How mistaken I was about Ted Cruz

ted-cruz-has-just-wrapped-up-his-epic-21-hour-defund-obamacare-talk-a-thonI’m all about accountability and honesty.  So when I make a mistake I admit it and when I am wrong about people I say so.  Over the past few years the person I have been most wrong about is Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Around the time of his 21 hour filibuster against Obamacare and at a time when I was firmly stuck in my focus on some of my more liberal viewpoints, I specifically referred to Senator Cruz as a sideshow act.  I could not have been more wrong and for that I owe him a sincere apology.  I am certain that I disagree with him on certain issues, some of which are important issues.  However, what I know I agree with are his stances on what I now feel are the most important issues.  National security and the State of Israel.

There are some people who just get it.  People who don’t merely support Israel out of emotion but out of understanding and logic.  Ted Cruz is clearly one of these people.  In a government that is overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, Senator Cruz has managed to rise to the top of the list.  This is also a man who is showing leadership and strength with his approach towards foreign affairs as exhibited in his authoring a bill that would have Americans who join ISIS lose their passports. The bill, which for some absurd reason was blocked by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, would have stripped anyone joining a terrorist group likely to strike at U.S. interests of their American citizenship.

I’ve repeatedly said that my next vote for president will go to whoever is best for Israel and strongest on foreign policy issues. It’s early, and he hasn’t even declared his candidacy, but based on those standards if I needed to vote today, there’s a very good chance Ted Cruz would get my vote.  That’s because I have over time come to realize how wrong I was when I said that this man is a sideshow act. What he actually is instead is a rising star who might even wind up being the main attraction.  As I sit here and write this today, I’d be very happy with that.

 

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Russia’s role in the war with ISIS

putin_2836730bAlthough I will support any efforts the administration makes in going after ISIS, I can’t help but wonder to what extent Russia is being considered in President Barack Obama’s decision.

There is no doubt Russia plays a role.  Regardless of whether the United States would be involved in the region or not, Syria is a Russian ally.  One can not help but wonder if the contentious relationship between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama is part of the equation.  In having a good excuse for getting involved in Syria, the President has an opportunity to make an impact on what might be considered Putin’s turf.  If that is a factor, is it strategic or personal? Whether it is a factor or not, it has created an added tension people seem to want to stay away from discussing for somewhat obvious reasons.  It makes the situation even more concerning and potentially explosive.  Should the U.S. hit the wrong target, one that angers the Russians, be it accidentally or as a result of collateral damage, what will Russia’s reaction be?  And let’s not forget that Israel, a U.S. ally, is always right there, has a serious stake in what is going on,  and never will have a good relationship with an Assad regime in Syria.

Even before attacks on ISIS in Syria start, the picture is murky and complicated.  Once Syria becomes a target it could get considerably more so. We’ll have to wait and see and hope personal feelings don’t come into play.

 

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Response to Article in Times of Israel titled “ISIS is not Muslim”

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After reading what I felt to be a naive albeit heartfelt article written by  Aditya Divakar Karkera  entitled “ISIS is not Muslim”, I felt compelled to respond.   (CLICK HERE TO READ HIS ARTICLE IN TIMES OF ISRAEL). I admire the writers intentions and truly understand the message he is trying to get across.  The problem is, that while he defends Islam, he has a very serious problem defending Muslims. Here is why.

Although I take some issue with some of his earlier comments, it is one of the last statements of his article where sadly, the argument completely falls apart. I say sadly because in my heart I want him to be right.  I want it to be true that there are only 75,000 Muslim extremists.  Maybe there are only 75,000 Muslims willing to commit acts of terror, but unless you actively oppose these people, as a Muslim you are more of an extremist than a moderate.  What percentage of the remaining 1.5 billion plus Muslims actively oppose this extremism?  There were more than 75 thousand Muslims protesting against Israel and in support of Hamas this past summer on any given day in Europe. Are they moderates?  The people of Gaza elected Hamas.  Are they not extremists?  They are being taught to hate Jews from a young age, that we are pigs that need to be killed.  Is that not extremist?

Iran is a nation of people led by a government committed to the destruction of Israel and opposed to western values.  I am sure not all of the people living there feel that feel the same way, but the citizens are not exactly rising up against this.  If we are to take the position of the writer, we need such a sentiment to come from more than one good person from India with the genuine desire to see a world free of hatred.  We need the Muslims of the world that feel as the writer says they feel, to stand up and make their voices heard. Without that it means  nothing.

