Israel: The Miracle: Reprinted from Commentary, May 1998, by permission; all rights reserved.

In May 1998, the eminent British historian Paul Johnson published an essay in Commentary to mark Israel’s 50th birthday; marking its 63rd, we re-publish the essay here.—The Editors

The state of Israel is the product of more than 4,000 years of Jewish history. “If you want to understand our country, read this!” said David Ben-Gurion on the first occasion I met him, in 1957. And he slapped the Bible. But the creation and survival of Israel are also very much a 20th-century phenomenon, one that could not have happened without the violence and cruelty, the agonies, confusions, and cross-currents of our tragic age. It could even be argued that Israel is the most characteristic single product, and its creation the quintessential event, of this century.

Certainly, you cannot study Israel without traveling the historical highroads and many of the byroads of the times, beginning with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. That great watershed between an age of peace and moderation and one of violence and extremism set the pattern for all that followed, and marked a turning point as well in the fortunes of Zionism.

Theodor Herzl’s Zion, a product of the 1890’s, was not exactly a modest proposal, but it could fairly be described as a moderate one. His book was entitled Der Judenstaat, and that phrase—a “state of the Jews”—fairly describes what he had in mind. But he was not necessarily wedded to the historical dream of a state in Palestine. He toyed, for example, with the notion of a giant settlement in Argentina, and not until the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 was Uganda, too, finally rejected as a possible site. By that time Herzl was dead, at the age of forty-four. One of his last pronouncements had been: “Palestine is the only land where our people can come to rest.”

Uncertainties and ambivalences of other kinds abounded. Although Herzl had always used the word “sovereignty” in connection with his imagined Jewish state, his friend Max Nordau, the philosopher, believed that in order to avoid offending the Turks, of whose empire Palestine then formed a part, the term Judenstaat should be replaced by Heimstätte, or homestead, rendered into English as “national home.” This fortuitously became an important factor in winning acceptance for the Zionist idea among European statesmen. Similarly, Herzl had written of a huge “expedition” that would “take possession of the land,” but the idea that the land would actually have to be conquered, and then fiercely defended, does not seem to have occurred to him.

As for the arrangements of life in his future commonwealth, Herzl was enamored of the model of Venice at the height of its power. He imagined a Venetian-style constitution, a Jewish doge, a coronation ceremony, and city plans featuring huge squares like the Piazza San Marco. He also foresaw theaters, circuses, café-concerts, and an enormous opera house specializing in Wagner, his favorite. The only military touch was to be a guards regiment, the Herzl-Cuirassiers, for ceremonial occasions; the New Zion would not, he thought, need much of an army. In many ways, Herzl’s conception had more in common with the Ruritania of Anthony Hope’s novels than with the state that actually came into being a little over four decades after his death.


World War I had a double effect on Zionism, transforming its program from a theoretical into a real possibility but also ensuring that the creation of the Jewish state would be bloody. Until 1914, the men who ran the British empire, though sympathetic to Zionism, were inclined to fob off Jewish leaders with schemes for developing a slice of Africa. Turkey was a traditional British ally, and keeping its ramshackle possessions together was a prime object of British policy. What put an end to all that was the fateful decision of the Turks to join the side of Germany in the war. In a dramatic speech in November 1914, the British Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith, announced: “The Turkish empire has committed suicide.”

Immediately, a Palestinian Zion became conceivable, and what would be known as the Balfour Declaration was in train. But the British decision to end the Turkish empire in the Middle East also presupposed the existence of new Arab states as well, and inevitably brought into being Arab nationalism. It is here that Herzl’s initiative and dynamism proved to be so crucial. Timing is all-important in history. No doubt a Zionist political movement would in due course have come into existence without Herzl. By launching it in the 1890’s, Herzl gave the Jews, in effect, a twenty-year headstart over the Arabs. Even before the war began, Zionist leaders had been in touch with leading British policy-makers, and they exploited the possibilities produced by the war with great energy and sophistication.

