Archive for April 2, 2010

Retired U.S. flag officers speak up for Israel

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–Editor’s Note:  When U.S.-Israel relations hit a rough patch, there are those who quickly blame Israel for America’s difficulties abroad. Israel has outrageously been blamed for endangering American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and erroneously been blamed for preventing the formation of an Arab coalition to work with the US to contain Iran. While we recognize, as Gen. Petraeus did, that American support for Israel is used by our adversaries to foment anti-Americanism, we also recognize that the important countries of the region won’t like us any better if we shed Israel as an ally. They will wonder how quickly we will shed THEM when they are inconvenient. The correct response to those who denigrate the U.S.-Israel relationship, is to note that Israel is a friend by virtue of shared civic and political values and a security asset upon which the United States can rely.

For nearly 30 years, JINSA has been taking recently retired American Admirals and Generals to Israel to better understand the threats Israel faces, the resources it brings to its own defense and ways in which the U.S. and Israel can cooperate on common security issues. Their understanding of the role of Israel is in the ad below. JINSA is working to place the ad in newspapers (Jewish and other) around the country to ensure that Americans (Jewish and other) hear these voices. You can help spread the word by making a contribution to JINSA – clicking below.

We, the undersigned, have traveled to Israel over the years with The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). We brought with us our decades of military experience and, following unrestricted access to Israel’s civilian and military leaders, came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to the United States and its policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. A strong, secure Israel is an asset upon which American military planners and political leaders can rely. Israel is a democracy – a rare and precious commodity in the region – and Israel shares our commitment to freedom, personal liberty and rule of law.
Throughout our travels and our talks, the determination of Israelis to protect their country and to pursue a fair and workable peace with their neighbors was clearly articulated. Thus we view the current tension between the United States and Israel with dismay and grave concern that political differences may be allowed to outweigh our larger mutual interests.
As American defense professionals, we view events in the Middle East through the prism of American security interests.

The United States and Israel established security cooperation during the Cold War, and today the two countries face the common threat of terrorism by those who fear freedom and liberty. Historically close cooperation between the United States. and Israel at all levels including the IDF, military research and development, shared intelligence and bilateral military training exercises enhances the security of both countries. American police and law enforcement officials have reaped the benefit of close cooperation with Israeli professionals in the areas of domestic counter-terrorism practices and first response to terrorist attacks.

Israel and the United States are drawn together by shared values and shared threats to our well-being.

The proliferation of weapons and nuclear technology across the Middle East and Asia, and the ballistic missile technology to deliver systems across wide areas require cooperation in intelligence, technology and security policy. Terrorism, as well as the origins of financing, training and executing terrorist acts, need to be addressed multilaterally when possible. The dissemination of hatred and support of terrorism by violent extremists in the name of Islam, whether state or non-state actors, must be addressed as a threat to global peace. 

In the Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be foolish to disengage – or denigrate – an ally such as Israel.

Rear Admiral Charles Beers, USN (ret.)
General William Begert, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral Stanley W. Bryant, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Anthony Burshnick, USAF (ret.)
Lieutenant General Paul Cerjan, USA (ret.)
Admiral Leon Edney, USN (ret.)
Brigadier General William F. Engel, USA (ret.)
Major General Bobby Floyd, USAF (ret.)
Major General Paul Fratarangelo, USMC (ret.)
Major General David Grange, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Tom Griffin, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Earl Hailston, USMC (ret.)
Lieutenant General John Hall, USAF (ret.)
General Alfred Hansen, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral James Hinkle, USN (ret.)
General Hal Hornburg, USAF (ret.)
Major General James T. Jackson, USA (ret.)
Admiral Jerome Johnson, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Herb Kaler, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral Bernard Kauderer, USN (ret.)
General William F. Kernan, USA (ret.)
Major General Homer Long, USA (ret.)
Major General Jarvis Lynch, USMC (ret.)
General Robert Magnus, USMC (ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles May, Jr., USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral Martin Mayer, USN (ret.)
Major General Fred McCorkle, USMC (ret.)
Rear Admiral Mark Milliken, USN (ret.)
Major General William Moore, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, USMC (ret.)
Major General Larry T. Northington, USAF (ret.)
Lieutenant General Tad Oelstrom, USAF (ret.)
Major General James D. Parker, USA (ret.)
Vice Admiral J. T. Parker, USN (ret.)
Major General Robert Patterson, USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral James Perkins, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Brian Peterman, USCG (ret.)
Lieutenant General Alan V. Rogers, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral Richard Rybacki, USCG (ret.)
General Crosbie Saint, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Norm Saunders, USCG (ret.)
Major General Sid Shachnow, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, USN (ret.)
Major General Larry Taylor, USMCR (ret.)
Lieutenant General Lanny Trapp, USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral Jerry O. Tuttle, USN (ret.)
General Louis Wagner, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Winglass, USMC (ret.)
Rear Admiral Guy Zeller, USN (ret.)
– signatures as of April 1, 2010

