Posted by Orit Arfa
The Jewish Home party's Naftali Benent made a great video presentation about his party's suggested solution to annex area C of Judea & Samaria (West Bank). The video is clear, breezy, and creative, and the idea is a fresh alternative to the Two-State Delusion. No wonder his party is drawing so many adherents and bleeding the Likud of votes.
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January 17, 2013 | 4:09 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
It’s no secret that some Jewish organizations pay their staff very generous salaries that enable them to live a more than comfortable life in America, along with benefits such as trips to Israel, dinners and parties at prestigious restaurants and venues, and the opportunity to hobnob with celebrities and public officials who love Israel and the Jews.
Jewish professionals today are able to create good lives for themselves in the US, sending their children to the best schools and colleges, buying a two-story home with a nice garage—all the while feeling great about the good they are doing in the world. And who can blame them?
These organizations sell wonderful products which ignite Jewish passions and Zionist sentiments of Jews all over the world: love for the Jewish people, Jewish tradition and, of course, the state of Israel. They entice donors and constituencies with promises to engage in good deeds that befit Jewish tradition, whether they are helping the needy, sending much-needed money and supplies to Israel, writing letters to politicians in support of Israel, or organizing social gatherings where Jews can network and, God-willing, find a mate, so that one day they can raise upstanding members of the Jewish community in America, and so on, forever.
However, from my observations, it seems that maintaining Jewish comfort and stature in America has become to many Jewish leaders a goal even more worthy than the causes they promote: meaningful and true safety of the Jewish people wherever they are and particularly in Israel.
What happens if Jews are asked to put their comfortable Jewish lifestyles on the line? What if standing up for the Jewish people involves taking a controversial position with regards to Israel’s defense that could offend a potential financier or “network” opportunity? What would be the higher value: Jewish principle and long-term Jewish safety, or present-day comfort and prestige?
For a recent example, I turn to the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense by President Obama. His voting record as Nebraska Senator has been hostile to Israel, and yet most Jewish organizations are conspicuously silent, lest they create any discord between the American Jewish community and the current administration. The friendly relationship between Israel and America, they argue, is more important than the content of that relationship. Of what use is all their political capital and resources if they abandon Israel when the Jewish people need American Jews most to defend her interests?
Here's another example. During the recent Operation Pillars of Defense, Jewish organizations solicited funds to help the South and also to speak loudly of their support for Israel. But what has caused this war? Would they ever take positions that would have actually prevented southern Israel’s security nightmare from the outset? Would they promote a policy that would actually end Arab violence, i.e. a crushing military defeat of Islamic terrorist groups? It should be obvious that the war was triggered by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, but the majority of Jewish organizations remained silent on the Expulsion (which it was) because supporting the Jews of Gaza was unpopular or too "partisan." Meanwhile, the Jews of Gush Katif embodied sincere Jewish values: a massive love for Israel, a deep tie to Jewish tradition, and a commitment to defending Israel through both army service and settlement in the land of Israel, even at great risk. They were left homeless, with nary a Jewish organization seeking to help these Jewish "needy."
Alas, the Jews of Gush Katif were not marketable “products.” World leaders and intellectuals cast them as “defective,” unworthy of the rights granted to all Israeli citizens, including Israeli Arabs: the right to their home and property. Today, the Jewish people are paying the consequences of this form of discrimination. Pluralism and tolerance, it seems, don’t apply to “settlers,” who are actually Israel's best hope for peace since they are the Israelis who have learned to co-exist with Palestinian Arabs.
I'm not sure what will be the red line for current Jewish leaders to risk their prestige, popularity, and pocketbooks to stand up for Israel and all Jews without apology. My main fear is: by then, it will be too late.
January 15, 2013 | 2:47 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Journalist Lara Berman has interviewed political commentator and Los Angeles litigator Steve Goldberg on the nomination of Charles "Chuck" Hagel for Secretary of Defense by President Obama. Steve Goldberg is National Vice Chair of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and serves on the Executive Board of the World Likud and World Zionist Organization (WZO). He warns that Obama's pro-Israel mask has now been lifted with the appointment of a former Senator with a voting record hostile to Israel. His appointment marks a turning point in Israel-US relations.
Also agree Hagel is dangerous to both US and Israeli security? To take action, write to your Senators.
Write to California Senator Barbara Boxer, here.
Write to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, here.
December 31, 2012 | 8:07 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
A poll was published this month saying that 67 percent of Israelis would support a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with land swaps; a demilitarized Palestine; and Jerusalem’s Old City administered jointly by the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, with Israel maintaining control of the Western Wall as well as major settlement blocs.