It is amazing, in retrospect, that the Zionists were able to secure the Balfour Declaration—ensuring the “best endeavors” of the British government to achieve “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”—in 1917, while the war was still undecided, thus preempting the postwar negotiations and settlements of national claims. By the time the Arabs got themselves organized as an international pressure group, at the Versailles Peace Conference, it was too late. They did win their Arab states, but the Jews had already gained their national home and were settling it with all deliberate speed.

But World War I also introduced unprecedented degrees of violence and extremism into the world, and these too held consequences for the future of Israel. Gone was any possibility that the Jewish national home might integrate itself peacefully with its Arab neighbors, paying for its presence in their midst by teaching them the modern arts of agriculture and commerce. The so-called Arab Revolt that began in 1936 and that was encouraged and rewarded by the British mandatory power confirmed local Arab leaders in the view that their most promising option against the Zionists was force. What had driven out the Turks and created the new Arab states could also be employed, in due course, to extirpate the Jews. This became a fixed Arab notion, so that in time, both within Palestine and across the Middle East as a whole, Arab leaders, faced with the choice of negotiation or war would invariably choose war—and invariably lose.

The violence bred by the searing years 1914-18 also decisively changed the moral climate of Europe, again with fateful results for the future Jewish state. In the wake of the war, extremist regimes seized power and ruled by force and terror—first in Russia, then in Italy, and finally in Germany. The transformation of Germany from the best-educated society in Europe into a totalitarian race-state was, of course, determinative. Although the anti-Semites of Central Europe had always treated Jews with varying degrees of cruelty and injustice, up to and including murderous pogroms and expulsion, it was only with Hitler that actual extermination became a possible program. The outbreak of World War II provided the covering darkness to make it not just possible but practical.


The Worst Places to Be a Woman
Mapping the places where the war on women is still being fought.

ELECTIONS ARE COMING!!!CAROL TABER: MITT NEEDS TO WEAPONIZE TRANSPARENCY….*****MUST READ If there’s one area where President Obama is wholly vulnerable, it’s his utter lack of transparency — yet the presumptive Republican nominee is somehow losing this issue to the president. This is patently insane. Barack Obama is the president the mainstream media have refused to vet. In fact, the networks and newspapers have a […]

Outrage as Egypt plans ‘farewell intercourse law’ so husbands can have sex with DEAD wives up to six hours after their death
Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives for up to six hours after their death, local media reports.
The controversial new law is claimed to be part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament. It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women’s rights of getting education and employment.


‘It is with great joy that I hereby close the Mandatory Police record book,” wrote an anonymous duty officer at Tel Aviv’s central precinct precisely as David Ben-Gurion recited the renascent Jewish state’s Declaration of Independence.

Just below that spontaneous hand-inscribed historic annotation, appears the first criminal entry ever in sovereign Israel’s annals. It documents the capture of a thief. He stole a book, perchance pointing to preferences peculiar to the People of the Book. Several hours later, the first ship docked in the new state. It began its journey furtively five days earlier in Marseilles when Israel was still under British rule. Its 300 young passengers were outfitted with fake IDs, forged at the Hagana “laboratory” in France.

But the Teti would claim special distinction – it became simultaneously the last “illegal” aliya boat and the first legal one. The counterfeit visas proved superfluous. The vessel proudly hoisted the Israeli flag as the new day dawned. Because it was the Sabbath, the newcomers were issued their new country’s entry permits only at sundown.

With such seemingly ordinary bureaucratic yet emotionally charged tasks, the Jewish state adeptly began the business of self-determination. In time that would be presented to world opinion as inherently sinful. By its very brazen determination to be born, it would be asserted, Israel had displaced the Palestinians, condemning them to miserable refugee subsistence.


Media and Congress spread the word on Muslim Brotherhood in America
April 26, WASHINGTON, DC: On Tuesday, April 24, Frank Gaffney unveiled a controversial 10-part online video course explaining why we are losing the Jihadists’ war on America. Titled The Muslim Brotherhood in America, the course is receiving significant attention among the media and Congressional leaders.
Erick Stackelback, a terrorism analyst at CBN News described the course as “for the average American to learn about the Muslim Brotherhood. It breaks down the group, what they’re about and why they are so dangerous.”

