Du bow digest germany edition february 20, 2011

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Du bow digest germany edition february 20, 2011

  1. 1. GERMANY EDITIONFebruary 20, 2011Dear Friends:This has been quite an interesting couple of weeks. The Arab Middle East is inquite a bit of turmoil. In addition, the UN Security Council vote on the illegality ofIsraeli settlements (covered below) took place and so everybody, except ourRepublican members of the House of Representatives who seem fixated only oncutting the national budget, is trying to figure out where all this activity in terms ofthe Middle East will lead us.It’s very depressing to see the Bahrainis, Libyans, Yemenis and Iranians gettinggunned down by their own police and military. Even though these people are notthe greatest friends of Jews and Israel it is ghastly to see innocent peopleslaughtered that way. It is hard for me to imagine such a thing. Of course, theUnited States had its own Civil War in 1865 and in the 1970 four students at KentState University were killed by National Guard troops. But, In this day and agegovernment ordered killing of fellow citizens is difficult to understand andswallow. They may be killing their own relatives.In a less bloody battle, a melee about the national budget is gearing up betweenthe Republicans and the Democrats here in the U.S. The deletion of many socialprograms by the Republicans will not go down easily with most Jews who arededicated to a wide and deep social net. While I think everyone knows thateventually we will have to somehow come to grips with the enormous nationaldeficit, many of the programs that Jews have developed and supported are onthe chopping block and that is the cause of major unhappiness.I wish I had some good news to share with you. We did have a couple of warmdays in New York but today winter is back. However the crocus buds have begunto poke up even through the snow and that is a sure sign of spring. In addition,baseball spring training has begun in Florida and Arizona. While most of you arenot interested in that, it does tell us that the summer game is just around thecorner.That’s it for the good news. Let’s get back to reality…IN THIS EDITIONTHE UN RESOLUTION – Unhappily, Germany joins in.THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD – Everybody seems to be wary of them. Whoare they and what do they believe? 1
  2. 2. AN AMERICAN JEWISH AGENDA – What is the overseas agenda for AmericanJewry? This piece spells it out.ISRAEL IN THE EYES OF AMERICA – Why are non-Jewish Americans soconnected to Israel – and to what degree?PHILANTHROPY – Jews and charitable giving.THE “NEW HISTORIANS” IN ISRAEL – A reader asks about them. Your editorresponds.THE UN RESOLUTIONIf there was one issue lately that concerned those of us who have come to relyon Germany for support of Israel, it was Germany’s signing on to the Palestinianbacked resolution in the UN Security Council which defined Israel’s building ofsettlements as illegal.It seems to me that Germany did not take into account the totality of the situationand, perhaps, to maintain unanimity in the EU and connection to the Arab world,decided to go along with the French and British in condemning Israel. I wonderwhether Germany realized that such a vote would seriously delay any chance ofgetting the parties back to the peace table for genuine negotiations. There is nodoubt now that the Palestinians have decided to go around direct negotiationsand try to obtain some sort of national recognition from the General Assembly. Ifthere was any chance for negotiations to resume in the near future, unless youare a Pollyanna, those chances are pretty much, as we say, dead in water.Even if Germany believed that the settlements are illegal, would it not have beenbetter to support the U.S. by supporting a veto and then push hard for aresumption of the negotiations? Germany would have been able to garner aconsiderable amount of influence with the Israelis. Now they are left with noneand, as an unintended result, have helped kill or, at least seriously delay theresuming of negotiations.And, what about the oft-mentioned support of Israel? Before or even after thevote did Germany make some sort of supportive statement about Israel or theneed for direct negotiations? If they did I couldn’t find it. If there is one, I’dappreciate your sending it to me.I must say, this is a disappointing chapter in Jewish – German relations. Ofcourse, it’s not the end. There will be other issues. I hope Germany has not givenup on direct negotiations. The Palestinians will be at the General Assembly andwe will then see what sort of role Germany will play. 2
