Archive for September 3, 2010

A joint interview of Hillary Clinton by Israeli and Palestinian journalists

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following is a transcript of a joint interview on Friday of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Amira Hanania Rishmawi of Palestine TV and Udi Segal of Israel Channel 2: 

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Shalom, and thank you for this unique opportunity with my colleague, Amira Hanania.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Your Excellency, for this interview. We’re taking your – from your time to send some messages, very important messages, to our people. I want to start directly, because I know your time is tight. I will start in asking, this Administration repeats that the Palestinian state is a strategic American interest. Is this become slogan for varied and concrete policies and steps to be taken from your side? Touch on that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, thank you both for giving me this opportunity not only to talk to you, but through you to Israeli and Palestinian citizens. And I thank you for that.

The United States believes very strongly, and we are totally committed to working with and supporting the efforts of the Israeli and Palestinian leadership and people to achieve a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel living side by side. That has been a personal commitment of mine going back many years, and I believe first and foremost it is in the interests of the people of Israel and of the Palestinians, and particularly of the children.

But it is also an interest of the United States. We strongly support the security and the future of Israel and we strongly support the aspirations of the Palestinian people. The only way, in our opinion, in the 21st century, that you can have the kind of security and peace that gives you a chance for the future that each of your people deserve is through a settlement of all of the outstanding issues and an end to the conflict.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you said it yourself yesterday, both sides are so disappointed. What makes this attempt different? Why are the odds – this time it’s for us rather than against us?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great question, because I know of the skepticism and even the suspicion in the minds and hearts of people in the region. And I said yesterday I’m personally disappointed. I have not only supported the efforts that have come before, but was deeply involved in the support of what my husband tried to do in the 1990s. And I think I’m the first person ever associated with an American administration who called for a Palestinian state as a way to realize the two-state solution.

Why is it different? I think it’s different for three reasons. First, I think that time is not on the side of either Israeli or Palestinian aspirations for security, peace, and a state. It’s not because – there are so many changes in the region where the rejectionist ideology and the commitment to violence that some unfortunately have as we recently saw with the terrible killings in Hebron and the attack outside of Ramallah. They gained greater access to weapons. They have a sponsor, namely Iran, who is very much behind a lot of what they’re doing. The technology is threatening to the stability of both peoples’ lives.

I mean, if you look at the economies that are now growing, much of the world is still coming out of a recession. In the Palestinian business community, in Israel, you have vibrant, growing economies that are making a difference. In Nablus, last year, unemployment was 30 percent; it’s down to 12 percent. It’s clear to me that the forces of growth and positive energy are in a conflict with the forces of destruction and negativity. And the United States wants to weigh in on the side of leaders and people who see this as maybe the last chance for a very long time to resolve this.

Now, I will be the first to tell you it is very difficult. I cannot change history. I cannot take an eraser to the history books and change everything that has happened between you for so many years. But what we can do is offer a different future. But then it takes courage to accept that, because it is a bit of a leap of faith. That’s why I was very impressed that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas came here despite the skepticism.

QUESTION: Okay. So Your Excellency, public in the region — consider that Prime Minister Netanyahu came here for a public relationship – relations exercises. What are you going to do at the end of this month if he will not – if he wants to combine between settlement and these public relationship? The end of the month is going to be the last date for that sort of moratorium before the settlement. What are you going to do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I have known Prime Minister Netanyahu for many years, and I am convinced that he understands and accepts the importance of achieving a two-state solution. He publicly committed to that, something he had not done before, and he negotiated with the Palestinians in the past. He and President Abbas know each other. They have, in my presence, been very clear that they want to work extremely hard to get to a final agreement.

We’re well aware that there are issues that have to be dealt with, such as the one you referred to, at the end of the month. I’m not going to get into their discussions, because that really is at the core of their being able to make some tough decisions, being able to have the confidence that they can have sensitive discussions without me or anybody else talking about them. But I am absolutely convinced that these two men, for different reasons, maybe the two can actually do this.

Everyone knows that in order for Israelis to accept a two-state solution, they have to believe – and I support this with all my heart – that they will be more secure, not less secure. And from their perspective, and one of the reasons for the skepticism in Israel, is we pulled out of Lebanon, we got Hezbollah, we pulled out of Gaza, we got Hamas. So there’s a reality to it. It’s not just a kind of public relations or theoretical argument. I think with President Abbas, he was courageous in the times when he was alone in the Palestinian leadership, in the PLO, in Fatah. He’s been calling for a two-state solution for decades and has given his whole life to trying to realize that. And he knows that this may be the last time.

