December 2011 Archives

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Note:  The highlights in this article are mine.  Peace, Roy

Germany: Israel must refrain from new settlements

Berlin says Israel’s recent announcement of 1,000 new apartments in West Bank, east Jerusalem conveys ‘devastating message’ regarding peace process

Associated Press

Published: 12.19.11, 15:39 / Israel News

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is urging Israel to refrain from constructing new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Georg Streiter said Monday Israel’s recent announcement that it would seek contractors to build some 1,000 apartments in both areas conveys “a

devastating message with regard to the current efforts to resume peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

He says Germany “

urgently calls on the Israeli government to refrain from inviting bids for the apartments.”

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen for three years, in part because of continued Israeli settlement construction in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 and still claimed by the Palestinians.

 

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Note:  The following article was published yesterday in the Jerusalem Post.  Is it fair to accuse Thomas Friedman of “hating Israel”?  That’s a very serious charge.  Friedman is Jewish.  Is it possible that columnists at the NYT are trying to address one of the underlying causes of anti-Semitism?  Time will tell.   Peace, Roy

Candidly speaking: The NYT hates Is..  JPost – Magazine – Opinion

Candidly speaking: The NYT hates Israel

The New York Times and their columnists have a bias against Israel and its government.

'NY Times' columnist Thomas Friedman
Photo by: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The brouhaha over the recent New York Times column by journalist Thomas Friedman highlights the newspaper’s increasing hostility against Israel. Today, it would not be an exaggeration to state that the editorial policy of The New York Times towards the Jewish State is virtually indistinguishable from the blatant anti-Israel hostility promoted by the UK-based Guardian or the BBC.

Fortunately, the broader American public opinion has never been more supportive of the Jewish State than today. The only exceptions are the liberals, some of whom have become increasingly disenchanted with Israel and now tend to identify with their European counterparts and their excessive bias against Israel. This manifests itself on American college campuses and, to some extent, in far-left sectors of the Democratic Party. It represents the source of the tensions which have evolved between Israel and the United States following the election of US President Barack Obama and his administration.

One of the principal long-term contributing factors to the erosion of liberal support can be attributed to increasingly vitriolic hostility towards Israel displayed in the pages of The New York Times. This trend climaxed with the election of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who has been subjected to a constant and unprecedented barrage of fierce personal and political condemnations from its editorials and leading columnists.

Despite Jewish ownership, throughout its history, The New York Times has rarely displayed affection or sensitivity toward Jewish issues. As far back as 1929, during the Arab riots in Palestine, the local Times correspondent Joseph Levy boasted that he was a committed anti-Zionist.

There is ample evidence that during the Holocaust, news of the slaughter of the Jews was relegated to the back pages allegedly out of cowardly concern that undue clamor about the plight of the Jews might reinforce the anti-Semitic claim that the war against the Nazis was a Jewish war.

Since the creation of Israel, The New York Times could be said to be “fairly objective.” But from 1967 onward, this evolved into sharp criticism. However, it was with the election of Netanyahu that the editors embarked on a determined all-out campaign to undermine and demonize the Israeli government whilst invariably providing the Palestinians with a free pass.

A constant stream of unbalanced editorials blasted Israel for the impasse and mercilessly attacked the government. It continuously “put the greater onus” for the failure of peace negotiations on Netanyahu “who is using any excuse to thwart peace efforts” and” refuses to make any serious compromises for peace.”

Its columnists and op-eds have mimicked that behavior. For a newspaper purporting to provide diverse opinions, it rarely publishes dissenting viewpoints from its editorials and in-house columns which only find fault with the Israeli government. One notable exception was Likud MK Danny Danon, to whom The New York Times provided a column in which he expressed a viewpoint far to the right of the government which simply amounted to a cheap effort to discredit the government by conveying a far more hard-line position than that of reality.

Its principal columnists Friedman and journalist Roger Cohen, both Jews, as well as journalist Nicolas Kristof have been leading the charge in castigating Israel and unabashedly praising the Arab Spring.

In a recent column, Kristof described a dinner with a PR savvy group of Muslim Brotherhood activists. Kristof approvingly quoted them claiming that their support was strong “for the same reason the Germans support Christian Democrats or Southerners favor conservative Christians.” He also postulated that “conservative Muslims insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood is non-discriminatory and the perfect home for pious Christians – and a terrific partner for the West.”

Kristof concluded that “it’s reasonable to worry. But let’s not overdo it… Our fears often reflect our own mental hobgoblins.” Kristof did not meet the Muslim Brotherhood chief cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al Kardawi, the organization’s most powerful religious leader, a malevolent anti-Semite who supports the murder of Jews.

