Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Immigration ignorance

President Bush is quoted as saying that the opponents of the immigration bill had obviously not read the bill(and thus were ignorant of the particulars).
The President is basically correct!
This bill was hammered out in private.
There were no public or private Senate or House hearings.
The majority of the Senate was in the dark regarding the details(except for the 12 to 18 negotiators).
Most legislators have not had an opportunity to read the full bill.
Listening to the critics of the bill regarding an inability of the government to enforce people returning to their home countries, with the possibility of fraud, is but one example of the future problems.
Another is the huge amount of illegitimate children from these young illegals who are born in the US , with all its subsequent social medical and social services that wii be rendered(as US citizens).It appears that the new crop of illegals arer younger and less educated than previous groups of illegals.
Also there is now a huge influx of illegals,as they contemplate obtaining green cards.
It is thus important to have a full publication of the bill with hearings etc.
At present, no matter how you look at it Amnesty is still Amnesty and is a reward for breaking the law.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Too many warnings-not enough action

If you go back months and years to the headlines in the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz,you will find warning after warning by by the Israeli PM to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.Only rarely does the IDF respond,and often these are air attacks against empty buildings.
Even less common, when the terror attacks cannot be ignored, are the attacks answered with bombings of terrorists in autos or machine shops.
The truth is, that victory in combat cannot be achieved with air power alone.Israel learned that lesson in Lebanon, and the US in Afghanistan.
I am neither a military expert or genius, but long before the Gaza pullout, I wrote and spoke up at meetings with Israeli leaders, that the inevitable result of giving up Gaza, was rocket attacks on Sderot.Ashdod and Ashkelon.Furthermore, I wrote that when a "lucky" rocket will cause major human or industrial derstruction,Israel will have no choice but to go back with ground troops into the area.
What is needed now, is a safe zone within Gaza ,controlled by the IDF, from which no rockets can hit Sderot etc.
Short of that, it is all nonsense!


The Labor Party primary was interesting but sad.Peretz is only interested in which position he can attain if he backs the winner in the runoff.No word of what is good for the country.
The Labor Party has become the Arab left wing party and on the whole is irrelevant.
The race for President could be Shimon Peres' last chance to win any type of election.He would if elected, become an activist peacenik in the image of the late Pres. Weitzman.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Shevuoth/ Refugee Camps

A happy holiday to all my friends and readers.

It really is amazing that in all the stories on the fighting in Tripoli, no one explores the real story as to why after all these years there are still refugee camps in the middle-east(Jordan,Lebanon and Gaza)?
Every single Jewish refugee from Arab countries such as Algeria,Morrocco etc has long been settled in Israel and are living normal lives.They numbered more than the Palestinian "refugees".
All over the world hundreds of thousands of refugees since WWII have been resettled by the UN and world refugee organizations.Only in the ME did Arab nations insist that the camps should not be closed until the occupants are returned to their homes in Palestine.Thus no decent homes or jobs but only political roulette and mayhem.
It is time for the nations of the world to clean up their act and stop this blackmail from the Arab world.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jerusalem /Immigration

This past week we celebrated Yom Yerushalayim-Jerusalem Re-unification Day.This was an event boycotted by the world diplomatic community.
M.K. Avigdor Lieberman,in an op-ed clearly placed the blame on the Israeli Government.No other country in the world is denied the right to designate their capitol city.He correctly points out that Israel,as the host country,grants extra-territorial rights to buildings in Tel Aviv(aas embassies) etc,when they could refuse to do do so outside of Jerusalem.
In addition,despite non-binding Congressional resolutions,the US neither recognizes Jerusalem as the capitol,nor has its Embassy there(it does have a Consulate for Arab affairs ). Yet the site chosen for the future Embassy is within Western Jerusalem, in non-contested areas.Why not move?
Over the years, I have lobbied in Washington asking for committments to support moving the Embassy.Condoleeza Rice, prior to the first Bush election, promised me in a public meeting that the first act that George Bush would do as Preident ,would be to move the Embassy.
Yet,if you talk to Congressional and Administration leaders, you find that the Embassy issue is never raised by Israeli officials, and may be very low on their wish list.
Lieberman is correct, Israel has itself to blame for the tepid/negative response to her claims of sovereignty.This issue must be on the agenda of every Israeli-US meeting.