So I really am convinced that we have obstacles, we have some looming challenges in terms of time. But I believe that both men came with the best of intentions. And now, we have to work hard to overcome those obstacles.

QUESTION: President Abbas said clearly that if settlement freeze does not continue, there will be a – come to a screeching halt in negotiation. What do you – do you agree to that? What do you make of that saying of President Abbas?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Udi, I think part of what we are doing here is creating an atmosphere that is conducive to a final agreement that rests on tough decisions. And the parties know that the goal here is to make the decisions within a framework agreement on all the core issues, all the difficult core issues. And clearly, territory, settlements, borders, security, those are the hardest of the core issues in my opinion.

QUESTION: Refugees?

SECRETARY CLINTON: They have to – and absolutely, Jerusalem, refugees, water, I mean, there’s a whole list of the hard internal core decisions. And I think that dealing with all of them – not in a piecemeal way, but in a comprehensive way, because each side is going to have to make concessions, each side is going to have to make tradeoffs. I’ve never been in a negotiation where one side got everything, because that’s not what happens in negotiations. So I understand the positions of both leaders and I think they are sincere about trying to work to get to a resolution of the outstanding problems, including the one that is looming at the end of the month.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, some people in the region say that peace talks are intended to appease Arabs or the Arabs before some kind of military action against Iran. Is there any truth of that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, and I think that’s a very important question, because we have great concerns about Iran. And it’s not only about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; it’s about Iran’s sponsorship of terror and its supply of weapons to groups that are trying to destabilize countries and societies. So that’s a given. And that concern, as you know, is shared by much of the Arab world, because they see in their own countries the results of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism.

But the Arab Peace Initiative that was led by the Saudis and by King Abdullah, which said, “Here is an outline for how we would like to have peace with Israel,” has been embraced by Arab and Muslim countries, as you know. That had nothing to do with Iran. That was an expression of the recognition by Arab leaders that this conflict needs to be resolved, and it needs to finally result in a two-state solution, because there’s so much to be gained in the region, turning the attention to what could be done together on all these difficult issues that are looming over the region, like water and dealing with terrorism and the like.

So I think that Iran is a serious problem. I’m the first to tell you that. It’s a problem not just for the United States. It’s a problem for the entire region, because more than anyone, you see the results. I mean, Hamas is not only attacking Israelis; Hamas has been brutal to the people in Gaza in so many ways over the last years.

So let’s recognize that we have a lot of problems we have to deal with. My goal has been to try to tackle each problem and to say, “What can we do to make progress?” There are connections, but on their own, getting to a two-state solution is so much in the interests of the entire region.

QUESTION: I want to follow up Amira’s question. Isn’t – we are witnessing a simple deal here, “We, the United States will dismantle of Iran nuclear weapons, and in return, you, the Israeli and Palestinians, finally will establish a Palestinian state”?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that there are some who make that case. I mean, I make the case on the merits. I mean, in the 1990s, Iran was not a looming threat the way that it is now because of its advanced nuclear program. And my husband, I, and others worked very hard with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and others to try to get to the point where we could establish – and of course, I wish we had done that. We’d now have had a state for 10 years and we would have had, I think, a very clear example to the world about what that meant.

I don’t want to miss this opportunity. We are making progress on the sanctions against Iran. They are clearly feeling the pinch of those because we see it in all the interactions around the world where they are now under tremendous economic pressure. Countries that we didn’t think would join with us have joined and are part of trying to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. So we’re going to stay focused on that. But we know that on its own, this is such an important accomplishment. Will it have consequences? Of course. It will, I believe, help to undermine Iran’s support and that is, in and of itself, good.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, let’s go back – go back with me to the normal and daily life for the Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, checkpoints involved. The Palestinian – Israel maintained more than 500 checkpoints that seriously hinder the freedom of movement in the West Bank. Are the United States writing this up in the negotiation? And are there steps that really give the Palestinians freedom to move, freedom to pray, to reach Jerusalem, to reach a mosque, to reach a better future?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is very much on our mind and it’s very much on the minds of both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. We are well aware that improving the daily lives of Palestinians, which has been going on for a few years now – we think that President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, other leaders – but mostly citizens themselves, mostly Palestinians who have really, in the West Bank, been able to do more on their own behalf – are demonstrating, in ways we could not say, the effects, the positive effects of peace. So, the checkpoints, the roadblocks, all of the daily challenges that we know affect the Palestinians are certainly on the agenda.

Tony Blair, who you know represents the Quartet, which has played an important role in keeping the world’s attention focused on the need for these negotiations, will be working even more with the – persistently and we hope effectively with both Israel and the Palestinian leadership to try to ease as many of those problems as possible while the negotiations are going.