Roger Cohen is another regular columnist whose undisguised hostility towards Israel led him to condemn the Jewish state’s “obsession with the [Iranian] nuclear bogeyman” and praise Turkey’s anti-Semitic Prime Minister Recep Erdogan whilst condemning Israel for not apologizing to the Turks over the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

Virtually every op-ed published was hostile to Israel. Last month, The New York Times published a piece which went to the lengths of challenging Israel’s position on gay rights. In May, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas published an op-ed falsely accusing Israel of initiating the war in 1948 by expelling Palestinians Arabs and obligating Arab armies to intervene. Initially, The New York Times refused to publish former South African judge Richard Goldstone’s withdrawal of apartheid and war crimes charges against Israel, only doing so some months later after it had appeared in The Washington Post.

But it is Friedman’s most recent column, which is the most outrageous.

Over the past few years, in his uniquely arrogant manner, Friedman has been consistently mirroring The New York Times’ editorials, castigating Netanyahu and alleging that the current Israeli government has become “the most diplomatically inept and outrageously incompetent government in Israel’s history.” He accused Netanyahu of choosing to protect “the Pharaoh,” referring to exiled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, rather than support Obama who aided the “democratization” of Egypt. He went so far as to say that Netanyahu was “on the way to becoming the Hosni Mubarak of the peace process.”

Last February, after visiting Tahrir Square, the rallying point of the Egyptian revolution, Friedman exulted that the “people” had achieved “freedom” and were heading toward democracy. He dismissed concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood would become a dominant party.

In his latest column he broadly condemned all aspects of Israeli society, even quoting Haaretz correspondent Gideon Levy, who most Israelis regard as being more aligned with the Palestinian campaign against Israel than his own country. Friedman described Levy as “a powerful liberal voice” and quoted him alleging that Israel is becoming a failed democratic state.

What provoked the greatest indignation was his remark “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That motivation was bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby.”

For a Jew who purports to be a friend of Israel, to effectively endorse the distorted thesis promoted by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer relating to the Israeli lobby is unconscionable. Friedman is effectively parroting a hoary anti-Semitic libel asserting that Congress has been “bought” by American Jews who represent 2 percent of the population and that the vast majority of the American public supporting Israel and Congress are simply stooges, manipulated or bribed by the Israeli lobby.

It places him on a par with the anti-Semitic attitudes promoted by political commentator Pat Buchanan and one may rest assured that Israel’s enemies will fully exploit his remarks as a means of discrediting American support for the Jewish State.

Friedman continued, suggesting that Netanyahu should test genuine American public opinion by speaking at a liberal campus, like the University of Wisconsin, absurdly implying that far-left liberal campuses are more representative of American attitudes than the democratically elected Congress.

The New York Times editorials and columns like that of Thomas Friedman should not be treated lightly. They must be viewed in the context of the recent condemnations of Israel emanating from higher echelons of the Obama administration. Unless vigorously repudiated, these critiques will have a drip effect with the potential of undermining the hitherto prevailing bipartisan consensus over Israel.

The writer’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com….

Filed under Uncategorized by on . Comment#

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Note:  It is unlikely that President Obama was surprised by this development.  Obama’s task is to help Netanyahu’s government prepare the Israeli people for changes that are inevitable:  Barak: U.S. committed to Israel’s security more than ever before – Haaretz.  Peace, Roy

 

European members of Security Council condemn Israeli settlements, settler violence – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Isr

European members of Security Council condemn Israeli settlements, settler violence

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal release a statement saying settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.The four European Union members of the UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly criticized Israel’s decision to speed up construction of settlements, which they termed a “wholly negative” development.”

The ambassadors from Britain, France, Germany and Portugal issued a joint statement branding the Israeli settlements in Palestinian occupied territories and East Jerusalem as illegal under international law.

shepherd near the settlement of Revava, AP

A shepherd walking near the settlement of Revava.

Photo by: AP

“We call on the Israeli government to reverse these steps,” the statement said. “The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel’s long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements.”

The statement, issued following the 15-country Security Council’s closed-door discussion on the situation in the Middle East, condemned Israeli settlers’ violence against the Palestinians, including the burning of the Nebi Akasha mosque in West Jerusalem and the Burqa mosque in the West Bank.

It called on Israeli leaders to boldly demonstrate political will and leadership to break the impasse in negotiations with the Palestinians. It called on both Israelis and Palestinians to agree on a package of proposals to settle security and border issues in order to advance negotiations toward ending the conflict.

