What's going to happen with Iran?

There’s a really great article, Some Straight Talk About Iran by Joshua Pollack, which gets into the political impact of Iran having nuclear capability and the likelihood of the U.S. or Israel attacking Iran (also read comments). Very understandable and clear, Joshua Pollack makes a convincing argument for the unlikelihood of an attack on Iran.

Then I read articles like ‘Russia helps Iran load fuel into its first nuclear reactor’ and ‘Iran unveils long-range drone bomber’. It makes me queasy.

With Iran’s blatant anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric I can’t help but wonder how we will respond to these threats. I know that there’s information only available to the upper levels of government which shapes policy and tactical decisions, and I hope that our governments are doing the right thing. I would enjoy seeing information from us and Israel showing that we know Iran’s leadership is not trustworthy and we are prepared for anything Iran may dish out.

When Ahmadinejad says about his new drone bomber, “The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship… The main message of Karar bomber is to prevent any kind of aggression and conflict.” I have a difficult time believing Ahmadinejad’s sincerity simply because his words and actions towards the U.S. and Israel have not been peaceful.

Referenced articles & images
Joshua Pollack • Some Straight Talk About Iran
The Washington Post • Russia helps Iran load fuel into its first nuclear reactor
JTA • Iran unveils long-range drone bomber
Photo Credit • Ghost of a Flea • Worth 1000 words

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira arrested for book, The King's Torah

Last year the JTA published an article about Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira. I commented on it here. Turns out he was arrested for the book for suspicion of incitement. You can read about that on JTA’s site here.

Even though no charges were pressed and he was released, it’s nice to see the consensus held by the authorities about his work. Keep in mind this isn’t the only time he’s gotten in trouble. JTA also reported that he was arrested in January because 5 of his yeshiva students were charged for committing arson on a mosque in Yasuf back in December.

I mention this again to show the difference in attitude Israelis hold against their own when confronted with terrorist mentalities. It’s a stark contrast from the reactions we see in the Muslim world.

Barry Rubin on the Flotilla Problem

The incident at the Israeli blockade of Gaza’s seaport was not caused by Israel’s excessive use of force against peaceful activists. It was not even caused by acceptable use of force by the Israeli commandos. The violence on the ship was caused by a terrorist organization disguising a jihad mission as humanitarian aid to discredit Israel and incite violence and hatred against her. In short, it was a marketing ploy.

Barry Rubin has written several articles about the incident since the entire debacle began. Yesterday I read one of his best articles to date, Humanitarian Aid Ship? Nope, Jihad Ship: No Aid for Gazans on the Mavi Marmara (link at bottom). I strongly urge you to read it because it not only gives an excellent summary of the incident to date, but also provides links for factual reference. Here’s a preview to whet your appetite,

How many truckloads of humanitarian aid on the seven flotilla ships? Thirty-four plus 2000 tons of cement. How many truckloads did Israel deliver to Gaza that same week? Answer: 484.

Would the materials carried on some of the ships help the people of Gaza? Sure. There were wheelchairs, mobility scooters for the disabled, crutches, hospital beds, medicine, and clothing, and hospital equipment.

But if the intention was simply to deliver these items they could have been unloaded in Egypt and everything (including the militants on board carrying lots of money) could have gone into Gaza. Or they could have been unloaded in Israel, inspected, and anything not connected with terrorism could have gone into Gaza.

But the goal, of course, was to destroy the blockade, help Hamas poliically, and make Israel look bad.

It’s a shame that Israel has to go on such a strong defensive because the media provides more opinion than fact, but Barry Rubin’s work is stellar and a great effort to clearing Israel’s name. Please pass the article on to your friends and family and subscribe to his blog at

Humanitarian Aid Ship? Nope, Jihad Ship: No Aid for Gazans on the Mavi Marmara

Obama Administration Urges Israel to Sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

So much for electricity

Practically moments before Netanyahu is to make a reconciliatory visit to Obama in Washington, he cancels because of the recent problems in Gaza. That certainly has its own problems and is reason enough for Netanyahu to return home, but I do believe there’s another reason for it as well.

The RubinReports reported last night that the U.S. is urging Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. As many problems with Gaza and Israel’s attack on the aid ship (which is another article in and of itself), this action by the Obama administration sets a new precedent in our dealings with Israel.

Take a moment to read the article here, but here’s a quote to which you should pay attention,

Are Americans in general and American Jews in particular going to persist in believing that this administration really does view Israel as a good friend and a close ally? It’s hard to believe, though of course many will. Perhaps the next round or the one after that will convince them otherwise.

This administration has not been friendly towards Israel from the beginning. The Obama’s relation with Israel is like that of a schoolyard bully. If there’s one thing we all learned in elementary school is that a bully is not to be trusted. Do not believe that this administration is friends with Israel—everything it does should tell you otherwise, not what you hear in conferences!

I don’t want to hear the U.S. say we’re allies with Israel anymore—it’s time this administration repents for its treatment of Israel and restore relations to what they have been.

Can a Man Make Gods for Himself?

O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, My refuge in a day of trouble, To You nations shall come From the ends of the earth and say: Our fathers inherited utter delusions, Things that are futile and worthless. Can a man make gods for himself? No-gods are they! Assuredly, I will teach them, Once and for all I will teach them My power and My might. And they shall learn that My name is LORD. (Jeremiah 16:19–21 JPS)

This is from the Haftarah of Parshat Behar-B’Hukotai. Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein, from the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem writes a commentary on this passage which is found here. I particularly enjoy the question he asks, “What will be the impetus for this acknowledgment of God?” Rabbi Silverstein states this is a process, but also talks about the role military victory played as a sign of religious strength in ancient times. It’s a nice commentary and you should take a moment to read it.

