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Rahm Emanuel and whitefish

A canonical Jewish joke tells of the Jewish family in the old country many years ago that invites a poor man to Sabbath dinner. The hostess brings out a dish of smoked whitefish, and the poor man proceeds to wolf it down. Chagrined, the hostess says, “You know, whitefish is very expensive.” Between mouthfuls the poor man replies, “Believe me–it’s worth it!”

There are a lot of things that are worth it when you don’t have to pay for it yourself, and one of them is Jewish blood. The old joke came to mind while reading the July 31 profile of Rahm Emanuel in Ha’aretz. Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted by Ha’aretz recently calling Emanuel and his White House colleague David Axelrod “self-hating Jews,” which the Israeli prime minister later denied (which doesn’t prove that he didn’t say it).

Why is Emanuel, the son of an Israeli pediatrician who served in the Irgun (the illegal pre-state underground), bashing Israel over settlements? The answer is simple, and well documented by the Israeli newspaper feature. His views have remained frozen in time since he arranged the 1993 handshake inthe White House Rose Garden between then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat, like those of Oslo Accord negotiator Yossi Beilin. He still believes with religious fervor in the old peace process, while events have convinced the vast majority of Israelis that it is a dreadful idea. Ha’aretz reports,

When he was president Clinton’s adviser, Emanuel orchestrated the handshaking ceremony between Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. It is even said that after Rabin’s assassination, it was he who suggested to Clinton that he include the expression “Shalom, haver” (Goodbye, friend) in his eulogy to Rabin. But in spite of the disappointments of the intifada and his criticism of the Palestinians and the Arab states, which he called on to impose “pressure” on the Palestinians – he has not forgotten the September 13, 1993, ceremony at the White House, which moved him profoundly.
He was one of the only two Jews in Congress who agreed to support the Geneva Initiative, in 2003.

“What’s happening today makes me angry,” says Yossi Beilin, one of the originators of the Geneva Accords. “The moment Rahm became such a significant factor in the administration and because he’s also the son of a former Israeli and speaks Hebrew, he became a target … The right in Israel considers people in the administration who want peace, whose views would be between those of Kadima and Meretz if they were to vote in Israel, a type of traitor.”

The Geneva Accords were a public relations stunt, an unofficial attempt to circumvent the “road map” and sketch a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. They were taken seriously by no-one but the Israeli extreme left. I use the term “extreme left” advisedly, for what Beilin and Emanuel represent was in the Israeli mainstream fifteen years ago. Today Beilin has no official position and his party has three seats in the Knesset.  And Rahm Emanuel was one of two Jewish congressmen who supported Beilin’s recent antics.

It happens that the left-wing Zionist youth organization Hashomer Hatzair is associated with Beilin’s fragmentary party. I belonged to Hashomer in the 1960s,  and spent a summer on a kibbutz where the red flag flew above the flag of Israel. Sadly, I understand the mentality: it is an ideological commitment to a secular sort of universalism that demands a fanatical sort of faith.

After hundreds of deaths by terrorism and the Palestinian refusal to accept Ehud Barak’s peace offer as brokered by then President Clinton in 1998, the Israeli public repudiated Beilin’s ideological fanaticism. Not so American Jews, whose left-wing sympathies and sentimental attachment to secular universalism come cheap, like the poor man’s whitefish. Israelis pay for the experiments of leftist leaders in blood, and American liberals like Rahm Emanuel respond: “Believe me, it’s worth it.”

A personal anecdote: last December my mother passed away. She had belonged to what was advertised as a “meditative synagogue” in Seattle. At her funeral service, the “rabbi” of this synagogue (well, he wore a beard and a kipa) advised me that “our tradition” was to add the words “and all of [the people of Ishmael]” to the concluding line of our ancient prayer, the Kaddish: “May He who establishes harmony in the heavens also make peace for us and all of [the people of] Israel.” To alter a prayer we have recited for more than two millennia to make a political point bespeaks a putrid soul. I merely told the “rabbi” that as my mother held no such feelings for the Arabs, I would decline to recite the Kaddish according to his “tradition.” Out of regard for mourning family members present, I did not say anything else.

