The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
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JUDAISM: CAN THERE BE COMPASSION WITHOUT JUSTICE?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

JUDAISM: CAN THERE BE COMPASSION WITHOUT JUSTICE?
Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks (Arutz Sheva News)

God is compassionate and lives in love and forgiveness. This is an essential element of Jewish faith. But there is a caveat.

At the height of the drama of the Golden Calf a vivid and enigmatic scene takes place. Moses has secured forgiveness for the people. But now, on Mount Sinai yet again, he does more. He asks God to be with the people. He asks Him to “teach me Your ways,” and “show me Your glory” (Ex. 33: 13, 18). God replies: “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence … I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But, He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live” (Ex. 33: 20).

God then places Moses in a cleft in the rock face, telling him he will be able to “see My back” but not His face, and Moses hears God say these words:

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished … (Ex. 34: 6-7)

This passage became known as the “thirteen attributes of God’s compassion.”

The sages understood this episode as the moment in which God taught Moses, and through him future generations, how to pray when atoning for sin. Moses himself used these words with slight variations during the next crisis, that of the spies. Eventually they became the basis of the special prayers known as selichot, prayers of penitence. It was as if God were binding himself to forgive the penitent in each generation by this self-definition.

But there is a caveat. God adds: “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” There is a further clause about visiting the sins of the parents on the children which demands separate attention and is not our subject here. The caveat tells us that there is forgiveness but also punishment. There is compassion but also justice.

Why so? Why must there be justice as well as compassion, punishment as well as forgiveness? The sages said that “When God created the universe He did so under the attribute of justice, but then saw it could not survive. What did He do? He added compassion to justice and created the world.” This statement prompts the same question. Why did God not abandon justice altogether? Why is forgiveness alone not enough?

Some fascinating recent research in diverse fields from moral philosophy to evolutionary psychology, and from games theory to environmental ethics, provides us with an extraordinary and unexpected answer.

The best point of entry is Garrett Harding’s famous paper written in 1968 about “the tragedy of the commons.” He asks us to imagine an asset with no specific owner: pasture land that belongs to everyone (the commons), for example, or the sea and the fish it contains. The asset provides a livelihood to many people, the local farmers or fishermen. But eventually it attracts too many people. There is over-pasturing or overfishing, and the resource is depleted. The pasture is at risk of becoming wasteland. The fish are in danger of extinction.

What then happens? The common good demands that everyone from here on must practice restraint. They must limit the number of animals they graze or the amount of fish they catch. But some individuals are tempted not to do so. They continue to over-pasture or overfish. The gain to them is great and the loss to others is small, since it is divided by many. Self-interest takes precedence over the common good, and if enough people do so the result is disaster.

This is the tragedy of the commons, and it explains how environmental catastrophes and other disasters occur. The problem is the free rider, the person who pursues his or her self interest without bearing their share of the cost of the common good. Because of the importance of this type of situation to many contemporary problems, they have been intensively studied by mathematical biologists like Anatol Rapoport and Martin Nowak and behavioural economists like Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky.

One of the things they have done is to create experimental situations that simulate this sort of problem. Here is one example. Four players are each given $8. They are told they can choose to invest as much or as little as they want in a common fund. The experimenter collects the contributions, adds them up, adds 50% (the gain the farmer or fisherman would have made by using the commons), and distributes the sum equally to all four players. So if each contributes the full $8 to the fund, they each receive $12 at the end. But if one player contributes nothing, the fund will total $24, which with 50% added becomes $36. Distributed equally it means that each will receive $9. Three will thus have gained $1, while the fourth, the free rider, will have gained $9.

This, though, is not a stable situation. As the game is played repeatedly, the participants begin to realise there is a free rider among them even if the experiment is structured so that they don’t know who it is. One of two things then tends to happen. Either everyone stops contributing to the fund (i.e. the common good) or they agree, if given the choice, to punish the free rider. Often people are keen to punish, even if it means that they will lose thereby, a phenomenon sometimes called “altruistic punishment.”

Some have linked participants to MRI machines to see which parts of the brain are activated by such games. Interestingly, altruistic punishment is linked to pleasure centres in the brain. As Kahneman puts it, “It appears that maintaining the social order and the rules of fairness in this fashion is its own reward. Altruistic punishment could well be the glue that holds societies together.” This, though, is hardly a happy situation. Punishment is bad news for everyone. The offender suffers, but so do the punishers, who have to spend time or money they might otherwise use in improving the collective outcome. And in cross-cultural studies, it turns out to be people from countries where there is widespread free-riding who punish most severely. People are most punitive in societies where there is the most corruption and the least public-spiritedness. Punishment, in other words, is the solution of last resort.