This poll is misleading. First, the poll was commissioned by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The mere use of the word “peace” in the name of an organization already signals a Left-leaning agenda that presumes a moral equivalency between Israel and the Palestinians, since “peace” today is synonymous with appeasement of Arab terror. The Center's chair, Slim Fast founder Dan Abraham, is a contributor to the radical Left-wing J Street and a longtime supporter of the Clintons, and it was Bill Clinton who naively kickstarted the Oslo war-process. Second, anyone who just reads the headline about the poll without digging deeper could be deceived into thinking most Israelis support this failing two-state policy out of hand.
In fact, the conditions in which the respondents would accept at two-state model (it was not and never will be a “solution”) are nearly impossible to fulfill. The Palestinians would never willingly demilitarize. Extremist Palestinian factions would always seek weaponry against Israel, however primitive. The Palestinians would never agree to land swaps when even Judea and Samaria entire is not enough for them, as evidenced in their failure to accept "peace" deals that acquiesced to most of their land demands. And the Palestinians, at least under its current leadership, would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This may explain why a similar poll conducted by the Right-leaning Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs yielded highly different results, as pointed out by Amir Mizroch. In this poll, 83 percent of Israelis said they do not believe dividing the land of Israel to pre '67 borders and giving up East Jerusalem would end the conflict.
So the poll essentially asked Israelis: “Do you believe in fantasies?” In that case, 67 percent of Israelis have proven that they have great powers of imagination. The poll was a desperate attempt by the Left to hold on to the dying two-state delusion.
December 30, 2012 | 11:33 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Countries should not be immune to self-reflection and resolving to make some positive changes. So, on occassion of 2013, I'm not going to make resolutions for myself, but for the country I love, Israel.
1. I resolve not to be so hung up on world opinion and instead be concerned for what is right and what keeps my people safe.
2. I resolve to fight my enemies with valor until my children can sleep safely at night, forever.
3. I resolve to give a good and free life to my citizens and to listen to their cries, not the cries of world leaders and even some American Jewish organizations who care more for themselves than for me and my people.
4. I resolve to stop paying lip service to the scam called the "Two State Solution" which will gradually yet surely lead to my destruction.
5. I resolve to build many new homes in Judea and Samaria.
6. I resolve to gain more self-esteem and confidence in what I am as a country so that I can realize my full potential.
7. I resolve to take back the conversation about my destiny.
A Happy New Year to Israel and the Middle East!
Now, if only Israel's neigbhors took it upon themselves to make some resolutions, too. I can think of more than a few they should make....
December 25, 2012 | 4:37 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Forgive me Father for I have sinned.
At a recent trip to Nashville, I walked into a Christian mega-store called Lifeways across the street from my hotel. What better way to get a taste of Southern culture?
I was floored by the beautiful, impecabble floor filled with Christian books, music, movies, and ritual items. There were more coloring books for kids on the Hebrew Bible here than at all Judaica stores in Pico/Robertson combined. A quarter of the store consisted of self-help books on how to live a better life based on Christian principles. There were a few books in support of Israel.
Music took up a major section of the store, and since I was in Nashville to get in touch with the songwriter in me, I listened to the sample of a singer who seemed to be a Christian rock star: Matthew West.
It was love at first listen. With his powerful voice, West sometimes sings of Jesus, the sticking point for any Jew, but most of the songs on his album "Into the Light" are simply inspirational pop-rock songs about overcoming the travails of life, seeing the light (nevermind the inference to Christian salvation), and making this world a better place. I don’t think Judaism has any real musical equivalent of someone like West, unless there are some Israeli artists I don’t know about. Our big "Jewish" hits are Adam Sandler’s Chanukkah song and the occasional Miami Boys Choir ditty, usually excerpts from Psalms put to music. West songs are moving, uplifting, and truly original, and I wish there were more original “Jewish” contemporary songs that popularize the more inspirational, redemptive, universal aspects of Judaism.
So, in honor of Christmas, this Jew is posting a Christian rock song about our power to change the world called “Do Something.” (Not to worry, no mention of “J”, so it’s kosher. In fact, the refrain, “if not now, then when” is taken straight from the Talmud!)
Merry Christmas our Christian friends!
December 18, 2012 | 10:43 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
When I was a singles columnist, I became a student of male-female courtship and delved for several months in the pick-up art (PUA) industry. (Read an e-book I wrote on the subject under a pseudonym). This industry has its own lingo, its own culture. But what I realized is that many of these pick-up techniques are based on a basic understanding of human nature.
One important concept to pick-up artists is the “re-frame.” All too often, when men approach women, they allow the woman to “frame” the conversation during which they feel compelled to appease the woman’s point of view to score points with her. Since pick-up artists teach that women are essentially drawn to confident men who display high social value, men should ideally be the ones to lead the conversation. A woman will often test men with annoying barbs or comments to see how well they could match her wit and strength or, better yet, surpass them.
