Monday, November 11, 2019 

Will Lieberman turn hard left?

Based upon his recent bizarre statements, as described by Mati Tuchfeld, it's a troubling question indeed if this decidedly irresponsible politician could end up a real traitor:
The main question that underpins the political crisis that emerged in the wake of the Sept. 17 elections has been who will blink first: Will it be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pledged to keep the 55-MK block comprising Likud, the national-religious parties and the ultra-Orthodox together no matter what, or Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who promised to pursue a unity government with the Likud but without Netanyahu.

Without one of them relenting, Israel will soon be heading for its third general elections, full-speed ahead.

On Saturday night, it became clear that the one who plans to cave in was none other than Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, the man whose petty politics got us here in the first place.

In an interview with Channel 12 News, a hysterical Lieberman showed his hand, saying that to prevent a third run at the polls, he would be willing to share the government table with both the "ultra-Orthodox and Messianic" parties and the Joint Arab List, whose lawmakers he has often castigated an "the enemy within."

Lieberman's zigzagging has shuffled the deck as the fact he was suddenly willing to join anyone has shown them that maybe – just maybe – third elections are avoidable.

It seems chances are increasing that Lieberman would join Gantz, thus teaming with the Left and the Arab parties to form a minority government, but Yisrael Beytenu's leader has been known to surprise.
Maybe, but he's still setting alarmingly poor examples, and the notion anybody would vote for him is devastating. He does not deserve to be a politician, no matter how things turn out.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019 

Even if the attacks on this Haredi rabbi weren't altruistic, that doesn't mean his opposition to women singing is justified

There was a story this past week or so about a Haredi rabbi named Avraham Elimelech Firer, who caused a controversy after a concert he'd arranged for charity funding with singer Shlomo Artzi excluded female singers from the contributors on stage. Granted, there was no gender segregated audience seating, and this was a non-profit outfit the rabbi's running, but honestly, this was still decidedly troubling:
Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Firer, chairman and founder of Ezra LeMarpeh, a 50-year non-profit that provides medical assistance to the needy, may lose his charity after a crucial fundraiser has been cancelled because only male singers had been invited to participate.

The fundraiser was a private event without any government support, and yet it became the target of radical Israeli feminists who complained about the absence of women singers, upon the request of the Haredi chairman. The fierce attacks on the event led several key male performers to withdraw, which eventually killed the event.
Look, I think it's a shame if the concert isn't taking place, but all the same, is this something anybody who recognizes why it's ill-advised to view women solely as sexual, or as though sex is an inherently bad thing, should be condoning? Point: if reports were accurate, and the guy wouldn't arrange for female singers to participate because he adheres to a distortion of Judaist beliefs that a man shouldn't listen to a woman sing, I honestly believe that's distasteful and does a terrible disfavor to Judaism as a whole. According to this Jerusalem Post article:
Firer, who is from the ultra-Orthodox community, had requested that no women perform at the event since Jewish law largely prohibits men from listening to women sing, especially at live performances.
Leave it to a paper like this to distort Judaism without even citing whatever Torah verses allegedly back up this viewpoint. It is ultra-Orthodox "law" which stipulates this, not Judaism in general.
Following the revelation that the organizers had asked that women not sing, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra announced it would not perform at the concert, as did Avi Singolda, Artzi’s lead accompanying guitarist, and the woman slated to host the event, Orly Vilnai.

The organizers and Artzi himself came under heavy criticism for excluding female artists from the concert, while those supporting Firer denounced what they described as “liberal terrorism” against the rabbi, noting that the charitable work he has undertaken with his organization benefits all of Israeli society.

Firer wrote a letter to the director of Ezra LeMarpe on Monday canceling the event, Channel 12 News reported, saying that “I draw my strength from Jewish law, I am proud of my lifestyle and cling to my life mission: saving lives, and loving others and those who are different.”

The Israel Women’s Network said in response to the decision that it “thanks Rabbi Firer for his work over the years” and “welcomes that he chose not to hold the event in its format without female singers.”
Let's be clear. It's wonderful if he runs a medical charity operation to help patients. But is that a defense for a religious belief system that makes female sexuality out to look bad? I'd say no. As a right-winger, I also believe this is not something anybody sane should condone, and maybe the most disappointing part of this is that Firer wouldn't modify the lineup so that a band or two who do employ a female singer in their group could participate as well. Indeed, why didn't he? It could've helped bolster his image and then the concert could continue. Should religious beliefs take precedence over medical importance? Nope.

If a Haredi rabbi wanted to exclude black/Asian singers from the lineup, most would rightly recognize that as offensive. So why shouldn't we also consider excluding ladies the same? If racism is unacceptable even under the auspices of religion, then the same must apply to sexism. And it goes without saying that charity and non-profit managers aren't saints, nor are they correct about everything.

I can say that the Israel Women's Network made a mistake by not saying it's disappointing Firer wouldn't abandon the petty issue he goes by, and just cancelled the concert outright. That's where you can see they may not have been altruistic, and they have some explaining to do.