Sen Fred Thompson is correct-fix the border first-lets get our security issues resolved, and then try to tackle what to do with the millions who have violated our laws.


Yes,Hamas want Israel to attack-but that should not preclude a stepped up intelligent IDF approach to protect Sderot.Genral Amidror,former head of IDF Intelligence correctly points out,to do do nothing is to allow a repition of the Hizbollah buildup in S Lebanon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Appeasement 101

I have just completed the first 100 pages of Michael Oren's new book "Power ,Faith and Fantasty" the story of the relationship of the US to the Middle East since 1776.
Oren begins his story with the development of the US Navy , as an answer to the Babary pirates,as well as the Arab rulers in states such as Morroco.Despite trying to bribe and pay ransom,time after time the US was attacked on the high seas,and captives taken for ransom.
Only the defeat of the pirates by the US Navy put an end to the piracy.
He writes (p-69) "Experience had taught...that in the Middle East, power alone was respected, and that in order to gain peace the US had no alternative but to wield it."
Nothing has changed in the Arab psyche!
A lesson for Iraq,but more importantly for PM Olmert.
As Gaza is enveloped by mayhem,and as the fruits of his withdrawal are clear to every Sderot resident who hears and feels the rockets coming in,Olmert seeks more withdrawals.He reaches out to Saudia Arabia, whose Mecca deal is a farce. He frantically is searching for a straw to grasp ,instead of protecting his people.How many more attacks must Israel endure without a massive response.
The US benchmarks are ridiculous, and should be placed into the circular bin.
Yes the Cabinet is afraid to order a reaction for fear that down the road the next Winograd Commission will fault them for not thinking the matter through.Nevertheless, there are no partners for peace as long as Hamas,Iran and Hizbollah are churning the waters.
Mr Olmert should draw the proper conclusions and let new leadership in the PM's office and Defense lead the country.

Monday, May 14, 2007

AIPAC sees the way / Corruption

It is good news that AIPAC has agreed to fund the legal fees for one of their former staffers-Weissman and negotiating with Steve Rosens attorneys to do likewise.Both are under indictment,and await a trial date-the Judge has previously ruled against having a closed trial.
The admonition of Judge Ellis against the government conduct in preventing AIPAC'S financial legal coverage is admirable.
This case should be dismissed as it is clear,that the two were performing the normal activities of professional staffers of hundreds of organizations.
The Jewish Community is finally waking up to publicly support these two public servants .


The Wall Street Journal has written much recently about corruption in the international arena.It is one of the areas where Wolfowitz has attempted to crack down in his leadership of the World Bank.It nay be one of the reasons they are out to get him.
Similarly today there has been renewed discussion regarding stolen oil in Iraq-probably amounting to 35 million dollars weekly.
During our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia,every person that we spoke to related part of the poverty problem to massive corruption.
If the US and the UN cannot solve the coruption scandels that permeates foreign aid,then a new approach must be considered.
We cannot keep throwing good money after bad.This corruption apparently goes all the way to the top in the UN and the receiving countries.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

1937-2007, Dejavu?

This shabbat, the Community Synagogue of Monsey had a retreat at the Hudson Valley Spa, honoring Rabbi and Mrs Moses D. Tendler.I was asked to speak and chose the above as my topic.
I first reviewed the events of 1937,(almost on a daily basis) with all the anti-semitic actions of individuals, goverments ,such as France,Poland Roumania as well as the voices of the churches in Europe .
The key to understanding the differences is:

The reactions of the American Jewish Community which in 1937 was tepid,disorganized and impotent.Today we are if anything overorganized.We are accused of controlling the debate,the media and the Congress.We have proven the ability to galvanize hundreds of thousands on short notice to gather together in Washington.
AIPAC,pro-Israel PACS, backed by millions of Christian Zionists help in creaing a large majority of Americans who support the US-Israel relationship.