This brings us to religion. A whole series of experiments has shed light on the role of religious practice in such circumstances. Tests have been carried out in which participants have the opportunity to cheat and gain by so doing. If, without any connection being made to the experiment at hand, participants have been primed to think religious thoughts – by being shown words relating to God, for example, or being reminded of the Ten Commandments – they cheat significantly less. What is particularly fascinating about such tests is that outcomes show no relationship to the underlying beliefs of the participants. What makes the difference is not believing in God, but rather being reminded of God before the test. This may well be why daily prayer and other regular rituals are so important. What affects us at moments of temptation is not so much background belief but the act of bringing that belief into awareness.

Of much greater significance have been the experiments designed to test the impact of different ways of thinking about God. Do we think primarily in terms of Divine forgiveness, or of Divine justice and punishment? Some strands within the great faiths emphasize one, others the other. There are hellfire preachers and those who speak in the still, small voice of love. which is the more effective?

Needless to say, when the experimental subjects are atheists or agnostics, there is no difference. They are not affected either way. Among believers, though, the difference is significant. Those who believe in a punitive God cheat and steal less than those who believe in a forgiving God. Experiments were then performed to see how believers relate to free-riders in common-good situations like those described above. Were they willing to forgive, or did they punish the free-riders even at a cost to themselves. Here the results were revelatory. People who believe in a punitive God, punish people less than those who believe in a forgiving God. Those who believe that, as the Torah says, God “does not leave the guilty unpunished,” are more willing to leave punishment to God. Those who focus on Divine forgiveness are more likely to practice human retribution or revenge.

The same applies to societies as a whole. Here the experimenters used terms not entirely germane to Judaism: they compared countries in terms of percentages of the population who believed in heaven and hell. “Nations with the highest levels of belief in hell and the lowest levels of belief in heaven had the lowest crime rates. In contrast, nations that privileged heaven over hell were champions of crime. These patterns persisted across nearly all major religious faiths, including various Christian, Hindu and syncretic religions that are a blend of several belief systems.”

This was so surprising a finding that people asked: in that case, why are there religions that de-emphasize Divine punishment? Azim Shariff offered the following explanation: “Because though Hell might be better at getting people to be good, Heaven is much better at making them feel good.” So, if a religion is intent on making converts, “it’s much easier to sell a religion that promises a divine paradise than one that threatens believers with fire and brimstone.”

It is now clear why, at the very moment He is declaring His compassion, grace and forgiveness, God insists that He does not leave the guilty unpunished. A world without Divine justice would be one where there is more resentment, punishment and crime, and less public-spiritedness and forgiveness, even among religious believers. The more we believe that God punishes the guilty, the more forgiving we become. The less we believe that God punishes the guilty, the more resentful and punitive we become. This is a totally counterintuitive truth, yet one that finally allows us to see the profound wisdom of the Torah in helping us create a humane and compassionate society.

UPDATE ON CAROLE’S SURGERY

Friday, March 6th, 2015

UPDATE ON CAROLE’S SURGERY
by David Hocking
Thank you so much to all of you who have sent wonderful cards, e-mails, and assurances of your prayers and support.

On Thursday evening at 5:00 PM Carole was slated for surgery on her right leg – she had a very bad and painful fall last Monday during a powerful, and infrequent, rain storm. She slipped on the wet cement and fell, injuring her knee and upper leg causing enormous and frightening pain. We immediately ordered the Paramedics to bring their ambulance and take her to the emergency center at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, California.

The X-Rays that were taken revealed some serious injury to her leg. They have been trying this past week to relieve her pain by giving her morphine continuously.

At 4:45 PM on Thursday (yesterday), the nurses and surgery attendants came to take her to Pre-Op to prepare her for surgery. Unfortunately, the doctor was involved with another patient, and they were not able to take Carole until 6:30 PM. It was four hours later that her surgeon came out to David to explain what was happening, and why the surgery took so long. In turns out the her femur was very damaged, and the doctor was surprised to find a large hole in the femur that would have to be repaired. The surgery took longer than expected, but the doctor (an excellent orthopedic surgeon) was able to put things back together, and put a large brace upon her leg. She came out of recovery at midnight – today she is having more tests, and the plan is to provide some re-hab for her for at least 2-4 weeks. They will take her this next week to a familiar place – Town and Country Manor for rehabilitation procedures.