Preceding provided by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)


Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, April 2, 1954, Part IV

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by Gail Umeham

B’nai  B’rith Girls
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

B’nai B’rith Girls are meeting at the Jewish Community Center, every Thursday night, from 7:00 to 8:00, during the month of March.  They will plan discussions and activities for the near future.  Any girls interested in fun and fellowship are asked to come to the meetings and help make the chapter a good one.

Double Talk
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6
by Janet & Susan Solof

Worried about the grades on your report card?
Nervous about what they’ll say?
Open those books and study hard,
And hope for the best on “judgement “ day.

Captain Jet had nothing on Stevie Harrow as he celebrated his 5th birthday in Space Patrol fashion.  Other Space Patrolers were Roger Lowitz, Danny Harrow, Johnnie Carter, Jill and Dennis Brown, Jerry Krasnow, David Cohen, Leslie Jo Burnett, Judy Karp, David Gordon, Barry Levenson, and Paul Levine.  The kids really had a wonderful time.  Loads of Happy Birthdays, Stevie.

Celebrating the wonderful age of 16 was Harriet Silverman.  Helping make the age get going were Jan  Klaskin, Maxine Schoenkopf, Adrian Sachnoff, Joan Breitbard, Nancy Silverman, and many others.  A lovely luncheon was enjoyed and a toast was given for a happy year ahead for Harriet.

Seen Around Town…
Sharlene Stone, Herb Wenig, Faggie Krasner, Don Kobernick, Janet Solof, Steve Kerschtel, Rockie Goodrich, Shirley Kaufman, Gordon Levitt, Jane Cohn, Lelani Liechtag, Irwin Schotzman, Stan Camiel, Judy Aved and Jerry Schultz at Hilltop Big Top at San Diego High School.

At Hoover High’s dance “ Night Life” Susan Solof, Sonny Stern, Helene Kaufman, David Levens, Darreld Kitaen, Janice Tappen, Larry Prager, and Brenda Heiman.

Dancing at “ El Pacifico Room” Lucy Recht ‘n Dan Weinberg, Janet Solof ‘n Steve Kerstel, Linda Douglas ‘n Noel Fishman, Susan Solof ‘n Joe Winiki.

Congratulations to Lawrence Schiller who is one of the four San Diego representatives in the Lions International Speech Contest on “ What the Constitution means to me.”

Hear something interesting   or really fine.
Don’t keep it secret, can CY-5-0679.

Sisterhood Plans Passover Program
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

The next regular luncheon meeting of Tifereth Israel Sisterhood will take place on April 13th, 12 noon, at Tifereth Israel Center.  An interesting Passover program has been arranged, with a social afternoon to follow.  Guests are invited to bring cards and mah jong sets.  Mrs. Irving Goodman is captain, with Mrs. B. Rubin as co-captain.
Mrs. Sidney Newman, chairman of the nominating committee, will present her slate of officers for three coming year.  Additional nominations may be presented by petition fifteen days before the election meeting which takes place in May, after being duly signed by two members and bearing the signature of the nominee.  For reservations, please call AT 4-5255 or AT 4-2198.

Pi Alpha Lambda Has Mothers’ Club
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

The Mother’s Club of Pi Alpha Lambda, sorority of Jewish girls on San Diego State College campus, are having a luncheon card party Thursday, April 8, 12:00 noon at the home of Celia Schwartz, 4068 Center St.  Proceeds will go to the sorority house when they become national.  Please call for reservations at CY-6-0217 and AT-2-2629.

