Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Is Rabbi Ovadia the Only Jew Who Reads the Prayer Book?

September 7, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s ill wishes towards Israel’s Palestinian Arab enemies, including the Palestinian Authority and its Holocaust–denier President, elicited disdain and disavowals from much of the leadership of Israel and the Jewish world.

Rabbi Ovadia’s “words do not reflect the approach of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nor the position of the government of Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary and related groups said, “As leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement, we deplore these recent comments of Former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef”.

ADL leader Abe Foxman said, “We are outraged by the offensive and incendiary comments made by Rav Ovadia Yosef.”  And the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations added, “We are disturbed by the reported comments of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.”

Why these entities have reacted this way is an interesting question.

This is even putting aside the paternalistic attitude of superiority so commonly used to justify ignoring the constant barrage of hate and incitement to genocide that emanates from many of Israel and Judaism’s enemies, both from Palestinian Arabs and others (most notoriously, Iran).   And that vitriol is not voiced just by an individual — but is promulgated by their governments and their leaders, including Israel’s purported “partners for peace.”

But I was gratified to learn that I was not the only one who found the situation peculiar.  In a letter published on the Jerusalem Post’s website, Chana Pinto accurately and articulately pointed out that in our prayers, Jews beseech G_d to defeat our enemies.  For example, the Amida includes “Frustrate the hopes of those who malign us,” and “Let all your enemies be speedily destroyed.”

So is Rabbi Ovadia the only prominent Jew who reads the prayer book?  Are the other Jewish leaders ignorant of our prayers in the prayer books they themselves publish? Are they akin to America’s legislators who now routinely pass multi-thousand page bills without reading them or knowing what is in them, much less understanding and reflecting on their implications?

Or is it that these other Jewish leaders are aware of their prayers, but Rabbi Ovadia is the only one who means it when he says them?

Perhaps if the Conservative leaders and their Reform counterparts (who,  of course, also attacked Rabbi Ovadia) are so offended by their own prayers, they should change them.  If Obama and his Democrats can ram their unwanted legislation down the throats of Americans, perhaps these Jewish leaders can change our prayers to be more consonant with their political and worldly sensibilities.

This controversy over the Rabbi’s remarks reminded me of a similar hypocrisy that occurred during George W. Bush’s presidency.  Bush was well known to have been inspired by his faith and G_d during his time in office.  And he was routinely and vitriolically mocked and criticized for doing so.  Many Jews  were among those so criticizing him.

But reference the “Prayer for Our Country,” a commonly recited Shabbat and Festival prayer in Conservative (and other) American congregations.  The prayer includes the plea to G_d, “teach them (our ‘leader and advisors and all who exercise just and rightful authority’) insights of Your Torah so they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security…may forever abide in our midst”.

So these Jews who criticized Bush for being inspired by the Bible were criticizing him for doing precisely what they were praying for him to do!  Just as today Rabbi Ovadia is pilloried for asking for just what we ask for in prayer.  In both cases, of course, the prayers may have been so rote as to be less than sincere.

But the key answer to the question as to why so many people claimed offense at the Rabbi’s remarks is two-fold.  One is that throughout the world, most people don’t want Israel to prevail in its struggle, and Israeli and Jewish leaders are sensitive to that sentiment.

Second, and more important, is the widespread and tragic refusal by Israelis, Jews, and westerners in general, to acknowledge that Israel is at war.   Israel is at war with Palestinian Arabs, not just the Gazans. (Hey, if it’s not a state of war, why do we need peace talks?  Does this enemy to whose defense the Israeli government and Jews throughout the world are rushing even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state?  Last time I checked, no.  And the enemy even says that it never will.)

Related to the refusal to acknowledge the state of war is, on the part of many, a lack of understanding of what war actually entails.  That results in horror when the enemy is killed, injured, or even inconvenienced (e.g. think “checkpoints” and “blockade”).