You see, I think the political negotiations need to be matched with changes on the ground and confidence-building and interactions between Israelis and Palestinians. You both know the problems that we face in any society where there is a really small number of people who are committed to terror and violence – it sends all kinds of messages of fear into people who themselves are just wanting to live their lives. So we want to increase freedom of access, we want to increase opportunities in the West Bank, while at the same time, we’re pursuing the political track.

QUESTION: A hypothetical “What if” question if I may: If a full agreement cannot be reached through this negotiation, is creating Palestinian states with provisional borders an option?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I never answer hypotheticals and I don’t particularly want to answer this one because that’s really for the parties to decide. And at this point, that is not on the agenda. What’s on the agenda is a final agreement that ends the conflict, resolves all claims, creates a viable Palestinian state, and gives Israel the security that you deserve and need to have.

So we don’t want to talk about fallback positions because that’s not been mentioned by either leader. I mean, each leader has come prepared to talk about all the core issues, and it would be far better to resolve borders, which then resolves a lot of other difficult matters, than to only do it halfway. So our goal, working with and supporting the negotiation by the leaders, is to get to a framework that deals with all core issues and then a final agreement.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, peace doesn’t only come through beautiful words, but needs to be backed by actions. We all know that the PA government now is through a financial crisis. So what is your message to the donors? And we really need, as a Palestinian, your message to them because they are – start losing hope in peace.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. Well, two messages.

First, on the Palestinian Authority, I want to publicly commend the work that has been done by the Palestinian Authority. The advances in security are recognized by all of us. The Palestinian security forces have gained a good and well-deserved reputation for their work in the West Bank. I want to commend the changes in financial management and accountability. And the United States, as you, I’m sure, know has increased dramatically our direct support for the Palestinian Authority. And I have encouraged and urged all the donors to do that and more. Last year was a good year. We got a very robust amount of contributions. This year, we are upping our request to all of the donors to support the peace process by supporting the Palestinian Authority.

And the second message is really to the Palestinian people themselves. I was in Ramallah last year and I met with a group of young Palestinians. And I came away not only impressed, but so encouraged by their motivation, their ambition, their curiosity, their intelligence. And then shortly after that, I was in Israel and I met with a group of young Israelis. And as an outsider, but someone who has long been devoted to Israel and long been committed to a Palestinian state, I see the potential in this next generation.

And I’m hoping that the adults, I’m hoping that the leadership will be willing to try one more time and to be willing to do the hard work of making peace, because these young people – they deserve to have a future in Ramallah or Jericho, not in Toronto or Chicago. If the Palestinian diaspora came home, it would be one of the most talented group of people ever – the doctors, the lawyers, the business leaders. And Israel deserves to have a peaceful, secure future. And so that’s a passion for me, and I will do everything I can to support this process.

QUESTION: You spoke about a core issue. I’m a little confused. When you were a candidate for presidency, you said that Jerusalem was the undivided capital of Israel. Then you retracted from this statement like the candidate, now President Obama. Who should we believe, then? Candidate Clinton or Secretary of State Clinton?

SECRETARY CLINTON: You should believe that I am committed to a safe and secure Israel, and that I believe a two-state solution that realizes the aspirations of the Palestinian people is in the best interests of Israel. Jerusalem is a contested, emotional issue for both Israelis and Palestinians, and really, for Christians, Jews, and Muslims around the world, as you well know.

I want to support what is the outcome that the parties can agree to. And I think both parties know that they’re going to have to engage on this issue and come to an understanding and a resolution so that Jerusalem becomes not the flashpoint, but the symbol of peace and cooperation. And so I am fully supportive of what can be negotiated between the parties.

QUESTION: You mentioned your husband. Maybe on a personal note, do you have an extra incentive to keep on from the point that your husband left it, and this time, succeed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, there’s no doubt about that. Both my husband and I were very sad that we missed that opportunity. And I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. We – they were so close. I mean, then-Prime Minister Barak and then-President Arafat were so close. And my husband expended so much energy because he cares so deeply. And when he left office some weeks later, Yasser Arafat called him and he said, “Well, now, we’re ready to take the deal,” and my husband said, “But I’m not the president anymore.”

QUESTION: Do you think that Palestinians still losing chances in this time?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I hope not, because I want to see this done. I want to see it not because it’s something that I care about, although I care deeply. I want to see it because it is so much the right thing to do historically and morally and spiritually and politically and economically.