Local Seaman Is Honored
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

Richard Cramer, Seaman Recruit, US Naval Training Center, was awarded the American Spirit Honor medal on Saturday, March 20, it was made known by Henry Weinberger, chairman of the USO National Jewish Welfare Board Armed Services Committee.

The award sponsored by the Citizens Committee of the Army, Navy and Air Force, is presented to one member of the recruit graduating classes from all of the armed services for leadership, achievement, sportsmanship, military bearing, initiative, response to orders (highest qualifications of a good shipmate) and application to recruit training. 
Seaman Recruit Cramer, son of Mrs. Rose Cramer, 1376 Biarritz Dr., Normandy Isle, Miami Beach, Florida, has been a regular attendant of all religious and cultural programs sponsored by USO-JB during his eleven weeks of recruit training, Mr. Weinberger said.

Give More in 1954
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

This is pretty early in the campaign to begin stories of people who make the work that volunteers do worthwhile.  However, Bill Colt, one of the advance workers of the Fund, is walking on air after getting a $300 contribution from a retired Navy man living at the YMCA.  This is a substantial increase over his gift of 1953.  Colt says that this is the kind of thing that makes him want to keep working on the Drive because it shows that there are people who truly give from a generous heart to help others who need their assistance.  “If the same spirit were evidenced by everyone in the community,” Colt says, “there would be no trouble in reaching any goal that was set for the Fund.”

Fund Sabbath
Southwestern Jewish Press April 2, 1954 Page 6

United Jewish Fund Sabbath will be held at Tifereth Israel Synagogue this Friday, April 2 at 8:15 ;.m.  Speaking for the Combined Jewish Appeal will be Prof. Guy Davis.


“Adventures in Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our indexed “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.

Salam Fayyad: The moderate face of the Palestinian Authority

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment
By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestine Authority, appears to be a decent and wise man. Along with Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Authority, Saeb Erekat, prominent negotiator, and Sari Nuseiba, one-time minister in the Palestine Authority and more often President of al-Quds University, they are Palestinians who assert national interests, but have spoken against violence and in favor of accommodation with Israel.

A long piece in Ha’aretz presents an interview with Fayyad. It begins with his good wishes for Israel’s holiday and extends to his comments on building Palestinian infrastructure to the point in 2011 when it will be appropriate to declare an independent state. Palestine, in his view, must be a viable entity, capable of providing dignity and security to its residents, in whose declaration Israel will participate.

Sounds good, but it gets dicey. He wants a state with credible boundaries, and not a “Mickey Mouse” state of leftovers. The pre-1967 lines are appropriate for Palestine, including East Jerusalem. When asked about refugees, he responded that they should have a right to live in Palestine. That is encouraging, without going so far as to renounce their right to live in Israel.

Also problematic is his reliance on the American White House. He says 2011 is crucial insofar as it is within Barack Obama’s first term. Perhaps he is shrewd enough to doubt that his Messiah will win a second term. Yet the reliance is troubling insofar as it repeats the Palestinian mantra that their demands are just, waiting for an outsider to provide them, rather than relying on themselves to give as well as take in negotiations.

Leaving aside these blips in the interview, that optimists might view as ploys that might be altered for a good deal, Fayyad faces serious problems that have contributed to the failure of previous moments when Israeli centrists spotted signs of hope, and Israeli leftists sounded their trumpets.

First, these Palestinian moderates do not own their turf. They were expelled from Gaza, and continue to wrestle with West Bankers who would rather say no to accommodation with Israel, view stone throwing as peaceful demonstration, and applaud those who go beyond stones to firearms and suicide belts.  There are also the mad mullahs who incite their followers with claims that the Jews are intent on destroying al-Aqsa mosque and expelling all the Arabs from Jerusalem.

Some years ago Sari Nuseiba provided me with an excellent cup of coffee and good conversation in the president’s office of al-Quds University, but never responded to my suggestion that he develop a joint program along with the Hebrew University MA Program in Public Policy that I was directing. It was a time when the Olso Accords were unraveling to the sound of Israeli buses blowing up, and Nuseiba may have been hearing the early signs of an intifada to come.

