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December 18, 2015
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 18, 2015 PAGE 5A By Hachure Segal JNS.org It is almost hard to believe that it has been just a year since the horrific events of Paris in January of 2015. The painful memories of the attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine, followed by the murderous strike on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, persist when we are forced to contend with all that has happened since. It is perhaps no exaggera- tion to say that the times we live in are more tumultuous and uncertain than any that we have seen since the end of World War II. Rarely does a day go by where another innocent person doesn't lose his or her life to the madness that is modern-day terrorism. So as we gathered here in Paris this week for "Let There Be Light: A Concert of Jewish Unity'--a Hanukkah event designed to unite the Jewish world--I would argue that never before has the concept of Jewish unity been more importaflt. It is well-known that throughout our history, the Jewish people have been the victims of hatred, dis= crimination, persecution, and genocide in degrees far greater than any other group. While sadly there is no easy or comprehensive response to ensure our complete safety against those threats, it is also apparent that the best- possible response that we can present in the face of terror is to stand united. As damaging as our en- emies have been to thewellbe- ing of the Jewish people, we must also admit that all too often our failure to unite has been the very recipe for our undoing. If one is to look at the Jewish world today, there is no disputing that we are a world divided. We are divided among political and cultural lines and we are certainly divided along religious lines. While this diversity can of- ten be described as a positive, when our various factions fail to live and work alongside one another, we are largely failing to embrace the dictum which should define Jewry as one people with one heart. Though we all can trace our roots back to Sinai, since that time those roots seem to have grown further and further from the source. We are a people of sects, streams, differing ideologies, and countless .forms of practice and dress. The old joke of "two Jews, three opinions" is not just a humorous take on our social practices--it is a truism that defines who we are as a people. With all these lines having been drawn within our com- munity, one could naturally become pessimistic over the prospects for Jewish unity. But I am by no means pes- simistic. I know that when we are confronted by threats, and when one Jew is at risk, those differences must fade away and the Jewish ideal of unity will rise above all. In recent years, we have seen this on numerous oc- casions. Perhaps most telling were the events of the summer of 2014, when the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys by Hamas caused Jews of all backgrounds to come to- gether in prayer and hope for their safe return. Sadly, we know that those prayers did not bear the result we hoped for, but the boys' deaths did allow that spirit of unity to persist, and in many ways that spirit continues to in- spire our community until this day. Since that time, even while there have been highs and lows, the reality is that our world--the greater world and the Jewish world--remains entrenched in a very danger- ous and uncertain period. Islamic terror continues to place Jews and Jewish institutions at the top of its target list. Painfully, the people of Israel are living in a time where the streets of our beloved nation's cit- ies are being struck almost daily by attacks, and where physical security in all too many places is no longer certainty. This sense of un- ease by no means is contained to Israel's borders. We have seen hateful attacks being perpetrated against Jews on almost every continent, and anti-Semitism is as much.a thing of the present as one of the past. Unity, therefore, is impera- tive to remind each and every Jew that they are not alone. The Jew on the streets of Paris must know that he or she is as important as their co- religionist walking the path- ways of Jerusalem, Sydney, Brooklyn, London, Moscow, Tehran--or anywhere. Perhaps it is deeply unfor- tunate that it takes tragedy to remind ourselves to be united. Many ask why we need our enemies to force us into finding our common bonds. I would agree that this is an important question, but the stakes are far too high to dwell on it for more than a moment. Rather, we must recognize the threats that we are facing as well as the opportunity that is being presented to us. If we are truly united, and if we spread that message of unity to the world, no ter- rorist nor dictator will ever be able to destroy us. We owe it to the victims of past terror attacks to recog- nize and embrace this reality. Nachum Segal is the presi- dent of the Nachum Segal Network broadcaster, host of the "JM in the AM" radio show, and the initiator of this week's "Let There Be Light: A Concert of Jewish Unity" in Paris. By Benyamin Korn In an interview on CBS-TV's "This Morning" last week, President Obama outlined his theory of the causes of terror- ism: climate change is strain- ing natural resources around the world, and "when people are not able to make a living or take care of their families," they become "desperate," and "as human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen." The next day, a middle-class -Muslim couple who were not under any evident financial strain and were perfectly