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Moshe Phillips


Glenn Beck, Pastor Hagee, and Israel’s Real ‘Amen Corner’

2011 May 17

Glenn Beck has announced that he will be holding the “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel this August. This is a bold, accessible and positive event that the American Jewish establishment could not possibly bring about.

There has been a significant graying of the American Jewish community’s mainstream Israel advocacy organizations in the last two or three decades. In a Jewish world where “young leadership” means under 40, this has been especially alarming. Intermarriage, assimilation and indifference have taken a toll on many pro-Israel groups.

As proof of this changing reality many in the community have pointed to the creation of groups such as J Street, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom and Jewish Voice for Peace to indicate where the vitality in the pro-Israel community can be found.

For the sake of this the article, let’s leave aside the very real question of whether J Street and their allies can be truly considered pro-Israel when they were created by and large with the sole purpose of lobbying for the creation of a Palestinian state in the land of Israel.

A survey of social media paints a very different picture. It is true that much of the pro-Israel establishment has failed to embrace and profit from social media. J Street and the left have fully embraced social media but in actuality they have very, very little to show for it. To be fair the Zionist right in the U.S. has fared worse, but they have not made the effort that their competitors have.

The reality is that Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI), founded in 2006, has more backers of Israel engaged in debate concerning Israel and a future Palestinian state.

For evidence of this let’s look at the top social media sites and overall Internet traffic stats.

  • 12,629 users have “Liked” J Street on Face Book while 328,539 have “Liked” CUFI on Face Book.
  • Jstreetdotorg has 4,397 Followers on Twitter. CUFI has 1,422 Followers on Twitter and AIPAC 4,387 Followers on Twitter.
  • Isaac Luria is the Vice President of Communications and New Media for J Street. The J Street group Luria is the owner of on LinkedIn has six members. CUFI does not have a LinkedIn group. The AIPAC group on LinkedIn has 414 members. The AFSI / Americans For A Safe Israel LinkedIn group (of which this author is the owner) has 91 members.
  • Alexa.com website traffic statistics show jstreet.org‘s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. as 228,817; cufi.org’s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. is 66,472. It is also worth noting that israelnationalnews.com’s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. is 3,864. Israel National News is also known as Arutz Sheva and is known as the Religious Zionist / pro-Israeli settlements media network.

What also has to be pointed out here is that Pastor Hagee achieved this all the while enduring years of personal attacks from both liberal Jews and liberal non-Jews while steadfastly growing support for Israel not just in Texas but nationwide. The founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Hagee started the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization in 2006 and wrote the book In Defense of Israel in 2007. CUFI has sponsored well over 150 “A Night to Honor Israel” events since 2006. Criticism of the pastor by Abe Foxman and the ADL have been especially shocking and over the top. Here’s Hagee, for example, at the Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend:

No one in the U.S. has impacted support for Israel in the way Pastor Hagee has in the last half decade except for perhaps…Glenn Beck.

It has also been announced that Glenn Beck will give the keynote speech at the “A Night to Honor Israel” banquet on Tuesday evening, July 19 during the Christians United for Israel’s sixth annual Washington Summit. It is well worth noting here that Abe Foxman and the ADL have criticized Beck too.

Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg wrote the following in his introduction to In Defense of Israel:

For many years, Pastor Hagee has lived and labored selflessly for the people of Israel. In 1981, when the world condemned Israel for bombing a nuclear reactor in Iraq, Pastor Hagee’s response to (critics of Israel) was to start “A Night to Honor Israel.” That night Pastor Hagee proclaimed, “Israel, you are not alone; Christians support you and America supports you. We love you, and we shall stand by you.”

When Israel critic Pat Buchanan stated on The McLaughlin Group on August 26, 1990 that “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States” it caused a sensation. By “amen corner” everyone thought Buchanan meant Jews (and he most likely did) but now two decades later the stronger amen is coming from Christians.

Abe Foxman and the ADL should take note. And all lovers of Israel everywhere should say thank you to Glenn Beck, Pastor Hagee and everyone who is a part of CUFI.