The four countries reiterated support for the creation of a “sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living in peace and security side by side with Israel.”

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Together we are wise

The N.E.M.

 

Peers,

 

      When will the Holy Land issues be resolved?  We’re all weary of waiting to hear GOOD NEWS on the political track.  But not to worry.  Today there’s GOOD NEWS regarding the religious track.  There’s an article in the post pasted below which will explain.  The post arrived this evening from Sami Joseph.  Sami, as most of you know, is a Palestinian Refugee who has been residing in the London area for the last several decades.  Sami and his family are Lutherans, but they worship sometimes with the Methodists and sometimes with the Anglicans near their home.  Sami is a Septuagenarian, a retired Engineer.  You may want to glance at the headline of the article as we go now to the news.

 

      The ELCA has a Presiding Bishop by the name of Mark S. Hanson … and … ECUSA has a Presiding Bishop by the name of Katharine Jefferts Schori  …  and … both Bishops are deeply committed to making the Peace of Jerusalem a fact on the ground … once and for all.  One might go so far as to say that both Bishops are profoundly committed to making the peace, as some of us are.  Both Bishops have international contacts and connections.  Here’s more good news.  You and I have access to these Bishops thru our on-line contacts and connections.  We know Ann Hafften at annhafften@mindspring.com… and we know Cotton.  Both Ann (Lutheran) and Cotton (Episcopalian) network with FOSNA and CMEP and other institutions.  In other words, there’s another, wider, more comprehensive network in place, and we all can be part of it.

 

      Peers, are y’all open to a suggestion?  A serious suggestion?  A humble, prayerful suggestion?  We need a place, as it were, to mobilize around, to rally at, you and I.  My suggestion is that we … those of us who are motivated … one individual at a time … whole-heartedly and voluntarily … make ourselves known to Warren Clark at CMEP Headquarters in Washington.  See:  www.cmep.org….  Drop Warren a note.  Tell him who you are, and give him a piece of your mind.  Please read on.

 

Cheers,

Peace,

Roy+

In a message dated 12/21/2011 10:37:53 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From:
To:
Sent: Wednesday, 21 December 2011, 18:24
Subject: Lutheran-Anglican-Episcopal meeting a sign of hope for the church

ELCA NEWS SERVICE

December 21, 2011 

Lutheran-Anglican-Episcopal meeting a sign of hope for the church
11-143-MRC

    CHICAGO (ELCA) – Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopal leaders from the
United States and Canada met in December to explore new possibilities for
working together and to deepen their sense of unity for doing God’s work
in the world. In a report issued from their meeting, the leaders stated
that their conversation and work together “are hopeful signs for the
church.”
    “There was truly a spirit of Advent expectant hope as we met to pray
and plan for greater cooperation in ministry and mission,” said ELCA
Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the meeting.
    “There is so much more we can do when working together, whether that
is in military chaplaincy, global mission, campus ministry, planting new
congregations or advocacy. I look forward to our continued shared
leadership and to new possibilities that exist to proclaim the good news
of Jesus, engaging in God’s work for the life of the world because of our
full-communion relationship,” he said.
    Gathered together for their second annual meeting was Hanson; the
Rev. Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Canada; the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the
Episcopal Church U.S.A.; and the Rev. Fred Hiltz, archbishop of the
Anglican Church of Canada.
    Topics representing their mutual areas of interest and concern
ranged from ecumenical and interfaith issues to immigration reform and
poverty, from relief and development work to Middle East policies. They
reviewed the possibility of producing materials, study guides and
resources that congregations and parishes in all four churches could use
in various seasons of the liturgical year, and they also addressed the
challenges of “church planting” and the need for strategy to do this work
with full-communion partners.
    The national leaders formed a subcommittee to further consider how
to make the bilateral full-communion relationships effective among the
four churches.
    The group will meet again in 2012, and staff of the four churches
will be invited to provide updates on collaborative work. In February,
the co-chairs of the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee will
attend a regular session of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission.
    “The meeting of leaders from our four churches continued to deepen
our sense of unity in the gospel and our sense of being united in
Christ’s mission. We look forward to tangible ways in which we do
ministry together that will support our congregations and our witness in
God’s world,” said the Rev. Donald McCoid, assistant to the presiding
bishop, ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations.
    McCoid attended the meeting, along with other representatives of the
four denominations.

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United
States, with approximately 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations
across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church
of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God
through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the
world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church
reformer, Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956
www.elca.org…
Facebook: www.facebook.com…
Living Lutheran: www.livinglutheran.com…