“The only argument that means anything in the post-Oslo era is between those who stand with Israel’s right to exist and those who oppose it.”

Some in the pro-Israel community are having a good chuckle at the feud that has erupted between Jewish left-wingers in the past couple of weeks. But rather than laughing, those who care not only about Israel but also the direction of the conversation about Israel in the post-Oslo era and what it portends for the future should be concerned.

The exchange between the anti-Zionist Max Blumenthal and his antagonists among the ranks of left-wingers who are often critical of Israel but defend its existence shows how pointless much of the debate that has been carried on between the left and the right about borders and settlements has been. As risible as the arguments put forward by Blumenthal trashing Israelis as “non-indigenous” interlopers in the Arab world who must be made to surrender their sovereignty, culture, and homes may be, they represent the cutting edge of left-wing thought that has come to dominate European discussions of the Middle East.

The dustup centers on Goliath, a new anti-Israel screed by Blumenthal, the son of Clinton administration figure Sidney Blumenthal, published by Nation Books. But to Blumenthal’s chagrin, the magazine (which is no stranger to anti-Zionist articles) allowed columnist Eric Alterman to write about it in The Nation. Alterman is himself a fierce and often obnoxious critic of Israel and defenders of Israel, and has been a major promoter of the myth that the pro-Israel community has been seeking to silence the Jewish state’s critics. Yet Blumenthal’s book was so appalling that Alterman took it apart in the magazine that spawned it. Calling it “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,” Alterman scored it for its frequent comparisons of the Jews with the Nazis and its complete absence of any acknowledgement of the Muslim and Arab war to destroy Israel. As Alterman wrote in a subsequent blog post, “It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed).”

All of Obama’s second term foreign policy goals are harmful to Israel. Everything that is good for Obama is necessarily bad for Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apparently believes the greatest threat the country now faces is an escalated European trade war. He’s wrong. The greatest threat we are now facing is a national leadership that cannot get its arms around changing strategic realities.

Over the weekend, Yediot Aharonot reported that during Secretary of State John Kerry’s seven-hour meeting in Rome last week with Netanyahu, Kerry warned that the price for walking away from the talks with the PLO will be European economic strangulation of Israel.

According to the newspaper, “[T]he secretary of state told the prime minister that he heard from his European friends… that if the negotiations fail, Israel can forget about participating in the European research and development program ‘Horizon 2020.’ “And that will only be the beginning.

More and far weightier actions to boycott Israel will follow. They are already being prepared. This will cause incalculable damage to the Israeli economy.”

“First, do no harm!” Say what, Hippocrates?! by Paul Schnee (Written in November 2009)

In attempting to describe Richard Wagner’s music to a friend, Mark Twain told him it was better than it sounds! The same claim, alas, cannot be made for Obama’s grotesque attempt at health care reform. Do you suppose that buried somewhere in the 2047 pages of Obama’s health care bill (the Constitution has 17 pages by comparison) there is a provision for mandatory psychiatric help for all of the congressmen and senators who voted for this cynical power-grab and patently fraudulent legislation which will tether generations of Americans yet unborn to crippling debt, higher taxes, and rationed care?

Nothing in this monstrous concoction addresses the three essential elements that would entitle this monstrosity to be called a reform bill: 1) the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, 2) insurance portability, & 3) tort reform. Without making these urgent reforms the substance of this intrusive bill becomes much less to do with health care, or beneficial reform of any description, and much more to do with spreading the government’s tentacles over every aspect of our national life. If it is supposed to save us so much money why are our taxes going to be raised in order to pay for it? If it is so beneficial why do members of Congress exempt themselves from enjoying all of the benefits they are so keen for the rest of us to have? Is there any country in the world groaning beneath the weight of socialized medicine where efficiency has increased, costs have been reduced, patient care is the prime consideration, or where the best and the brightest are lining up to become doctors? Name one.


NOVEMBER 7, 7:00 P.M.


The Jewish Political Education Foundation Presents


Dr. Bostom is the author of:

Ø The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims

Ø The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History

Sir Martin Gilbert, a Winston Churchill biographer, Holocaust historian, and historian of Muslim-Jewish relations, wrote that The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, was “Stimulating and informative: a fascinating and disturbing voyage of historical discovery…It is magnificent.”

