Monday, February 15, 2016

Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Jews

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Correct Without Blaming 

When you have a need to correct someone, be resolved not to do so in a blaming manner. The Torah obligates us not to embarrass another person even when we point out his faults and mistakes.

Before criticizing, view the situation from the other person's point of view. Then be careful to speak calmly and tactfully. Carefully edit what you say before you say it.

When you see something from the other person's view point, you can understand why they can come to a wrong conclusion. That doesn't mean they are stupid or nonspiritual, they are just acting on their own life experiences. You will go a long way to helping the person if you can show them another path without blaming them for their upbringing.

Love Yehuda Lave

Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Jews


A few months ago, the Associated Press reported that newly released tapes from US president L yndon Johnson's White House office showed LBJ's "personal and often emotional connection to Israel ." The news agency pointed out that during the Johnson presidency (1963-1969), "the United States became Israel 's chief diplomatic ally and primary arms supplier."

But the news report does little to reveal the full historical extent of Johnson's actions on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Most students of the Arab-Israeli conflict can identify Johnson as the president during the 1967 war. But few know about LBJ's actions to rescue hundreds of endangered Jews during the Holocaust - actions that could have thrown him out of Congress and into jail. Indeed, the title of "Righteous Gentile" is certainly appropriate in the case of the Texan, whose centennial year is being commemorated this year.

Appropriately enough, the annual Jerusalem Conference announced this week that it will honor Johnson.

Historians have revealed that Johnson, while serving as a young congressman in 1938 and 1939, arranged for visas to be supplied to Jews in Warsaw , and oversaw the apparently illegal immigration of hundreds of Jews through the port of Galveston , Texas ....

A key resource for uncovering LBJ's pro-Jewish activity is the unpublished 1989 doctoral thesis by University of Texas student Louis Gomolak, "Prologue: LBJ's Foreign Affairs B ackground, 1908-1948." Johnson's activities were confirmed by other historians in interviews with his wife, family members and political associates.

Research into Johnson's personal history indicates that he inherited his concern for the Jewish people from his family. His aunt Jessie Johnson Hatcher, a major influence on LBJ, was a member of the Zionist Organization of America. According to Gomolak, Aunt Jessie had nurtured LBJ's commitment to befriending Jews for 50 years. As a young boy, Lyndon watched his politically active grandfather "Big Sam" and father "Little Sam: seek clemency for Leo Frank, the Jewish victim of a blood libel in Atlanta. Frank was lynched by a mob in 1915, and the Ku Klux Klan in Texas threatened to kill the Johnsons. The Johnsons later told friends that Lyndon's family hid in their cellar while his father and uncles stood guard with shotguns on their porch in case of KKK attacks. Johnson's speech writer later stated, "Johnson often cited Leo Frank's lynching as the source of his opposition to both anti-semitism and isolationism."

Already in 1934 - four years before Chamberlain's Munich sellout to Hitler - Johnson was keenly alert to the dangers of Nazism and presented a book of essays, 'Nazism: An Assault on Civilization', to the 21-year-old woman he was courting, Claudia Taylor - later known as "Lady Bird" Johnson. It was an incredible engagement present.

FIVE DAYS after taking office in 1937, LBJ broke with the "Dixiecrats" and supported an immigration bill that would naturalize illegal aliens, mostly Jews from Lithuania and Poland. In 1938, Johnson was told of a young Austrian Jewish musician who was about to be deported from the United States. With an element of subterfuge, LBJ sent him to the US Consulate in Havana to obtain a residency permit. Erich Leinsdorf, the world famous musician and conductor, credited LBJ for saving his live.

That same year, LBJ warned Jewish friend, Jim Novy, that European Jews faced annihilation. "Get as many Jewish people as possible out of Germany and Poland," were Johnson's instructions. Somehow, Johnson provided him with a pile of signed immigration papers that were used to get 42 Jews out of Warsaw. But that wasn't enough. According to historian James M. Smallwood, Congressman Johnson used legal and sometimes illegal methods to smuggle "hundreds of Jews into Texas, using Galveston as the entry port. Enough money could buy false passports and fake visas in Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Johnson smuggled boatloads and planeloads of Jews into Texas. He hid them in the Texas National Youth Administration. Johnson saved at least four or five hundred Jews, possibly more."