Yet another problem for Palestinian moderates appears among Israelis who are not moderate. Just this week we have seen TV films of religious enthusiasts gathering at the Cave of the Patriarchs, praising the prime minister for including it on the list of national heritage sites, and asserting more general rights over the Land of Israel. We also saw the grave of Baruch Goldstein, seen by some of those enthusiasts as a martyr after killing Palestinians who were praying in their section of the structure.

These are the Israeli equivalents of Americans who attend tea parties and support Sarah Palin. They are clearly outside the center, but represent a faction with political weight. Their American equivalents helped produce eight years of Geroge W. Bush and the two frustrating wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. They are currently out of power, but well represented in Congress and cannot be counted out for the elections of 2010 or 2012.

Israel’s religious and nationalist right appears to be a smaller percentage of the electorate, yet large enough to be serious contenders for most government coalitions. They may never gain the position of prime minister or the key ministries of defense, finance, or foreign affairs. However, the people who get those ministries in right-of-center governments like that of Benyamin Netanyahu are not all that hostile to what others call extremism. Signs of that are not in the government’s resistance of a settlement freeze in Jerusalem, which is widely supported, but in the government’s support of Jews moving with provocative bombast into Arab neighborhoods where the residents do not share the moderation of Fayyad, Abbas, Erekat, or Nuseiba.

One can wonder if it is appropriate to include Barack Obama along with the mad mullahs and Jewish fanatics as sources of doom rather than peace. Even leaving aside those who claim the President is a Muslim or anti-Semite, saner critics note that all those sermons of Jeremiah Wright left a mark on a man who has pressed Israel more forcefully and more publicly than he has pressed Palestine.

Salam Fayyad’s interview in Ha’aretz might be an effort to defuse Obama’s madness in insisting on a construction freeze throughout Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. That set things back by forcing Palestinians to stake out a more extreme position than in previous years.

The rabbis who contributed to the Passover Haggadah distinguished between the wise, the simple, the wicked, and the person who does not know how to ask. Among the arguments heard around the table is who among present figures most represents each type.

One should never say never. But doubt is reasonable in light of what is translated from the Arabic, as well as heard directly in Israeli Hebrew and American English.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

Remembering the true meaning of Passover

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO — On Passover some Jews obsess about chametz. They spend so much time worrying about Passover Kashrut that they forget what the holiday is all about.

One such Jew was Rabbi Yechiel of Kozmir. He was fixated on observing every single law of the holiday and ridding his house of any and all chametz. A few days before Passover he would draw water from a well far from the city and guard it in his home, lest any grains accidentally fall into the water he would drink during the holiday. Even after he scoured his floor, he would not put a sealed bottle of wine on it lest it becomes “contaminated.” On Yom Kippur he would be worrying about Pesach. When he put on his kittel he made sure that no bread crumbs fell on it after the fast.

To insure that the wheat for his matza did not become chametz before the holiday, he would put it in a sack, then put the sack in a barrel, then hoist and hang the entire assembly from a rope attached to his ceiling. In this way he made sure that not a drop of water might touch it and spoil it for the holiday.

One year he called in a mill worker to help him take down the sack so that the wheat could be baked into matzot. The worker reached into his pocket and took out a knife to cut the rope from which the wheat hung from the ceiling.

As soon as he saw the knife, Rabbi Yechiel began yelling at the worker: “You’re using a regular knife! You should use a Passover knife instead!”*

Someone standing nearby shook his head at all of Rabbi Yechiel’s stringencies. “Everyone needs to observe Pesach and rid their houses of chametz,” he said, “but adding restriction after restriction diminishes the joy of the holiday.” (Sipurei Chasidim II, p. 287)

I agree with this bystander. Keeping Kosher for Passover is important but should never become an end in itself. It is rather a means to an end. Ridding our homes of chametz and eating matza and the special foods of the holiday are the ways we are reminding ourselves that God redeemed our ancestors from slavery. In the words of the Haggadah, “now some are still enslaved, next year may all be free,” and that we must work toward the day when all human beings will be free from all that still enslaves them and reduces the quality of their lives today.