Destroying Hamas is the Only Goal that Makes Sense

2011 May 13

The May 11, 2011 Wall Street Journal editorial “Engaged to Hamas” at first glance seems like the type of clear thinking on the Middle East that is missing from The Washington Post and The New York Times. The conclusion of the editorial stated:

There’s no way for any donor or for Israel, which transfers customs and other receipts to the Palestinian Authority, to ensure that money won’t be used by Hamas to launch more rockets on Israeli school buses.

Good, right? But here’s the problem – and it’s a big one – everything in that last line is correct, it is what is not being said that is the key to why the entire Arab-Israeli conflict goes unresolved. Even if Hamas does not “launch more rockets on Israeli school buses” assumes that Hamas is not evil and both needs and serves to be utterly and completely destroyed. Destroyed because it is evil. The moral thing to do is to destroy evil when it poses a “clear and present danger” or likely will again.

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Christians Cry for Help in the ‘New’ Egypt As Churches Are Burned

2011 May 11

In Cairo on Saturday, May 7 Muslim protesters attacked two Coptic Christian churches. The rioters set one of the churches on fire. Twelve have been killed and over 200 injured in the violence.

Simon Caldwell of the Catholic News Service (CNS) reported on May 10 that:

Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Giza said Egypt would descend into anarchy if such outbreaks of violence were allowed to go unpunished.”The police need to say clearly to those who have done this: ‘You cannot do this. It is not allowed,'” he said in a May 9 telephone interview with the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians. “Without action from the police and the army, it will be chaos, complete anarchy,” the bishop said. “The army will not stand up against the people who do this sort of thing,” he said. “They want to stay neutral. The police appear, but very slowly. They are frightened. They have not been strong enough.”

One did not have to be clairvoyant to know that 2011 was not going to be a good year to be a Coptic Christian in Egypt. On January 1, 2011 23 Copts were murdered in a church bombing in Alexandria. Over 90 were injured. The U.S. mainstream media was too willing to try and downplay the Islamic terrorism and failed to report it as a harbinger of anti-Christian violence yet to come. So far in May, Muslim rioters have set two Cairo churches on fire. Twelve have been killed and over 200 injured in the violence.

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On Israeli Independence Day, Pondering the Legacy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky

2011 May 10

The killing of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent debates by pundits on whether the Bush/Cheney administration was getting too much or too little credit for crafting the initial response to 9/11 and then creating the infrastructure necessary to remove the al-Qaeda leader is worth discussing as it relates to Israel.

As the state of Israel and her friends around the globe celebrate the 63rd anniversary of its founding, it is instructive to see how the left in Israel marginalized the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his students for generations. What the left in the U.S. did to malign President Bush and Vice-President Cheney while they were in office and since is nothing compared to the campaign of misinformation and outright oppression that the left in Israel conducted for decades against the right there.

Professor Daniel J. Elazar (1934-1999) was a scholar of the Jewish political tradition. Elazar was a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel and Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a prolific author.

In the May 15, 1981 edition of the Jewish journal Sh’ma, Elazar recalled Jabotinsky’s legacy and wrote:

“Would there be serious public commemoration of the 100th birthday of Zev Jabotinsky had it not been for the fact that the Likud won the election in Israel in 1977? Not likely. For thirty years and more, Jabotinsky was one of those non-persons in Israel and the Jewish world…. The ruling Labour Party made him a non-person for the same reasons that it portrayed Menachem Begin and his supporters as uncivilized fascists – it is easier to beat the opposition by painting it as irrelevant, intolerable and non-existent, until it is too strong to be dismissed.”

In the intervening elections the next generation of leaders including Ehud Olmert, Benny Begin, Tzipi Livni, Uzi Landau, Dan Meridor and many other central figures in Israel’s political life today (including both Binyamin Netanyahu and J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami) had a parent that was an active supporter of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and was involved with the Irgun paramilitary organization his followers created. It should be noted that Rahm Emanuel’s father too was an Irgunist.

What Jabotinsky would advocate given today’s current events is often debated in Israel.

It is a fair question to ask if Israel would even exist today if it were not for Jabotinsky and the sacrifices of the Irgun. That question would be impossible to ask, though, if Begin had never won power in 1977.