On Glenn Beck’s April 26 radio show, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, said of the Muslim Brotherhood, “I think this is the number one issue facing our country right now. People have no idea how far, how deep, how wide the Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated the upper echelons here in the United States.” Additionally, she recently told CBN, “President Obama is more responsible for the rise of Sharia in the Middle East…He’s excited the Islamists to embrace Sharia not only in the Middle East, but here in the United States”

Also today, Bill Gertz, in his weekly Washington Times column Inside the Ring reinforced the concerns about Muslim Brotherhood influence on the Obama administration, stating, “The video includes a detailed section on “Team Obama” that identifies six people working close to or inside the Obama administration that the course says are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or similar Islamist groups through numerous front organizations.” Gertz added, “Publication of the online course comes as Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly ordered a review of U.S. military training material with the goal of purging allegedly anti-Islamic content, the online portal Danger Room reported Tuesday… A military source critical of Gen. Dempsey’s move said the chairman’s action is a politically correct effort to “make our professional military education fit a narrative, not objective inquiry.”

The press conference generated national media interest, with interviews with Frank Gaffney on Fox and Friends and Hugh Hewitt.

If you missed the press conference, please view the video highlights:

Course Trailer

Course Overview

Introduction to Muslim Brotherhood Course

Frank Gaffney: “Civilization Jihad” is more dangerous than violent jihad

Lt. Gen. Ed Soyster: “Our leaders live in a world that no longer exists”

Frank Gaffney: “Muslim Brotherhood sedition should be prosecuted in U.S.”

Question and Answer

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the complete Course at

The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.

For more information visit

Our soldiers are losing right to self-defense!
Diana West asserts trial of Iraq war vet Michael Behenna demonstrates twisted justice
To keep former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna behind bars until 2024 for the “unpremeditated murder” of an insurgent during the war in Iraq, U.S. military prosecutors have resorted to strange and disturbing twists of law, logic and morality. They were all on display again this week in Behenna’s final plea before the military’s highest court of appeals in Washington, D.C. It was enough to make the gold eagle on top of the American flag in the courtroom shake and then hang its head.

Or so I imagined while listening intently as questions from the five civilian judges began to drill into a central argument advanced by the military prosecutor: that Lt. Behenna had “lost his right to self-defense” in the war zone when he embarked on an unauthorized interrogation of Ali Mansur, a suspected al-Qaida cell leader.
Lost his right to self-defense? What does that mean to our soldiers at war, where extenuating circumstances are facts of life?

At the hearing’s onset, however, questions from the bench peppering Behenna’s defense counsel, Jack Zimmerman, made it clear the judges weren’t interested in any such circumstances. For the record, these include the fact that: 1) Behenna, as a 25-year-old platoon leader, lost two of his men very likely to Mansur, who was strongly suspected of organizing attacks against Americans; 2) shortly after Behenna’s platoon arrested Mansur, he was released again; 3) Behenna himself, deeply affected by the deaths of his men weeks earlier, was ordered to take Mansur home; and 4) Behenna decided one more interrogation would net the confession necessary to find other al-Qaida members and put Mansur back in jail.

Thus, Michael Behenna, a 2006 ROTC graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, found himself in a culvert in Baiji, Iraq, in 2008 interrogating Mansur, who, stripped naked, sat on a rock.

Military prosecutors argue Behenna executed Mansur then and there. A court-martial panel (jury) called it “unpremeditated murder” in 2009, and Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in Fort Leavenworth military prison. (That sentence has since been reduced to 15 years.)

According to Behenna’s own testimony – and according to the corroborating hypothesis of one of the prosecution’s own expert witnesses – Mansur rose from the rock and lunged for Behenna’s gun. Behenna fired two bullets in self-defense, killing Mansur. And therein lie the seeds of appeal.