This is the true message of Passover.

*The knife used to cut the rope comes nowhere near the wheat, and so does not have to be kosher at all.


Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego

Revisiting the Rachel Corrie case

April 2, 2010 1 comment

By Bruce S. Ticker

PHILADELPHIA–Rachel Corrie took a stand for what she thought was a righteous cause. Maybe it was.
If Corrie had a significant concern, her response was not only self-destructive but also ineffective, a danger to others, a disruption of military operations and utter disregard for the rules of her host country.
Corrie was fatally injured seven years ago when she tried to block an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer from razing a home in Rafah near the Gaza/Egyptian border. She belonged to an organization called the International Solidarity Movement, which consisted mainly of Americans and Europeans devoted to helping Arabs in Israel’s territories.
Her death is the focus of a civil lawsuit which her family brought against the Israeli government for either intentionally killing her or taking negligent actions that contributed to her death. Court proceedings, which began in a Haifa courtroom on March 10, reflect seven years of rationalizing by her parents. They persist in ignoring that much responsibility for this tragedy must be attributed to their own daughter and her organization.
Maybe Israel was mistaken to level Arab homes in Gaza and the West Bank, but Corrie picked the wrong means of protesting the policy. The solution: Fight City Hall.
Corrie, of Olympia, Washington, was fortunate to grow up in a country with a democratic process that can lead to policy changes if a person takes advantage of the system. In turn, the United States can influence a democratic ally such as Israel to consider altering a questionable policy.
Israel’s practice of bulldozing Arab homes was often confusing. Sometimes it sounded necessary, sometimes not. Israel cited two prime reasons. First, the entry points for arms-smuggling tunnels were built under these homes. Secondly, Israel razed the homes of terrorists regardless if any family members were involved. The concern at least merited further inquiry.
The most serious concerns for Israeli policies in 2003 were the construction of settlements in hostile areas and questionable military operations.
Corrie and her friends could have challenged Israel’s demolition practice without leaving home, almost. They could have organized politically and lobbied the federal government. That would have meant forming an organization, collecting petitions, holding rallies, writing the president and members of Congress, and aligning themselves with diverse groups of people.
Many Jews might have joined such a drive then because common ground could be found between reasonable critics of Israel and mainstream supporters of the Jewish state. There were Jews who felt uncomfortable with both the right and the left, and probably would have participated in a centrist organization.
Perhaps such an initiative would have succeeded, but members of ISM flew to Israel and injected themselves into perilous activities. The bulldozer that targeted the house in Gaza was in a vicinity that was, for all practical purposes, a war zone.
When ISM members attempt to block military actions, they endanger the lives of others and themselves. Corrie jeopardized her own life by placing herself in front of the bulldozer. The driver was forced to react, and he claimed he did not see her, according to the military.
What actually happened may never be known. The prospect that Israel did anything wrong in this instance cannot be casually dismissed, but Corrie still put herself in harm’s way.
ISM members might argue that taking political action back home would have failed because of the influence of AIPAC, the premiere pro-Israel lobbying organization, and the hawkish slant of the Bush administration. It would have been harder than today, but they would never know without trying.
Among current examples of lobbying, the Obama administration possibly influenced Israel to allow three Americans and a Briton to testify during the court proceedings, according to The Guardian of London. They have all been denied re-entry to Israel until now.
The witnesses, then ISM members, have been expected to testify that Israeli soldiers saw Corrie and other activists at the scene, and could have arrested or removed her before she risked her life, the Guardian reported.
Also, a left-leaning lobby called J Street has proven to be a player in Washington, D.C. J Street could have accommodated Corrie’s cause had the group existed seven years ago. The need for a J Street has diminished because Israeli policies have moderated, and J Street’s current positions are too rigid.
The Israeli military exonerated its troops and the bulldozer driver, but accused Corrie and the ISM of conduct that was “illegal, irresponsible and dangerous.” They were right. Corrie and friends could have been working toward the same goal in a manner that was legal, responsible and safe.
Bruce S. Ticker is a Philadelphia freelance journalist. He can be contacted