  3. 3. THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOODIf there is one thing about the Egypt situation that concerns Israelis and AmericanJews it is that somewhere down the road there will be a take over of Egypt by theMuslim Brotherhood. The concern is that if a new central government turns out tobe weak even a small, well organized group, no matter what they have previouslypromised about only wanting to play a part, might step in, grab power and set upan Islamic theocracy. You can imagine what sort of a position Israel might finditself in. For the moment the army seems to be in control and that is a positive.However, it occurred to me that not many of us know much or anything about theMuslim Brotherhood. It is described in many ways ranging from small and willingto cooperate in a democracy all the way to a party that wants to bring an Iraniantype government to Egypt.One person who knows a lot is Yehudit Barsky, director of AJCs Division onMiddle East and International Terrorism. The Division monitors extremistpublications and websites. Yehudit is constantly reviewing the Arab press andwebsites and is quite an expert on the Brotherhood. She has recently published apiece entitled (appropriately) The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.In he conclusion she says, “Based on its prior history and recent statements byits General Guide, the Brotherhood will likely bide its time until the formation of anew Egyptian government before testing the new regime by again raising itsIslamist agenda. Over the years, the movement has had the benefit of observingthe strategy of a number of Islamist movements in other countries to gain power,particularly that of Hamas, its Palestinian branch. In many ways theBrotherhoods current situation I similar to that of Hamas, which built its supporton an agenda of reform and providing social welfare services. The Brotherhoodmay similarly focus its efforts on the democratic process of transforming thesupport it has garnered for its social welfare projects to political power at thepolls. Employing the model of Hamas, it may use the new political playing fieldas a means of Islamization to transform Egypt into an Islamist state, graduallyincreasing its political power until it can take control through the democraticprocess, or carrying out a coup détat, or both.”That does not seem so out of the question to me. However, before you make anysort of a judgment I think you should read the entire article. It is not very long andit is very informative. Click here to read it.http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42d75369-d582-4380-8395-d25925b85eaf%7D/MUSLIM-BROTHERHOOD-EGYPT-BRIEFING-BARSKY-020811.PDFWhen you’re finished with that, read the paragraph below wherein Daniel Kurtzer,the former U.S. Ambassador to both Israel & Egypt is quoted as saying, ““The 3
  4. 4. Moslem Brotherhood since its founding in 1928 has one single goal, 25 and thatis to transform Egypt into an Islamic state, and once that’s achieved it’s goal isto transform the Middle East into a pan-Arabist Islamic state…. It is flexible intactics. ... for large periods in its history it has eschewed violence. TheBrotherhood has tactical flexibility, but that doesn’t change their goals one iota.That doesn’t mean necessarily that they need to be kept out of the halls ofpower. It doesn’t mean they need to be hunted down. But that does mean thereneeds to be great caution in simplistic analysis in how the Muslim Brotherhoodwill act with respect to power. And the question of whether or not this movementwill try to hijack a political movement for its own purposes will be kept squarely inmind. This is on the minds of the Egyptian military. One can be sure that the roleof the Muslim Brotherhood will be circumscribed [by the military].”To read the entire article click here.http://www.jewishjournal.com/bloggish/item/daniel_kurtzer_on_the_muslim_brotherhood_video_20110204Maybe the Muslim Brotherhood is not an immediate threat but the developmentof their importance in Egypt is certainly something to watch as the revolutionunfolds.AN AMERICAN JEWISH AGENDAIt is no secret that almost all American Jewish organizations are, in one way oranother, involved in the support of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. Thoseof us who work in this area are sometimes questioned about what specific issueswe stress and what it is we are trying to accomplish. Of course, the overarchinggoal is to do what we can to improve Israel’s security. However, when it getsdown to specifics, at times there are disagreements but, by and large, there isconsensus on what those issues should be.Jennifer L. Mizrahi, the founder and president of The Israel Project, a nonprofitorganization that provides facts about Israel and the Middle East to press,policymakers and the public wrote a piece in the JTA which, as far as I’mconcerned, gives a pretty good summary of the “Jewish agenda”.She notes:1. Continue to work with our allies to expand and enforce sanctions against Iran,the largest state sponsor of terror.2. Ensure that any new Egyptian government honors its peace treaty with Israeland continues its efforts to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. 4