One: Military prosecutors didn’t inform the defense team about their own expert witness’ exculpatory evidence, which is required procedure under the rules of discovery. Two: The instructions to the original panel (jury) were so convoluted that one of the appeals court judges said he’d read them four times and still found them confusing.



If you haven’t seen Footnote yet, you should; it’s a movie that lends itself to the type of discussion and explication that’s usually reserved for significant literary works. If you haven’t seen it and intend to, please don’t read this article – you should come to your own conclusions before reading mine. Half the fun of this movie is trying to solve a puzzle for which there are many clues and allusions; your conclusion depends upon how you interpret those and it’s fitting in a movie that has the Talmud at its core, that there will always be another point of view.

The movie begins with our introduction to Professor Eliezer Shkolnick, a philologist and professor of Talmud who has devoted 30 years to piecing together and authenticating a volume which a colleague, Professor Grossman, subsequently finds intact, thereby stealing the thunder from Eliezer’s life work. Though the antiquarian volume corroborates all of Eliezer’s theories and findings, it renders them superfluous and we see him become increasingly marginalized at the university. His son, Uriel, on the other hand is an academic star, a charismatic professor whose broader interests in the Talmud encompass the social life and mores of Jews in Babylon, making the subject interesting to many young female students. The movie begins with Uriel being inducted into the privileged realm of the Academy, yet another plume in his well-feathered yarmulke. Although he praises his father in his acceptance speech, giving him the credit for being his role model, Eliezer’s jealousy and discomfort are apparent in his body language and his grudging unwillingness to celebrate his son. He steps outside the auditorium building during a break in the program and we see the stubborn, brittle side of his character as he refuses to answer the security guard’s questions, triggered by Eliezer’s having removed the bracelet that everyone else is wearing to indicate that they have passed inspection and been cleared. He wears his bitterness as a cloak of arrogance, seeing the world as his adversary. When the rest of the family rides by car, he insists on walking alone; when he is at home, he insulates himself from connections by donning earphones that shut out the noise and removing himself to sleep in the den, instead of with his wife. Despite his difficult, laconic demeanor, he is described by various characters in the movie as being “true to himself,” as “the only man of integrity in the department,” and not one to “validate a mistake because it was convenient.” At least in his professional life, he is a man of honor.

By contrast, Uriel has a warm relationship with his wife but we also see a streak of aggression in him both with his own son and in a squash game with a colleague whom he’s clearly bent on demolishing, not just defeating in a sportsmanlike manner. Nevertheless, he’s at ease in crowds and is clearly a charmer both academically and socially. After the game, Uriel steps out of a shower to discover that his clothes, wallet and phone have been stolen from the locker room. We see the back of an older nude man who may be a hint of what to think. Eventually, Uriel dons a fencer’s uniform and mask and as he exits the building, he notices his father talking to a woman in the garden. For the first time, we hear what seems like jocular conversation from this tightly wound man. Uriel is puzzled and begins to wonder whether there’s another side to his father that he knows nothing about. As with Purim, masks and secrets play a big part in this film.

Later, we see Eliezer walking with a briefcase and a shopping bag. As he walks along, a phone rings and when he answers, it becomes clear that he has been awarded the Israel Prize, the coveted award for which he has been turned down every year. We never hear the conversation ourselves but the announcement of the award is confirmed in the press and within short order, Uriel is called in to meet with the Award Committee where he discovers that the award was intended for him and only announced to his father through clerical error. But is it also possible that Eliezer stole his son’s clothes, wallet and phone and then answered the son’s cell phone? There is another scene where we see Eliezer carrying his shoes in a shopping bag, showing that this mode of transport is characteristic of him. On a symbolic level, the father, envious of his son’s acclaim, tries to appropriate his very identity. Uriel pleads with the committee to leave things as they stand and not humiliate the father who has waited a lifetime for some acknowledgement. Professor Grossman, head of the committee, is adamantly opposed and dismisses Eliezer’s work, claiming that its only significance is a brief footnote in his mentor’s book. In this scene, there are several close-ups of Grossman’s deeply furrowed forehead; as we see it magnified and detached from the rest of his face, we are looking at what looks like a brain. Grossman represents a cerebral man who, like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz, is missing a heart. His only response to Uriel’s plea for compassion for his father’s pride, is to fall back on the rules. Eventually, he relents by binding Uriel to a stringent pact that will deny him the right to ever receive the Israel Prize in his own lifetime. He also insists that Uriel write the letter of acknowledgement to his father which Grossman will then sign. Uriel acquiesces and tells no one what has happened. As he writes the letter, he polishes it, falling back on words that are prevalent throughout his other articles.