After the rehab weeks, she will be at home bed-ridden for six weeks before we try a “walker” or “crutches” to be used very sparingly. All together, the doctor has said that it will be three months before she is able to put any pressure or weight upon that leg.

Our trust is in the LORD GOD, and we depend upon His knowledge, His healing, His love and mercy, and His timing in all of this.

Thanks you again for your amazing love and kindness to us!

Love to you all!

David Hocking
HOPE for TODAY Ministries

NETANYAHU’S SPEECH: THE CALM AFTER THE STORM

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

NETANYAHU’S SPEECH: THE CALM AFTER THE STORM by Tsvi Sadan (Arutz Sheva News)

In a well timed visit to Nir Moshe, a village near the Gaza border, Yitzhak Herzog, leader of the Labor Party-led “Zionist Camp” lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even as the latter was addressing the US Congress on Tuesday.

Netanyahu’s speech, said Herzog, “severely sabotages Israel’s relations with the US.” This marked a grating climax to a fierce political debate that had raged in Israel since US House Speaker John Boehner first invited Netanyahu, without White House consent, back on January 21.

As expected, arguments for and against Netanyahu’s speech were made along partisan lines. Those on the Right argued that, as Boehner had said, there was no one better qualified than Netanyahu to explain the dangers of the proposed “Iran deal.” On the Left, the planned speech was panned as a pre-election scheme that would needlessly further agitate the already strained relations between Israel and the White House.

Herzog’s description of Netanyahu as a saboteur signaled the rhetorical escalation depicting Netanyahu, and not Iran’s Supreme Leader, as most dangerous to Israel’s future. Naturally, this topsy-turvy logic was nourished by the Obama Administration.

Following the speech there was a sense of agreement among many Israelis that their Prime Minister had performed impressively. Omer Bar-Lev of the Labor Party said he could only dream of possessing Netanyahu’s rhetorical skills, and others couldn’t but agree with him.

But that’s where agreement over the speech ended. Israel’s Ynet news portal, a bitter critic of Netanyahu, chose the headline “Dr. Strangelove in Congress” to express its contempt toward the Prime Minister. The write-up played on metaphors used by American commentators like CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Though grasping at the coattails of leading American liberals seemed a rather desperate attempt to cling to a predetermined view.

Israel Hayom, the only Israeli newspaper openly supportive of Netanyahu, used Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s words to describe the speech, headlining their lead story “Well Arranged, Thorough and Shuddering.” Rather than quoting American pundits, the newspaper cited right-wing Members of Knesset like Danny Danon and Ayelet Shaked, who complimented Netanyahu on a job well done.

And yet, comments following the speech were surprisingly sparse. It was like the calm after the storm, which just goes to show that perhaps the commotion surrounding Netanyahu’s speech was nothing more than the same old political opportunism.

The calm may also suggests that as good as it was, Netanyahu’s speech was unlikely to affect the upcoming elections or the Iran deal.

DAVID’S WIFE HOSPITALIZED FROM SERIOUS FALL

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

DAVID’S WIFE HOSPITALIZED FROM SERIOUS FALL

Thank you for the wonderful show of support for David and his wife, Carole. On Monday morning, there was a huge rainfall in Southern California. As they were returning to their house, David opened the garage door from his truck, and Carole got outside to get into the house through the garage. The rainfall was serious, and she slipped on the cement wet pavement and fell to the ground – her right knee cap was injured, and most seriously, the bone above the knee that goes into the thigh bone. The pain was immense, and David called the Paramedics for ambulance service, and went immediately to the emergency ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, CA.

Carole is still in the hospital, receiving pain-killing medicine to bring a measure of relief. She is still in great pain. She also had a touch of pneumonia which they are trying to deal with at present before they perform orthopedic surgery upon her right leg.

The staff, nurses, and doctors have been such a blessing to work with, and many are praying for Carole. The surgery will be performed later this week. The doctor informed us in detail of the surgery procedure, and emphasized its seriousness to us. If all goes well (our trust is in the LORD GOD of Israel) Carole will need some three months of healing and rest.

Again, thank you for your prayers and your wonderful comments. We are depending upon them, and, of course, our trust is in the Lord Himself, the great Healer of all! To Him be all the glory and praise!