None of this diminishes the problems and dangers we face:

A nuclear Iran in the hand of an irrational fundamentalist.
The Asymetry of the antagonists.The West with its armies ,navies and air forces, and Islamic fundamendalists, with no uniforms but improvising with box cutters,fertilizer and determination, to destroy us.even if they have to commit suicide.
In addition, the battle to islamicize Europe is ongoing.Perhaps the election of Sarkozy is a step in the right direction.Here too the dangers are great.
While anti-semitism has always been part of the world scene,the New Anti-Semitism (progressive Jewish thought) that seeks to negate the right of Israel to exist,or to allow any sense of nationalism by Jews is the latest illness.These thoughts are primarily by Jewish so called intellectuals.They are out beating the drums showing that zionism is "insanity ...and compared to Nazism"
These groups are raising funds to spread the message of how we are preventing a discussion of the "occupation ..and the Apartheid State."
Despite all these and other problems,I see no real connection with '37.Nuclear weapons and oil have changed the ground rules.However we are strong as is Israel.There have been no further successful attacks on our soil since 9/11.We have the ability to cut off most funds from those that support terrorism.We can apply greater economic and political pressure on Iran etc ,holding out the military option if necessary.
Yes there are anti-semitic act by individuals in Europe, and American left wing professors encourage hate, but despite it all we are strong and proud and vigilant.
The final point is that we must believe in the guiding hand of G-d.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vietnam revisited /Olmert hangs tough

I have just returned from a three week trip to Vietnam,Cambodia,and Hong Kong.It was June 1969 when I completed my one year stint as a surgeon in the US Army.
Aside from the tunnels in Cu Chi, and the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City,(formerly Saigon) the war is almost invisible.The old Presidential headquarters are open for tourists,but Hanoi in the north, is the center of government.
While everyone smiles at the Americans,I believe we are looked at as the purveyors of an immoral war, full of criminality and torture.
The five star hotels are terrific,and the service excellent.Certainly the people are very friendly.The weather there and in Cambodia went over the 100 degree level.
The poverty in Cambodia ,with begging children, reminded me of India.In both places, the opulence of the hotels stands in sharp contrast to the streets.
Cambodia,does have historic sites in Seam Riep which in the heat were not easy to climb.The number of businessmen in all cities is quite amazing.
In Hong Kong,the Sephardic synagogue in Kowloon, had 250 primarily visitors-business people for Fri nite and Shabbat services/meals.There is a kollel both in this synagogue/restaurant and one on the Hong Kong side.This is in addition to Chabad and the main Synagogue on Robinson.
We were told that Shanghai,Bejing and another city had similar accomodations.The travelling orthodox (business) community-primarily sephardic,from the US, Israel and Panama ( among others)help to maintain these centers.

I am grateful to my son Elli for his thoughtful blogs during my trip.

The Winograd Report should have been enough to bring down PM Olmert's administration.I remembeer the Counsel on the McCarthy Senate hearing ask McCarthy
"have you no shame Sen McCarthy?
We can ask- Have you no shame Mr Olmert?
His time in office is limited,however it is the actions or lack therof of his Kadima colleagues that shock me.
Yes a cabinet title,limousine,security detail are all prestigious-but what about your duty to the people and the State?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Republican Debate/Hillary/School Board Elections on LI

A few thoughts with respect to the Republican debate that was held last week. First, it does not appear that too many minds will be changed based on what they saw during the debate. Second, what I wrote with respect to second and third tier candidates in the Democratic debate applies to the Republicans as well. The sooner they get rid of these second and third candidates from the debates, the better off the process will be. Thirdly, as pointed out by the RealClearPolitics blog, the most important line uttered by any candidate was by Guiliani who said (in response to a question about Clinton returning to the White House) "It would mean that we were back on defense against terrorism, given Senator Clinton's recent positions. And the reality is, in the 1990s, we were on defense in dealing with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.
When you had this debate last week and all the Democrats were up here, I never remember the words "Islamic fundamentalist terrorism" being spoken by any of them." That is evidence, once again that Guiliani gets what we are up against.

As if we needed more evidence that Clinton is not a candidate that gets it, she is apparently ready to embrace an effort to de-authorize the war in Iraq. This is a ridiculous position for a supposedly serious candidate to take. It is one thing for a candidate like Edwards to urge the Democrats to not vote for a clean spending bill. After all, his candidacy is a long-shot and he needs to appeal to the lunatic left. But for a candidate that hopes to appeal to moderates like Clinton, taking a position like de-authorizing the war during the surge seems to defy common sense.