Eliezer has now suddenly become a person of interest and a pretty young journalist comes to his home to interview him. When she asks for some photographs for the article, Eliezer’s wife finds an old one of Eliezer holding his young son, showing us a side of him that once existed but has been walled in by the carapace he has worn as a fortress against his disappointments. In the interview, Eliezer disparages the type of scholarship that his son practices, comparing it to finding empty vessels and filling them with cookie recipes. This appears in the press and is a source of profound hurt to Uriel who acts out by becoming more like his father, demeaning one of his students and lashing out at his son, saying that’s he close to giving up on him, and instead of wishing for his success may be wishing for his failure and the opportunity to gloat. Just as Eliezer appropriated Uriel’s identity by taking his possessions and his son’s award, Uriel now assumes the persona of his angry father, dismissing his loving wife at the same time. The characters have traded their respective masks.

The family goes to see a production of Fiddler on the Roof, a play that concerns both the ominous plight of European Jewry and the attitudes of a father towards his children. During the performance, Uriel cannot restrain himself from telling his mother the truth about the Israel Prize and what he has done for his father. When they leave, we see Eliezer get into the car and even hum to himself, a radical departure from his earlier refusal to join the group. He has been seduced and softened by the glimmer of public acclaim and acceptance. At home, the mother knocks on Eliezer’s closed door and we see him make room for her in his bed, a further sign that there are dents in his armor and he is coming to a place where he may finally face the truth of his deportment as husband and father.


Obama violated campaign finance law on Fallon show
Last night, President Obama appeared…
Read more…
Secret Service scandal wasn’t the first time
Agents who were not part of the Colo…
Read more…
Bo’s wife reportedly confessed she killed Heywood
The Chinese politician’s wife accuse…
Read more…
Kagan’s edits on Bell’s Critical Race Theory revealed
Breitbart News has discovered previo…
Read more…

Read more:
Obamanomics: Legacy of failure
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
President Obama has spent his term in the White House trying to tax, spend and regulate the nation into prosperity. Obamanomics, Keynesian economics on steroids, has been an abysmal failure. Americans can only wonder how the headlines would have read if Obama had instead embraced limited government and free-market solutions three years ago. Read more…

Read more:


Why did George W. Bush invade Afghanistan? Answer: Occurring just after September 11, 2001 in which 2,977 Americans lost their lives, a CIA team was inserted into Afghanistan fifteen days later to begin a campaign against the Taliban who had allied with Al Qaeda and provided sanctuary for Osama bin Laden while the attack was planned. A U.S. bombing campaign in Tora Bora followed but bin Laden escaped into Pakistan.

When bin Laden was killed in 2011 by a U.S. Navy SEAL team, he was living in Abbotabad, Pakistan, a mile away from its equivalent of West Point. The initial reason for the military action ceased to be of any critical importance and the Bush administration pivoted to concentrate on removing Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from power. Afghanistan became a backwater concern, but in 2002 Bush announced “a Marshall Plan” for Afghanistan, intended to be a development plan with security goals. In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq.

Insurgent activity in Afghanistan never ceased and military authority there switched to NATO, essentially to protect Kabul. It would be the organization’s first operational commitment outside of Europe. Hamid Karzai became the hand-picked leader of a nation that Transparency International deemed the second most corrupt in the world.