During World War II Johnson joined Novy at a small Austin gathering to sell $65,000 in war bonds. According to Gomolak, Novy and Johnson then raised a very "substantial sum for arms for Jewish underground fighters in Palestine." One source cited by the historian reports that "Novy and Johnson had been secretly shipping heavy crates labeled ' Texas Grapefruit' - but containing arms - to Jewish underground 'freedom fighters' in Palestine."

On June 4, 1945, Johnson visited Dachau. According to Smallwood, Lady Bird later recalled that when her husband returned home, "he was still shaken, stunned, terrorized, and bursting with an overpowering revulsion and incredulous horror at what he had seen."

A decade later while serving in the Senate, Johnson blocked the Eisenhower administration's attempts to apply sanctions against Israel following the 1956 Sinai Campaign. "The indefatigable Johnson had never ceased pressure on the administration," wrote I.L. "Si" Kenen, the head of AIPAC at the time. A s Senate majority leader, Johnson consistently blocked the anti-Israel initiatives of his fellow Democrat, William Fulbright, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among Johnson's closest advisers during this period were several strong pro-Israel advocates, including Benjamin Cohen (who 30 years earlier was the liaison between Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis and Chaim Weizmann) and Abe Fortas, the legendary Washington "insider."

Johnson's concern for the Jewish people continued through his presidency. Soon after taking office in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, Johnson told an Israeli diplomat, "You have lost a very great friend, but you have found a better one." Just one month after succeeding Kennedy, LBJ attended the December 1963 dedication of the Agudas Achim Synagogue in Austin . Novy opened the ceremony by saying to Johnson, "We can't thank him enough for all those Jews he got out of Germany during the days of Hitler."

Lady Bird would later describe the day, according to Gomolak: "Person after person plucked at my sleeve and said, 'I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. He helped me get out.'" Lady Bird elaborated, "Jews had been woven into the warp and woof of all Lyndon's years."

THE PRELUDE to the 1967 war was a terrifying period for Israel, with the US State Department led by the historically unfriendly Dean Rusk urging an evenhanded policy despite Arab threats and acts of aggression. Johnson held no such illusions. After the war he placed the blame firmly on Egypt: "If a single act of folly was more responsible for this explosion than any other, it was the arbitrary and dangerous announced decision by Egypt that the Strait of Tiran would be closed to Israeli ships and Israeli-bound cargo."

Kennedy was the first president to approve the sale of defensive US weapons to Israel , specifically Hawk anti-aircraft missiles. But Johnson approved tanks and fighter jets, all vital after the 1967 war when France imposed a freeze on sales to Israel. Yehuda Avner recently described on these pages Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's successful appeal for these weapons on a visit to the LBJ ranch.

Israel won the 1967 war, and Johnson worked to make sure it also won the peace. "I sure as hell want to be careful and not run out on little Israel," Johnson said in a March 1968 conversation with his ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg, according to White House tapes recently released.

Soon after the 1967 war, Soviet premier Aleksei Kosygin asked Johnson at the Glassboro Summit why the US supported Israel when there were 80 million Arabs and only three million I sraelis. "Because it is a right thing to do," responded the straight-shooting Texan.

The crafting of UN Resolution 242 in November 1967 was done under Johnson's scrutiny. The call for "secure and recognized boundaries" was critical. The American and British drafters of the resolution opposed Israel returning all the territories captured in the war. In September 1968, Johnson explained, "We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders. Some such lines must be agreed to by the neighbors involved."

Goldberg later noted, "Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate." This historic diplomacy was conducted under Johnson's stewardship, as Goldberg related in oral history to the Johnson Library. "I must say for Johnson," Goldberg stated. "He gave me great personal support."