As has been learned over the course of  human history, Israel will never achieve the security of peace until it defeats its enemies.  And as has also been true throughout human history, Israel will never be able to defeat its enemies by being nice to them, or even by loving them.  Love bombs don’t work.  Real ordnance is needed.

And if G_d provides help, all the better.

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Jews Should be the Last People to Join the “Global Warming” Bandwagon

December 20, 2009

Jews know all too well how the vast majority of the world can have a grossly distorted view of reality.  Fed a diet of propaganda and lies by their religious leaders, politicians, academicians and media, much of the world is led to believe absurdities such as that Israel is the biggest danger to the world and that Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs.

Just as much of the world has a very clear, but wrong, picture of Jews and Israel, it also has a very clear picture of “climate change.”  But as the climate summiteers gather in Copenhagen, we should not assume that climate picture is any more accurate than the picture that the world holds of us.  After all, it is largely the same cabal of European media, academics and political elites leading both the climate change and anti-Israel causes.

That is only the beginning of the similarities.

Recent disclosures by NGO Monitor revealed that European governments have been funding anti-Israel non-profits  — and that financing skews the debate about Middle East issues.  For a longer time it has been known that anti-semitic Saudi money goes to American universities, such as Georgetown and Harvard, so as to spread its antithetical views.

Likewise, the climate change alarmists are also the beneficiaries of government and other financial largess, but even on a much larger scale.One estimate is that the U.S. government alone has spent more than $79 billion since 1989 on global warming research and related policies.  You can get quite a few people to agree with you with that kind of money.

And just as the anti-semites and Israel-haters seek to squelch debate about Israel by silencing pro-Israel voices and demonizing Israel and her defenders, the man-made climate change alarmists have for many years sought to squelch debate about their alarmist claims by demonizing their critics and declaring “the debate is over”.

We know that Israel’s enemies lie about Israel, whether, for example, it is that Israel deliberately targets civilians, steals organs, or lacks an historical connection to the land.  Now the recently disclosed  East Anglia Climate Research Unit emails reveal that prominent, supposedly reputable, climate change alarmists have also been engaging in shenanigans.  To cement their case, they have distorted data to falsify the picture presented to the public, and attempted to marginalize their critics.

On the facts, Jews rightly know that Israelis have built a largely just and decent society – one that compares favorably with the rest of the world.  Likewise, those not on board the on the climate change bandwagon have a strong case behind them.  Here are a few notes to that effect, but they are ones you may have not seen before, as they do not serve the establishment media’s agenda:

    • For at least the past ten years, the globe has not warmed.  The climate models did not predict and cannot explain this deviation from the predicted warming.  Those models are the only basis for the alarmist theory, which is only that – a theory, albeit a popularly accepted one.
    • In fact, the lack of warming may explain the otherwise inexplicable change in the name of the crisis from “global warming” to “climate change.”  (Perhaps like how “Arabs” became “Palestinians”?)
    • Carbon dioxide, the major so-called “greenhouse gas” is harmless.  We exhale it, and plant life requires it.  In the distant past, it was almost as much as ten times more concentrated in the atmosphere as it is now, and was much more so than even any doomsday scenario contemplates for the future.
    • The biggest alleged threat from warming seems to be rising sea levels.  Yet there have been previous periods of warming, and during these periods, what are now our port cities and coasts were not inundated and under water.

So just as we Jews and Israel and our defenders have a solid case but are a minority in the world, so too for those who don’t buy the man-made global warming alarmism.  We should understand that before we join in with that crowd.  For better or worse, this could be another instance of Jews’ calling of being a people apart.

It is important to state that debunking of man-made global warming does not contradict the fact that ecological stewardship, energy and resource conservation, and reducing dependence on foreign oil are all good and worthy goals.  But it does not follow that cleanly burning fossil fuels and producing carbon dioxide is in any way harmful.  And we should certainly not cause our societies damage by acting on the false premise that it is.