There simply isn’t any arguing with liberal Jews. The only solution is the Biblical one: in forty years, all of them will be dead, like the feckless generation of freedmen who left Egypt with Moses. Secular Jews have one child per family, Reform Jews 1.3, Conservative Jews 1.6, and modern Orthodox nearly 4. A new Jewish majority will form over the next forty years, and it will be religiously observant, close to Israeli thinking, and politically conservative.

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Indeed, this comment is perfectly justified. Crimes against Gays are an abomination, in your face faggotry is also an abomination and there is plenty of it. My first taste of Meet Your Local Pervert was while watching a Western at the Dan theatre in Tel-Aviv-1962, when the fat hand of some maniac grabbed my poulke. I got out of there real fast. In those days Gays had a swell time, partying, carousing, but kept it private. Today, it is all in the open, like a display on a meat rack. Israeli Gays need to keep in mind that they live in the Middle East, and there is a way of live and let live without going over the hill.

Posted on 2009-08-11 01:53:21 GMT

Seeing as the topic has strayed far from Rahm Emmanuel, I won"t labour the point, though some corrections are in order. If my complaint about the PROSELYTIZING of homosexuality among young Israelis strikes you as religious extremism, then perhaps it is you who is the extremist here. Some people in Israel (and not just Chareidim or even Orthodox or even Jews here!) are sick of having homsexuality FORCED down our throats. (The Supreme Court REQUIRED the city of Jerusalem to host a Gay Parade, even though they had to recruit gays from Tel Aviv to march. Leaders of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all complained about this to the court.) There are differences between tolerating, encouraging and forcing sexual practices on people. Just today the IDF Chief Rabbi got into hot water for being critical of homosexuality in the armed forces. (Going back to taxes, the radio interviewed an IDF widow - a gay guy whose gay lover died while in an IDF career, and who demanded to receive widow"s pension benefits. He won. Who is paying THOSE taxes?) As for "consenting adults", this is a very Israeli position - i.e. marital status is irrelevant as well as genuine consent. Result: allegations of sexual misconduct all over the place. Having rules is not the same as dictatorship, in the same way that not having rules is not the same as freedom. Perhaps asking for common sense in the Middle East is too much, though.

Posted by Jake from Jerusalem on 2009-08-10 21:49:27 GMT

Many crimes do not get prosecuted, tried, or result in conviction. It is the case in the U.S and in Israel just the same. How many Palestinians were tried and served long sentences for Honor Killing in Ramallah? The culture of corruption, disrespect for the law is endemic in Israel, since its creation, when Socialists Mapai +Stalinist Mapam cut a special dispensation deal to the religious groups. They are above the law and it will take the destruction of the "temple" to change this reality.

Posted on 2009-08-10 17:06:11 GMT

I really don"t want to prolong a non-productive discussion and didn"t want to reply at all. But some facts need to be aired. Leftists do not "presumably" pay taxes more reliably than others. Just a week ago, a documentary called Sheetat HaShakshuka aired on TV (after being banned for 2-3 years) which detailed how some specific oligarchs in Israel have ripped off the country to the tune of about a billion shekel in recent years. The crooks involved were 1) the Israeli oligarchs 2) the ministers and bureaucrats who gave away riches (for kickbacks in return) 3) the media (who are now owned - surprise! - by the oligarchs). The Labor-Mapai Communists figured prominently throughout this sordid affair - no religious Jews, no Zionists, certainly no Chareidim. Wealthy Israelis are much more wealthy and decadent than, say, wealthy Australians. And it is often gotten by schnorring from foolish Jews overseas under false pretenses and then funneled into a few private hands. As for "sharia", Israel is FAMOUSLY secular. Last night, President Peres added his impassioned plea to Israeli teenagers to discover their alternate sexuality and enjoy it without fear of being harmed, while other gay activists encouraged Israeli children (children!) to abandon the dark ways of their parents and discover the light of homosexual identity. For YEARS now, no rabbi or anyone else is allowed to voice criticism of homosexuality, for fear of being accused and convicted of "hassata leretzach" (incitement to murder). It is the secular left, backed up by the militantly secular activist courts and the police, who are attacking religious Jews and not the other way around. Between the unrealistic "peace" camp, the godless communists who are designing a non-Jewish Israel and the crooks who already control the country, there is not much real hope left. Blaming it all on the "Jews" was the old tactic and, not surprisingly, it"s back in fashion, Israel-style.

