardize Obama’s precious “reset,” a farce that has yielded nothing but the well-earned distrust of allies such as Poland and the Czech Republicwhom we wantonly undercut in a vain effort to appease Russia on missile defense.


The second crisis is the Middle East — the collapse of confidence of U.S. allies as America romances Iran.

The Gulf Arabs are stunned at their double abandonment. In the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the U.S. has overthrown seven years of Security Council resolutions prohibiting uranium enrichment and effectively recognized Iran as a threshold nuclear state. This follows our near-abandonment of the Syrian revolution and de facto recognition of both the Assad regime and Iran’s “Shiite Crescent” of client states stretching to the Mediterranean.

Equally dumbfounded are the Israelis, now trapped by an agreement designed less to stop the Iranian nuclear program than to prevent the Israeli Air Force from stopping the Iranian nuclear program.


Better diplomacy than war, say Obama’s apologists, an adolescent response implying that all diplomacy is the same, as if a diplomacy of capitulation is no different from a diplomacy of pressure.

What to do? Apply pressure. Congress should immediately pass punishing new sanctions to be implemented exactly six months hence — when the current interim accord is supposed to end — if the Iranians have not lived up to the agreement and refuse to negotiate a final deal that fully liquidates their nuclear weapons program.

The third crisis is unfolding over the East China Sea, where, in open challenge to Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” China has brazenly declared a huge expansion of its airspace into waters claimed by Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s first response — sending B-52s through that airspace without acknowledging the Chinese — was quick and firm. Japan and South Korea followed suit. But when Japan then told its civilian carriers not to comply with Chinese demands for identification, the State Department (and FAA) told U.S. air carriers to submit.


Again leaving our friends stunned. They need an ally, not an intermediary. Here is the U.S. again going over the heads of allies to accommodate a common adversary. We should be declaring the Chinese claim null and void, ordering our commercial airlines to join Japan in acting accordingly, and supplying them with joint military escorts if necessary.

This would not be an exercise in belligerence but a demonstration that if other countries unilaterally overturn the status quo, they will meet a firm, united, multilateral response from the West.

Led by us. From in front.

No one’s asking for a JFK-like commitment to “bear any burden” to “assure the . . . success of liberty.” Or a Reaganesque tearing down of walls. Or even a Clintonian assertion of America as the indispensable nation. America’s allies are seeking simply a reconsideration of the policy of retreat that marks this administration’s response to red-line challenges all over the world — and leaves them naked.

Read the rest – Woe to U.S. Allies

Israel, the Maccabees and the Pilgrims

by Speranza ( 130 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, History, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, World War II at December 3rd, 2013 - 2:00 pm

The last time Hannukah and Thanksgiving coincided was back in 1888.

by Caroline Glick

Back in October 2001 then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, raised the hackles of the White House when he warned the United States, “Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We cannot accept this.” Sharon then invoked the 1938 Munich Pact. As he put it, “Don’t repeat the terrible mistakes of 1938, when the enlightened democracies in Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a comfortable, temporary solution.”

Israel, he said, “will not be Czechoslovakia.”

Sharon was sharply rebuked not only by the White House, but by leading American supporters of Israel. They attacked him for daring to make the comparison. In time, with the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, Sharon’s warning was largely forgotten.

The question of whether George W. Bush sought to appease the Arabs and Iran at Israel’s expense is an open one. Strong arguments can be made on both sides of the issue. On the one hand, Bush took the fight to terror supporting regimes.

On the other hand, Bush refused to face the threat of Iran. And he forced Israel to remain trapped in the two-state paradigm which requires it to make unreciprocated concessions to Palestinian terrorists working towards its destruction.

While Bush’s legacy remains uncertain, what is absolutely certain is that his successor Barack Obama is seeking to appease the Iranians and other Islamist forces at Israel’s expense. [.......]

In the haze of accusations and counteraccusations by opponents and supporters of Obama’s new pact with the mullahs of Tehran, it bears recalling that the problem with the Munich pact was not the agreement in and of itself. If Adolf Hitler had been a credible actor, then the agreement might have made sense.

But Hitler was not a credible actor.

The problem with the Munich pact was that it empowered Hitler and so paved the way for the German invasion of Poland a year later.

That invasion, in turn paved the way for the Holocaust, and for the death of 60 million people in World War II.

Those, like Winston Churchill and Zev Jabotinsky who foresaw these events, were castigated as extremists and warmongers. Those who ignored their warning were celebrated as peacemakers who boldly chose peace over war.

So too today, Israel is castigated by Obama and his supporters in Washington, Europe and the media as a warmonger for realistically foreseeing the consequences of last weekend’s nuclear deal with Iran. Even worse, they are portraying Israel as a rogue state that will be subject to punishment if it dares to militarily strike Iran’s nuclear installations. In other words, rather than threatening Iran – the leading state sponsor of terrorism, led by a regime that is pursuing an illicit nuclear weapons program while threatening Israel with annihilation – with military strikes if it refuses to cease and desist from building nuclear weapons, the world powers are threatening Israel.