  5. 5. 3. Let America’s Palestinian and Arab allies know that they should stop teachingtheir citizens, and especially their children, to hate Jews and Israel.4. Veto Palestinian efforts in the United Nations to bypass Israel to create aPalestinian state.5. Devise a solution to Jerusalem that will bring lasting peace and does not slicethe city in half as if it were a pizza.6. Reduce dependency on foreign oil.7. Maintain aid to Israel, America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East.To read the entire article click here.http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/10/2742935/op-ed-american-jews-must-regain-focus-on-middle-eastI should mention the above list covers only the overseas part of the AmericanJewish agenda. There are many domestic issues too numerous to mention herethat Jewish organizations are working on. We’ll cover that some other time.ISRAEL IN THE EYES OF AMERICAPeople throughout the Middle East and Europe often wonder why the UnitedStates seems so supportive of Israel. Many say it is the strength of the “IsraelLobby” that keeps the Government so firmly connected in spite of the fact thatmany (most?) countries in the UN are more firmly committed to the Palestinians.Jews and the Lobby wish they had that kind of power. They don’t!The answer has much more to do with the way is Israel is seen through the eyesof non-Jewish Americans. JTA reported recently that “A substantial majority ofAmericans continue to rate Israel favorably according to the latest Gallup poll.A total of 68 percent of Americans rated Israel favorably in the poll conductedFeb 2-5, statistically the same as the 67 percent Israel scored in 2010.Israel came seventh among 21 countries in this years poll; scoring higher were,in order, Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan, India and France.Iran scored last, with 11 percent approval, and the Palestinian Authority scoredfifth from last, with 19 percent approval."Americans ratings of foreign countries suggest Americans are aware of what isoccurring internationally," Gallup said. "Countries that are friendly to the United 5
  6. 6. States and supportive of its foreign policy are generally rated positively, whilecountries that are unfriendly to the United States and oppose its policies arerated negatively."Incidentally, as you see above, Germany ranks very high. It’s actually No. 3 inthe estimate of the American public.A second article appeared a week or so ago on Politico, an important nationalwebsite written by Alexander Burns. It noted “Aspiring politicians in New Yorkonce made a point of visiting the three I’s: Italy, Ireland and Israel.For the GOP’s (Ed. Note: Republican) presidential prospects in 2012, it’s allabout one: Israel. A stop in the Jewish state is becoming as critical to a would-bepresident’s political resume as an early trip to Iowa or New Hampshire, a sort ofglobal two-fer. Get some early foreign policy street-cred(credentials) and play alittle dog-whistle politics with Christian conservatives who are deeply invested inIsrael’s fate - some because they view it as critical to the Biblical vision of theend of days.Not only that, you get to look presidential by having your picture taken with PrimeMinister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has played host to no less than threeRepublican contenders in recent weeks. Particularly for governors – who alwaysface the question of whether they’re ready for the foreign policy part of the job —you can’t buy an ad that good.Israel has loomed ever larger in Republican politics since the terrorist attacks ofSept. 11, 2001, particularly among Jewish conservatives and evangelical voterswho cared deeply about Israel’s well being to begin with.One reason Israel is so important to evangelicals is its biblical role in setting thestage for the Second Coming of Jesus—its survival is essential.For others, a country that was already a U.S. ally has become a symbol ofWestern values under siege in a region swept with violent extremism. For apolitical party defined for much of the last decade by its stance on fighting radicalIslam, there’s no foreign nation that can command greater sympathy.Israel and American Jewry welcome this sort of support. Of course, the strangething is that the vast majority of American Jews vote Democratic. Go figure!To read the entire story click here.http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49123.html#ixzz1E2qcPVQvIn addition, the newly elected Republicans to the House of Representatives, mostof whom had the deficit/tax cutting backing of the Tea Party, (JTA),” … havesigned on to a letter committing to current levels of defense assistance to Israel.” 6