It may be true that much of Islam peaceful, but I don’t hear of many Muslims fighting for peace.  I don’t see tens of thousands marching against the extremists.  I don’t see the young people throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails at terrorist headquarters.  I would like to see that, but I don’t.   The perception that Islam is a religion of violent extremists can only be dispelled by one group of people, and that is the Muslims themselves.  We would all welcome that day if it were ever to arrive.  Sadly there are no indications of that happening with any significance.  As long as that is the case the argument made in this article won’t be accepted by the majority of people, and in my opinion, rightly so.

 

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Terrifying Intentions

Nuclear_bombHopefully the title is enough to alert you to the content of this post, but if not consider this a warning.  This report is very disturbing.  A senior member of the Islamic State in Australia instructed another member of the terror group to snatch random people off the street and behead them on camera. The terror sweep Australian police conducted yesterday uncovered the plot and at least averted this specific act of barbarism planned for the cities of Sydney and Brisbane.

It stands to reason that the United States and Britain are in similar danger.  I think it is safe to assume they have numerous plots in place.  It goes without saying that we hope and pray that none are successful but only time will tell if we wind up that fortunate.  In the meantime we all need to be diligent wherever we may be, be it a train a busy street, or even a sporting event.  I do want to make one important point though.  The time for these “clean wars” is over.  Yes it is a tragedy when innocent civilians die, but when evil takes up camp in a civilian population center we need to learn the lesson of the allies and Dresden and if appropriate even the lesson of Harry Truman and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I don’t propose we wait for thousands of Americans, Brits or Australians to get killed.  I don’t believe we need to spend the years to come in fear for our lives. It is my belief that if any significant act of terror takes places we bomb them like the allies bombed the Nazis in Dresden, Germany in February of 1945, killing an estimated 25,000 Germans.  If that doesn’t work we do what the United States did to Japan dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing as many as 160,000 people.  Devastation.  Tragedy. But the war ended and not only were the allies able to rebuild their lives, the Germans and Japanese were as well.

Some might say it is easy to sit in front of a computer and push the idea of killing tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people, but I believe it may wind up saving millions of lives.  No more “targeted strikes” and careful attacks.  If they truly do take the war to us, we need to decimate them.  If we don’t do it now we’ll need to do it later and a lot more people will die as a result.  Or even worse, they’ll wind up decimating us.

Believe it or not I don’t believe in war, however, I believe you do what you need to do to survive.  If we are to survive we need to pummel this enemy into submission before they are too strong to destroy.

 

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ISIS: The Iranian Frankenstein

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When anyone, especially someone high up in the United States administration says that the ISIS or ISIL is not Islamic, besides the fact that it denies its very claim and motivations, it does one other very dangerous thing.  It takes Iran off the hook.

It was reported today that Ayatollah Rouhani of Iran said that “ISIS wants to kill humanity.”  I don’t dispute that claim for a second.  However, what I do take issue with is Iran making it seem as though they are not at all to blame for this mess.  The Sunni and Shia differences aside, it’s the Iranian revolution and its export of Islamic radicalization and terrorism that laid much of the groundwork for the threats now facing millions of people worldwide, including Iran.

Someone in Iran saying “ISIS wants to kill humanity” is like Dr. Frankenstein saying a crazy monster is on the loose.  No kidding.  You created it.  So forgive me Dr. Frankenstein, but why should we trust you now.  The fact that it evolved into something that now threatens you does not diminish your responsibility.

This is another instance where ignoring reality makes the hole we’re getting into even deeper, for by not recognizing Iran’s culpability we allow it to align itself more with the world community, giving it more time and less pressure to develop its nuclear program.  When that happens the world will have another, possibly worse crisis on its hands.  One we could actually stop now in its tracks.   But for that to happen we might have to call it Islamic.

 

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We Can Make a Difference

Israeli-flagLast week when news broke of  CUNY’s Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) intention to sneak through a resolution to boycott Israel at CUNY on a Friday night when many Jewish students and faculty could not make it to the meeting, many of us mobilized our resources. We wrote letters, contacted groups, sent letters, made phone calls and sent faxes to politicians, while spreading the word far and wide over social media.  By Sunday most of us had heard the good news that the vote had been delayed due to heavy debate from pro-Israel groups that showed up at the meeting in protest.

