Please, take a look at my latest piece, which talks about why there shouldn’t be a Palestinian state.
Today is Tanit Ester: A day of fasting that precedes Purim. In the story of Purim, told in the Megillat (book of) Ester, Ester asks that the people all fast in preparation for her attempts to approach the king and save the people who were under threat of extermination because of the machinations of Haman.
The parallel to today is a heavy one. We are taught that part of what saved the people was their unity during the fasting and praying. And dear Heaven, do our people need unity today! (More about this below.)
May we have the strength and the wisdom to defeat our modern day Hamans.
Purim, a day of joy and laughter, follows on Sunday. The exception is in a walled city — which Jerusalem is considered to be — where Shushan Purim is celebrated instead, on Monday.
Usually the fast is right before Purim — but this year Shabbat intervenes. The Shabbat before Purim is Shabbat Zahor: the Shabbat of remembering. What do we remember? What Amalek did to the Jewish people. When Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, Amalek attacked from the rear, avoiding soldiers and hitting the weakest part of the people, the lame, the women, the children, the elderly. And so we are told to remember, but also to wipe out the remembrance of Amalek from under the Heavens — to wipe out all that he represents.
The connection is made between Amalek and Haman, but also — if not literally, then philosophically — between Amalek and all our enemies over the generations. Certainly Hitler. But also Arafat. And Ahmadinejad. And all of the terrorists who do precisely what Amalek did — hit vulnerable parts of our people.
I visit here a painful and difficult subject that I’ve delayed writing about; now seems the right time. Alvin H. Rosenfeld, who is an author (primarily of works on the Holocaust), professor, and director of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Indiana University, in December wrote what became a hotly debated study for the American Jewish Committee — “’Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism” — concerning Jews who are virulently anti-Israel and how their positions ultimately feed anti-Semitism and weaken the perceived legitimacy of Israel.
Those of us who are staunch defenders of Israel and aware of what’s going on out there know full well what he is talking about. Anti-Israel sentiment when expressed by Jews is particularly upsetting and difficult to handle. Yet Rosenfeld’s article met a firestorm of objections, with the accusation made that he is trying to stifle criticism of Israel.
Jonathan Tobin, who is editor of the Jewish Exponent, had it right when he said, "Sometimes, the most daring thing a scholar or an organization can do is to mention the obvious." Indeed.
Rosenfeld is clear on the issue: he is not attempting to silence honest criticism of Israel, but rather those who question Israel’s legitimacy. The Jews who do this are, of course, to the far left politically and moving in waters that tend these days to be anti-Semitic. They speak — in the language of our enemies — of Israel as a nation of oppressors that does not deserve to exist.
There are many examples provided by Rosenfeld, such as writer Jacqueline Rose, who said that "the soul of the nation [Israel] was forfeit from the day of its creation," and identifies Zionism as a "form of collective insanity." Or historian Tony Judt, who says Israel is "bad for the Jews" and that it’s time to "think the unthinkable." Or the horrendous reflections of Canadian professor Michael Neumann who says, Palestinians "are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die…This is…an emerging evil…if saying these things is anti-Semitic then it can be reasonable to be anti-Semitic."
Israel is the only nation in the world that must constantly defend her RIGHT to exist. This is a function of pervasive and effective Arab propaganda. That there are self-hating Jews who have joined their ranks is something that must be addressed. So too must we address the organic connection between virulent anti-Israel attitudes and anti-Semitism.
As David Harris, Executive Director of AJC, put it in his forward to Rosenfeld’s report: "The American Jewish Committee…has seen its mission as the protection of Jewish rights worldwide, and the strengthening of Jewish security. Today that mission centrally includes assuring the rights of Jews to a national collective self-expression through the existence of the State of Israel. Those who oppose this basic right — whether Jew or gentile — must be confronted… Prof. Rosenfeld is to be thanked for alerting us…to the threat that arises when a Jewish imprimatur is given to the questioning of Israel’s legitimacy."
Pinchas Inbari, a veteran journalist highly knowledgeable about Palestinian affairs, has written a fascinating piece for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. It adds a different and extremely important perspective to the case I make here constantly regarding the fact that Fatah is not moderate. Some of his main points:
Fatah is routinely considered "secular" as compared to the "religious" Hamas, but this is not quite the case. "While one cannot claim that Fatah is a religious movement, it has strong Muslim features." It talks about "jihad," which is a religious obligation, and the need to liberate the Al Aksa Mosque. Most significantly Fatah’s military wing, Al Aksa Brigades, makes military pronouncements heavily laced with the same Koranic quotes used by Hizbullah. This is not a coincidence.
"Both Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah were established with deep Fatah involvement. (emphasis added) Originally, Islamic Jihad was actually a purely Fatah offshoot, part and parcel of the military apparatus of Arafat’s deputy, Abu Jihad, who, as his name may convey, was the major promoter of Islamic features in Fatah.
"During the first Lebanon war, Abu Jihad followers helped Iran establish Hizbullah on the ruins of the Fatah infrastructure that Israel had destroyed in the war.
"The joint plan of Fatah and Hizbullah was to surround Israel with terror rocket power from all sides. This master plan still exists, but now the main role has been given to Hamas…
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni gave an interview today to the Palestinian paper Al-Ayyam, in which she said the Saudi proposal, originally advanced in 2002 and now being reinvigorated, is unacceptable primarily because of its claim that refugees must "return" to Israel. Well, I’m glad she says it’s not acceptable, and I’m glad she won’t consider return of refugees. However, it must be stated that it is unacceptable for other reasons besides this: It calls for Israel’s return to the pre-’67 lines. Very unacceptable. And I wish she had said so. I wish I w
ere convinced that she thinks so.
Incredible. Two Druze men have been arrested by police for conspiring to murder an 18 year old Druze woman who was planning on entering the Miss Israel beauty contest, as this would "defile the honor of the Druze community." This follows the murder of a 25 year old Druze woman in the north. Her parents have been arrested on suspicion, with each accusing the other. Again, there was an issue of "dishonoring the family," which routinely means engaging in what is considered sexual indiscretion. The world has no idea how much of this goes on.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/3/1/posted-march-1-2007.html