Ruthie Blum said:
The carry-on began when it emerged that certain female singers would be on the program, along with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and other prominent performers. But the rabbi is a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jew who adheres to the modesty directive that men may not hear women singing, as their voices can be seductive.

This tenet of kol b’isha erva (“a woman’s voice is nakedness”) has been the subject of much controversy among Israelis who consider it a sexist affront. Two recent gender-segregated music festivals that were held in public spaces catapulted this issue back into the headlines. A nationwide argument erupted over the limits of religious freedom and practice in the public sphere, particularly when involving state-funded or municipal venues. One slogan that was slung around during the battle against those events was: “We’re not Saudi Arabia."

It is thus that when the organizers of the gala honoring Artzi discovered and revealed that no female vocalists would be able to perform, incensed women artists made a stink, and their male counterparts began to announce that they couldn’t possibly appear on stage under such circumstances. You know, out of “solidarity” and in “principle."

Which actually meant that they feared being accused of chauvinism.

Thankfully, a handful of stars, including women, came out on Firer’s side. They argued that fulfilling the rabbi’s wish would be a negligible price to pay for the millions of people, including women, whom he has served and whose lives he has saved.

The iconic Artzi, dubbed by some as “Israel’s Bruce Springsteen,” was not one of them. Instead, he said that he would “do everything he could” to persuade the rabbi to suspend kol isha just this once. It was both silly and an expression of utter ignorance. Indeed, he might as well have suggested that Firer dine on pork during the concert in order to smooth ruffled feathers.
I think Blum's talented, but I'm going to have to dissent here. Yes, I do think Firer's medical charity career is admirable, but does that literally absolve him of an incredibly poor example as far as women are concerned? If it's not acceptable if and when it occurs under Islam, why should it suddenly become acceptable under Judaism? Furthermore, it could easily be argued that this is precisely what turncoats like Avigdor Lieberman have been exploiting, because Haredis are advocating positions that can be potentially damaging to women, and make for a very bad influence on people's psyches. This is not something the right-wing itself should just sit by and ignore as merely a minor issue. Indeed, it should be recognized as a serious embarrassment, especially when you consider many Haredis are hardly right-wing or capitalists themselves.

From what I know, Firer's gotten a million shekels in more donations for his charity funding since, so he may not be in that much of a troubling financial situation. Even so, it's decidedly regrettable he sticks by an unhelpful ideology, and non-profit or not, right-wingers shouldn't be quiet about these kind of elements, or act like it's even remotely acceptable. All that kind of mentality does is give religion a bad name, and if we're to combat far worse beliefs like Islam, then we can't allow this kind of thinking to go unchallenged.

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Saturday, November 09, 2019 

UK Labour member resigns over Israel-bashing writing

A member of the UK Labour party quit after it was revealed she'd compared Israel to child abusers:
A member of Britain’s Labour party resigned on Wednesday after it emerged that she had equated the actions of Israel to those of a child abuser, reports the Jewish Chronicle.

According to the report, Labour leaders called Kate Ramsden for an inquiry, after the party found a post on her blog written in 2014 that seemed to compare the brutality against the Jews during the Holocaust to the way that Israel treats the Palestinians. [...]

Despite the blatant anti-Semitic post, leaders of Labour agreed to keep Ramsden on the ticket as long as she deleted the post. However, after the post became public knowledge she was forced to resign, the report discovered.
I'm sure they'd still rather keep her around, despite how vile her comments were. And no doubt, there's more reprehensible people in the party who'll remain, so long as they refrain from writing the kind of slop she did. Exactly why the Labour party is such a bad omen.

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Physical abuse rampant in Haredi schools

A former Satmar member wrote at The Forward about recent discoveries of a Haredi teacher videotaped committing vile assault on a student:
When I watched the video clip that surfaced this week of a Hasidic teenager lying on the floor and crying in pain from the blows of his rebbe, I was shaken, but not surprised. Sadly, this kind of sadism-disguised-as-discipline is all too common in Hasidic Yeshivas.

When I was in school in Williamsburg, our rebbe would punish kids by forcefully placing their little fingers at the metal desk, and closing the drawer on them, so that the kid would yell and scream as the metal tightened its grip on the soft flesh of the fingers, leaving dark purple marks.

Another rebbe let loose on a child. He kicked him forcefully in the gut and all over his body. He hit the child’s face multiple times until the skin was fractured. His marks lasted around two weeks.

Later, another rebbe hit a child with such brutality and force, his head cracked open and a stream of blood started flowing from beneath his yarmulke. The rebbe kept going. When he was done, he called Hatzalah to deal with the mess.

Such stories are far from uncommon, and I didn’t even witness the worst. From my friends I would often hear much worse stories. Children who got beaten so badly they required medical treatment. Rebbes who would dole out beatings as if in some third world country - 100 or 150 lashings with a belt for some minor misbehavior. And when the rebbe was in a particularly bad mood, he would use the metal buckle instead of the softer leather.