Much love and appreciation to you all!
David

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL IS STRONGLY BIPARTISAN

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL IS STRONGLY BIPARTISAN
by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

Shortly after his speech to Congress, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate, pursuant to an invitation extended last week by Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harry Reid (D-NV).

Also attending the meeting were John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John McCain (R-AZ), Al Franken (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (D-TN).

At the start of the meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

“I do want to thank the leadership of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, both sides of the aisle, for inviting me here, giving me an opportunity to state Israel’s concern about an issue that could be the most important issue of our times. I believe it is.

“I was very moved by the attention and the responses to the speech from both sides of the aisle, and it’s very clear to me and it was clear in that hall to anyone who was there that the support for Israel is strongly bipartisan, that there is a very broad support of the American people and its representative for the Jewish state and I’m very, very grateful for that,” he added.

“Thank you, thank you.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the senators that the two new items in his address to Congress were the need to enact more vigorous restrictions in the agreement being formulated and thus lengthen the time it will take for Iran to break through to nuclear weapons. Also, in the agreement being formulated these restrictions must not be lifted automatically within a decade but only after Iran will have fulfilled three conditions: Stopping its support for global terrorism, stopping its aggression against its neighbors and stopping to threaten Israel’s annihilation.

Despite Netanyahu’s outline of a plan of action, President Barack Obama responded to the speech by maligning it as “theater,” and claiming Netanyahu hadn’t presented an alternative to the Iran nuclear deal being formed.

Several Democrat lawmakers were not pleased with the speech either, and accused the Israeli Prime Minister of fear-mongering.

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), however, welcomed the speech, and said afterward that the world should thank Netanyahu for unveiling the facts about the Iran nuclear deal being formed ahead of a March 31 deadline.

“Why did President (Barack) Obama fear this speech?” asked Hikind, referring to Obama’s harsh criticism and refusal to even meet Netanyahu during his visit. “The speech is over and nothing catastrophic occurred. The world is still standing. Clearly, it’s not speeches from our allies that we should fear. The onslaught against Netanyahu over the last two months has been unnecessary.”

HISTORIC MOMENT – ISRAEL TRIES TO SAVE THE WEST

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

A HISTORIC MOMENT – ISRAEL TRIES TO SAVE THE WEST by Phyllis Chesler (Arutz Sheva News)

Against President Obama’s wishes, PM Netanyahu will be addressing Congress about the extraordinary danger of a nuclear Iran. Obama’s administration wishes to deflect American concerns about the unenforceable deal it is negotiating with Shiite Iran by conducting a demonization campaign against Israel and its Prime Minister.

If I were Netanyahu, I would schedule Town Hall meetings across America.

I share Jonathan Tobin’s view that Netanyahu should meet with everyone and anyone to warn them about the utter foolishness of negotiating with Iran and the grave danger to American interests if Obama stops Israel and a willing coalition of allies from attempting to stop Iran since America is not inclined to do so and Russia is inclined to further enable the Iranian nuclear enterprise.

Israel has known what it is to live with constant Jihad that cannot be appeased—only militarily defeated, weakened, beaten back. America and Europe are just learning about this but their political leaders are telling them that Jihad and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam, and that what Jihadists need are jobs and an education. This—despite the fact that so many Jihadists are well educated and come from wealthy or solidly middle class families.

Americans had better pay attention to what Netanyahu has to say. So should Europe. Western civilization as well as the Jews are under increasing siege in many ways, simultaneously.

Home-grown radicalized Jihadists are using their European identities to attack European cities (the recent attacks on both Jews and critics of Islam in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen); European-born Jihadists with European passports constitute a steady stream of travelers to Turkey in order to help ISIS in Syria and Iraq gain territory for a Caliphate from which they would be able to launch attacks against European cities from the Mediterranean (ISIS in Libya is threatening Rome and in turn, Rome is in high alert); ISIS is now threatening to kill its captured Christians if Western air attacks against ISIS do not cease.

But there are other looming crises. Sweden has just fired their entire national job agency staff, not only because of corruption and bribery, but because “several aides may have been trying to recruit newly arrived immigrants to ISIS.”

The Muslim birthrate in England has doubled within a decade. An analysis of the 2011 Census by the Muslim Council of Britain suggests that “the Muslim population has risen by 75%;” and “in some parts of Birmingham more than 80% of school pupils are Muslim.” If British-born Muslims as well as refugees are willing to assimilate and become Westerners that is fine—but if many British Muslims believe that ISIS is justified, want to live under Sharia law; and if prominent Muslim spokesmen view the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket Jihadists as justified—then Britain has a problem.