Otherwise, I see, unfortunately, the forces of destruction, the forces of negativity on both sides gaining strength. And then more young Palestinians and more young Israelis will leave. And that’s – and they don’t want to leave. I mean, I meet with them all the time and they don’t want to leave. But they want to live their lives. They want to live their lives with a level of peace, security, and opportunity, which every person of any common sense wants to have.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: So thank you very much, Your Excellency, for having us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for this interview.

Preceding provided by U.S. State Department 


What a fly on the wall might have heard during Mideast talks

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The current Washington “peace talks” have less chance of producing either a Palestinian state or legitimacy and security for Israel than even their previous editions. 

Mahmoud Abbas isn’t Arafat.  

Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist with political support from Turkey and weapons from Iran.  Hamas and Iran are willing to mix Sunni and Shiite fundamentalist orthodoxies in the name of their greater enemies – Israel and Fatah. Turkey is stirring the pot.

The Arab states are not interested in Palestine and want Israel to do something about their priority – Iran. 

Egypt’s ailing President Hosni Mubarak did not drag himself to Washington on behalf of a Palestinian state, but on behalf of his son Gamal.

King Abdullah’s already minority position in his kingdom shrinks daily and there are calls to oust Palestinians lest they build a mini-State in Jordan as they did in Lebanon. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu isn’t Prime Minister Barak.

Senator Mitchell said there is a “window of opportunity” now.  With due respect, it is not a window but trompe l’oeil – the French decorating trick that “fools the eye” by drawing outdoor scenery on solid walls. Which is not to say nothing interesting is happening.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spent an hour-and-a-half in private with Mahmoud Abbas yesterday. A fly on the wall might have heard the following:
Abbas: Don’t leave me. An Israeli military withdrawal from the West Bank will have Hamas taking over within weeks – or less. They threw my troops out of Gaza, they’re torturing and murdering Fatah supporters and shutting down Internet cafes. Hamas killed four of your people this week on the West Bank; they don’t like my people any better.
Netanyahu: Five; they killed five. One of the women was nine months pregnant. You might have noticed that we removed 140 roadblocks and eight central checkpoints in 2008 and another 27 checkpoints and 140 roadblocks in 2009 – because you keep whining about them. Do you think that had anything to do with missing those Hamas guys? In the meantime, could you stop telling your children that we put Palestinian children in ovens and we killed Mickey Mouse?
Abbas: That was Hamas.
Netanyahu: OK, whatever. You built the museum glorifying the Sbarro pizzeria bombing. Israel is a legitimate, sovereign, Jewish country. Get over it.
Abbas: Will you stop harping on that “legitimacy” thing? I’ve got the same problem with Hamas – they don’t think I’m any more legitimate than you are. If I give up a major card – your legitimacy, your Jewishness, your rights, your borders – Hamas will make me a laughingstock with my own people; a dead laughingstock.
Netanyahu: You keep calling them “your people.” You didn’t have an election in 2009 because you were afraid you would lose. We call a person who rules without a mandate a dictator. Who are your people and how do you know? 
Abbas: I know this – I’m the one on the hot seat and you don’t want what comes after me. I also know that I used to be able to find some space between the Americans and Hamas so I could call myself a moderate between the extreme pro- and anti-Israel factions. That’s how I stayed alive. But with President Obama demanding a “total” settlement freeze and that I declare an independent state in less than two years, I’m being squeezed between two radicals.    
Netanyahu: We agree. And don’t worry – I’m not leaving you and your American-trained army without Israeli supervision.

Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

ADL calls on EU to condemn its trade minister’s comments

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)–The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday called on the President of the European Commission to condemn anti-Semitic statements made in a radio interview by the European Union’s trade minister.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following letter to Jose Manuel Barroso, who currently holds the presidency of the European Commission:
“Dear Mr. President:
“We urge you to issue a clear and public condemnation of Karel de Gucht’s anti-Semitic remarks yesterday to VRT radio. 
“Mr. de Gucht said, ‘There exists among a majority of the Jews a belief – it’s hard to describe it otherwise – that they’re right. And a belief is something that is difficult to combat with rational arguments.  It has nothing to do with whether they are religious or not. Even the secular Jews share the same belief of, in fact, being right.’
“To assert that ‘a majority of the Jews’ are stubborn and irrational is a clear and negative characterization of the Jewish people. More succinctly, it is anti-Semitism.
“We are deeply concerned that EU Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly would not condemn a clear case of anti-Semitism, asserting instead that de Gucht’s remarks were ‘personal comments’ and reiterating the Commission’s position on the Middle East Peace Process.
“Today Mr. de Gucht correctly said that ‘anti-Semitism has no place in today’s world and is fundamentally against our European values,’ but he obviously does not recognize that his comments were anti-Semitic. He merely expressed regret that his comments ‘have been interpreted in a sense that I did not intend’ and that he ‘did not mean in any possible way to cause offense or stigmatize the Jewish Community.’
“Mr. President, if you believe as we do, that the leaders of Europe have a positive obligation to denounce anti-Semitism whenever it arises, and especially when it occurs at such a high level, we urge you to promptly and clearly condemn Mr. de Gucht’s remarks.”
Preceding provided by the Anti-Defamation League

