[ . . . ] Whatever happens matters a great deal to Egyptians. But only some of these outcomes are significant to the world. Among radical Islamists, the prospect of a radicalized Egypt represents a new lease on life. For Iran, such an outcome would be less pleasing. Iran is now the emerging center of radical Islamism; it would not welcome competition from Egypt, though it may be content with an Islamist Egypt that acts as an Iranian ally (something that would not be easy to ensure).
For the United States, an Islamist Egypt would be a strategic catastrophe. Egypt is the center of gravity in the Arab world. This would not only change the dynamic of the Arab world, it would reverse U.S. strategy since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Sadat’s decision to reverse his alliance with the Soviets and form an alliance with the United States undermined the Soviet position in the Mediterranean and in the Arab world and strengthened the United States immeasurably. The support of Egyptian intelligence after 9/11 was critical in blocking and undermining al Qaeda. Were Egypt to stop that cooperation or become hostile, the U.S. strategy would be severely undermined.
The great loser would be Israel. Israel’s national security has rested on its treaty with Egypt, signed by Menachem Begin with much criticism by the Israeli right. The demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula not only protected Israel’s southern front, it meant that the survival of Israel was no longer at stake. Israel fought three wars (1948, 1967 and 1973) where its very existence was at issue. The threat was always from Egypt, and without Egypt in the mix, no coalition of powers could threaten Israel (excluding the now-distant possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons). In all of the wars Israel fought after its treaty with Egypt (the 1982 and 2006 wars in Lebanon) Israeli interests, but not survival, were at stake.
Israel fought three wars (1948, 1967 and 1973)
where its very existence was at issue.
The threat was always from Egypt
If Egypt were to abrogate the Camp David Accords and over time reconstruct its military into an effective force, the existential threat to Israel that existed before the treaty was signed would re-emerge. This would not happen quickly, but Israel would have to deal with two realities. The first is that the Israeli military is not nearly large enough or strong enough to occupy and control Egypt. The second is that the development of Egypt’s military would impose substantial costs on Israel and limit its room for maneuver.
There is thus a scenario that would potentially strengthen the radical Islamists while putting the United States, Israel, and potentially even Iran at a disadvantage, all for different reasons. That scenario emerges only if two things happen. First, the Muslim Brotherhood must become a dominant political force in Egypt. Second, they must turn out to be more radical than most observers currently believe they are – or they must, with power, evolve into something more radical.
If the advocates for democracy win, and if they elect someone like El Baradei, it is unlikely that this scenario would take place. The pro-Western democratic faction is primarily concerned with domestic issues, are themselves secular and would not want to return to the wartime state prior to Camp David, because that would simply strengthen the military. If they win power, the geopolitical arrangements would remain unchanged.
Similarly, the geopolitical arrangements would remain in place if the military regime retained power – save for one scenario. If it was decided that the regime’s unpopularity could be mitigated by assuming a more anti-Western and anti-Israeli policy – in other words, if the regime decided to play the Islamist card, the situation could evolve as a Muslim Brotherhood government would. Indeed, as hard as it is to imagine, there could be an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood designed to stabilize the regime. Stranger things have happened.
Now THIS is a fantastic idea! (from M. Joseph Sheppard)
We’ve been advocating for an ‘Artists for Palin’ or ‘Culture for Palin’ website, where ordinary Americans could contribute their words, their art, their music . . . their powerpoints – in behalf of our leader. Where the emotions of millions of Americans who are already aroused to fight the evil that has descended upon our land, upon our beloved country, could find expression. To our minds, this is a huge step in the right direction. (Better a website than a Facebook page, because the site would need to be juried.)
Rabbi David Nesenoff, whose impromptu interview with journalist Helen Thomas led to her resignation, has been named the publisher of The Jewish Star.
The newspaper, based in Long Island, N.Y., made the announcement late last week on behalf of its owners, Clifford and Stuart Richner.
Nesenoff is an independent filmmaker and runs a blog called RabbiLive.com.
On May 27, 2010, on the sidelines of the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, Nesenoff asked Thomas if she had “any comments on Israel.”
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she said. Nesenoff asked Thomas where Jews should go.
“Go home,” Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said, “Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else.”
The following month Nesenoff posted the exchange on his blog. The public outcry led do Thomas’ resignation from the Hearst Corp.
Since the incident, Nesenoff has spoken and written about the incident and present-day anti-Semitism, according to the paper.
“When it comes to Jewish news, local is global,” Nesenoff said in an article in The Jewish Star announcing his appointment. “And when it comes to Israel news, global affects us locally.”