Did we have anything to do with this?  It’s almost impossible to measure, but there is a strong likelihood that something we did as a collective contributed to this mobilization.  By we I mean all of us together, supporters of Israel who used whatever resources we have to galvanize each other and be active in the goal of helping Israel to fight on her behalf.

To the cynics shaking their heads and saying we had nothing to do with it and we are just wasting our time, I say fine.  Just sit there, shake your heads and do nothing.  To all of you who did something I say this.  You DID something. Whether or not your efforts made a difference this time or not is not as important as the cumulative impact your efforts can make in future battles as well.  To those who might want to do something in future battles I urge you to see this as motivation.  This was one small battle won in a very large war.  But it sends a message.  Jewish people and supporters of Israel of all faiths fight back now, and they do so in increasingly large numbers.

Thank you everyone and let’s keep fighting for Israel!

 

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I only Hate Muslims when they Hate me

Pro Palestinian protester burns an Israeli flag during banned demonstration in support of Gaza in central ParisWhy is it not being called what it is?  Why the pretense that this is something far less specific than it is?  Why are people not identifying those responsible?  Over the past few months we’ve been hearing a lot about the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Although it’s been far worse recently, the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment is hardly a new development, particularly in some notable parts of Europe.  Cities like Paris, Antwerp, and Malmo, Sweden have been notorious for increasing incidents of vandalism and violence against Jews for quite some time now.  If you hear the reports, it clearly sounds like the Jewish people are becoming increasingly unwelcome in the European community.  There’s a catch though.  It’s not the overall European community primarily guilty of this expression of hatred. From all accounts most of the hatred is coming from within the Muslim community.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article in which I renounced my status as a Liberal.(CLICK TO READ) This issue is one of the reasons I’ve done so.  I have friends and acquaintances that still do call themselves liberal who are not squeamish when it comes to identifying the root source of the danger to the Jewish people, but there are many within the liberal community who would turn around and call this article the epitome of Islamophobia.  Those are the ones  I know longer align myself with.  Call it what you like, but it’s no phobia.  A phobia is something irrational.  I don’t hate a person because they’re Muslim.  But I do hate a person who hates me, those like me, and anyone else who doesn’t think like them.    That’s not irrational, that’s logical.  Interactions I’ve had in the past with Muslims who wanted an equal relationship have proven that I indeed do not have some automatic dislike because of what religion they were born into. That goes against everything I believe in.  But that also doesn’t prevent me from identifying the sad truth, and that is that an overwhelming percentage of anti-Jewish sentiment in the world today comes from within the Muslim population.

Although the BDS  Movement has non-Muslim followers and participants due to its excellent and cynical marketing, it’s a group formed by a Palestinian. Anti-Jewish demonstrations and violence against Jews in Paris consist primarily of Algerian Muslims.  Anti-Jewish behavior in Holland comes primarily from Moroccan Muslims.  One third of the population of Malmo is Muslim.  Is it a coincidence this small and once cute city in Sweden that I visited with my parents and sister in 1976 is a powder keg of anti-Semitism?

Although there is an element within the so-called liberal elite behind some of the anti-Israel activities on college campuses in the U.S., I have no doubt you would find that at the very least a significant number of those active against Israel in these institutes of higher learning are Muslim.

Here’s the point people conveniently miss.  No one is happy about this.  We want to hear the Muslims within these cities and institutions take a stand against hatred. But where are they?  Where is their voice?  These people would be my friends. They would be my partners in moving towards a better world, and in return it would be easy and enjoyable for me to respect and support them in whatever life they might choose to live, be it Muslim or something else.  But that element within the Muslim community is silent, most likely out of fear, and therefore missing the opportunity to alter the perception that all Muslims feel that way.  You see, if I was guilty of Islamophobia, I might say all Muslims feel this way.  But I don’t.  At the same time I am not willing to deny the basic truth, and that is that if you took the Muslims out of the equation, we most likely wouldn’t even be talking about anti-Semitism today.

It’s time we accepted the truth.  It will catch up with us whether we do or not. The funny thing about reality is that it doesn’t go away just because you ignore it.  If anything, when the reality is that one large group of people is out to get you, if you ignore it, it only gets worse.

 

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