In addition, as usual, the Jews also have a problem.
Al-Shabaab has threatened to blow up large shopping malls in the West, including in America. According to Michael Curtis: “The key factor, neglected in all the mainstream media reporting on the Shabaab threats, is that the mall in Kenya that was attacked, and those in Alberta and Minnesota that are being threatened, were built by and are owned by Jews, the Triple Five Group. The name of the Group refers to the late founder, Jacob Ghermezian, who came in the 1940s to the U.S. from Iran, where he had started a business at age 17 in 1919, and his four sons, who grew up in Canada. It began by importing and selling Persian carpets. They bought real estate and then expanded interests in the shopping malls, banking, mining, and oil. The founder claimed he had hosted the Tehran Conference in November-December 1943 at which Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin discussed coordination of Allied military strategy against Nazi Germany and Japan.”

The Jews are under attack—and President Obama and his administration are piling on, blaming the victim. Obama is already threatening to hold AIPAC hostage by not going to their meeting, and he and his senior staff are “boycotting” Netanyahu’s speech in Congress. Obama is going to blame Israel and the Jews for his own failed policies.

Netanyahu does not want any policy to stop a nuclear Iran or to stop Jihad from failing. If I were Netanyahu, I would schedule Town Hall meetings across America; taking ads out in the mainstream media to ensure accurate coverage of what he has to say; and meeting with political leaders on both sides of the aisle in any and all the ways that are possible.

LIES OF THE BDS MOVEMENT AGAINST ISRAEL

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

LIES OF THE BDS MOVEMENT AGAINST ISRAEL
(FLAME article)

FLAME has been successfully countering the lies of the BDS movement for years. To spread the facts of the matter—that BDS uses a double standard in accusing Israel, that BDS leaders oppose peace with Israel and that BDS actually supports destroying Israel—FLAME has been publishing a powerful paid editorial message in media nationwide, including college newspapers, reaching 10 million readers. It’s called “The Truth about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement—Does it stand for Middle East peace or does it seek Israel’s destruction?” I hope you’ll review this hasbarah message and pass it on to all your contacts. If you agree that FLAME’s outspoken brand of public relations on Israel’s behalf is critical, I urge you to help us continue to run this message, so Americans will better understand the insidious lies BDS tells about the Jewish state.

Those calling for a boycott of Israel are ignoring some painful truths

Yair Lapid, February 19, 2015, The Guardian

This past weekend, 700 British artists had a letter published in the Guardian in which they called on others to boycott Israel until what they term the “colonial occupation” ends. As an Israeli politician who supports the creation of a Palestinian state, it has been a long time since I saw a letter so shallow and lacking in coherence.

The fact that, as is common with petitions like this, the majority of the signatories are unaware of the reality here in the Middle East, doesn’t reassure me. It only takes one “useful idiot” like Roger Waters (the expression is not an insult but a phrase attributed to Lenin to describe weak liberals used by cynical regimes for their own ends) to call Israel an apartheid state and the liberal choir will immediately stand to attention and sing the chorus with him. Why? Because everyone wants to be like Nelson Mandela but no one has the patience to learn the details.

I wonder if, before they put their names to the letter, anyone told the 700 signatories that twice already – once in 2000 and once in 2008 – Israel offered the Palestinians the chance to build an independent state on over 90% of the territories, and on both occasions the Palestinians refused?

Do they know that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist organisation that punishes homosexuality with hanging? That severely restricts the freedom of women to do such dangerous things as running a marathon or riding a scooter? Where Jews and Christians don’t have the right to live?

Maybe when they aren’t signing petitions they would prefer democratic regimes, like Israel, where there is freedom of expression and freedom of the press and where rights for the LGBT community are protected by law. Where Muslims and Christians serve in the supreme court, the Knesset and senior positions in the military; where women have served as Prime Minister, as President of the supreme court and in the highest ranks of the army?

As artists – who by definition are people with imagination – are they willing to take a moment and consider this: let’s imagine that following a call in the Guardian the IDF puts down its weapons and stops protecting the people of Israel for 24 hours – what do they think would happen?

If you don’t share the imagination of an artist let me tell you: radical Islamists would kill us all. Women and children first. That’s what they’re doing to their brethren in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and across the Islamic world. What are the chances that they’d spare us?

