Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The New York Times Incentivizes Hamas ViolenceBy Alan M. Dershowitz - 29 Tevet 5779 – January 6, 2019, and Watch: Israel Bus Riddled with Terrorist Bullets

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Awareness of Options

Keep asking yourself the question, "What's the best option for dealing with this?"

Using the word "option" tells you that there are always a number of options. And using the word "best" implies that you have a choice and that some options are better than others. When we are calm and clear- minded this appears to be obvious. But it's not so obvious to someone who is irritated, upset, or angry.

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Watch: Israel Bus Riddled with Terrorist Bullets By JOL Staff

An Israeli bus came under fire near the settlement of Beit El late Saturday night. Line 140 (Egged) operates late into the night to provide transportation between Jerusalem and the Jewish communities in central Samaria.

During the attack, the front windshield of the bus was damaged and the driver suffered light injuries from flying glass.

The Israeli army immediately launched a manhunt for the perpetrators, but the injured driver said it was too little, too late.

"We shouldn't have to put ourselves in danger like this," he told Israeli media. "You drive on this road and don't see any security forces."

It was the fourth serious attack in this region in recent months. Security official believe there is a connection between this and earlier deadly shooting attacks outside the nearby Jewish community of Ofra.

The New York Times Incentivizes Hamas Violence By Alan M. Dershowitz - 29 Tevet 5779 – January 6, 2019

In the Sunday New York Times — the most widely read issue of the week — the lead story was about a young Israeli soldier whose bullet ricocheted off the ground and killed a young Palestinian medic who had admitted to being a human shield and who was videoed throwing a smoke bomb. The next day— in the less well-read Monday issue — the Times reported on the murder and torture committed at the hands Afghan troops affiliated with and trained by the American CIA. The piece opens with the troops shooting and burning an entire family including a three-year-old girl. The number of deaths associated with these units (who at times were mistaken for ISIS) could not be verified but accounts put them at hundreds in one month. Apparently, the Times's editors believe that the Israeli story, involving one soldier who shot one Palestinian under questionable circumstances, deserves wider coverage than deliberate massacres perpetrated by Afghan troops trained by the CIA.


The report's bias is clear from the introduction of the article and persists throughout the reporting. These reporters constantly characterized as "protesters," large groups of Palestinians that include violent Hamas fighters who carry weapons and maps of civilian targets. The Times'sreporters portray the "protestors'" goals as "risking their lives to make a point" or "to break through the fence and return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel." The goal of many of the Hamas fighters was, in actuality, to break through the fence and kidnap and kill Israeli civilians. The report accuses the Israelis of using "a policy that has taken the lives of nearly 200 Palestinians." Their biased reporting leaves the reader with the impression that all the people killed were civilians, although many were armed Hamas fighters. Even Hamas acknowledges that many of those killed were its combatant fighters.

While Hamas is happy to boast openly about their fighters tearing at the border fences in Gaza and hiding behind civilians to evade Israeli soldiers—the New York Times makes no mention of this. Israeli soldiers are portrayed as faceless killing machines, without a single reference to the fire kites, terror tunnels, rockets or cross border explosive devices utilized by the Palestinians, or to the double war crime of Hamas targeting Israeli civilians by firing rockets from behind Palestinian civilians. The goal of these Hamas-directed "protests" was to cross the border and kill or kidnap Israeli civilians using Palestinian civilians as human shields in order to maximize deaths of Palestinians so they can cry war crimes. We can see this play out in the IDF video which the Times characterizes as being "tendentiously edited." However, they fail to acknowledge that it accurately shows al-Najjar throwing a smoke bomb and declaring herself a human shield. Let the Times show the entire unedited video and have its readers decide whether it was fairly edited.

The report omits the trauma and wounds experienced by Israeli civilian residents who live near the fence. For days, the Israelis had lethal fire bombs, burning tires, and rocks hurled at them. These Israeli civilians are not occupiers or usurpers. They live in Israel proper not in occupied or disputed territory. This area was built from scratch by Israelis on barren desert land and the Israelis have a right to be protected from fire bombs and mobs determined to breach the protective fence. How would other nations respond to such threats? Certainly not by treating these dangerous mobs as peaceful protestors merely exercising their freedom of speech and assembly.

As it always does, Israel will fully investigate the circumstances leading to the death of al-Najjar. Reasonable people might agree or disagree with the outcome of any such investigation, but Israel has a good record of punishing soldiers who have exceeded their authority and engaged in improper use of lethal force. The Times's absurd conclusion that the shooter may have committed a "war crime," ignores the law of war crimes. Reasonable mistakes about who is or is not a combatant do not constitute a war crime. Moreover, the court that has jurisdiction over war crimes, the International Criminal Court, has no jurisdiction to investigate individual acts by soldiers if the nation to which they belong conducts reasonable investigations, as does Israel. Contrast what Israel does with how the Palestinians treat terrorists who willfully target and kill Jewish children, women and other civilians. The Palestinian Authority pays their families rewards – in effect bounties — for their willful acts of murder. Hamas promotes and lionizes terrorists who kill Jews. But you would not know any of that from reading the one-sided New York Times screed.

Israel makes mistakes and sometimes overreacts in self-defense. But a biased one-sided story in the Times only encourages Hamas to use more human shields so as to increase civilian deaths and make the false case for war crimes. As long as the Times and other media continue to approach this issue in a biased manner, we can expect to see the cycle of Hamas's criminal behavior continue. All in all, it is a shockingly irresponsible report.

Alan M. DershowitzAlan M. Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author, most recently, of "Trumped Up! How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy," which is now available. This essay originally appeared on the Gatestone Institute website (www.gatestoneinstitute.org).