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, February 4, 1956, Part 2

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

In Concert March 6
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

Schmuel Fisher who is called the Jewish Charlie Chaplin, will appear here in a concert along with Dora Kaliwona and pianist Pola Kadison, on Sunday, March 6, at the Beth Jacob Center. Artists are being sponsored by the Jewish Labor Committee of San Diego.

Mr. Fisher lived in Israel since 1930, was educated at the University of Arts and Letters, in Tel Aviv.  He entertained the troops at the front during the war for liberation.

Yo-Ma-Co’s Install New Officers

Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

The Yomaco Club will have their semi-annual dinner dance installation of officers at Caspar’s Ranch in El Cajon City, Sunday, Feb 13th, 7 p.m.  They have engaged Forest Gantz’s orchestra for the occasion.  Ted Harrmann is the chairman for the installation and a terrific program is expected.

Incoming officers are President, Ray Lowitz; Vice Pres., Leon Solomon; Record. Sec’y, Esther Tempchin; Correspond. Sec’y. Ray Novak; Treaurer, Hy Kitaen; Sg. At Arms, Al Abelson; Membership Chairman, Evelyn Herman; Auditor, Byron Sharpe. 

Newcomers who will be officially welcomed into the ranks of Yomaco are the Sid Roses, the Victor Silversteins, the Al Wittenbergs and the Stanford Brusts. 

A cordial invitation is extended to old members and friends. For reservations call JU 2-0370 or JU 2-4204.

Many thanks to those of you contributing to our Eleanor Kitaen Memorial Fund. Any additional contributions may be made by calling Tully Kitaen, AT 1-4140, and will be gratefully accepted.  Plans are in the making to perpetuate the name of Eleanor Kitaen within the confines of our own Jewish community.

City of Hope JRs. Slate “Fun Nite”
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

“Ladies Nite” an evening of “Just For Fun” is being planned by the City of Hope Jr. Auxiliary on Tuesday, February 8th at 8 p.m. at Tifereth Israel Synagogue. This is for women only. Games! Prizes! And Surprises and delicious refreshments, including lox and bagel will be yours.  No admission – no solicitation. Just an evening of fun and relaxation for members and friends. Anyone who would like to come or is in need of transportation please call Mrs. Morton Lieberman, CO 4-0972, or Mrs. Harold Reisman, HO 6-7236.

Ballet Russe Here Two Performances
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

Third major ballet company to come to San Diego this year will be the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The noted company will give two performances here, an evening show on Feb. 26, with a matinee scheduled for the 27th.  Both engagements will be played in Russ Auditorium.

The company is topped by one of America’s prima ballerinas, Maria Tallchief, and Frederic Franklin, British-born star.  Franklin returns to the company after a 2-year tour as Stanley Kowalski in the ballet version of the Tennessee Williams prize-winning play, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”  New to the company and to America is the 22-year-old prima ballerina of the famous Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Irina Borowski.

The dance troupe’s local engagement is a Master Artist Series attraction.  Tickets are available Palmer Box Office, 640 Broadway.

Plays at Russ
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

Walter Gieseking, one of the world’s top ranking pianists, will give a concert recital in Russ Auditorium, Monday, Feb. 14 at 3:30 p.m.

This will be Gieseking’s first local appearance in many years.

Throughout the years since his American debut, his extraordinary gift has won him international fame all over the globe, and almost all of his engagements are sell-outs.

Gieseking’s local engagement is a Master Artist series attraction. Tickets are available, Palme Box Office, 640 Broadway.

Cottage of Israel
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 3

At the last meeting of the Board of Directors, plans were outlined for the Israeli Independence Day Celebration which is already scheduled for May 1st on the lawns of the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park. Since there will probably be no other public celebration of this event, every effort will be made to provide an outstanding program at that time.

All hostessing and housekeeping of the Cottage has been taken over by a small group of women headed by Mrs. Rose Abrams. The small budget provided for this important Cottage activity is used by these ladies to support their favorite charitable interests.

To those persons who are not yet members of the Cottage of Israel, we would suggest a visit to the House of Pacifric Relations in Balboa Park any Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5.  If a visit convinces them that this important public relations group is worth supporting, they can become members by sending $2.00 (per family) to Bess Borushek, 4902 67th St. or can phone HO 9-2643 for any further information.