FSM EDITORS:Mideast Christians Meeting in Europe to Discuss Jihadi Threat and Regimes Oppression

A source from the Middle East Christian Committee (al Lajna al Mashriqiya) in Washington DC, known as MECHRIC, confirmed that an “emergency leadership meeting of NGOs will be held in Europe” early November. The sources stated the conference will be held in a country member of the European Union and will gather delegates from various Middle East Christian organizations including Copts, Maronites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, other Mideast Christians as well as other international NGOs. The source said: “With the various developments in the Arab Spring, Middle East Christians, numbering around 25 million inside the region, have been submitted to violence and ethnic cleansing in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt in addition to political repression in Lebanon, Iran and Sudan. MECHRIC and its affiliates decided to launch an international outreach in order to inform decisions centers in the West about the gravity of the situation and consult with these actors about potential initiatives.”

An unnamed official of the “Emergency Middle East Christian Leadership Conference” to be held in a country member of the European Union said “some have asked us why are we holding an emergency meeting in Europe and not in the Middle East, as other Middle East Christian related meetings have chosen? ( Our answer is that the rapidly exploding situation in several countries where Christians are being killed, wounded, kidnapped and driven out of their homes, compels us to be seriously addressing the matter with the international community. Local Governments have failed or have been failed in stopping violence and suppression, thus we need to engage international institutions, and European institutions are the closest ones we are reaching out to.” The source added that “we are holding this conference on purpose on European ground, to underline the lack of security and freedom for the cause of Middle East Christians. We hold meetings constantly locally in our national countries, and we do it despite the dangers, but we want our international outreach to be outside the pressures of regimes and the threat of terror. Our own constituencies, the majority of our communities wants us to express their concerns to the world.”

JANET LEVY: CHRISTIANITY UNDER ATTACK IN AMERICA According to information released at a May 9, 2013 press conference by the families of Navy SEALs killed in an August 2011 helicopter shoot-down in Afghanistan, “military brass prohibited any mention of a Judeo-Christian G-d” and “invited a Muslim cleric to the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes who disparaged in […]


Originally published in 1977, Hillel Halkin’s Letters to an American Jewish Friend was hailed by Robert Alter in Commentary as a work marked by “ruthless lucidity and a “terrific impetus of personal conviction,” a book that “any Jew concerned with Israel and the future of the Jewish people ought to read.”

Today, three-and-a-half decades later, Halkin’s analysis of the existential dilemmas facing modern Jews, and in particular of the fraught relation of American Jews to Israel, has lost none of its power or resonance. Neither has his impassioned case for the Zionist solution to those dilemmas, advanced in a series of ardent and closely reasoned rejoinders to an imaginary friend’s defense of Jewish life in the Diaspora.

Long out of print, Letters to an American Jewish Friend is now being reissued. The present essay, in somewhat different form, serves as the introduction to the new edition.

It’s happened at least a half-dozen times. Somewhere—at a social gathering, after a speaking engagement, while sitting in a café—someone has come up to me and said, “You know, the reason I’m living in Israel is Letters to an American Jewish Friend.” The same is true of some portion of the reactions to the book that I received in the mail, the bulk of them in the early years after its initial publication in 1977. Of them all, the most memorable was a postcard from 1986. On one side was a photograph of Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. On the other, next to my address, was written:

Hillel Halkin:

Thank you for helping me find my way home.


There was no signature.

Today, re-reading the book from cover to cover for the first time since writing it, I ask myself why it had such an effect on some people. I suppose its epistolary form had something to do with it. It drew readers in; many responded with letters of their own. Not all of these agreed with me. From my point of view, disagreement was almost as good. I had never thought I could convince American Jews to move to Israel by writing a book. I had thought I might help start an argument that was missing from American Jewish life.

1. The Imperative

The argument I had in mind wasn’t about Zionism per se. Jewish backing for Israel was rarely challenged in the 1970s; only later did some American Jewish intellectuals on the political Left begin to question not just the wisdom or morality of this or that Israeli policy but the very idea of a Jewish state. Yet I would not have argued with such people in Letters to an American Friend even had they been more common at the time. I didn’t write the book to defend Israeli policies, and I have never believed that, as a Jew, I should have to make the case for Israel’s existence to anyone. Whoever disputes it deserves to be scorned, not reasoned with.