It's my Party… By Vic Rosenthal - 29 Tevet 5779 – January 6, 2019

{Originally posted to the Abu Yehuda website}

As everyone knows, Israel has way too many political parties. In the last election, ten parties made it past the 3.25% cutoff into the Knesset. In all, twenty-five parties contended for the 120 seats in our parliament, and some of those were alliances of multiple parties pooling their votes to keep from falling below the cutoff (the Joint List, for example, is composed of four primarily Arab parties).

There is a party called Ale Yarok(Green Leaf) which calls for legalization of marijuana and managed to get more than 47,000 votes from members who were not too stoned to find the polls. There is a party called Hapiratim (The Pirates), which belongs to an international movement favoring extremely democratic and open government, and which garnered 895 votes, or 0.02% of the electorate. Arghh! The party with the least amount of votes was the Manhigut Hevratit (Social Leadership) party, which consists of a convicted felon named Yosef Ba-Gad. Apparently he has enough friends and relatives to obtain 223 votes.

In fact, Israel does not need anywhere near this number of parties. I would like to propose a simpler arrangement of only six parties. Here they are, with their platforms:

  1. The Really Religious Party: God is on our side, so give us money, don't draft us, and keep your immodest women away from us and their pictures off our bus shelters.
  2. The Very Right-Wing Party: Send the Arabs to Jordan and annex the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
  3. The Bibi Party: He knows best. Just be quiet and do what he tells you.
  4. The Cheap Apartments Party: Apartments are too expensive. In fact, everything is too expensive. Make everything cheaper. We are not interested in security and stuff.
  5. The Very Left-Wing Party: End The Occupation. This will bring Peace. The state will use the money it saves on the IDF and Shabak to provide cheap apartments and a free subscription to Ha'aretz for one and all.
  6. The Arab Party: End Zionism. Put us in charge, admit that everything is your fault and apologize for the Nakba and maybe we'll let you live, which you actually don't deserve, you dogs.

Right now many of you are saying that it's impossible to live without Ashkenazic and Sephardic Haredi parties, and indeed without Hassidic and Mitnagdic Ashkenazi Haredi parties. And others are saying that there is a big difference between religious and secular right-wing Zionism, or that we can't forget the historic difference between Etzel and Lechi, or Mapai and Mapam, Ichud and Meuchad, Betar and B'nai Akiva.

Get a grip.

I am still angry about the Altalena, but I'm willing to be in the same party as anyone who understands the importance of a Jewish state for the Jewish people, who is capable of understanding that the Arabs are not just Jews that go to shul on Fridays, and that someone who wants to kill you or your people is an enemy. My heroes are Jabotinsky and Begin, but I could work with Rabin, despite his big mistake (I'm sure if he were here today, he'd admit that he shouldn't have allowed himself to be pushed into Oslo).

Right now, in the run-up to the election to be held on April 9, we are watching a depressing spectacle of various public personalities maneuvering here and there in the political spectrum, making and breaking alliances, and positioning themselves to feast on what they think will soon be the political corpse of Binyamin Netanyahu. We have the unpopular Avi Gabbai publically kicking the equally unpopular Tzipi Livni out of his "Zionist Union" movement, which went from 24 Knesset seats in the 2015 election, to 8 or 9 projected seats if the election were today. We have Benny Gantz, whose qualifications are that he was IDF Chief of Staff and is very tall, and who refuses to say anything about his position on any important issue, with 14 projected seats (Netanyahu said, and I agree, that "anyone who won't say whether he is Left or Right is Left").

One interesting development is the defection of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked from the religious Zionist Beit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party to create a right-wing party that would truly be a home for both religious and secular people, called Haymin Hehadash (The New Right). I think the name is a little cheesy, but ideologically it's a good fit for me and many others who found the Zionism of Jewish Home appealing, but were uncomfortable with the degree of social conservatism of some of its members. I'm sure also that Bennett and Shaked understand that an explicitly religious party would never have a chance to lead the government.

Today there is already a party that purports to be right-wing and welcoming to both secular and religious Jews, and that is Netanyahu's Likud. So probably The New Right will draw its votes from the old Jewish Home and from the Likud, and will cooperate in a coalition with them as well. As long as Netanyahu is more popular than Bennett/Shaked, and the Right maintains its present edge over the Center plus the Left, the governing coalition after the next election will end up looking more or less as it does today.

However, if Netanyahu steps down for any reason, the Likud is likely to lose much of its appeal to security-minded voters (and most Israelis fall into this category). The balance of power on the right might then move to the New Right, and one could imagine a government led by Bennett or Shaked. Bibi certainly doesn't intend to quit now, but we'll see what impact the possible criminal indictments (which, in my opinion, are simply political warfare by legal means) will have. And Bennett and Shaked are young, 46 and 42 respectively, while Netanyahu is 69. Their day will come no matter what.

The as-yet undefined party of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, and other centrists will try to present themselves as hawkish on security to prevent this. The danger is that they might succeed, and we could end up with a Center-Left coalition. Naturally, Bibi is making sure to remind us of this at every opportunity. And I agree with him that letting the Left within 100 km of power would be a disaster. Look what the two Ehuds, Barak and Olmert, almost did when each was Prime Minister.

It's not possible to reduce the number of parties to six today. Founding political parties seems to be a national pastime here, and the inflated egos of politicians, each one of whom believes that only he or  she is qualified to lead a party or the nation, prevents the system from becoming more rational.

Today I am leaning toward voting for The New Right, despite the silly name – unless Bibi convinces me that this will empower the Left. So far, I don't see it.

Or unless my brother-in-law starts his own party. Then I'd have to vote for him.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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