NEW YORK – The protests that have engulfed much of Egypt arrived in New York [Saturday] when more than 2,000 people gathered near the United Nations building to support those demonstrating on the streets of Cairo to bring down President Hosni Mubarak.
[ . . . ]
Protesters said the revolution in Tunisia has ignited the spark that would spread across the Middle East and bring down other regimes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen.
“His (Mubarak’s) silly speech makes no difference,” said Maha Farhat, a 45-year-old social worker from New Jersey who attended the New York rally with her husband.
Farhat said Egyptians in the U.S. could make a difference by organizing public rallies and using Facebook to keep the momentum of the Cairo streets alive on the Internet. “What happens is in our hands now,” she declared.
Ayman Elsawa, an organizer of the demonstration, remarked that Egyptians in the U.S. had not spoken out against Mubarak in the past three decades. “We have not been as active as I had hoped, but now we’re finally out and we’re not going back,” he said.
In the midst of calls for fresh elections, there is also concern about what’s next. “Some of us our scared about who will take over,” said Farhat.
Many Egyptians are worried the religious organization Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as the new leader.
“Egyptians don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood because they are religious extremists,” said Dorreya Khattab, a retired teacher who moved to the U.S. in 1975. She said the Brotherhood would usher in an Iranian-style regime run by clerics.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University campus police Saturday night barred some 400 Jewish students and their supporters, including some Holocaust survivors, from attending what was billed as an anti-Zionist gathering at the state school.
The student-sponsored event was announced with an open invitation campus-wide, and Rutgers policy is for all student activities to be open to the public.
However, when the sponsoring organizations of “Never Again for Anyone” saw they were outnumbered by Jewish students and their supporters by about 4-to-1, they asked campus policy to bar students wearing kippas – and eventually limited attendance to known supporters of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Americans for Muslims in Palestine and the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
The public event
was suddenly closed
to all but supporters
by campus police
Pleas to university officials from the Jewish students and their supporters for access to the event went unheeded.
“They started charging money as soon as they saw Zionists outside,” said Rabbi Akiva Weiss.
Rutgers campus police said they could not provide a statement as to why the public event would turn away 400 members of the public. One officer said they were called in late and weren’t really sure what was going on.
Yonasan Rosenblum is the political editor for Mishpacha (Family) magazine, which caters to a charedi (“fervently” Orthodox) Jewish readership. He is more widely known to English readers as Jonathan Rosenblum, the moniker under which he has written for many years as a guest columnist in the Jerusalem Post.
In the complex world of Jewish Orthodoxy, Mr. Rosenblum is a spokesman for the ‘Yeshiva community,’ meaning the non-Chassidic movement of the charedi community, heavily represented in Baltimore, Lakewood New Jersey, and the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, besides in Israel, England, South Africa, etc.
For more insight into this segment of the Orthodox community – as well as for their generally excellent political content – JewsForSarah readers are referred to the leading ‘Yeshivish’ weekly newspaper in English (also published weekly in Hebrew in Israel), Yated Ne’eman.
Remarkably, in an age when print publications are considered dying industries, Yated publishes a weekly edition of well over 200 pages, and growing, under the business and editorial leadership of Rabbi Avraham Lipschutz.
• • •
[ . . . ] The primary victim of the wild accusations of culpability for the shootings was Sarah Palin, though she went unmentioned by name in President Obama’s speech. But that plucky lady needs no one to defend her. She issued a statement criticizing journalists and pundits who within hours of an unfolding tragedy were quick to “manufacture a blood libel that only served to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”
Their original charges having been thoroughly rebutted, (primarily) Jewish sufferers from Palin Derangement Syndrome, including David Harris of the partisan National Jewish Democratic Council, pounced on Palin for appropriating the term “blood libel” in her defense. Doing so, they argued, either showed ignorance of the provenance of the term in medieval charges that Jews use the blood of Christian children in baking matzos, gross insensitivity, or both.
Both claims were nonsense. Nothing in Palin’s statement gave any indication of whether she knew the history of the so-called “blood libel.” Nor does it really matter since the term has been widely appropriated as a metaphor for claims of vicious behavior without any basis in fact. While Jewish writers might primarily apply the metaphor to claims made against Israel or Jews — e.g., Palestinian claims that the IDF murdered thousands of Palestinians in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield, or the Mohammed al-Dura hoax — it has long ceased to be applied only to charges against Jews.
The term ‘blood libel’
has long ceased to be applied
only to charges against Jews
The metaphor was apt for Palin, who had been accused of having the blood of the Tucson victims on her hands, without a scintilla of evidence.
Some events should never be used as a metaphor. The use of the term Holocaust to describe anything other than the systematic, ideologically driven attempt by the Nazis to exterminate the entire Jewish People, employing all the efficiency of modern technology, inevitably trivializes the Holocaust, to which there is no comparable historical event.