A few words on the school board elections to be held in the Five Towns on May 15th. In the election, the Orthodox will attempt to maintain their majority. While I don't take great interest in local elections, this particular election has piqued my curiousity for a few reasons. Firstly, one of the candidates, Pam Greenbaum has sued a well known blogger (Orthomom) for a number of disparaging comments about her which appeared on the Orthomom blog. The purpose of the suit is to unmask "Orthomom". As you don't have to be a lawyer to realize the suit has no merit and is insulting in its stupidity, it is hopeful that it will be thrown out soon. It is amazing that an elected official would try to use the courts to deny a citizen's First Amendment rights of free speech. Secondly, the recent ads that have been placed by the public school faction are blatantly anti-orthodox and are largely unfair. (How the editors of the Nassau Herald allowed them to be printed is a question which the Orthodox community should look into.) It is one thing to run a campaign based on facts and public policy positions, quite another to base your campaign solely on the hatred of a religious group. Thirdly (and no doubt stemming from the hate that I discussed in my second point), the campaign posters for the private school candidates were stolen during the night from in front of people's homes in my neighborhood. This is evidence of a campaign that based on all of the wrong ideas and motives. The election of May 15th is important and for those living in the Five Town area, please do not forget to vote.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Israeli Political Situation

As interesting as American politics gets, it can never match the craziness of Israeli style politics. To sum up the events of the past three days, the Winograd Commission ripped Olmert and Peretz for their conduct of the war, Olmert insisted he would not resign, the chairman of Kadimah resigned, Foreign Minister Livni called on Olmert to resign, Olmert is getting ready to fire Livni, 4 no-confidence measures have been introduced in Knesset, and Netanyahu awaits his chance to become Prime Minister again. It is the conduct of Livni that I find most amazing. By calling on Olmert to resign she is hoping that by Olmert stepping aside, she would win the Kadimah primary to be held within 2 months and become Prime Minister through the back door. I can think of no precedent for a number 2 person calling on the head of government to resign so they could take over. It is the equivalent of Cheney calling on Bush to resign over the conduct of the Iraq war so that Cheney could become President. A more honest approach by Livni would have had her resigning her position and calling for new elections so that Israelis may decide who their new Prime Minister is through the democratic process of elections. It is clear that Kadimah fears new elections as Olmert has a 3% approval rating (it may be lower now after the report's findings). Hopefully, one of the days, Israel will fix its political system to eliminate the influence of small parties and end coalitions which bring together disparate parties.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Last week's debate/Pollard

A few observations with respect to last Thursday's debates:
1. Barack Obama's uneven performance has to give pause to even his most hard core supporters. His failure to name Israel as a key ally of the United States (he needed Bria Williams's help on that one) and his ridiculous answer to the question regarding his statement that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians" are worrisome developments and only adds to my suspicions that Obama's mideast policies would represent a clean break from Bush's pro-Israel tendencies. Furthermore, his failure to state in the first instance that he would retaliate as a response to a terror attack against this country is more evidence that Obama is seeking to return us to the Carter era. He is not yet ready for prime time. (Interestingly enough, post-debate we have seen the first national poll showing Obama in the lead.)
2. While I have no problem with second tier candidates being allowed into the debates, both parties should put their foot down with respect to third tier candidates. The fact that Sen Mike Gravel and Rep. Kucinich were allowed to participate in the debate lends a circus atmosphere to what should be a serious event. Gravel's statement that allowing troops to remain in Iraq should be made a felony and Kucinich's drive to impeach Cheney are not the marks of individuals seriously seeking higher office, but rather individuals seriously seeking attention. The Democrats should bar both individuals from future debates.

While I support the release of Jonathan Pollard from jail, the recent ads depicting Pollard's image along with those of Israeli POW/MIAs is an outrage. Pollard is not a MIA or a POW but a convicted felon. While he has been in jail way too long, those who depict Pollard as a POW/MIA belittle the plight of the Israeli soldiers and damage the credibility of the free Pollard movement.