“The Greatest Gift?” (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 4

Last week we were invited to inspect the new Children’s Hospital on Kearny Mesa, Route 395, adjacent to the soon-to-be-opened Sharp Memorial Hospital.  Our tour of the hospital was an eye-opener.  We saw a beautifully  designed institution for children with modern, up-to-date equipment to take care of every kind of disability.  The children’s hospital, like the Sharp Hospital, was built entirely by volunteer funds.

Both hospitals are a necessity in our growing city. There are approximately only 1900 beds in general hospitals in the city and county. The Sharp Memorial plans an additional 350 bed hospital. Even with these added facilities, we will be short 1,000 beds, according to national standards.

San Diego Jewry has been active in doing their share toward raising funds for both the children’s institution and the Sharp Memorial Hospital. A group of men have pledged to give almost $50,000 to the Sharp Memorial Hospital for one of their surgeries in the name of the S.D. Jewish Community; others have donated and furnished rooms for the Children’s Hospital.

Hospitals are used by all people and it is no more than right that we shall bear our hare of the burden. Illness knows no color, race or creed.  In other larger cities, Jews have built hospitals, clinics and other institutions so that the entire community could benefit.

We, therefore, cannot agree with the Rabbi, who while commending the group of men responsible for these generous gifts, saw fit to add—“However, let us clearly understand that the greatest gift, in fact, the most significant one lies in the field of Religion. The most meaningful contribution that the Jews can make to America are the Synagogues, just as the churches are the greatest contributions of the Christians…”

Our religion has always taught us to care for the aged, the sick, the infirm, and the needy. Fortunately, the synagogues will not suffer by the generosity of these men.  However, if we must make a choice, in our humble opinion, it would be better for us to give up some of the well upholstered luxuries of the synagogue, in order to bring us close to the “Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.”

Clear Tracks for U.J.F. (Editorial)
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 4

The United Jewish Fund, on March 24, will open the twenty-second Combined Jewish Appeal for Jewish philanthropy. For almost a quarter of a century the Jewish community of San Diego raised funds for Jewish needs everywhere through this “all in one drive.”

Over the long period of annual fund raising, it is possible that the real meaning and function of the United Drive might have been taken for granted.  The dramatic fact is that the United Jewish Fund is not merely another campaign but actually many campaigns launched into one.

This fact must in 1955 be re-emphasized so that it may be clearly understood by every89 member of our Jewish community. This is a supreme fund raising effort for the institutions overseas, in Israel, in the United States and in San Diego.

Were it not for this united effort there would be a multitude of campaigns which would quickly demoralize the entire community to the detriment of the many agencies we support through this one drive.

More About Three Hundred Years in America~Jewish Contributions to American History
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1956, Page 4

By Dr. Philip L. Seman, University of Judaism

Most of the institutions referred to in our last installment of this series  had a distinctly philanthropic approach.  Those who were served were not only asked to contribute toward their support, but in most instances were offered stipends to make it possible for them to learn a trade or acquire an education, without having to be confronted with the difficulty of procuring the necessities of life. Those institutions were not looked upon by the community at large as agencies of self expressions that promoted a conscious self-determination of either the individual or the group.  They were very largely superimposed efforts offering educational training and social outlet, which in many instances muzzled the slightest opportunity for free expression and for the interpretation of ideas and ideals.

The Jewish Community Centers which have been developed in the lst third of the century and are flourishing now three hundred and forty five of them, with a membership of five hundred and twenty thousand, represent the type of institution where the people themselves hve an opportunity of determining upon the activities to be included in the program and where those who are really interested in each and every activity are the determining factors, the ‘yes” or the “no” of the project.

The 345 Centers in the United States and Canada (and now in Europe and Israel as well) are federated in a national body, the Jewish Welfare Board, and occupy buildings for the most part especially designed and constructed for the conduct of recreational, social, cultural, civic and other group and mass activities.

When we speak of five hundred thousand, it may not mean very much when we speak in terms of a population of 158,000,000 but it speaks volumes when we think of it in terms of a population not over 5,000,000; for this number represents the real Jewish manhood and womanhood of the next very important ten years, the boys and girls, young men and women who are being developed in these 345 Centers, along cultural, recreation and spiritual (in the finest sense of the term) lines. These 525,000 are bound to become, many of them, the leaders of our community, because they are taught to think and to act constructively in terms of leadership.