Back to the question, and I ask it myself reading Jeremiah’s words again, what will be the impetus for this acknowledgment of G~d? Take a look around you at the world today. Not in the sense that it’s any worse today than it was then as far as religions go, but in the sense how relativism and apathy pervades society. On one hand this allows humanity to live in harmony with one another, but on the other hand, in an age where no one religion is better than another, how will people of idolatrous faiths come to this acknowledgement of G~d? Not just the knowledge of any god mind you, but the knowledge of the One G~d? What will be the mechanics of this transformation of thought?

Rabbi Silverstein references a midrash in his commentary about the Song at the Sea. He states that not only the Israelites sang the song, but also the nations who had seen the overthrow of Egypt. This reflects two methods of proselytizing; one being the use force which is only effective in scale to the trail of destruction and insincere conversions it leaves in its wake. Then there’s the method of kindness and example. While the Jews were certainly the people most affected and benefited by the defeat of the Egyptians, considering that they were the world power of the day, probably not a kind one at that, I imagine the nations saw not only what the G~d of the Hebrews had done for them, but what He had done for the world through defeating Egypt. Maybe G~d wasn’t just letting His people go, but was participating in Tikun Olam Himself. When we couldn’t do it, He stepped in.

Back to modern-day… the prophets tell us in several places that the entire world will once again rise against Israel. Once that happens the ball will be in G~d’s court to once again free His people from some tyrannical world power, which will not only save Israel, but be a benefit to the entire world.

At some point in a lifetime everyone sees something so incredible, so mind-bending, so disruptive (good or bad) to the way things are perceived that the current perception of reality must change to adapt to the new perception. I can only imagine that this is what the plagues did to all who saw them and to all who heard the stories from witnesses. In that same vein, I can only imagine that when the day Jeremiah speaks of comes, G~d would have to intervene in such an obvious way that a person’s mind would have to make a choice to interpret what has happened, much in the same way Pharaoh was forced to make a decision with the passing of each plague.

While the biblical idols that we often imagine are mostly a thing of the past, regardless of its composition; wood, stone, ideology, theology… once that idol is smashed the person’s mind will recognize a stark difference between their lifeless beliefs and the action of the Living G~d. Greater than whatever miracles and victories G~d does for the Jewish people will be the miracle of changing the hearts and minds of the world’s population so that it is no longer indifferent or hostile towards Israel and her G~d, but in fact declares, “Our fathers inherited utter delusions, things that are futile and worthless.”

Italian P.M.: Stop West Bank building

Reading this article from JTA this morning made me think of something new pertaining to Israel.

Have you ever had an opinion or conviction that was contrary to the majority? Whether it was school, work, family… whatever… have you ever had to go it alone when it comes to doing what you believe is the right thing? Chances are you have, and when you did I’m sure it was incredibly uncomfortable. But you stood against the tide somehow and held true to what you believed to be the right course of action. It was still hard.

Reading this article made me think of this. I picture Israel as a kid on a playground being bullied and picked on because she’s different. It’s not quite the right imagery I’m looking to portray, but I think you get the idea of what I’m referring to. Shame on Italy for calling Israel to do this. Shame on the U.S. for calling for similar action.

How much pressure has she withstood in her short existence? How many times have the Arab countries tried to destroy her? How many times have her allies pressured her to give up the land she was given and earned from self-defense?

Even if Israel were to go back to its pre-1967 borders there would be no peace with the Arab countries. They don’t want their land back, they want Israel gone. Until that happens there will be no peace. It’s not about land. It’s not.

I love the statement P.M. Netanyahu made about Jerusalem last week,

The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.

I think that sums it up pretty well. If we’re going to be pressured until the last one of us jumps into the sea, then we may as well stick to our guns. Way to go, Netanyahu.

Iranian soccer federation mistakenly greets Israel

So I read this today and it killed me. This is probably the funniest thing I’ve read about Iran in a long time. Not that Iran is a funny topic, mind you, it’s just that I read this article and I hear so many funny things.

Basically, Israel was mistakenly not omitted from the New Year greeting cards. I can see it now… “Dear Zionist entity, the Republic of Iran wishes you a happy and healthy 2010.”

Yeah, I laughed out loud about this one. Read the article and tell me if you think it’s as funny as I do.

Iranian soccer federation mistakenly greets Israel | JTA – Jewish & Israel News

I'm sorry… who's the victim?

The JTA is reporting the following story… a Palestinian stabs a couple of Israeli women (couldn’t fight a man I guess…), gets shot, and then an Israeli settler (man) runs over him a few times with his car. Sure, the guy didn’t have to run over the Palestinian, he was already down, but I can’t say I blame him—maybe he was a husband, father, brother of one of the women? Watch the Al Jazeera video for the surprise twist.

This is absolute insanity when an aggressor (not to mention a cowardly one) gets a taste of his own medicine and he’s portrayed as the victim. This makes me sick. Of course, this could be another incident like the picture that fed the liberal media machine. We’ll see.

Ahmadinejad to Obama: Iran or Israel

President Obama has had several opportunities to draw the line in the sand with Iran this past year: the ongoing nuclear problem, the ‘election’ protests, and now U.S. hikers under arrest for espionage. In spite of these opportunities to show Iran and the world where the U.S. stands in its relationship, it is Ahmadinejad calling the shots.

Israel has been a strong U.S. ally—if not the strongest. While Obama has taken his share of cheap shots at Israel, I don’t believe he will surrender that relationship for one that is only a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I think he will do one of two things: 1. Explain he can’t take sides because of international relations, or something along these lines. 2. Express strong support for Israel. I hope he does the second, but I think he will do the first.

In the unlikely event that the U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Israel watch the fall of the U.S. commence.

What do you think will come of this?