British Foreign Minister William Hague made this projection of Iranian criminality onto its intended victim the explicit policy of the world powers on Monday during his appearance before the British Parliament.


The agreement that Britain and the US heroically defend from the threat of Israeli aggression guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Like the Munich Pact’s empowerment of Hitler 75 years ago, the Geneva agreement’s empowerment of Iran’s ayatollahs guarantees that the world will descend into an unspeakable conflagration. And this is far from the only step that they are taking to weaken Israel.

As the EU weakens its economic sanctions against the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, it is ratcheting up its economic sanctions against Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. The goal of these sanctions is to coerce Israel into surrendering its historic heartland and ability to defend itself to Palestinian terrorists sworn to its destruction.

For its part, the Obama administration is expected to massively increase its pressure on Israel to make concessions to the PLO that if undertaken will similarly threaten Israel’s viability militarily, legally and politically. Obama has promised that if Israel and the PLO are unable to reach an accord by January, he will present his own formulation, and seek to coerce Israel into implementing it. Given Obama’s stated positions on the Palestinian conflict with Israel, it is clear that his formulation will involve the surrender of eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem, as well as the surrender of Judea and Samaria and the forced expulsion of more than a half a million Jews from their homes to enable the surrender of these areas Jew free.

And that is not all. Obama is also expected, in the next several months to place Israel’s purported nuclear arsenal on the international chopping block. Since entering office, he has already taken steps in this direction. Now, in his rush to transform Israel into the new Iran and Iran into the new Israel, it the prospect that Obama will expose Israel’s nuclear secrets as a means to enable Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program cannot be disregarded.


The worst is still very much before us.

It is a fortuitous coincidence that this challenging era in the history of Israel – certainly the most challenging diplomatic period since the establishment of the Jewish state 65 years ago – began the week of Thanksgiving. It is even more fortuitous that in these frightening moments, the most American of festivals took place during Chanukah the most Jewish of festivals.

This is a fortuitous coincidence because if we consider the meaning of these holidays, we can understand what the basis of our actions today must be. Just as importantly, we can rest assured that those actions will lead us to safer shores.

These two festivals that have rarely if ever been celebrated at the same time are similar in key respects. Thanksgiving is not simply about a voyage of religious freedom seekers from Europe to America. The story of the Pilgrims, who weathered an impossible 65 day journey from England to Plymouth Rock in a rickety ship called the Mayflower, is not remembered simply because they landed in the New World.

The Pilgrims are celebrated for how they comported themselves upon arrival. In the three months after their initial landing, half of the Pilgrims died from disease and murder at the hands of the native tribes. Those who survived suffered from unspeakable privations. Yet in three months, they managed through their sufferings to establish the first modern democracy, and to build a settlement.

Rather than rail against their fate, or abjectly surrender to their hardships, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for the meager tools he gave them to mount the seemingly insurmountable challenges they faced. It is for the Pilgrims’ capacity to see the blessing in their condition, and to be empowered by their cognizance of that blessing that they are remembered. Their faith grounded heroic tenacity is the reason that a small band of religious rebels formed the cultural basis for the United States of America, when it was founded 155 years later. It was that heroism that led Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday during the darkest hour of the Civil War, when the image of the Pilgrims empowered the Union soldiers fighting for a new birth of freedom.

As for Chanukah, the Festival of Lights is a celebration of Jewish religious freedom and national liberation. The Maccabees freed the Jews from the tyranny of Greece, the world’s greatest superpower, which denied them their right to remain Jewish. The Maccabees, a small band of heroically tenacious Jews who suffered extraordinary hardship in their war against the far superior Greek forces, took strength and comfort in their faith. It was their faith in God that empowered them to face impossible odds and emerge victorious. It was their faith in God that gave them the ability to stand up not only to the Greeks, but to the Jewish elites who preached submission and appeasement as the better part of virtue, castigating them as warmongering zealots for refusing to bow before false gods.

The faith of the Pilgrims and the faith of the Maccabees was the faith of free men. It was the faith that formed the foundations of the United States. It is the faith that has enabled the Jews to survive for four thousand years. It is the faith that enabled the Jews to do the impossible and rebuild our homeland after 2,000 years of exile and unspeakable persecution.

It is this foundational faith that made the American people feel a natural kinship with the Jewish people. And it is this foundational faith that has brought the people of Israel to love America. This bond, based on the best of both people persists today, even as Obama and his fellow appeasers push America on the path their founding fathers rejected when they came to the New World. Thanksgiving and Hanukka teach us that when we rely on our faith in God, we can surmount impossible challenges.


Both the Israelis and the Americans must take heart from this week when we commemorate the heroic heritage of free men and women.

With the providence of God, we will be the loyal children of the Maccabees, and the Pilgrims.

And we will merit their legacy.