Robert David Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College, recently wrote in The New York Sun, Johnson's policies stemmed more from personal concerns - his friendship with leading Zionists, his belief that America had a moral obligation to bolster Israeli security and his conception of Israel as a frontier land much like his home state of Texas. His personal concerns led him to intervene when he felt that the State or Defense departments had insufficiently appreciated Israel 's diplomatic or military needs."

President Johnson firmly pointed American policy in a pro-Israel direction. In a historical context, the American emergency airlift to Israel in 1973, the constant diplomatic support, the economic and military assistance and the strategic bonds between the two countries can all be credited to the seeds planted by LBJ.

ADDITONAL NOTE: Lyndon Johnson's maternal ancestors, the Huffmans, apparently migrated to Frederick, Maryland from Germany sometime in the mid-eighteenth century. Later they moved to Bourbon, Kentucky and eventually settled in Texas in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. According to Jewish law, if a person's mother is Jewish, then that person is automatically Jewish, regardless of the father's ethnicity or religion. The facts indicate that both of Lyndon Johnson's great-grandparents, on the maternal side, were Jewish. These were the grandparents of Lyndon's mother, Rebecca Baines. Their names were John S. Huffman and Mary Elizabeth Perrin. John Huffman's mother was Suzanne Ament, a common Jewish name. Perrin is also a common Jewish name. Huffman and Perrin had a daughter, Ruth Ament Huffman, who married Joseph Baines and together they had a daughter, Rebekah Baines, Lyndon Johnson's mother. The line of Jewish mothers can be traced back three generations in Lyndon Johnson's family tree. There is little doubt that he was Jewish.

The Two Ronnies: Comedy Skit from England about a Jew bying insurance against becoming a Catholic

The Two Ronnies is a BBC television comedy sketch show created by Bill Cotton for the BBC, which aired on BBC One from 1971 to 1987. It featured the double act of Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, the two Ronnies of the title.


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Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett met for the first time at the Buckstone Club in the Haymarket, London, where Ronnie Corbett was serving drinks between acting jobs. They were invited by David Frost to appear in his new show, The Frost Report, with John Cleese,[1] but the pair's big break came when they filled in for a few minutes during a technical hitch at an awards ceremony in 1970. In the audience was Bill Cotton, the Head of Light Entertainment for the BBC, and Sir Paul Fox, the Controller of BBC1. Cotton was so impressed by the duo that he turned to Fox and asked "How would you like those two on your network?". As a result, Barker and Corbett were given their own show by the BBC.[2]


The show was based on the complementary personalities of Barker and Corbett, who never became an exclusive pairing, but continued to work independently in television outside of the editions of the Two Ronnies. The show was produced annually between 1971 and 1987. It had many notable writers including Ray Alan, John Cleese, Barry Cryer, Spike Milligan, David Nobbs, David Renwick, Eric Idle, John Sullivan, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Laurie Rowley. In addition, Barker used the pseudonym Gerald Wiley when writing sketches.

The show featured comic sketches in which Barker and Corbett appeared both together and separately, with various additions giving the programme the feeling of a variety show. The sketches often involved complex word-play, much of it written by Barker, who also liked to parody officialdom and establishment figures, as well as eccentrics. Corbett appeared quieter, more often acting as a foil for Barker, but remained an important part of the chemistry. Many of the jokes revolved around his lack of height, with him delivering many of them himself: when Barker said that the next part "does suit Ronnie C. right down to the ground", Corbett replied "Mind you, that's not far is it?". Other jokes could be of a sexual nature of the sort found on seaside postcards: for example:

"Tickle your botty with a feather tonight?" (sotto voce)
"I beg your pardon?" (outraged)
"Particularly grotty weather tonight"

Some of the show's material contained elements of surreal or leftfield humour, in the vein of Monty Python, and was considered edgier and more sophisticated than the more traditional routines of Morecambe and Wise. The duo had formed some time after their peers by which time the comedy world had moved on to satire, absurdist surrealism and the beginnings of alternative humour. Furthermore, there was more comedic parity between the show's two stars, with the diminutive Corbett less of a foil to Barker than Ernie Wise was to Eric Morecambe.