But the use of the term blood libel when applied to similarly wild and ungrounded charges functions in an opposite fashion: It serves as a constant reminder of the venomous charges made against Jews throughout the ages.
The treatment of Palin by American Jews and Jewish groups is indefensible and demonstrates their own lack of concern for Jewish interests. Palin has consistently been one of the most ardent defenders of Israel, and she wields a great deal of influence over millions of American Christians who share her views. Given the alacrity of the Jewish attacks on her, who could blame her if she were to ask: What kind of people consistently pay back good with bad and show such little gratitude for those who mean them only good?
Today, the Egyptian regime faces its gravest threat since Anwar Sadat’s assassination 30 years ago. As protesters take to the street for the third day in a row demanding the overthrow of 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak, it is worth considering the possible alternatives to his regime.
On Thursday afternoon, presidential hopeful Mohamed El Baradei, the former head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Egypt from Vienna to participate in anti-regime demonstrations.
As IAEA head, El Baradei shielded Iran’s nuclear weapons program from the Security Council.
He repeatedly ignored evidence indicating that Iran’s nuclear program was a military program rather than a civilian energy program. When the evidence became too glaring to ignore, Elbaradei continued to lobby against significant UN Security Council sanctions or other actions against Iran and obscenely equated Israel’s purported nuclear program to Iran’s.
As IAEA head, El Baradei
shielded Iran’s nuclear weapons program
from the Security Council
His actions won him the support of the Iranian regime which he continues to defend. Just last week he dismissed the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, telling the Austrian News Agency, “There’s a lot of hype in this debate,” and asserting that the discredited 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 remains accurate.
El Baradei’s support for the Iranian ayatollahs is matched by his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
This group, which forms the largest and best-organized opposition movement to the Mubarak regime, is the progenitor of Hamas and al-Qaida. It seeks Egypt’s transformation into an Islamic regime that will stand at the forefront of the global jihad. In recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been increasingly drawn into the Iranian nexus along with Hamas. Muslim Brotherhood attorneys represented Hizbullah terrorists arrested in Egypt in 2009 for plotting to conduct spectacular attacks aimed at destroying the regime.
El Baradei has been a strong champion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Just this week he gave an interview to Der Spiegel defending the jihadist movement. As he put it, “We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood. …[T]hey have not committed any acts of violence in five decades. They too want change. If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them.”
The Muslim Brotherhood for its part has backed El Baradei’s political aspirations. On Thursday, it announced it would demonstrate at El Baradei’s side the next day.
[ . . . ] In theory, after all, Egypt and Israel had been at peace since Camp David. But the man who was about to become prime minister of Israel said that not only was Egypt the most hostile but it was also the most dangerous. It was the most populous Middle East country; it was influential in the Arab world. Egypt had something like 12 divisions in its Army alone, one of the 10 largest air forces in the world, and an millions of males of military age. In recent years, it had been armed and trained by America. That worried him. He didn’t belittle the fact that some Egyptians were prepared to gamble on peace. But the gamble had cost President Sadat his life, and the peace had been cold. In the order of battle, the great strategist had his eye on Egypt.
“Who Will Save the Family?” This was the name of a gathering held in Ramat Gan, at which Knesset Member Yulia Shamalov-Berkovitch of the Kadima Party stated opinions that are diametrically opposed to those of some of her female Knesset colleagues who are trying to promote a radical feminist agenda.
Though the assembly was held last month, it made the news recently because of some of the more controversial statements the Knesset Member uttered – which have only now been publicized by the media.
The seminar was organized by Gil Ronen and the Familism organization he founded. Familism’s website says that MK Shamalov is “the first female MK who wants to take upon herself the liberation of men from their current situation, as part of a pro-family process whose main goals are children’s welfare and the nation’s future.”
Among other things, MK Shamalov said: “It’s become some kind of bon ton to be a single mother who decided to have a child out of wedlock and then to come to the State and ask for benefits for this and for this and for that – and then everyone [mothers and women’s rights advocates – ed.] is happy. And in the Knesset, there is a competition who can pass the most laws for the ‘sector.’ I can promise you that I will never be Number One in that race.”
The Familism organization has made it its goal to fight what it calls the “[radical] feminist trend to teach women to be egotistical, demanding, suspicious and small-minded… We object to propaganda and legislation that are designed to poison the relations between the sexes and to render them based on suspicions and competition… We oppose the ongoing attempt to create a ‘new man’ who is more feminine, and a more masculine ‘new woman.’” The reference to feminism is not qualified and actually refers to left-wing radically feminist groups.