Letter to Editor
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1955, Page 4

Dear Mr. Kaufman:

What a joy it is to read your “Southwestern Jewish Press” as it comes to me regularly. It keeps me so close to San Diego, a city I like very much and that I have been coming to now over 40 years, on and off.  You as editor are to be congratulated.  I read the anglo-Jewish Press from all over the country and your Southwestern Press can easily be matched with the best of them.  I feel your readers are unusually well treated. 

With best wishes,

Philip L. Seman

Ed. Note: Praise from the eminent Dr. Seman is praise indeed. Dr. Seman is one of the outstanding educators in the United States and has played an important part in the development and furtherance of Jewish culture and learning.

(Book Review)
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1955, Page 4

What’s Your Jewish IQ by Harold V. Ribalow, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1954, 106 pages, $2.75.

The author of What’s Your Jewish IQ has published a number of books of Jewish interest. The book covers over 900 questions in the area of Bible, Judaism, Zionism, Israel, Anti-Semitism, American History, Government, Science and Medicine, ‘Famous Men, World Literature, Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, American and Jewish Literature, Music, Journalism, Entertainment, Sports and two sets of General Quiz.  The answers to these 900 questions are in the last half of the book. The book will be of value to anyone, Jew or non Jew who may want to know about Jews, in the areas referred to above.

Ribalow’s  What’s Your Jewish IQ gives answers to his questions in not over a line or two, and in many instances will whet the appetite for further investigations into Jewish History ratherthan serve as a complete course. Just a few examples of the questions, “In what book is the story of Susanna and the Elders told?”  “Do you know who Saadia Gaon was?” “Why is the Dead Sea valuable?”  “Explain the Damascus Blood Libel?”  The section in Ameircan HNistory is particularly of interest now that Jews are observing the Three Hundred Years in America.  And such questions as, “Who was Jacob Barsimon?” “Who was Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas?” “Do you know the first American Physician to specialize in the diseases of the nose and throat?” “Who wrote the now famous sentence ‘A Rose is a rose is a rose’?” etc., etc.  Therse are just a few of the 900 questions.

The questions are a challenge particularly to young people, and above all to non-Jews who will benefit much in checki9ng on the answers to many questions that will be, your reviewer feels, strange and unknown, and will help to clarify much that is strange to those who are not close to Jewish History.

–Philip L. Seman
University of Judaism

Notes on Jewish Music
Southwestern Jewish Press, February 4, 1955, Page 4

By Cantor Joseph Cysner

The Jewish music festival, which will be celebrated throughout the United States during the month of February, was initiated by the J.W.B. sponsored National Jewish Music Council, ten years ago, to bring Jewish Music closer to the hearts and minds of the American Jewish Community.

As we are celebrating the Tercentenary, we proudly recall among many achievements, the great contributions Jews have made in the field of Music. We find great Jewish artists on the concert stage, in Opera, on Radio and Television, thrilling millions of people with their talent and artistry.

But what is the status of  Jewish Music today?  Though there are untiring efforts by National and Local Jewish Music Councils to bring our music closer to our people, is there really a greater appreciation of its beauty?  Are we doing our part to transmit our precious Jewish Music Heritage to our children?

Considering the brief period of its revival in America, we see encouraging signs of creativity and originality.  Composers such as Bloch, Weinberg, Saminsky, Milhaud, Achron and many others have enriched Synagogue Music with treasures, which will strike responsive chords in the hearts of future generations.

Are our own people aware of the beauty and the depth of those masters of Jewish Music?  I fear the answer is in the negative!  Any of these compositions are available to anyone who is interested, by means of recordings and sheet music – but very few people avail themselves of the opportunity to become acquainted with our very own creations.

As the great centers of Jewish life have been wiped out – a greater responsibility rests on the remaining centers of Jewish Life – America and Israel. 

It should be our duty to make Jewish Music appreciation an integral part of Jewish Education.  Children should be encouraged to study Jewish Music in addition to their general Music, the Jewish Song should again vibrate in the homes on all festive occasions. Thus we would create a meaningful link with the past and learn to understand the innermost feeling of the Jewish soul.

A living contact with the great artistic reservoir of Israel through the exchange of music would bring new life into both cultures and add greatly to the elevation of Jewish Music here and everywhere.

Is there a better way to revitalize interest in Jewish Music than by worshipping as a Family Unit, joining in the singing of congregational songs, providing our children with recordings for the various Holy Days and encouraging our young to listen and to study Israeli, as well as Liturgical and Folk Music?


“Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.  To find stories on specific individuals or organizations, type their names in our search box.

Venturing from the shallow end of Jewish life

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO — When I was a child attending summer camp, I dreaded pool days. I did not know how to swim and hated being forced in the water. I always made sure to stay in the shallow end of the pool and no amount of coaxing would entice me to enter the deep end.