For example, if a man hits on a woman at a party, she could tease him and say, “Do you hit on all women here? I saw you making the rounds.” The weaker man would “freak out” and say, “No, of course not!” He would try to appease her. The stronger man, the “alpha male,” on the other hand, would “reframe” the conversation and take control of it, by answering something like, “They were just practice for you, and boy did I need it!” He subtly puts her on the defensive, with some humor, and he would not only draw a chuckle but make her now feel like she now has something to prove. (Check out the online PUA dictionary for more examples.)
All too often, I hear Jewish community leaders and pro-Israel activists say, “we have to think about world opinion” as if Israel is a man and “world opinion” is an unruly woman that Israel has to court. For example, if people advocate bold solutions to Israel’s conflict with her neighbors, like unplugging electricity in Gaza during a Hamas rocket campaign or recommending the annexation of parts of Judea & Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), the solutions are immediately rebuffed with statements like, “what will the world think?”
Israeli leaders all too often frame her strategies for self-defense according to world opinion when the sum total of world opinion will probably never really “go out” with Israel anyway. By seeking to appease world opinion, Israel sends the signal that she could be treated like a rag. To garner respect, Israel must portray confidence and control of its own destiny. To do this, it must be able to “reframe” with confidence and pride the conversation about its future.
Obviously, Israel’s woes are much more severe than the woes of a dateless dude. Still, Israel often ignores basic psychological principles in relationship building as she seeks to defend her interests. Applying the concept of “reframe” to nation building, Israel and her advocates must stop reacting defensively to intellectual attacks on Israel and instead put the burden of argument on the other side. Here are some examples
Example #1: “Israel is an oppressor”
“Beta” Israel activist: “No she’s not. She really is a great country that delivers humanitarian aid all over the world.”
“Alpha” Israel activist: “You’re right. Israel is an oppressor, if you consider promoting democracy and human freedom in a region that despises democracy and human freedom as a form of ‘oppression.’”
Example #2: “There is no military solution to the conflict.”
Beta Israel activist: “Well, Israel just wants peace but they keep shooting rockets on us. What is Israel supposed to do?”
Alpha Israel activist: “Do you have proof? History has actually proven that Israel maintained sovereignty by defending herself military against all the Arab wars waged upon her.”
There are countless examples, but you get the picture. To defend Israel, both the Israeli government and people that support Israel all over the world need to begin reframe the conversation. By confidently and proudly staking her claim and challenging Israel opponents to answer to Israel, rather than vice-versa, Israel will attract the respect and attention of nations and peoples around the world.
Feel free to provide more examples in the comments section.
December 17, 2012 | 4:51 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Welcome to the zAngel blog, formerly known as the “ZOAngel” blog from my days as Executive Director of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Western Region. But while I’m no longer with the ZOA because I stood up for my principles, I’m still an “angel” and I still got a lot of “z”—Zionism--in me, so we get: zAngel.
And that’s what I am. The zAngel. So what is that?
The “z” stands, of course, stands for Zionism, and one of my intentions in the zAngel blog is to bring back some glory to the word that has been the subject of delegitimizaiton and bastardization; to discuss the relevance of Zionism today; to comment on current events relating to Israel through my “zangelic” lens; and to explore new Zionist ideas that will ensure that Israel remains the ultimate home of the Jewish people, now and forever.
I’m putting “z” in everything, the same way iPhone puts “i” in everything. The “z” word is not a bad word, as the morally corrupt United Nations would still like so many people to believe. It’s a word standing for freedom, love, and independence. Zionism is the ultimate liberation and independence movement of the Jewish people to live safely and happily in the ancestral Jewish homeland, expressive of the Jewish longing for the perfection of the world.
The “angel” is that spiritual creature with wings.
As you can tell from the blog banner, zAngel hearkens back to Charlie’s Angels, and I’ve always admired those feisty beautiful girls seeking justice. “Angel” also refers to Los Angeles, the City of Angels, my hometown, where I live, work, and create.
But here’s the main reason: the Zionist movement is filled with angels—the real humanitarians who fight unrelenting anti-Semitism, who counter the human rights abuses in the Arab world, and who seek for the highest moral ideal—the love and sacredness of human life—to reign supreme in the Middle East. Zionists who settle the land of Israel are the beacons of peace in a region overrun by dictators and terrorist states.
So if I’m such an angel, what’s with the gun?
It’s a metaphor for the sharp-shooting posts I intend to write. And as the great Zionist thinker and leader Vladimir Jabotinsky said, “better to have a gun, and not need it, than to need it, and not have it.” So true, I don’t need, but it’s good to have. And if you have a problem with the gun, happy to replace it—with a bazooka.