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December 2013


http://www.nationalreview.com/node/366886/print I’m not big on bipartisanship. Too often for conservatives in Washington, it’s a euphemism for surrender, or at least the indulgence of ever-expanding government. But there are a few things we need a central government for, none more vital than national security. Because a political community’s most important decisions are the ones made about […]


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366896/age-intolerance-mark-steyn Last week, following the public apology of an English comedian and the arrest of a fellow British subject both for making somewhat feeble Mandela gags, I noted that supposedly free societies were increasingly perilous places for those who make an infelicitous remark. So let’s pick up where we left off: Here are two jokes […]


SURE THING All the California papers are saying that Jerry Brown is bound to win. “Jerry Brown’s re-election a virtual lock” the San Francisco Chronicle declares. Why? Because he has an approval rating of 58 percent. And an incredible 52 percent of those surveyed would vote for him. Republicans shouldn’t even bother running against him […]


http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ MIRAGES IN THE DESERT In the deserts of the Middle East, political mirages appear easily and disappear just as easily. There are countries and armies that exist only on paper. And there are invisible tribal nations that have no flag and never appear on a map, but that have their own militias and govern […]


In the column which follows, Allen Hertz speaks of the Chinese indifference to the fate of Jews or Israel. Our culinary fate is intertwined. They may not eat latkes but you always knew you were in a Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx by the number of Chinese restaurants. And this cuisine was the staple of Christmas for Jews.

Even the Supremes know this fact. During Elena Kagan’s United States Supreme Court confirmation hearings of 2010, referring to a terrorist act, Senator Lindsay Graham asked Kagan where she was on Christmas Day. Justice Kagan famously answered, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”

We Eat Chinese On Christmas: Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut 11/20/2012

“The origin of this venerated Jewish tradition of eating out at Chinese restaurants dates to the end of the 19th century on the Lower East Side. Jews found such restaurants readily available in urban and suburban areas in America where both Jews and Chinese lived in close proximity. The first mention of this phenomenon was in 1899 when the American Hebrew weekly journal criticized Jews for eating at non-kosher restaurants, singling out in particular Jews who flock to Chinese restaurants. In 1903, the Yiddish-language newspaper the Forward coined the Yiddish word oysessen — eating out — to describe the growing custom of Jews eating outside the home in New York City.

By 1910, approximately one million Jews had settled here, constituting more than one quarter of the city’s population. Soon, immigrants were exposed to non-Jewish ethnic foods and tastes. In the neighborhoods in which Jews first settled, Chinese restaurants were plentiful. A 1936 Lower East Side publication, East Side Chamber News, reported that at least 18 Chinese “tea gardens” and chop suey eateries had recently opened in the heavily populated Jewish area. All were within a short walking distance of Ratner’s, the famous Jewish dairy restaurant in Manhattan. Some of these Jews, tailoring their kosher dietary practices, remained strict in home observance but became flexible with the foods they ate outside the home. Many children of immigrants rejected dietary restrictions, which they believed to be impractical and anachronistic. By the end of the 20th century, after only 100 years, immigrant Jews were more familiar with sushi than with gefilte fish, a transition from the more traditional diet of their forebears that Chinese restaurants facilitated.

Moreover, the Chinese accepted Jews and other immigrant and ethnic groups as customers without precondition. There was no inherent anti-Semitism to overcome when entering the restaurant because Chinese owners and waiters had no history of prejudice toward Jews. Not having yet mastered the English language, immigrant Chinese restaurateurs, as Philip Roth comments in “Portnoy’s Complaint,” thought that the Jew’s Yiddish-inflected English was the King’s English. Furthermore, Jews chose Chinese restaurants over other ethnic cuisines, such as Italian, because Christian symbols were absent in these venues. The Chinese restaurant was, as sociologists Gaye Tuchman and Harry Gene Levine point out in an essay “New York Jews and Chinese Food: The Social Construction of an Ethnic Pattern,” a “safe treyf” environment in which to enjoy a satisfying and inexpensive meal made with ingredients that were desirable and familiar to Eastern Europeans, including onions, garlic and vegetables. READ IT ALL


Allen Z. Hertz was senior advisor in the Privy Council Office serving Canada’s prime minister and the federal cabinet. He formerly worked in Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department and earlier taught history and law at universities in New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Hong Kong. He studied European history and languages at McGill University (B.A.) and then East European and Ottoman history at Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.). He also has international law degrees from Cambridge University (LL.B.) and the University of Toronto (LL.M.)

Much is to be learned from living here in China. Among the lessons is how the Chinese look at the question of Jews. The virtue and vice of the Chinese perspective is that they are largely indifferent to the topic of Judaism, Jews, the Jewish People and Israel.The Chinese understandably have their own concerns.

For better or worse, there is no sense in which Judaism, Jews and the Jewish People have occupied any kind of significant or special role in Chinese history and civilization. This is perhaps a refreshing contrast to the sick obsession with Jews that marks the Western World (formerly Christendom) and the Muslim World (still the Dar-ul-Islam).

However, there is a profound lesson that lies in this Chinese indifference. Do not expect China and the Chinese to save the more than 6 million Jews in Israel from early sudden death via conventional and/or nuclear weapons. Back in 1959-1960, Mao’s incompetence led to a famine that cost the lives of perhaps 36 million Chinese! Today, the Chinese know a fair bit about this historical tragedy but are not filled with burning indignation.

