How to Win the War, One Person at a Time

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Kiddush Hashem begets kiddush Hashem. High up on my list of those who create Kiddush Hashem regularly and systematically is Jewish World Review. This site, sustained by the mesiras nefesh of Binyomin Jolkovsky, bundles together dozens of the most important right-leaning commentators, so that those with conservative leanings can read all their favorites under one digital roof. Included in the bundle, however, are quality pieces on Jewish life and thought, so that tens of thousands of non-affiliated Jews and non-Jews regularly receive a dose of material that puts Torah in a good light. JWR has been the starting point of the journey back for many a non-affiliated Jew.

JWR receives a large volume of comments, questions, and often just notes of appreciation, like this one, which speaks for itself:

I’m not Jewish.

A bit of history.

When I was a seven year old, my family emigrated from England to Vancouver, Canada. My Mother then got a job in a fashion store in the local Kerrisdale Boulevard owned by a couple, the Marcus’s. Having never met a Jew before what to expect? I’ll tell you. They treated her like a queen, bought my brother and myself gifts at Christmas and birthdays and by those actions brought kindness and a welcome to our totally strange new home.

Next? Back in Britain by now, my first job as a gauche young man at a Jewish owned advertising agency. Again the full mile of help, encouragement and the against the odds chance of getting the job in the first place. It was a springboard to greater things and a wonderful career. Without them it would never have happened and for that I am eternally grateful.

Then in 1967 I watched television as a dashing Moshe Dayan conducted an amazingly brave defence of the still youthful state against an unprincipled and aggressive coalition of Arabs. Vastly outnumbered he and his Army won the day. I certainly knew whose side I was on.

That was the foundation. I have never forgotten. As a consequence I now post as many pieces of comment in defence of Israel, have read many books on Islam and it’s history and thus am acquainted with the stark division of rights and wrongs infecting the globe, post 9/11.

In the hearts of good men an offered goodness never leaves. The memory may sometimes be subliminal yet out it pops at the most unexpected of times.

Despite Obama and his new Middle Eastern buddies (he wishes!) Israel must carry on as a beacon. it was created after the most harrowing of circumstances and if Jews could survive that ultimate horror they can survive anything.

I hope that my little missive appears not too over sentimental, or heaven forbid, patronising. Israel has many friends amongst non Jews who watch and worry as events often collide with truth, honesty and most of all universal rightness which I believe does exist.

The State is entering troubled times and a pro Islam US President does not help.

Rise above it. Show the world the love shown to me all those years ago but do not be fooled by imposters.

Keep up the good work. We’re with you.

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12 Responses

  1. Ori says:

    I agree with your quotes. I don’t think this administration cares about Israeli concessions at all. I think it’s more about the perception of the US in the Arab world. Being perceived as pressuring Israel into concessions is more important to the US than what actually happens.

  2. L. Oberstein says:

    Today, I heard an “expert” say that the only explanation he can think of for the Adminstration’s Israel policy is a Machiavellian plot by Rahm Emanuel to depose Bibi and bring back Tzippi Livni and Kadima. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to make Israel feel insecure and not trusting of the US government. That will not lead to “painful concessions”.

  3. aj says:

    What a lovely email. Thanks for posting it. Having once signed up for JWR, I want to say that based on the emails I’ve gotten from him, Binyomin Jolkovsky appears also to be most conscientious and friendly – and I think he’s doing good work. I wish him continued hatzlacha.

  4. Ori says:

    Reb Yid: As far as the “too many facts”…..even if everyone learned them all, data themselves do not tell you what to do. It’s your value system that decides that one/many provision/s of the bill, or consequence/s of the bill=more/less important than not having a bill at all.

    Ori: True, but without the facts the value system can’t really operate. You’d be able to say “wouldn’t it be nice if we gave good healthcare to everyone”. But you wouldn’t be able to judge if a particular proposal would do that or not. Good intentions don’t necessarily lead to good policy (the worst example being the English desire in 1938 to avoid another European war).

  5. Reb Yid says:

    People have short memories. There was a far worse and more public display against Israel during the term of Bush I, with Sec of State James Baker.

    As far as the “too many facts”…..even if everyone learned them all, data themselves do not tell you what to do. It’s your value system that decides that one/many provision/s of the bill, or consequence/s of the bill=more/less important than not having a bill at all.

    100, 50 or even 20 years ago we would not have seen such silence from the Jewish community on the health care bill. Jews and Jewish organizations used to be in the forefront for these types of moves…without Jews and Jewish organizations, for example, there never would have been unions, labor laws, etc. People remembered where they came from. And the well known quote about the Jews living like Episcopalians but voting like Puerto Ricans.

    If anything, you would think that the Orthodox community would have been strong advocates of the health bill, since it is the poorest segment of the community and has much to benefit from many of its provisions. The Orthodox community has not been shy about going to Albany and other places to argue for school vouchers or tax credits…

    In any event, what has changed is that the upper echelon of American Jewish society and its organizations are so firmly entrenched within American society that they have forgotten their immigrant roots and wish to emulate others in their socioeconomic bracket.

