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Dearest Friends and Colleagues:
I sit here, gazing at the wind-tossed Aegean, but my heart is in Zion--and it is breaking.
I know that Israel must do exactly what it is doing but I mourn the high price Jews have always had to pay to survive in this hate-filled world.
We have just lost young and not-so-young heroes, blessed heroes, who have already become part of the eternal pantheon of Jewish and Israeli soldiers who have fallen: honorably and forever.
All of us know Israeli soldiers and the parents and grandparents of Israeli soldiers--this war, all such wars, pre-1948, 1948, 1967, 1973, 2000--and on, to name only some, have been agonizingly personal.
I have spent the days and nights of my vacation monitoring this increasingly hot war and circulating articles where they might do the most good in terms of the propaganda war against the truth, the Jews, Israel, America, and the West.
As I have written thousands of times before: Both are very hot wars. For example, despite everything we know, the NYT has today focused on the Israeli hate propaganda, less so on the truly filthy and vicious and relentless propaganda put out by Palestinians and by Arab and Islamist leaders.
Jet-lagged in Spain
I am still in Barcelona where the outdoor cafes are very lovely and the weather is soft and perfect. I visited the former Jewish quarter and what is left of the synagogue. I said Kaddish there. And, before jet lagged had its way with me, I dined at the best tapas restaurant in town, a kosher place: Maccabi Tapas. Most interesting are all the photos of opera singers that they signed. The divine Montserrat Caballe, Joan Sutherland, and Placido Domingo have autographed their photos for whichever opera lover owns the restaurant or used to.
Moonlight over the Mediterranean
The ship has sailed, we have left the northern coast of Spain. I am watching FOX News based in Gaza reporting casualties. Oh, where were they for the last decade as rocket after rocket fell on civilians in southern Israel? I understand that Hamas has also (acidentally?) bombed Ramallah, Bethlemen and Hevron, all Hamas strongholds. Will Abbas ask the UN to condemn Hamas for this? Hamas was trying to hit Jews-only in the West Bank. Where is the necessary perspective given the barbarians vs barbarians vs civilians in Syria, Iraq and elsewere?
Today, President Obama appears in the pages of Ha'aretz-- on the very day that Israel's left-wing newspaper is hosting a "peace" conference at which Obama's anointed (anti-)Israel Lobby is also present: J Street's Peter Beinart, Avi Shavit, Gideon Levy, et al.
Of course, this diplomacy-via-media is an over-reaching outrage but it is also pathetic and tragic. Read Peggy Noonan's appraisal in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend about Obama's lost, but imperial Presidency.
Instead of holding behind-closed-doors meetings, this President appears on popular television shows, spends times with celebrities, takes long vacations; he is an actor in a film about the American Presidency and he lives as celebrities do. Like so many Hollywood actors, Obama is left-wing, pro-Islam, and anti-Zionist and is proud, not ashamed of being so.
One waits in vain.
However, as soon as the news of a kidnapping and murder of an Arab teenager, European, American, and Israeli Jews rushed to express outrage, grief, and to condemn, in advance, any Jew or Jews who might have committed this heinous act. The Guardian focused on the awful murder of Mohammed Abu Khedeir and on the police beating of his Palestinian-American cousin who participated in a riot against the police and/or the IDF. The kidnap-murder of the three Israeli teenagers was mentioned in passing as having incited "racist" outbreaks among the Israeli Jews.
The Big and Lethal Lies are coming at us faster and harder than ever before.
ISIS has just crucified eight Muslim men for not being "extreme" enough in their Islamic practice. They kept their bodies on display in a town square in Iraq for three days. The ninth crucified man survived.
Horrifying—yes? Equally horrifying are the mass beheadings and the football games ISIS has been playing with the human heads. However, the leading western media are focusing mainly on the Palestinian Arab boy who was burned alive. Why such a focus?
An American-Jewish Hero In Israel
I sit here savoring a treasure. It is a book about Jewish-American and Jewish-Palestinian heroism in the 1940s – a little known story and one I nearly didn't read.
The title is The Jews' Secret Fleet: The Untold Story of North American Volunteers who Smashed the British Blockade of Palestine. The author, Murray S. Greenfield, is the founder of Israel's Gefen Publishing House and of much else. Joseph M. Hochstein wrote it with him.
Here's how the book came into my possession. Someone named Murray kept calling me. He said he wanted "I should interview him," like I'd interviewed fellow pre-state activist David Gutmann, a"h, in these pages ("Israel's Rebirth 'A Boring Story' to U.S. Jews," April 2, 2010).
He called at a particularly hard time and I could not meet with him – but then he sent a messenger bearing this book. It was then that I realized this was a living hero of the Jewish people who wanted to meet me. Duty called. We met the very next day.
Europe has finally come to its senses and taken a stand in favor of the Western Enlightenment enterprise.
On July 1, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the 2010 French burqa ban, a religion-neutral piece of legislation which eliminates face masks. By a "majority" voteof seventeen judges with two dissents, the Court found that the ban did not violate "Article 8 [the right respect for private and family life of the European Convention on Human Rights] and [there was] no violation of Article 9 [the right to respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion]." No further appeals are possible.
As the author of Ban the Burqa? An Argument in Favor, I applaud this decision, on the grounds of security, and as a matter of women's human rights. The obliteration of female identity is not a Western value.
I just realized that, with one or two exceptions, none of my left-liberal feminist compatriots of nearly fifty years have said a word to me about Hamas's kidnapping-murder of three Israeli teenagers. Not a word in the 18 days they were missing. Silence since their bodies were found.
