Please, Give 4 Minutes @ 4:00 for Gilad

On June 25, 2006, Corporal Gilad Shalit (later promoted to Staff Sergeant) was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists within Israeli territory. The kidnapping was part of an unprovoked and well-planned attack which involved seven terrorists, armed with explosive charges, anti-tank missiles, light arms and more, and which made use of a tunnel under the Israel-Gaza border.

For four years, the Hamas terrorist regime has denied Gilad Schalit’s most basic human rights, as well as any visit from international organizations. This is illegal and morally appalling. We have watched the world attack Israel for stopping the flotillas that are attempting to enter Gaza despite the fact that Israel sends humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. Simply put, it is disgraceful that those wrongfully sladering Israel in the name of “human rights” are totally silent when it comes to the injustice being shown to Gilad Shalit.

A friend of mine has asked me to do one simple thing today – at 4:00, stop what you are doing for 4 minutes. Dedicate these 4 minutes to Gilad. No matter what you are doing (pull over if you are driving) – pause for 4 minutes, each minute symbolizing a year Gilad has spent locked away from the world. I ask that you join me in this powerful symbolic act.

Expect More From Our Leaders!!!

As I read last week’s Torah portion, which described the moment Moses “cracks” and fails to effectively lead the people, I couldn’t help but think about all of the “leaders” who have had to apologize recently for various errors, including their role in the BP oil tragedy, a stupid comment they made, or a foolish thing they did.  When compared to the errant ways of contemporary leaders, Moses’ mistake (which involves hitting a rock instead of speaking to it – read the Torah!) seems rather insignificant.  But, the lesson of the Torah is clear: leaders are to be held to a higher standard.  There are many perks associated with leadership.  At the same time, leaders are expected to abide by extremely high standards.  This is the price of leadership.  Our leaders need to read the story of Moses and learn from his downfall.  Below are my comments from last Friday night.

EXPECT MORE FROM OUR LEADERS, PT 1

EXPECT MORE FROM OUR LEADERS, PT 2

A Breath Of Fresh Air

The following article by the former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznarwas published in the British newspaper ‘The Times’ on 17 June 2010:

If Israel goes down, we all go down

Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region

By José María Aznar

For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.

In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.

In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.

Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.

Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.

Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.

For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.

The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.

The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.

Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.

The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.

It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.

What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.

Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.

José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.

THE US CAN’T BACK A UN PROBE AGAINST ISRAEL

FROM WEEKLY STANDARD

Sources: Obama Administration to Support Anti-Israel Resolution at UN Next Week

BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that senior Obama administration officials have been telling foreign governments that the administration intends to support an effort next week at the United Nations to set up an independent commission, under UN auspices, to investigate Israel’s behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident. The White House has apparently shrugged off concerns from elsewhere in the U.S. government that a) this is an extraordinary singling out of Israel, since all kinds of much worse incidents happen around the world without spurring UN investigations; b) that the investigation will be one-sided, focusing entirely on Israeli behavior and not on Turkey or on Hamas; and c) that this sets a terrible precedent for outside investigations of incidents involving U.S. troops or intelligence operatives as we conduct our own war on terror.

While UN Ambassador Susan Rice is reported to have played an important role in pushing for U.S. support of a UN investigation, the decision is, one official stressed, of course the president’s. The government of Israel has been consulting with the U.S. government on its own Israeli investigative panel, to be led by a retired supreme court justice, that would include respected international participants, including one from the U.S. But the Obama administration is reportedly saying that such a “kosher panel” is not good enough to satisfy the international community, or the Obama White House.

PLEASE CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE AND ASK THE PRESIDENT NOT TO SUPPORT A UN PROBE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

NO TERROR CONNECTIONS ALLOWED

Urge State Dept to Investigate Flotilla Passengers

We, the undersigned, support the petition of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and call upon the State Department to investigate any and all of the passengers of the Mavi Marmara and other ships from Turkey’s IHH flotilla who apply for visas to enter the United States on a speaking tour. It has been announced that a number of these passengers plan to speak in New York City in the coming weeks.

In 2006, a report issued by the Danish Institute for International Studies stated that during the 1990s the IHH maintained links with al-Qaida and a number of “global jihad networks.”

The report also stated that the Turkish government launched an investigation into the IHH starting December 1997 after receiving intelligence that the IHH had bought automatic weapons from Islamist terrorists. According to the report, the Turkish government launched a raid on the organization’s Istanbul offices where they found weapons, explosives, and instructions for bomb-making. The report added that an examination of documents found at the IHH office indicated that the group was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia. In addition, a French intelligence report found that in the mid-1990s IHH leader B’ulent Yildirim recruited soldiers for jihad activities in a number of Muslim countries and that the IHH transferred money, firearms, and explosives to jihadists in a number countries.

According to Section 212 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the State Department will deny visas to representatives of and those providing assistance to terrorist organizations. The significant documentation proving that IHH is a terrorist organization provides a prima facie argument that the passengers of the “flotilla” are inadmissible to the United States.

We respectfully urge the U.S. State Department to exercise its statutory obligation to investigate and determine that any such applicants demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that the he/she did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the IHH is widely considered a terrorist organization and associated with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, applicants should prove, by the above standard, that the cash in the possession of the passengers of the Mavi Marmar was not meant to fund or to give things of value to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization, namely Hamas.

Any such visa applicant, who cannot provide the requisite clear and convincing evidence or proof, should be deemed inadmissible to the United States.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!

Please forward this petition to your friends! We already have over 13,500 signatures!

Resigned!? Come on Hearst!? We Deserve More…

As you may have heard, Helen Thomas resigned today from Hearst Newspapers.  I spoke to Mr. Swartz’s office asking if Hearst was going to condemn the hateful and dangerous comments Ms. Thomas made.  I was told someone would call me back.  Still waiting…If another cultural, ethic, religious group was attacked in such a manner, my guess is there would be a lot more apologizing – and rightfully so.  Hearst, as a major media organization, owes it to the Jewish community to teach the world that Thomas’ comments were wrong.  If you feel that Hearst should do more, give Mr. Swartz’s office a call at 212-649-2000.  Connie is his assistant.  Please be polite.

If you haven’t seen this classic Thomas moment, check it out.

TELL HEARST TO FIRE HELEN THOMAS

Feel free to use this letter or write your own….

UPDATED WITH HEARST PRESIDENT’S EMAIL (Steven Swartz)
Dear Mr. Swartz, (E-MAIL ADDRESS Sswartz@Hearst.com), Ms. Bagley, (E-MAIL ADDRESS: lbagley@hearst.com)

I am writing as to tell you how disgusted I am with the comments made by Ms. Helen Thomas who works for Hearst Newspapers.  Her comments were hateful and dangerous and exposed not only her ignorance, but also her incredible bias.  Ms. Thomas is clearly not qualified to be a reporter for your organization.  She should be terminated immediately.