To end the conflict Israel only has one demand: security for our citizens. We don’t believe that’s unreasonable. In 2005, as part of the disengagement from Gaza, Israel pulled out without any demands from Gaza, took down the settlements and removed the army from the area.

Peace is not promoted by an Israel boycott.
We expected the Palestinians would take the opportunity to build schools, hospitals and factories but instead they kicked out the Palestinian Authority from Gaza and brought in Hamas – a fundamentalist Islamist terror group of the worst kind. And after a few months they began building terror tunnels into Israeli territory and started massive rocket and mortar fire upon the innocent civilian population.

Not long ago I visited my friend Gila Tregerman who lives in southern Israel. Her son, Daniel, was killed a few months ago by a mortar shell the Palestinians fired on his house. He was four years old. A little young to be a colonial occupier.

I am not a British artist. I guess I’ll never be as complex as Ken Loach or as grandiose as Richard Ashcroft. What I want is far more modest: for people not to try to kill me just because I’m a Jew. For Jews in Europe to be able to stand safely outside synagogues and do their shopping in a kosher supermarket and for Jews in Israel to be safe from the threat of rockets and mortars.

MAYOR RUDY TAKES ON OBAMA AND MEGYN KELLY

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

MAYOR RUDY TAKES ON OBAMA AND MEGYN KELLY

The man who should be our President said something provocative about the man who is our President.

Rudy Giuliani said he does not believe that Obama loves America.

He has never been shy about speaking his mind, this man who saved New York City while he was mayor from 1994 to 2001.

You will recall that after the 9/11 attacks, 3,000 dead at the hands of mostly Saudi Islamist terrorists, Mayor Rudy turned down a $10 million pledge from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The check, to help the town recover, came with a price too high for Mayor Rudy.

Talal suggested that American support for Israel made those terrorists do what they did. Rudy declined the money and the lecture.

“I entirely reject that statement,” Mayor Rudy said back then, loudly and clearly. “There is no moral equivalent for this (terrorist) act.”

Fast forward to a couple of days ago and here’s Mayor Rudy again speaking plain English:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the President loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Oh brother…and here came an avalanche of tweets trashing Mayor Rudy for saying what he thinks and what a few others may have in mind.

First to be shocked – shocked, shocked, I tell you – was Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This is the lady who heads the Democrat National Committee.

These are the people who gave us Barack Obama.

Debbie Schultz, who is always outraged at whatever Republicans have to say, was outraged again. Imagine a man refusing to bow to our beloved leader.

Next day or so Mayor Rudy showed up on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, given a chance to take back or soften what he dared to say. I don’t know what got into our gal Megyn. Why take the quarrelsome approach to the only political hero we have left from either political party?

Love of country is not built from facts. It’s an emotion you have or you don’t. It can’t be explained.
As our man Rudy kept doubling down on his original remarks about Obama, Megyn kept peppering him with questions that, I believe, drove him near tears. This was a man speaking truly from the pain in his heart. Kelly, who has a law degree, kept badgering the witness. She demanded facts to support his position against Obama.

Love of country is not built from facts. It’s an emotion you have or you don’t. It can’t be explained. Love of any kind can’t be defined.

This was a “Kelly Moment” too far.

Mayor Rudy mentioned Obama’s many ties to the Radical Left from boyhood on. He asked how Obama could love America after listening to Reverend Wright for 17 years – the same preacher who preached hate against America from Sunday to Sunday. Megyn challenged this. Maybe Obama wasn’t there every Sunday.

Oh come on, Megyn! Please!

If you think like Mayor Rudy, you have to be concerned about what’s coming these next two years, especially if you are Jewish and even if you are Christian. If you trust Mayor Rudy’s instincts, you have to wonder why so many White House invitations go to Muslim leaders while Jewish and Christian leaders are absent.

Or is it that Obama loves America, but only in bits and pieces, those parts that suit his politics?

If you cheer Mayor Rudy for standing tall against the world, ditto Editor Jay Garfield along these eye-opening pages.

As for the conspiracy theory that has Megyn and the entire Fox network changing tunes because of Arab oil money – nonsense.

But it is true that Prince Talal, yes, here he is again, owns a chunk of Fox Broadcasting.

Talal owns a piece of everything. Nearly all major news organizations are part of a global system that curries strange and corrupting alliances.