Since 1977 things have really changed in Israel: not only Menachem Begin’s Likud but also the National Union (HaIhud HaLeumi), Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) parties all connect themselves directly to the legacy of Jabotinsky.  No party claims to continue in the tradition of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. His secularism and socialism lost all its chic long ago. Perhaps Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party stated it best when it described itself as “a national movement with the clear vision to follow in the brave path of Ze’ev Jabotinsky.”

What is meant by this “brave path?”

Jabotinsky wrote his greatest novel about the Biblical champion Samson. In the most well-known passage of the book Samson declares: “Tell them [the Jewish People] three things in my name, and not two: they must get iron [i.e. weapons]; they must choose a king; and they must learn to laugh.” (See http://www.saveisrael.com/jabo/jabosamson.htm for more excerpts.)

What Jabotinsky meant in part by “learn to laugh” was the necessary development of confidence on a national level. With a rapidly changing Middle East that is comprised of a Hamas/Fatah pact, the killing of bin Laden and the so called “Arab-Spring” both Israelis and Americans need that message now more than ever.

 

What Pre-Israeli History Should Teach Jimmy Carter about the Hamas/Fatah Deal

2011 May 6

Jimmy Carter’s reputation as one of the most consistent supporters of Israel’s terrorist opponents remains intact with the publication of his “Support the Palestinian unity government” op-ed in The Washington Post.

In his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid Carter cemented his place in history as one of the most vicious critics of Israeli policy. He has been one leading voices in support of the formation of an Islamic state in the Land of Israel since the 1970s.

Let’s take a moment and recall one part in the history in the Middle East that Carter rarely brings up.

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After Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and Hamas Must Still Be Defeated

2011 May 2


The killing of Osama Bin Laden is a tremendous triumph in the ongoing war on terror. It is a historic moment that has the potential to go down in history as a turning point in the war. It is not the end of the war but it is an attainment of a central goal of the war – a goal that was established from the outset as a priority. The importance of this event on the road to victory over terror cannot be underestimated.

That being said the juxtaposition of the elimination of bin Laden with the so-called reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas is striking.

Al-Qaeda has remained a pariah and no nation has offered to defend it publicly.

But the same cannot be said for Hamas.

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Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America–and Capt. Israel

2011 May 1

This popular post was originally published on April 15, 2011

New movie adaptations featuring comic book heroes Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America are all due out this summer and are generating tremendous media attention already. And that’s with the first movie, Thor, not arriving in theaters until May 6.

The launch of a new comic book series where the hero is tasked with defending Israel on the battlefield of ideas has gone largely unnoticed though. The Jerusalem Post first reported early this year on Capt. Israel telling its readers it was “…created by international Israel advocacy group Stand With Us, (this) is a new, unabashedly Zionist addition to the Jewish superhero pantheon. The creation of artist Arlen Schumer bears a strong resemblance to Captain America. See the entire article here: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=204263

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Why Obama’s Mistakes in Syria Are Even More Damaging Than in Libya

2011 April 18

There can be little doubt that the administration has made serious mistakes in Syria in regard to the protests there and Assad’s hyper violent response from day one. America’s newly appointed ambassador to Damascus arrived just weeks before the protests there erupted costing the Obama Administration much credibility and leverage.

When the Foreign Policy (FP) magazine website ran an April 14 above the fold link that read “Stop Whining About Syria and Do Something” (to the story http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/14/twisting_assads_arm) it revealed that some serious mistakes have been made by the White House.

In Libya the president’s hesitation to encourage the protesters or to pledge support to the armed rebels gave Gaddafi the opportunity to gain the upper hand in the conflict. The effect of this cannot be debated: civilians were killed by the Libyan army and the effect of the U.S. led air strikes was less in the end than it would have been had it come when Sarah Palin and others first called for it.

The Obama administration’s decision to wait until the Arab League and the U.N. gave the green light to begin air strikes against the Gaddafi regime will hurt the U.S. if any decision is made to intervene in Syria.

Obama’s outreach to Syria complicates this as well. A prime example of this was the appointment of Ambassador Robert Ford. Jim Zanotti’s “Hamas: Background and Issues for Congress” 67 page report issued by the Congressional Research Service on December 2, 2010 can be found be found on the U.S. State Department website. The report also stated “(t)he movement’s political leadership is currently headquartered in exile in Damascus, Syria.”