But the Zionist consensus of the organized American Jewish community in the 1970s was of a peculiarly American kind. It had rejoiced in Israel’s establishment; it took pride in Israel’s accomplishments; it celebrated Israel’s military victory in the Six-Day War of 1967 and gave thanks when Israel beat back its enemies in the Yom Kippur War of 1973; it acknowledged that its own fate and Israel’s were intertwined. Yet it did all this from a vicarious distance. Unlike the European Zionism that led to Israel’s creation, it was not a movement of self-actualization. It was one of helping others, of philanthropy and political support.

It had always been like that. From the outset, American Zionism viewed a Jewish state as a home for Jews less fortunate than America’s—for those fleeing the Europe of the Czars or Hitler, for Holocaust survivors in the DP camps, for refugees from the Arab countries of the Middle East, for Soviet Jews imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain. Its task, as it saw it, was to assist these victims of fate or anti-Semitism to reach a Jewish homeland and be absorbed there in a secure and prosperous environment; it was not to encourage American Jews to join them. Although there were tiny American Zionist youth groups that preached and practiced aliyah, emigration, the subject was never on the American Jewish agenda.

The statistics reflected this. Between 1948 and 1964, an American Jewish community of close to six million produced an annual average of some 300 immigrants to Israel. That figure rose somewhat in the mid-1960s and, then, under the impact of the Six-Day War, jumped dramatically to nearly 8,000 annually in the years 1969-1972.

My wife and I, when we moved to Israel from New York in 1970, belonged to this surge. The war hadn’t created a sudden awareness of Israel in either of us. I had grown up in a strongly Zionist home, first visited Israel during the summer I was eighteen, and returned for a longer stay several years later. My wife, also in her late teens, had spent an entire year in Israel, falling in love with the country and returning a second and a third time. We both knew Israel well. Each of us, independently, had considered living there.

But at the time of our marriage, we were both deep into our American lives, and Israel was not in the forefront of our thoughts. It was pushed back there by the 1967 war and all that surrounded it: the fearful anxiety preceding it, the jubilant relief when it was over, the realization of how much Israel had continued to mean to us even as we were thinking of other things. We traveled there as tourists in the summer of 1968—a brief description of this trip can be found toward the end of Letters to an American Jewish Friend—and left with the understanding that we had to make up our minds. We were still young enough to do with our lives what we wanted and old enough to know we wouldn’t always be. Either we were going to live in Israel or we weren’t. Less than two years later, we decided.

I don’t remember thinking at the time that our decision made us part of a wave. Or rather, if it did, the wave was of young New Yorkers like ourselves, products of the 1960s, leaving a city we had had enough of for the challenge and excitement of other places. Some went to live in rural New England or New Mexico; we moved to Israel. The life we chose for ourselves did not seem so different from what others were choosing in America. Soon after arriving, we bought land in a small farming village and set about building a house on it.

Once we did arrive, though, we became aware that we were also part of something else. The country was full of young American Jewish immigrants like ourselves. The Six-Day War had affected them as it had affected us. For a moment it almost seemed that the one thing American Jewry had never wanted to talk about—a large American Jewish aliyah—was actually taking place. The pride and excitement of being in its avant-garde were joined to the energy and optimism that prevailed in Israel in those years, when the exhilaration of the 1967 victory had not yet entirely worn off and a more sober awareness of the problems following in its wake was only beginning to sink in.

Sobriety came with the Yom Kippur War. Israel emerged from the war’s three weeks a different country—grieving, bewildered, its confidence shaken. The triumphalism of the post-1967 years vanished all at once. The economic boom came to an end. Immigration from America fell sharply, too, dropping to 5,000 in 1973, decreasing again in 1974, and in 1975 returning to its pre-1967 level. The mass aliyah never materialized.

I wasn’t in the army during the war, not being inducted and doing my basic training until the summer of 1974. But the country was then still on a semi-wartime footing, and during my first year of reserve duty I was in uniform for two months in an infantry battalion. We had a small baby and had just moved into our new house, with no telephone because no lines were available, and it was a difficult time. I was angry that I had to be away from home so much. So was my wife.

3-year-old Saudi Girl Gang-Raped in the Benevolent Wahhabi Kingdom Several men abducted a three-year-old Saudi girl and took turns in raping her before dumping the child near a hospital in a serious condition. Disclosing the crime on Monday, police said they had arrested three suspects and two women and that more could be arrested in connection with the rape. Doctors at the hospital […]


The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Herzegovina, Dr Mustafa Ceric urged the Muslim Ummah to conquer the world through Halal movement as Halal means pure and hygiene and non-Muslim world has no hesitation to accept it.