Posted by Jake in Jerusalem on 2009-08-09 17:00:10 GMT

The article cite Beilin and the Hashomer Hatzair: Those who remember their better days, also know that their ideas, songs, lyrics, all came from Moscow. They were Stalinist. Beilin was the writer of Davar, the unapologetic Izvestia of the Israeli Labor movement. He was never objective nor middle. He had a talent to shape party opinions into readable text, dished to the choir as news. What the writer who was not a resident of Israel say is the Davar was paid for not with income, like Haaretz, or the Jerusalem Post, but was subsidized by the labor movement. Beilin was a parasite. To these days this term is very popular by Hebrew speakers. He failed, with his entire ideological camp, as they are now imploding all over Europe. The U.S which never experience the collapse of its foundations, chose to jump in and take a little dive into this sewer and will pay a heavy price. For that they elected a such and jive con artist, in the mold of Obama, who was mentored in Hawaii by a gay Communist anarchists as a teen, a man he refers to in his so called book (which he never wrote) as Frank. Frank Davis. Later he gets more of the Socialist nectar at Columbia, the N.Y shrine of Anarchists and at Harvard and from the Chicago political machine. The most corrupt organization in the U.S other than the Italian Mafia. Mr. Emmanuel is no stranger there, he got Clinton sorted out in his district and later fixed up Obama and secured a boatload of Congressman to run as conservatives in districts where they could never be elected. Yes, the former dancer, is a piece of work. They, like Beilin and the rest, have no principal, and are for sale. Anyone who sees how they manipulate the current discussion about health care is reminded of the ugly 30"s when workers tried to organize and policemen would come and break their bones. They began to stifle public speech this week in a similar way using the union muscle and that of ACORN. Overseas, they will go after countries like Israel or Honduras, that is for an opener.

Posted on 2009-08-08 14:01:09 GMT

True, Israel has serious existential problems: Hostile neighbors, flourishing and growing organized crime, Fifth Column Lefties, trying to take the country to the same toilet which we had to live in since 1900 (Socialism Paradise) and the Orthodox lunatics, who not only despise the authority of the State but subvert the rule of law and associate with enemies of the state (Natori Karta traitors), they milk every venue of government instrument to their benefit, balck-mailing those remaining to work for them, to provide for them and to live under stricter rules to accommodate their preferences. Every government made special concession for them, beginning with the Socialist Ben Gurion, whose hatred to Menahem Begin, compelled him to sell the country and its ideals, to secure a majority without the Herut and the Zionists. It is the legacy of Mapai-the Socialists with their camp followers, lost idealists: Achdoot Ha"Avodah, Mapam (the Stalinists) who left us in this ditch from which only God can help us. The only good news is that the Socialists of Israel, are nearly decimated, presently fighting for scraps in the garbage dump, the Hara- Kiri is in progress, the sooner they vanish the better it will be for everybody. But don"t count on sellouts like Kadima to come with innovative policies and hope or change. They are a bunch of job seekers, no principals, no policy, just empty words.

Posted on 2009-08-07 15:24:30 GMT

Dear Mr. Jake: It is good to remember that we do not live in a bubble, I can see and experience what you can if I have the time and money to go and do the same thing. For example, I recall, how one day, while staying at the Hilton in Jerusalem, I left with my wife for a jog, she is a Cohen, and was pelted with stones, because she was running in shorts. This is not the kind of living which I had in mind while serving in two wars. The name calling is less significant than the reality of intolerance. We have meshoogeners gone wild on both sides, the ones who will milk the nation to the max, and the bleeding Lefties who will take the country to the toilet. You decide on which side you want to be, I am out, in Los Angeles. I had my share.