Popular sketches[edit]

  • "Four Candles", written by Barker, where Barker walks into an old-fashioned ironmonger's store and asks for "four candles." Corbett gives him the candles but it turns out that Barker wanted "fork handles – 'andles for forks", meaning garden forks. Barker continues to ask for items from a list, very tersely, and Corbett continues to misinterpret them, growing more and more frustrated.
  • A parody of the quiz show Mastermind with Barker as host Magnus Magnusson and Corbett as a contestant named Charlie Smithers, whose specialist subject was "answering the question before last".
  • "Nothing's Too Much Trouble" – a sketch, set in an old-fashioned sweet shop, in which Corbett decides to test Barker's "Nothing's too much trouble" policy, and forces him to perform many tedious tasks to fulfil his order, eventually driving him insane.
  • "Rook Restaurant" (originally titled Complete Rook), written by David Nobbs, where Barker is a disgruntled waiter in a restaurant that only serves rook. Corbett plays the role of a diner with Claire Nielson as his wife.
  • "Swear Box", where Barker and Corbett keep swearing in a pub which has a swear box and the swear words are bleeped out.
  • "Opticians", written by Barker, where an optician and his customer have equally poor sight.
  • "You Can Say That Again", where Corbett (as Bert) hesitates when speaking and Barker (as Charlie) finishes his sentences.
  • "The Confusing Library", where Corbett tries to locate a book in a library where Barker as the librarian classifies the books by colour, size, thickness and thinness.
  • "The Confusing Shopping List", where a customer and shopkeeper try to decipher a shopping list written by the customer's wife.
  • "It's A Duck!", written by John Sullivan, in which Corbett as Sid tries to convince his friend George that a duck he has bought is actually an Argentinian racing pigeon.
  • "Spanish Bartender", where an English tourist in Spain (Corbett) whose car had broken down tries to make a bartender at a tourist bar (Barker) understand his situation. Barker's character could only say English names like 'Bobby Charlton'.
  • "Crossed Lines," where Barker and Corbett are two men at a telephone booth having phone conversations that accidentally flow together.

Solo sections[edit]

Both Barker and Corbett had their own solo sections on each show. Barker would have his own heavily wordplay-based sketch, often as the head of a ridiculous-sounding organisation (for example, the "Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee"). Likewise, Corbett always had a discursive solo monologue in each show, when he sat in a chair, facing the camera, attempting to tell a simple joke, but constantly distracting himself into relating other humorous incidents. The joke itself was normally deliberately corny; the humour came from Corbett's wild tangents, as well as the anticlimax when he finally reached the punchline.

An example of Ronnie Corbett's humour is this short excerpt from a monologue:

I was lying in bed with my wife last Sunday morning when she called me by a special pet name she has for me, a loving and endearing term that only she uses. 'Hey Shorty' she said, 'would you like to hear the patter of little feet?'

Somewhat taken aback, I replied 'Yes, I would.' She said 'Good. Run down to the kitchen and get me a glass of water.'


A person wakes up in the morning, makes himself a cup of coffee. He puts the bitter coffee in a mug, adds to it the sweet sugar, pours in the boiling water and adds some cold milk.

A cup full of contrasts; hot, cold, bitter, sweet. Then he says, "Ribono shel Olam, I don't know how my day will be; bitter, sweet, hot, cold, but one thing I know for sure, it will be "shehakol n'hiyeh b'dvaro -- as You say it will be."

And that is how a Jew should start his/her morning, knowing that HaShem will pick just what's right for him out of the sea of contrasts.

Stop slandering hilltop youth and let Meir Ettinger go

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Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahana Hy"d, has been on a hunger strike for over two weeks, during which time he lost consciousness.