Addressing a reception hosted by Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) held in his honour and other delegates of Global Halal Congress, Dr Ceric said that Halal movement has the strength to lead Muslims to rule the global economy as the food and other services are the basic need of every human being.

The global halal industry is shifting into high gear to expand its market in the non-Muslim world as part of a broader mission to Islamise the West.


As part of its campaign, the World Halal Forum attempts to link the halal brand with qualities prized by affluent consumers in the West and elsewhere. The video opens with the claim thathalal is “a centuries-old guide to how life should be lived” and goes on to make unsupported assertions about halal‘s natural and organic qualities, its ethical and environmentally friendly production methods and its animal welfare benefits.

The strategy includes frightening consumers off non-halal products by reminding them of recent global epidemics, such as mad cow disease and bird flu, that badly affected farm production and raised severe public health concerns. It insinuates that shifting to halal production and distribution would avoid these problems, but offers no scientific basis for this claim. In fact, Muslim methods of rearing animals can be even worse than some non-Muslim practices, and some animal welfare groups regard halal slaughtering as cruel and unhygienic.


The first order of business would be to devise and deploy a political “Iron Dome” to protect Israel from the incoming barrages of delegitimization and demonization.

The State of Israel, the country that represents Jews throughout the world as much as its citizens, is slowly but surely abdicating its role by its action or perhaps better said inaction vis-a-vis public diplomacy. What has happened to the leadership of the past, men and women who were not afraid to state their minds and fight for what has always been rightfully ours? We are no longer respected and are at the mercy of a leftist faction and media who will stop at nothing to help in our destruction. – Naomi Romm, in a Facebook response to my previous column, “Dereliction of Duty”

Israel cannot expect the world to be concerned if Israel does not regard itself, its existence and its rights with urgency and determination. This is the true and profound reason that the Israeli message about Iran did not touch the hearts of the world’s leaders, and the guilty party is we ourselves, the collective Israeli, we, the Right and the Left together, each one because of its acts of commission and its acts of omission. – Dr. Mordechai Kedar, “Survival Skills for Israel – 101,” 2013

If Israel intends to regain its legitimacy, it must advance its historical claims aggressively and forcefully. The Jewish state cannot permit others to define its identity or distort its past. It is necessary to discredit the fraudulent claims of the other side and expose its lies. Such an effort should include a long-term campaign of relegitimization. Israel must defend its sovereignty and take its rightful place in the community of nations. These are the responsibilities of nationhood. – Dr. Joel Fishman, The Relegitimization of Israel and the Battle for the Mainstream Consensus, 2012

I concluded my previous column with a promise, subject to breaking news, to provide a to-do list detailing the practical measures I would undertake to address/redress the abysmal failings in the conduct – read, misconduct – of Israel’s public diplomacy.

So despite the great temptation to invoke the “subject to breaking news” clause, and devote this week’s column to excoriating the egregiously inexplicable, inexcusable, incomprehensible release of convicted murderers in exchange for nothing, nada, zilch, zip, I will hold firm to my pledge.

After all, such disastrously counterproductive decisions as the prisoner release are largely a result of the catastrophic collapse of Israel’s public diplomacy strategy, which leaves the nation’s policy-makers hopelessly vulnerable and prone to outside pressures.

First week in office

Clearly, in a single opinion column I cannot provide a persuasive presentation of all the measures I would undertake were I to assume the role of prime minister. Constraints of time and space compel me to prioritize.

The most urgent item on the agenda is not difficult to identify. It is clearly reflected in the preceding introductory excerpts, which succinctly diagnose the chronic malaise eating away at the fabric of the nation: The total failure of the national leadership to defend Israel on the international stage as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Whether this is due to a lack of will or a lack of ability makes scant difference. What matters is that this failure has eroded Israel’s capacity to resist external pressure or rebuff external demands, no matter how absurdly unjustified or outrageously hypocritical.

It is because of the breakdown of the ability to resist pernicious initiatives that, last week, I likened Israel’s diplomatic debacle to the contraction of an HIV virus that destroys the immune system, while likening the danger of Iran’s nuclear program to that of being run over by a truck.

Of course, some might protest that the most pressing issue on the national agenda that must be given priority over others is the Iranian threat. This is, without doubt, a matter of utmost gravity, but even “Iran-firsters” will be compelled to concede that it is, as Mordechai Kedar aptly alludes, greatly exacerbated by ineffectual Israeli diplomacy.