  7. 7. Among the 87 freshmen, 65 have signed the letter initiated by Reps. Robert Dold(R-Ill.) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.) to the partys House leadership."As Israel faces threats from escalating instability in Egypt, Hezbollah rockets inLebanon, Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the existential danger posed by Iransnuclear program, full U.S. security assistance to Israel, including supportingIsraels acquisition of the Iron Dome defense system, has never been moreimportant for our own national security interests," said the letter asking fellowfreshmen to sign, which was still accruing signatures as of Tuesday.The appeal -- and the support it garnered -- is significant because it answersquestions pro-Israel groups had about the 2011 class of GOP freshmen, many ofthem spurred to office by the Tea Party movement, which has cost cutting as itscentral focus.The letter is a sign that President Obamas proposal this week to maintain levelsof funding for Israel, currently at about $3 billion annually, will be untouched.I guess that says it all in terms how Israel is viewed by the great majority of non-Jewish Americans. Even the conservative Republican sacrosanct mantra ofbudget cutting has to be put aside when it comes to the Jewish State. Israel’ssecurity is seen as vital to that of the United States itself. In addition, there is anemotional- religious factor at work which puts it in a special category in the mindsand hearts of a large part of the American populace.PHILANTHROPYJudaism 101, notes, "Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call"charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or toother worthy causes. However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from theidea of charity. The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, amagnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor andneedy. The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof,meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism, giving to the poor is notviewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice andrighteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due.Tzedakah runs deep in the DNA of the Jewish community even for those that arenot particularly religious. So it was not much of a surprise that in the UnitedStates during 2010 5 of the top 6 contributors to “charity” were Jewish.JTA reported, “In 2010, the top philanthropists in the United States contributedapproximately $3.3 billion to charity, according to the Chronicle’s Philanthropy50, a list that tracks the largest gifts made by individuals each year. That numberis some $800 million below 2009 and less than half of the total made up by thetop 50 donors when the Chronicle first started keeping tabs a decade ago. 7
  8. 8. At least 19 of the 53 individuals and couples named on the list are Jewish;including five of the list’s top six (the list included three ties). George Sorosranked No. 1 with $332 million donated in 2010, and New York City MayorMichael Bloomberg was second at $279.2 million. Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Eli andEdythe Broad, and Leonard Blavatnik took spots 4 through 6, respectively, with$117 million to $119 million in donations.Jews traditionally rank high on such lists and figure prominently among thecountry’s elite philanthropists. Jews also make up more than half of the first 57billionaires to join the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet Giving Pledge -- a group ofultra-wealthy Americans who have pledged to give away more than half of theirassets during their lifetime.The Chronicle’s list, however, also offers more cause for concern for those in theJewish nonprofit world who wring their hands about the lack of giving by Jews toJewish causes. The Institute for Jewish and Communal Research has collecteddata showing that less than a quarter of all philanthropic dollars given by Jews goto overtly Jewish causes.”Of course, as a long term Jewish professional, I’d like to see more in the way ofcontributions going to “Jewish causes”. However, the fact that so much more ofthe funding goes to “general” causes indicates the all but complete integration ofAmerican Jews into American society. Jews (I’m making a generalization here)are concerned, as Americans, with the education and well being of their fellowcitizens and others around the world. I don’t think it’s lost on many that a healthyand democratic U.S. (and world) is the best way to insure Jewish security.The rest of the JTA story is interesting and tells you who gave how much. Read itby clicking here. http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/02/08/2742903/jews-show-well-on-annual-list-of-top-giversTHE “NEW HISTORIANS” IN ISRAELOne of my dedicated readers wrote me saying “Recently I heard about a debateabout "new historians" in Israel. I would be interested to hear a little bit moreabout that, as there are comparable debates in Poland and the Czech Republic. Ithink you should comment about that in your digest - I am sure that this is noproblem for you!It is not a problem.While the “New Historians” do not have much to do with American Jewish –German relations, I’m glad to briefly cover the subject. 8