It’s been reported that this Prince of a guy, Talal, exercises shareholder influence over Rupert Murdoch. But Murdoch is solidly pro-Israel and through Roger Ailes, who runs the operation, Fox News remains the go-to network for friends of America, friends of Israel, friends of truthful journalism. Fox News is the lonely exception.

This observer is still high on Megyn Kelly.

She never goes soft on Radical Islam (or anything!) On that topic she has been courageously outspoken.

We trust Megyn Kelly even after this one time when she got it wrong on Mayor Rudy, who got it right on President Obama.

ARAB STATES WORRIED ABOUT IRAN DEAL

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

ARAB STATES WORRIED ABOUT IRAN DEAL
by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

Arab governments reportedly tell Washington they fear a bad deal with Iran will cause a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Arab governments have been privately expressing their concern to Washington about the emerging terms of a potential nuclear deal with Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing Arab and U.S. officials involved in the deliberations.

According to the report, the direction of American diplomacy with Tehran has added fuel to fears in some Arab states of a nuclear-arms race in the region, as well as reviving talk about possibly extending a U.S. nuclear umbrella to Middle East allies to counter any Iranian threat.

The major Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have said that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, according to these officials, while removing many of the sanctions that have crippled its economy in recent years.

Arab officials said a deal would likely drive Saudi Arabia, for one, to try to quickly match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” an Arab official who has discussed Iran with the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks told the newspaper.

The Obama administration initially said its policy was to completely dismantle Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure as a means to protect Washington’s Mideast allies.

Now, however, officials say it is no longer plausible to eliminate all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, suggesting that any final deal would leave some nuclear capability in place.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Arab officials have increasingly spoken about a possible nuclear arms race in the Mideast as the negotiations have continued for 18 months, having been extended twice.

U.S. officials have declined to publicly disclose terms of the deal being negotiated with Iran. But they stress that they have closely consulted with Washington’s Arab allies about the diplomatic process.

The Obama administration believes an agreement with Iran will curtail the potential for a nuclear arms race in the Mideast, rather than fuel one.

“Only a good negotiated solution will result in long-term confidence that Iran won’t acquire a nuclear weapon,” a senior American official was quoted as having said.

“Given Iran already has the technical capability, our goal has always been to get to one-year breakout time and cut off the four pathways under a very constrained program,” added the official.

Given the concerns of Arab allies, the White House may need to provide them with greater security guarantees if it concludes a deal that stops short of dismantling Tehran’s ability to produce nuclear fuel, some former U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal, citing the possible need to place Arab states in the Persian Gulf under the U.S.’s nuclear umbrella.

“It will be destabilizing to our friends and allies,” Stephen Hadley, a national-security adviser to President George W. Bush , said at a February 11 conference hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. “They will probably, in any event, hedge, in trying to have their own nuclear programs.”

The White House has stressed its policy isn’t to contain Tehran, but to deny it the capability to produce atomic bombs, making a formal defense pact unnecessary. But the talks have stoked regional anxiety, and Arab officials have held discussions about a possible nuclear umbrella with former U.S. officials and academics within recent weeks.

Arab governments have steered clear of aligning their statements with Israel, but share many of that country’s fears, U.S. and Arab diplomats said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been perhaps the most vocal critic of the deal with Iran, said last week that Israel knows the details of the planned nuclear deal with Iran and warned that it is a bad one.

“I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not just for it,” said Netanyahu, adding, “If anyone thinks otherwise what is there to hide here?”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later questioned whether Netanyahu indeed knows “more than the negotiators” about the talks, saying “there is no deal yet.”

“Obviously, if there’s a deal we’ll be explaining the deal and explaining why and how it prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And if that’s the case and we come to a deal, it’s hard to see how anyone wouldn’t see that’s to the benefit of the international community,” added Psaki.

The Obama administration has acknowledged that Iran will be allowed to maintain thousands of the centrifuge machines used to produce nuclear fuel as part of any final deal. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others have argued these machines should be completely dismantled, since the centrifuges could be used for both civilian and military purposes.

Despite sharing Israel’s concerns about an Iran deal, Arab leaders haven’t tempered their calls for the U.S. to also address Israel’s suspected nuclear weapons arsenal, noted The Wall Street Journal.

While Arab countries are not publicly aligning their position with Israel, there were reports in recent months, mostly based out of Iran, that Israel was collaborating with Saudi Arabia against Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s accusations came in a series of Iranian media reports claiming, among other things, that the head of the Saudi intelligence service met with several senior Israeli security officials and that a Saudi Arabian delegation flew to Israel for meetings with high-ranking Israeli officials, including Netanyahu.