No one has sent me an email, or made a whispered phone call, something—anything—something private, that would not get them in trouble with the Democratic Party or the mainstream media. I no longer expect them to take public stands that would put them at any reputational risk.
My heart is broken, absolutely broken. Words never fail me but at this moment, only words feel inadequate, even inappropriate. I am, of course, talking about the discovery of three dead bodies which once belonged to three beautiful Israeli souls: Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach.
This is a time for tears but also a time for some very serious decisions. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has confirmed that "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay. He added that the teenagers were "kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts."
The French foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, is "deeply shocked and upset" by the murder of these boys. He also expressed "horror" and indignation."
President Obama expressed his "deepest condolences" to the family of the slain teenagers. He added: "I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation." President Obama did not accuse Hamas of this despicable act nor did he say our government would assist Israel in its search for security and justice.
A new kind of American tragedy is taking place in a Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.
Both the defendant, standing trial for conspiracy to commit murder abroad in Pakistan, and the main witness against him, his daughter Amina, wept when they first saw each other. Amina's extended family stared at her with hostility. As she testified, Amina paused, hesitated, and sobbed. She and her father had been very close until he decided that she had become too "Americanized."
This Pakistani-American father of five, a widower, worked seven days a week driving a cab in order to support his children; this included sending his daughter, Amina, to Brooklyn College.
This is a successful American immigrant story—and yet, it is also a unique and unprecedented story as well, one which demands that Western law prevail over murderously misogynistic tribal honor codes.
Day #14 is ending and the three Israeli teenage students are still missing. One is also an American citizen.
Earlier today, Israel named the Hamas operatives whom they believe are behind this heinous act. They are two men who are currently missing from Hebron, where they normally reside. Their names are Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu Eisha.
In addition, PM Netanyahu is demanding that PM Abbas break the unity deal with Hamas and Hamas denies that they—or these two men are behind this kidnapping.
Until now, there have been no statements issued by President Obama.
As of last night, Ambassador Susan Rice's last tweet concerns the U.S. Soccer Team "advancing" at the World Cup games, followed by three tweets, below.
Earlier today, peaceful Jews were mobbed and mocked on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Most chilling: they were taunted about the probable Hamas kidnapping ofthree Israeli teenagers. The video, uploaded to YouTube by user Asaf Fried, shows Jewish Israelis being mocked and followed by an angry Palestinian crowd.
A little background is called for. After Israel won the war of self-defense in 1967, it could easily have taken full control of Jerusalem. Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayanallowed the Muslims to "control" the Temple Mount, the site of two previous Jewish Temples and the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque. At that time, Israelis began "settling" on the West Bank aka Judea and Samaria. From that moment on, the United Nations, the Arab League, international human rights groups, Palestinian terrorist groups, and the global media and intelligentsia began portraying Israel as a colonial, imperial, "Nazi" and "apartheid" power.
By the turn of the 21st century, Israel's demonization reached fever pitch and gave cover to the Al Aqsa Intifada.
They rape and torture women in Iran: First, at home, as a family matter; then in prison, as a state matter.
They publicly execute women for daring to kill their attackers in self-defense. It is public in order to terrify and sicken others, shame them, make them know that they are really, truly helpless, have them understand that when the authorities come for them, no one will intervene on their behalf. A public execution is a fine way to keep a civilian population permanently cowed.
And yet, there are things that will not allow one to go on, brutalities on a daily basis that are, perhaps, even more sickening than a public execution.
Rayhana Jabbari has been sentenced to hang for the crime of killing the man who was attempting to rape her. She has already been in jail for seven years. Even the United Nations has called for a "fair trial." Her execution was postponed but she remains in danger of being hung at any moment.
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman whom an Appeal Court freed yesterday, has just been re-arrested at the airport trying to leave Khartoum. She is now in more danger than ever before.
A man, Al-Samani Al-Hadi, has come forward who claims to be her brother. Meriam denies that he is. Nevertheless, he is claiming that his Islamic family honor has been "tarnished," that he seeks "retribution," that "Christians (have) tarnished his Islamic family's honor through the case."
It seems that Ibrahim's presumed family, perhaps only her father's side (a father who abandoned Meriam and her Christian mother when Meriam was very young), may have been the ones who initially filed a criminal complaint claiming they were "shocked" when they discovered that Meriam had married a Christian.
Ibrahim is the woman who had never embraced her absent father's Muslim faith and whose mother brought her up as a God-fearing Christian. Shariah law demands that such a woman is an apostate and demands either execution or "reversion" to Islam. That, Meriam refused to do. She was willing to die for her faith.
This was her only crime—a refusal to convert or revert to Islam. This exceptionally beautiful woman was arrested and brutalized in a medieval fashion: Chained up in a dark dungeon and forced to give birth on the filthy floor of that very dungeon in chains. The fact that her husband is an American citizen and that her two children, including the daughter born while she was imprisoned, are also American citizens did not sway the Sudanese authorities.
The message is clear: Exposing the crime is shameful—not the crime itself. If an Arab or a Muslim writes about normalized sexual and physical violence against women, gays, and political dissidents, with some exceptions, he or she risks severe punishment, even death.See All Articles
I recommend this book be put on the reading list of every American school.
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Author of Infidel and Nomad
This is a bold book, intimate and rich in detail… Chesler is a voice crying out for women. She will never stop
The 2011 Edition of Mothers on Trial
The 2009 Edition of