Bearing in mind how the Chinese react to the memory of that great famine, you have to understand that, for the Chinese, the annihilation of Israel would likely be just a remarkable and regrettable item on the evening news. By contrast, the Chinese generally now find rather compelling every detail of their own ongoing struggle with Japan. And certainly the Chinese do have real passion for any news about their new aircraft carrier.

The Chinese also richly enjoy the current eclipse of the USA. They have no hesitation opining that “White folk” have been lording it over others for far too long.


On a trapeze without a safety net — the Jewish People has to look out for itself. Jews have to take special care to protect other Jews, including the more than six million in Israel. No deus ex machina will effect salvation miracles, if Jews themselves do not rise to the occasion.

Military Force Only Remaining Option to Stop Iranian Nukes: MORTON KLEIN AND DANIEL MANDEL

Iran is unlikely to take seriously any red line Obama might lay down now on building nuclear weapons.
The interim nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is a disaster. US President Barack Obama has said that this deal dramatically reduces the likelihood of war. Ironically, it increases it. It certainly dramatically increases the likelihood that Iran will develop nuclear weapons.

The Geneva interim agreement permits Iran to retain intact all the essential elements of its nuclear weapons program:

Continued construction of its Arak plutonium plant;

Continued uranium enrichment to 5% (which, with 18,000 centrifuges, can enable swift enrichment to weapons-grade level, allowing Iran to become a break-out nuclear state in a matter of months);

Its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programs (which, according to US intelligence, will enable Iran to strike the US itself by 2015); its enriched uranium stocks (Iran being simply required to reduce them to an oxide which can be restored in weeks to weapons-grade uranium).

The interim agreement also grants Iran substantial sanctions relief totaling some $20 billion; not the $6-7 billion originally forecast by the Administration.

Thus, the P5+1 opted for an interim agreement which lets Iran off the sanctions hook. If we could not obtain a final agreement with Iran that terminates its nuclear weapons program when international sanctions are at their height, how likely are we to obtain a final agreement that accomplishes that, now that sanctions have been relaxed?


Former MK Professor Aryeh Eldad, head of the Professors for a Strong Israel organization, said Wednesday that if the Israeli government wants to blame someone for the constant boycotts of the Jewish state, it should look in the mirror.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Eldad said the Israeli government, by agreeing to participate in the European Union’s “Horizon 2020” scientific project despite its guidelines boycotting Judea and Samaria, was creating a snowball effect that encouraged others to boycott Israel as well.
According to Eldad, the compromise reached between Israel and the EU, which stipulates that the EU will note that it does not recognize Israeli activities over the 1949 Armistice line, led to other boycotts such as the one by the American Studies Association (ASA) that was announced this week.
The American boycott is “in part the fruit of the Israeli surrender and the signing of the Horizon 2020 agreement with the European Union, in which Israel actually recognized the demand of the EU not to support settlement activity,” said Eldad, adding, “From there the way to continued boycotts against Israel was very short.”
He proceeded to slam the opposition for its failure to speak out against the Horizon 2020 agreement.

The Iran Foray of the ASA Martin Kramer ****

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/12/20/the-iran-foray-of-the-asa/#.UrTWYb2huEE.email Critics of the Israel boycott resolutionof the American Studies Association (ASA) sometimes ask why the ASA doesn’t also boycott Chinese or Iranian universities. (I make the double-standard argument myself, in apost today at Foreign Policy.) Even the president of the ASA, Curtis Marez, admits that Israel’s neighbors have worse human rights records, but adds that “one has to start […]


A version of this column is scheduled for publication Dec. 23, 2013 at worldtribune.com and at http:yeoldecrabb.com

The Obama Administration’s foreign policy begins to look like that tightly wound ball of crocheting thread which the kitten has been playing with for several hours and is now finally completely unraveling. How innocent the kitty is may be a question in the eye of the beholder. But the disarray is so vast as to be unfathomable:


The agreement not to reach agreement on a six-months pact for adjusting U.S. and Western interests with Iran, which Pres. Obama said only had a 50-50 chance, is falling apart even before it officially begins. Sources from inside the never very effective UN International Atomic Energy Commission say the agreement cannot be policed or enforced. The $10 billion in additional oil exports it permts the Mullahs in Iran will help bail them out of crisis economic situation while they continue to hurl threats at the world and call for an end to all sanctions. The Administration after giving Tehran relief by not instituting penalties against new violations of the existing sanctions regime, has now reserved itself. But Pres. Obama opposes bipartisan Senate and House members pushing legislation for new sanctions if and when the short-term agreement collapses. All sides admit/claim that Iran’s search for enriched uranium and nuclear weapons and a delivery system is going forward without hindrance during the truce period.


Ignoring the fact Secretary John Kerry’s negotiations mandate is only dealing with one of the three Palestinian elements – the PLO on the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan – new obstacles have arise. Kerry has thrown over bitterly and long time negotiated U.S.-Israeli guidelines for its security if a Palestinian state comes into being. So he has inadvertently manufactured a new crisis over Israel’s continued presence in the Jordan Valley. With growing threats from Iran-armed officially designated terrorists, Hezbollah in the Lebanon north and Hamas in the Gaza south, armed by Iran, no Israeli government is going to accede to any major concessions on their eastern flank with an always fragile Jordan now facing new difficulties with hundreds of millions of Syrian refugees.