  6. Ori says:

    L. Oberstein: In short, why does news have to be skewed, why can’t we learn the facts and not be spoon fed a conclusion.

    Ori: That’s a good question. I wish I could say “because the news media is biased”, but it’s deeper than that. The basic problem is that there are too many facts. To take the health care bill for example, it is 2500 pages long. It would probably take as long to learn it as it does to learn a Talmudic tractate. Very few people have that kind of time to devote to politics. Therefore, any media is going to have to simplify.

    The problem with salaried doctors is they might be motivated to do as little as possible. That’s also dangerous. For what it’s worth, I think that the health care reform law will either be cancelled, or the government will decide it is too expensive and reduce the mandated coverage to the bare minimum. The health equivalent of social security (a program that ensures the elderly can buy cat food and ramen noodles in their retirement years).

  7. L. Oberstein says:

    Many doctors I speak to tell me that they can’t make a living any more, that’s what they are saying. They feel that the new health policies will result in their getting even less money per patient. My guess is that the future of medicine in this country is the Kaiser Permanente model where doctors are salaried and are not paid extra for needless tests,etc. This is private enterprise doing what socialized medicine might do but probably much more efficiently.
    My main beef with both sides is the lack of comity and an unwillingness to compromise. Maybe I am mistaken but it seems clear to me that the Republican leadership in Congress made a decision to oppose Obama and make him fail. So far, they have shown a discipline that would be impossible in the Democratic Party. To my mind, it would be much better if major legislation did not face a unanimous wall of opposition from day one. The regularion of health, energy, finance,etc. should not have to be a party line vote. I think that some senators like Grassley are intimidated from voting how they really believe on these issues. They are afraid of losing in the primary and are vering to the right.
    As far as Israel is concerned, there is ample reason for concern. Is Obama worse than a number of previous administrations, that is a good question. Maybe the total support that the LIKUD received from George W. Bush made many Jews take it for granted. Maybe Bush II was an exception.
    In short, why does news have to be skewed, why can’t we learn the facts and not be spoon fed a conclusion.

  8. Li'l Ol Me says:

    I’m not a Jew either and I can second the original poster’s comments. When I was young my Jewish friend’s family treated me better than my own family did. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the IDF. There are many of my non-Jewish coworkers and friends who are likewise ashamed of Obama’s treatment of Israel. I just hope my Jewish friends understand who has their best interests at heart, and the guts to back it up. Sarah Palin had an Israeli flag in her office (who else does that nowadays?) while she was cleaning up corruption in her own party.

  9. Reb Yid says:

    L Oberstein:

    I agree with you that many Jews are disappointed in Obama…but certainly not all for the same reasons. The base that energized his campaign–liberals–are disappointed because he is a moderate and has been willing to take a more centrist view than what they’d like (contrast the Sotomayor selection, for example, with Bush’s Supreme Court selections, and with his diluting provisions of the health care bill, including some that he had campaigned for, for the sake of getting something passed).

    Other Jews are upset with how they perceive he has mistreated Bibi and Israel. Certainly the AIPAC crowd is among this group…and while it is officially non-partisan, its board is and has been heavily Republican since its inception.

  10. Ori says:

    L. Oberstein: There is a glaring problem in our internet age. People get their news and commentary from sources that they already agree with. Assumng that there is logic on both sides of a question, there is a paucity of real debate.

    Ori: I beg to differ. People might get their news and commentary from biased sources, but they then discuss and argue about them. On Facebook. On blogs. Here. This is a lot more balanced than when editors could decide which letters to the editor were worth printing and which weren’t.

    BTW, it was Jewish World Review that got me to start reading Torah.org.

  11. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by L. Oberstein, April 22nd, 2010 at 7:20 am:

    1. There are fat conservative cats and fat liberal cats, as well as fat opportunistic cats who fund front-runners of any description in the hope of gaining their favor.

    2. Before the internet age, people also favored news sources they agreed with. It’s kind of normal to do that.

  12. L. Oberstein says:

    Jews are very politically active and vote in larger numbers than the general population.What gives us influence is largely that rich Jews give a lot of money to candidates. My guess is that not only do Jews vote Democrat by a 4 to 1 margin but that the “fat cats” donate to the Democrats by a larger margin. This may or may not be changing. Many Jews are disappointed in the current President and may not vote for him or his party in the next election. What remains to be seen is if the non orthodox element feels the same way as the orthodox segment. J Street says it is more representative of the masses and AIPAC represents the fat cats. I am not so sure that is true.
    There is a glaring problem in our internet age. People get their news and commentary from sources that they already agree with. Assumng that there is logic on both sides of a question, there is a paucity of real debate. It is mosting preaching to the choir. That is not good for real democracy.