One day during swimming lessons we were told to float on our backs. I lined myself up in such a way that I would stay in the shallow part of the pool and I began to float. The swimming instructor told me to begin a back stroke. I complied and slowly began to move. He continued to encourage me before finally telling me to stop. “Look where you are,” he said. I turned over and noticed that I had backstroked all the way over to the deep end, and I had not sunk or drowned. From that day on I was never afraid of the deep end again.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale spent most of his life promoting the power of positive thinking. You can accomplish whatever you set out to do, he claimed, if you have the right attitude.

The same is true of negative thinking. If you believe you cannot accomplish something, you have already defeated yourself.

The Torah tells us that God’s Instruction “is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens…Neither is it beyond the sea.” (Deut. 30:11-13) Rather, “the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.” (Deut. 11:14) The commentator Malechet Machshevet notes that in this last verse the Torah reverses the usual order of things. Normally, one thinks about something in one’s heart before saying it. Here the Torah perplexingly says that first we should “say” something and only afterwards think about it.

Malechet Machshevet suggests that the Torah proposes this order because it is talking about performing mitzvot. When it comes to performing mitzvot, we should first do them and only afterwards think about them. He adds that when it comes to mitzvot this is especially important because so many people look at performing mitzvot as a daunting, impossible, or difficult task. When they approach mitzvot with this attitude, their failure to perform them becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. They have already convinced themselves that they can’t.

I can vouch for the veracity of Melechet Machshevet’s opinion. I cannot even begin to count the number of Jews who have told me they don’t want to keep kosher because it is too difficult or expensive, or Shabbat and holidays because they are too restrictive. When one sees Jewish observance as a hardship rather than a joy, one is less likely to give it a try. Such is the power of negative thinking.

While it is easier to stay in the shallow end of Jewish life, it is not nearly as fulfilling or productive as when one ventures into its depths. When it comes to performing mitzvot, it is better to jump in first and think about it later!

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

Why betting people predict failure in Mideast peace talks

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–From 1967 to the early 1990s, there was no Palestinian partner for the Israelis to speak with. Israel extended the boundaries of Jerusalem, and created major settlements near Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Additional settlements appeared here and there throughout the West Bank. There are now 50-60,000 Jews living in settlements beyond the major blocs, and beyond the security barrier that  represents Israel’s thinking about its eventual borders.

After the flurry of Oslo came the intifada that began in 2000.

The Sharon government withdrew about 8,500 Jews from Gaza in 2005. Perhaps on account of the way it was done (unilaterally without a quid pro quo from the Palestinians), or because of fixed attitudes among Palestinians, the withdrawal was viewed as a sign of Israeli weakness and produced a continued rain of crude missiles.

If the settlements remain as a major problem in negotiations, it should be no surprise. They reflect unrelieved Palestinian rejectionism from 1967 to 1990 as much as Israeli acquisitiveness. The intifada of 2000 and the response to the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 make it easy to believe that the Palestinians have not changed a great deal.

American media, Israeli media, and others have numerous items expressing hope and caution. There is the thoughtful, the superficial, and lots in between. While some are sure that only a final settlement would work, others are convinced that it would be impossible to agree on all of the outstanding issues, and have their own favorite topics for interim agreements meant to build confidence and let the Palestinians continue with their economic development and nation building in the West Bank.

Hamas remains the knottiest Palestinian problem to match those 50-60,000 Jews on the other side of the security barrier in the West Bank.

This week Hamas has claimed credit for two attacks in the West Bank. Today its activists are threatening their superweapon of suicide bombings.

A number of commentators agree that Barack Obama will be too busy to play a personal part in the negotiations. More prominent on his agenda are the American economy, Afghanistan and other places east of Eden, and doing what he can to minimize Democratic losses in November, perhaps by staying away from Democratic candidates who fear his influence on their voters. If this leaves Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the Administration’s point person for Israel and Palestine, we can only hope that she does better than she did with health care early in her husband’s presidency. Nuance, coaxing, building consensus, and speaking softly are not her strong points. No woman may be welcome in the inner circles of Arab politics, but that caution does not go over well West of here.

The best of the comments I have seen is an  item in the Washington Post, noting that Israel has a strong government that is capable of making far reaching offers, with substantial public support, and bolstered by an international constituency, while the Palestinians have neither strength nor public support, nor more help than hindrance from other Muslims.

According to Intrade, people willing to bet their own money are acting as if there is only a 5 percent chance of achieving an internationally recognized Palestinian state by the end of 2011, and a 20 percent chance that it will happen by the end of 2012.
Those numbers sound about right.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University