Warning over iron tablets

Iron supplements contain 10 times more iron than is necessary for health, researchers from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London said.

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11 February 2016

Should I Really Join Facebook?

A good laugh for people in the over 70 group !!! When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, my 13 grand kids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [it's red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-calc-u-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead. Well, it was not a good relationship... When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven't figured out how I lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions, checking bathrooms, and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them with me.

Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do fart a lot."

P.S. I know some of you are not over 70. I sent it to you to allow you to forward it to those who are.......Not me; I figured your sense of humor could handle it....

We senior citizens don't need any more gadgets. The TV remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle

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Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921. (Wikipedia/public domain)

Kirk and Spock bonded over real life anti-Semitism

In a new book, William Shatner says his longtime friend and colleague Leonard Nimoy was profoundly affected by anti-Jewish sentiment

By Times of Israel staff February 12, 2016, 5:44 pm 2

Leonard Nimoy (left) and William Shatner in a 'Star Trek' poster, 1968 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)Leonard Nimoy (left) and William Shatner in a 'Star Trek' poster, 1968 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The two Jewish stars of the original Star Trek series, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, bonded over shared experiences of anti-Semitism, helping the two actors forge a decades-long friendship, Shatner says in his upcoming book.

In Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable man, Shatner, better known as James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise, recalls his friendship with co-star Nimoy, who played the show's Mr. Spock.

Both born to Orthodox Jewish families who had fled a pogrom-plagued Eastern Europe and whose first language was Yiddish, Shatner says growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust in North America and experiencing anti-Semitism was part of their "shared heritage" as Jews.

"Both Leonard and I got called nasty anti-Semitic names. Experiences like that create a sort of subtext, and as we got to know each other, those common experiences helped bind us together. Its almost an emotional shorthand," Shatner writes.

Shatner said learning of the atrocities taking place against Jews in Nazi Germany had a profound impact on Nimoy's life and career.

Leonard Nimoy as 'Spock' (photo credit:

Leonard Nimoy as 'Spock' (photo credit:

"Killing Jews meant the Jews of Europe, in many cases our distant family members. There was a real feeling among all the Jews: that could have been me," Shatner recalls. "For kids the age of Leonard and me, that had a strong impact."

"But what it came down to was that Jews were on their own, they were different, and I suspect Leonard felt that at least as much as I did, Shatner writes. "It was part of our shared heritage."

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, by William Shatner

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, by William Shatner

Shatner says Nimoy's road to success was particularly difficult since he defied his father's wishes by forgoing college and moving to California to pursue a career in acting.

As one of the few young men to speak fluent Yiddish in Hollywood, Nimoy picked up a few dollars in minor roles whenever a Yiddish theater troupe came to town.

"Leonard Nimoy was the only man I have ever known who could perform Shakespeare in Yiddish; he could make you appreciate the beauty even if you didn't understand a word beyond Oy gevalt, Hamelt," Shatner says.

William Shatner (Keith McDuffee/Flickr)

William Shatner (Keith McDuffee/Flickr)

After several years of working as a vacuum cleaner salesman, Nimoy gradually found more roles in the movies and theater, but the milestone event in Nimoy's career came in 1965 when he was cast as Spock in what would become the enormously successful "Star Trek" TV series and subsequent motion pictures.

In a 1991 interview with Tom Tugend, Nimoy said that "everything I do is informed by my Judaism. A lot of what I've put into Spock came to me through my Jewish orientation."

Nimoy said he based the famous Vulcan hand greeting, which expresses "Live long and prosper," on the gesture still seen in Orthodox synagogues during the blessing of the kohanim (priestly class).

Shatner's new book, whose publication coincides with the first anniversary of Nimoy's death, also recalls the later, more tumultuous years of their friendship.

The friendship was sadly shattered in the last few years of Nimoy's life over a small incident and Nimoy never spoke to Shatner, now 84, again.

"It is something I will wonder about and regret forever. He was my closest friend in the world," Shatner writes.