On December 29, just four weeks after the publication of the Congressional Research Service report, President Obama appointed Robert Ford to be the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since February 2005.

The Christian Science Monitor described the background to the appointment this way:

In June 2009, Obama announced that he was sending a new US ambassador to Damascus, but it was not until seven months later that he named Ford, a career diplomat, as the new head of mission. Even then, Ford’s departure was delayed because the Senate refused to confirm his appointment due to its opposition to returning an ambassador to Syria. Obama took advantage of the Senate recess last month to sign off on several diplomatic appointments, including Ford, allowing the new ambassador to take up his position.

The Senate had good reason to block the appointment. American mistakes in Syria can lead to disaster. Syria is much more strategically important to U.S. interests than Libya. Much more:

  • Syria borders Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Israel. It is hard to imagine a more vitally positioned nation on the planet.
  • Syria’s national policy for decades has been to undermine the Lebanese government and exert control over Beirut.
  • Syria’s population is approximately 22.5 million compared to Libya’s less than 6.5 million.
  • Syria has substantial minorities of Kurds and Armenians that are in danger.
  • Syria has alliances strong with Iran and other rogue states.
  • Emergency martial law has basically been in effect since 1963 and an emergency law bans demonstrations.
  • The Syrian army has been used to slaughter thousands of civilians in the past.

Scattered demonstrations began in Syria as early as on January 26, 2011 and the first “Days of Rage” protests began in Damascus on February 4 and February 5.

On March 18 hundreds of protesters were injured and at least four were killed.

These mid-March protests have been described as “unprecedented” and the demonstrations are the most serious since 1982 when tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered in the city of Hama.

And March looked calm compared to April. There were over fifty fatalities among civilians and soldiers on April 10 alone. On April 8 reports are that close to 40 civilians were killed.

The Obama administration must not continue to let the opportunity to encourage regime change in Damascus slip through its fingers. Much of the Middle East’s future stability hinges on the streets of Syrian cities and towns. Let’s hope that Team Obama sees that before it is too late.

Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America–and Capt. Israel

2011 April 15

New movie adaptations featuring comic book heroes Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America are all due out this summer and are generating tremendous media attention already. And that’s with the first movie, Thor, not arriving in theaters until May 6.

The launch of a new comic book series where the hero is tasked with defending Israel on the battlefield of ideas has gone largely unnoticed though. The Jerusalem Post first reported early this year on Capt. Israel telling its readers it was “…created by international Israel advocacy group Stand With Us, (this) is a new, unabashedly Zionist addition to the Jewish superhero pantheon. The creation of artist Arlen Schumer bears a strong resemblance to Captain America. See the entire article here: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=204263

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Corrupt Illinois Town Employs Hater of Israel as Spokesman

2011 April 14

 

When Karl Marx’s collaborator Friedrich Engels referred to the Roman statesman/philosopher Cicero as “the most contemptible scoundrel in history” he could have just as easily been describing the politicians and municipal employees of Cicero, Illinois.

Over the last decade or so the reports of corruption and crime emanating from Cicero rival the other tales of dirty politics that Illinois has become so infamous for. Rod Blagojevich and his crew have nothing on the pols in Cicero.

The most recent story involves the town president, Larry Dominick and his wife Elizabeth Dominick. The current paid town spokesman who responded to the allegations is Ray Hanania–who Raoul Felder exposed as an Israel basher in 2002.

Here’s how The Chicago Tribune reported the latest Dominick story:

Elizabeth resigned on April 12 as “as director of Cicero’s health department, saying her salary was too low and her boss wouldn’t give her a raise. Her boss is Larry Dominick, who is her husband and Cicero’s town president. “My husband said it would look bad if he gave me a raise,” said Elizabeth after a board of trustees meeting at which she announced her resignation. Elizabeth was hired in 2007, three months after she and Larry were married, becoming one of several relatives of Larry Dominick’s who have been on the Cicero payroll. At the time, her annual salary was $60,319. She said Tuesday her current salary was $71,000.”