An earlier report said that Israel and Saudi Arabia had teamed up to launch a virus against Iran’s nuclear program.

OBAMA’S IRAN POLICY AND NETANYAHU’S VISIT

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

OBAMA’S IRAN POLICY AND NETANYAHU’S VISIT
by Efraim Inbar (Arutz Sheva News)

Obama does not want Netanyahu in Washington because he considers him a spoiler of his most important foreign policy initiative – an agreement with Iran. The PM might try the military option, and destroy Obama’s only foreign policy “success.”

Unfortunately, there are many sources of tension between the Obama administration and Netanyahu’s government. The main issue of discord is, of course Iran. Obama seeks an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear program that will allow President Obama to claim that he prevented Tehran from building the bomb. The fact that Iran will maintain the capability to enrich uranium, and will not dismantle any of its nuclear installations, is simply swept under the rug as insignificant.

Strange as it sounds, it seems that Obama is prepared to brand Iran as a US strategic partner in the attempt to bring stability to a region beleaguered by chaos.

Part of this realignment involves American capitulation on the nuclear issue, and an apparent carte blanche for stepped up Iranian activity and influence in the region. Iran is taking over Yemen (and throwing American diplomats out of the country); carving a sphere of influence in Iraq; continuing to support the brutal Assad regime in Damascus; strengthening Hezbollah’s grip over Lebanon; engaging in subversion in Central Asia; and developing its terrorist apparatus.

Obama, perhaps obsessively, now wants the relationship with Iran to serve as his foreign policy legacy. In the context of Obama’s “Grand Bargain” with Iran, all this seems to be okay. Tehran gets all it wants, while Washington gets an Iranian promise not to go nuclear as long as Obama is in the White House. Having made no foreign policy achievements throughout his Presidency, Obama, perhaps obsessively, now wants the relationship with Iran to serve as his foreign policy legacy.

This foolish behavior negatively affects America’s own position in the Middle East, as well as the national interests of its closest ally, Israel. Obama does not care about American international stature. He has advocated a retrenched position in world affairs. Israel, as well, has never been close to his heart, but Obama understands that Israeli concerns strike a sensitive chord with the American public.

This is precisely why he does not want Netanyahu to speak in the US Congress. Obama fears that Netanyahu’s planned March 3 speech could become a catalyst for a public debate about his own dangerous policy toward Iran. He does not want undue publicity for his dangerous foreign policy gambit. The last thing he needs is a gifted orator such as Netanyahu pointing out the glaring deficiencies in the American approach toward Iran.

And this is precisely why Netanyahu is determined to defy Obama’s wishes. The gravity of the Iranian threat is understood by Israelis of all political hues. As long as there is a chance, however slight, that an address to Congress will reinvigorate the public debate in the US on Iran, and obstruct the administration’s attempt to sign a deal, Netanyahu feels compelled to make a stand against all odds to halt a bad deal with Iran. Paradoxically, Obama’s efforts to prevent Netanyahu from visiting Washington, and to convince Congress members to boycott the session, only increase the interest in what Israel’s Prime Minister has to say.

Beyond the personal animosity and the vast difference in worldviews, Obama does not want Netanyahu around because he considers Israel’s Prime Minister a serious spoiler of his most important foreign policy initiative. But it is not only in Washington that Obama considers Netanyahu to be unwelcome. Obama wishes to be rid of Netanyahu in Jerusalem as well. This is not the first time we have been witness to American intervention in Israeli elections; with the White House showing displeasure with Likud candidates, and enlisting Jewish activists and donors for the anti-Netanyahu campaign.

Obama does not want Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel even after a deal is signed with Iran. He has no desire to be exposed to Netanyahu’s continued criticism, based on the realization that the proposed deal has many loopholes, or based upon probable Iranian violations of the agreement. He also takes seriously Netanyahu’s statement that Israel is not bound by America’s unilateral agreements. In Obama’s view, a paranoid Netanyahu may still revert to the military option, and thereby destroy his only foreign policy “success.”

Obama is probably right on this point. Among the candidates for Prime Minister in the Israeli elections, only Netanyahu is passionate about Iran, and only Netanyahu would consider ordering the IDF to attack Iranian nuclear installations in defiance of the United States. While the campaign in Israel is focused more on personalities than on issues, the underlying theme of the elections is the Iranian threat and who is best placed and most experienced to tackle this challenge.


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