  9. 9. (Wikipedia)” The New Historians are a loosely-defined group of Israeli historianswho have challenged traditional versions of Israeli history, including its role in thePalestinian Exodus in 1948 and Arab willingness to discuss peace. The term wascoined in 1988 by one of the leading New Historians Avi Shlaim, (ed. Note. A NH historian) described the New Historians differencesfrom the "official history" in the following terms, however it should be noted thatIsrael has no official history and that the new historians do not represent aunified body of thought. In addition Israeli understanding of national history haschanged over the years, partially incorporating the ideas of the new historians.According to Shlaim: • The official version said that Britain tried to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state; the New Historians claimed that it tried to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state • The official version said that the Palestinians fled their homes of their own free will; the New Historians said that the refugees were chased out or expelled e • The official version said that the balance of power was in favour of the Arabs; the New Historians said that Israel had the advantage both in manpower and in arms • The official version said that the Arabs had a coordinated plan to destroy Israel; the New Historians said that the Arabs were divided • The official version said that Arab intransigence prevented peace; the New Historians said that Israel is primarily to blame for the dead end.Pappé suggests that the Zionist leaders aimed to displace most PalestinianArabs; Morris sees the displacement happening in the heat of war. According tothe New Historians, Israel and Arab countries each have their share ofresponsibility for the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian plight.Needless to say, there is a great deal of criticism by those that do not accept thisre-writing of history. The most outspoken critic of the NH’ers is Efraim Karsh. In aThe Jewish Policy Center article, he wrote,” Aware that many of their keyarguments and revelations were already negated by the existing work of "Israeliwriters, not to mention Palestinian, Arab, and Western writers," as Shlaim noted,new historians staked their legitimacy on their supposed use of recentlydeclassified documents from the archives of the British Mandate period andIsraels early days. This pretense, however, was debunked inter alia by astartling admission by Benny Morris of Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva.In researching The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949, themost influential work of the new historians, Morris had "no access to thematerials in the IDFA [Israel Defense Force Archive] or Hagana Archive andprecious little to first-hand military materials deposited elsewhere." Nevertheless, 9
  10. 10. he insisted, "the new materials I have seen over the past few years tend toconfirm and reinforce the major lines of description and analysis, and theconclusions, in The Birth."This revelation was very damning. What made Morris and his colleagues worthreading was their claim to have studied newly available documentary evidence. Itwas this evidence, the new historians argued, that necessitated a reevaluation ofIsraeli history. Yet there was Morris, admitting that he had not "had access" to, or"was not aware of," the voluminous archives of Israeli institutions whose actionsin 1948 formed the basis of his indictment.Morris and other new historians also failed to confirm and reinforce theirconclusions with previously available sources. What they did confirm was whatwas already known: the collapse and dispersion of Palestinian society waslargely the responsibility of Palestinian and other Arab leaders, not of theZionists.I could go on for many more pages outlining the various arguments for andagainst the New Historians – but I won’t. There are a few results of this debatewhich I find interesting.First, Israel being the only real democracy in the Middle East (thus far) allowssuch heated exchanges to take place. There are no death warrants for those thatchallenge the accepted history of the country.Second, the Palestinians and other Arab countries (including Iran) have latchedon to the new history and are using it in the their effort to delegitimate IsraelThird, the New Historians claimed from the beginning that their view of Israel’shistory would move Israelis closer to seeking a peace with the Palestinians. Iwould argue that they have accomplished the exact opposite of what they hopedfor.My guess is that the debate will go on as all such academic undertakings do. Ifyou would like to read more on the subject I would advise that you go into Googleand type in “New Historians – Israel”. There is a lot to read.********************************************************************************************See you again in MarchDuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contactedby clicking here.Both the American and Germany editions are posted at 10
  11. 11. www.dubowdigest.typepad.comClick here to connect 11

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