Posted on 2009-08-06 15:11:34 GMT

To the anonymous poster who apparently replied to my comment: I never called non-religious Jews self-haters. Outside Israel, the majority of people who identify as Jews are not Sabbath-observers, yet they do not hate Judaism or other Jews. Inside Israel (where I live), it"s different. Secularism in Israel is very militant. When you say "the chokehold of the religious sector on every aspect of life" in Israel, you are simply parroting anti-religious secularist propaganda. In reality, non-observant Jews can do most anything they want to in Israel, which is famously secular. It is the constant (and dishonest) screeching of the anti-religionists who create the impression that they have somehow been wronged. Actually it is the religous community here which has been under attack since the Communist/Socialist Mapai/Labor party took control of the country decades ago. Today it is the secularist Israeli courts that decide on religious affairs, not the rabbis (who are not allowed to voice opinions). Quite remarkable, really. An Israeli academic told me a decade ago that the most antisemitic country in the world is Israel - where public figures and politicians can deride and offend Judaism without a care, unlike anywhere else. It is important to separate fact from fiction.

Posted by Jake in Jerusalem on 2009-08-06 12:01:59 GMT

not everyone who dislikes the \"strict\" Sabbath observance is either a self-hating Jew nor do they deserve assorted negative titles. Many in Israel want to live like most other human beings in the West, not everyone has a private car, they want to go to places, and it is very difficult because of the chokehold of the religious sector on every aspect of life, like divorce, benefits, who is a Jew? It is ironic to read how outside Israel, those with time and connectivity can write so much rubbish on such a tiny country, with so little knowledge or familiarity with the mood of the people. Israelis are not some specie in a lab, nor are they living in a museum environment. Like most people overseas, they have similar interests and priorities. Those who want to observe, can, those who do not, should be left alone.

Posted on 2009-08-05 23:20:53 GMT

I have been following a Jewish-run antisemitic website recently and discovered that most of the Jews there are married to non-Jews, in some cases to Arabs. Their radical leftism and stunning dishonesty is held like a religious directive. They are self-hating Jews who have made Anti-religion into their religion. Quite remarkable, really. Some of the "professors" who have written harshly of Israel in recent years follow the same pattern. Amos Keinan died yesterday in Israel. He was an Israeli artist, sculptor, author, poet and journalist (i.e. he was held in high regard by a small group of Israelis who hold their own small group in high regard). He was also a militant secularist, apparently charged but never convicted of violent acts against Sabbath Observance over 50 years ago. Self-hatred is rampant in Israel, too. However, commonsense is taking hold and the Left is losing support. A poll released today shows that if elections would be held today, Labor would get only 6 seats, with half of them defecting to the bankrupt and radical left Meretz party. All we really have to do now is survive the silliness of the Hussein-Obama administration. Americans will regain their commonsense someday, too. NB I"m betting that after Hussein-Obama loses the elections, he will spend the rest of his career like Jimmy Carter, embarassing himself and the USA, for a long time.

Posted by Jake in Jerusalem on 2009-08-05 15:35:39 GMT

he s a foul mouthed, typical Chicago knucker, rude Ballerina gone bad. The wife and children, the rabbi my opinion is a front.....

Posted on 2009-08-04 17:25:43 GMT

Emmanuel introduced to the Oval Office the shameful methods of Chicago, during his days campaigning and serving President Clinton, not known for sterling reputation as an honest man. The Chicago Way is a cancer which spread all over the country and goes back to the 19th Century. He keeps a low profile because he is under the cross-hair of the media and it is only a matter of time before he gets fingered on somethings. I also suspect, without a proof, that there must be some friction between his fatherand Bibi"s father, both former loyalists of the one honest Israeli leader Menahem Begin (RIP), who was a model of integrity, compared to what we see today everywhere. Clinton departed as a blot on the American psyche, a national humiliation, Obama is likely to go down in a bigger way, discrediting the entire nation and its reputation.

Posted on 2009-08-04 12:28:50 GMT