[...] The sins for which you would get punished would vary. It could be as ridiculous as not knowing the translation of an Aramaic word in the Talmud, or it could be that you talked in class without permission. The rebbe didn’t have to report back and there was little to no oversight as to how rebbes discipline their children.

Rebbes would often pick at the most vulnerable kids; children from broken or poor families whose parents would be either powerless or clueless in the face of abuse.
This just shows how abominable their education system really is, and the worst part is that in the US, they clearly use their political influence to ensure authorities won't take action against them. Well, it's got to stop, ditto how the Democrats have blame to shoulder for allowing this repugnant cult to run amok just like they do the Islamists.

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Friday, November 08, 2019 

There's no need for a Netflix subscription if they bow to Saudi Arabia

The CEO of the streaming cable service offers up a pathetic explanation for why they censored a broadcast of a comedian in the House of Saud:
Appearing Tuesday at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings attempted to explain away the streaming giant’s decision to censor one of its programs in Saudi Arabia, contending “we’re not trying to do truth to power.”

Hastings’s admission came in response to interviewer Andrew Sorkin’s question about why Netflix pulled an episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s show Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia following a meltdown by the Islamic country.

“We’re not in the news business, we’re not trying to do truth to power. We’re trying to entertain,” Hastings explained to Sorkin when asked about the move.
Well if they're trying to entertain, then they sure haven't done much to stand by their performer, have they? Nor is the stuttering comment about truth to power very convincing either. With these kind of people in charge, that's just why buying subscription would be a huge mistake.

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Wednesday, November 06, 2019 

Jewish groups condemn Democrats who want to condition aid to Israel according to their twisted beliefs

Some Jewish groups in the USA are speaking out against Democrat candidates who want to precondition aid to Israel:
An umbrella group of more than 50 Jewish organizations from across the ideological spectrum condemned calls by Democratic presidential candidates to condition military aid to Israel on its approach to making peace with the Palestinians.

“We are deeply troubled by recent statements that would place conditions, limitations, or restrictions on the U.S. security assistance provided to Israel, so vital for the defense and security of the country, the protection of essential U.S. interests, and stability in the region,” Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman/CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement issued Friday. “This approach would harm American objectives in the Middle East and would undermine the ability of our key ally to defend itself against the threats it faces on all its borders.”

Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, recently have indicated a willingness to use American aid to force policy changes by Israel, including halting settlement construction. The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion annually in military assistance

“Adoption of this suggested approach would reward those who are the true obstacles to progress towards peace, engage in terrorism, and deprive the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank of the opportunities for a better life,” the Presidents Conference statement also said. “Further, it would harm the prospect of negotiations. Israelis must be assured that they will be able to defend themselves and deter those who would seek to destroy them” in order to negotiate.

The umbrella group criticized the candidates for making no mention of Hamas, the terrorist organization that runs Gaza.
I wonder if Sanders is the worst of the lot here, based on how distasteful his politics have been so far. But then, all the Democratic candidates are utter disasters, as they've made clear.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2019 

FBI foils attack at Colorado synagogue

US authorities tracked and stopped an anti-semite who was planning to blow up a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado:
The Orthodox Union, representing hundreds of synagogues across the U.S., commended the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for foiling a plot to blow up Temple Emanuel, an historic synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado.

The man who allegedly planned the attack was Richard Holzer, a 27-year-old who professed to be a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and said he wished the Holocaust “really did happen.” He also said he had a cook at the synagogue put arsenic in the building’s water pipes and planned to use pipe bombs and dynamite. Holzer’s arrest comes one year after a gunman killed eleven people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue while they were praying, and six months after a deadly attack at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California.

“We are extremely grateful to law enforcement for stopping what could have been yet another horrific and deadly anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.

“This latest plot reminds us all that we must be vigilant in safeguarding our synagogues,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “The Orthodox Union has been working for 15 years to strengthen security at U.S. synagogues, Jewish day schools, as well as other houses of worship and nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks through the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program we helped create in 2005. We will continue to advocate for the safety and security of all citizens at risk.”
Thank goodness authorities are on the alert for these abominations now. Vigilance is of serious importance today.

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Sunday, November 03, 2019 

Latest rocket fire from Gaza

At a time when the Knesset is deadlocked, the Hamas launched more rockets at Israeli targets:
Israeli fighter jets struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Saturday after Palestinian terrorists fired a barrage of rockets at Israel from the coastal enclave.

The Israeli strikes targeted training compounds, weapons manufacturing and storage sites and underground infrastructure, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The IDF said it had targeted the Hamas sites after Palestinian terrorist groups fired 10 rockets into Israel on Friday night. Eight of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s missile defense systems and one rocket hit a house in a town near the border, causing damage but no casualties, according to police.
If Benny Gantz forms a government, what are the odds this'll get worse?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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