In 2009 The Huffington Post ran a headline that said “Cicero President Larry Dominick Denies Sexual Harassment Claims.” Those allegations from a female municipal employee led to a “federal sexual harassment lawsuit that Dominick groped her and made vulgar comments.”

In 2002 former Cicero president Betty Loren-Maltese was convicted in on racketeering charges in a case involving the theft of millions of dollars in municipal money. She was released in 2010.

With all this bad press, Cicero’s elected officials thought they needed to bring in a top notch public relations expert. They found Ray Hanania. Hanania has worked as an op-ed columnist and a stand-up comedian and is perhaps best known for his anti-Israel activism. There is nothing funny about his Israel bashing. Or the corruption in Cicero.

Here were Hanania’s comments about the latest Cicero scandal to The Chicago Tribune:

Hanania said he was shocked by her resignation. “We always got compliments about the way she ran the health department,” said Hanania. As for Elizabeth’s claim that some employees don’t show up for work, Hanania said that anyone aware of such a worker should contact a supervisor.

One blogger in December 2010 reported that Hanania makes $86,000 from his Cicero municipal job. The post is well worth reading.

Ray Hanania’s March 29, 2011 column in the Jerusalem Post is a prime example of just how radical the man is. The title of the piece was “Palestinian declaration of statehood is ‘least bad’ option.”

Here are some excerpts so you can see for yourself:

“(C)onflict is the only thing that seems to motivate Israel and the Palestinians to act.”

“(I)t might help Palestinians undermine the steady growth of Hamas and the fanatics, fueled largely by the continued occupation.”

“The West Bank and east Jerusalem were occupied in 1967, territories Israel calls “disputed,” even though it has spent years building Jewish-only settlements there. Is that not occupation?”

“Israel has always argued that Palestine was not a country…”

“(O)ver the past 63 years is that the only time change happens is when the level of conflict rises.”

“Palestinians seem to want another intifada – as evidenced by the popularity of Facebook’s Third Intifada page…”

“Maybe the declaration of statehood might be the one way Palestinians can heighten the conflict without violence, making it clear to Israelis that they want their state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

Hanania’s argument that Arab violence against Israel will somehow lead to peace is a fool’s gambit. It would just lead to more violence. Hamas cannot be undermined in Gaza – and Fatah is no match for them there. Hamas is part of the general revolutionary Islamist phenomena and its popularity with Gazans has much more to do with that than an “occupation” that ceased to exist in 2005. The most groundbreaking development in the history of the conflict was Sadat’s visit to the Knesset, which did not occur in the middle of any particular conflict. Israel does not call any part of Jerusalem disputed. Israeli government law regards all of Jerusalem as a full part of the State of Israel and the nation’s capital. There has never been a sovereign nation in history with the name Palestine.

Hanania views are repugnant and he gets his facts wrong.

Hanania has a history of calling for an Arab war against Israel as a solution to the situation. Raoul Felder wrote in 2002 that Hanania called for violence at that time:

“If the Arabs and Palestinians really want to get Israel’s attention and force them to take the peace process seriously, then the Arabs and the Palestinians must begin serious preparations for a new war against Israel.”

Hanania has no place in the Jerusalem Post. He never should have been granted a byline there in the first place. More alarming is that this radical receives a salary from American taxpayers. The people of Cicero should be demanding that Hanania be let go.

Cal. State Prof: ‘The Arab world will never prosper until the Zionist regime is removed!’

2011 April 13

 

A California State University political science professor named As’ad AbuKhalil addressed an Orange County California anti-Israel conference recently and stated among other things:

But no, never will we recognize the Zionist State of Israel! We must go back to the 1968 PLO charter, not the one engineered by Bill Clinton in Ramallah. We Arabs, Palestinians, cannot be equivocal when it comes to Israel. The Arab world will never prosper until the Zionist regime is removed!”

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Helen Thomas’s Most Recent Speech: Where’s The Outrage?

2011 April 6

The March 22 lunch meeting in Washington, D.C. of the National Press Club’s Young Members Committee featured Helen Thomas.

It is hard to decide what is most outrageous: that the Young Members Committee invited Helen Thomas in the first place, that the National Press Club did not veto the appearance, or that the event did not generate the alarm and protest that it should have.

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