capable of taking care of their six-month old daughter, de- cided to massacre fourteen people in San Bernardino, California. The terrorist Syed Farook was not "desperate." He was a graduate of California State University and an en- vironmental health special- ist who worked for the San Bernardino County heath department, with an annual salary of $53,000. His wife and co-terrorist, Tashfeen Malik, was also a college graduate (Bahuddin Zakri University in Pakistan). They lived in a two-story townhouse in a nice neighborhood. The idea that the cause of terrorism is poverty has long beenpromoted by officials of the Obama administration. Recall what State Depart- ment spokeswoman Marie HarftoldMSNBC's"Hardball" host Chris Matthews on Feb. 16 of this year: "We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's a lack of opportunity for jobs, whether we can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people." Yet study after study of the motives of Arab and Muslim terrorists during the past two decades has found exactly the opposite. Between 1996 and 1999, relief worker Nasra Has- san interviewed nearly 250 Palestinians who either at- tempted to carry out suicide bombings, or trained others for such attacks, or were related to deceased bomb- ers. She reported (in The New Yorker): "None of [the bombers] were uneducated, desperately poor, simple- minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held pay- ing jobs... Two were the sons of millionaires.'" The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, focused new attention on the causes of terrorism. The New York Times reported that the personal details concerning the hijackers had "confounded the experts." "They were adults with education and skill, not hope- less young zealots," the Times said of the attackers. "At least one left behind a wife and young children... They were not reckless young men fac- ing dire economic conditions and dim prospects, but men as old as 41 enjoying middle class lives." Three important studies of this question were carried out after 9/11. In 2002, Prof. Alan Krueger of Princeton and Prof. Jitka Maleckova of Prague's Charles University studied the lives of 129 Lebanese Hezbollah ter- rorists who were killed while carrying out attacks on Israel. The professors found that the Hezbollah members were less likely than "other Lebanese, to come from poor families and were significantly more likely to have completed secondary education." That same year, the Mus- lim writer Hala Jaber spent four days with Fatah's A1 Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which has organized many suicide bombings. She found that their members were "educated [and] middle class." In 2004, Prof. Alberto Aba- die of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Govern- ment undertook a study of terrorists' motives. When he began his research, he thought that"it was a reason- able assumption that terror- ism has its roots in poverty." By the time he was done, Prof. Abadie had concluded there is "no significant relationship" between the economic condi- tions in a given country and the rise of terrorists there. The facts are clear, even if they soundly refute President Obama's politically correct worldview. Poverty does not cause ter- rorism; if it did, the hasidim of Brooklyn and Meah Shearim would be the world's most ac- tive terrorists. Climate change or food shortages or other types of economic strain do not cause terrorism either. Radical ideology--in this case, radical Islamist ideolo- gy-is what causes terrorism. Benyamin Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jew- ish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune. By George Birnbaum Hank Sheinkopf and Ronn Torossian There are many issues one can debate in the Jewish com- munity-endorsing a boycott of Israel is completely out of bounds. Yet, there remain strong voices who are simply opposed to Israel. Founded in 1940 by the sons of John D. Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund claims to be a "private, family foundation helping to advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world." This organization who wants "peace" gave $140,000 in June to the Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that openly endorses BDS and supports a Palestinian"rightofreturn." They call Palestinian stab- bings and shootings "Pales- tinian popular resistance" and shared a statement on its Facebook account that praises "a new generation of Palestinians... rising up en-ma se against Israel's brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonial- ism and apartheid." Melissa Berman, the founding Presi- dent and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc., "an innovative nonprofit phi- lanthropy service launched by the Rockefeller family in 2002" sits on the Interna- tional Advisory Council of the New Israel Fund, who openly boycott Israel, and support labeling of products. Kathleen Peratis, an ad- visory board member of The New Israel Fund, a partner at the New York law firm of Outten & Golden LLP sup- ports BDS--and is a leader of The New Israel Fund, also sitting on their International Advisory Council. Peratis wrote an op-ed, "If you want two states, support BDS." De- scribing BDS as a"non-violent tool," she writes"[N]ot buying Sodastream or Gush Etzion wine is a start." Peratis has met with Hamas members, as The Washington Post describes, she recounts her experience with Hamas "as a fun-filled joy fest spent with friends. She quotes one smuggler as saying: "Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians." These idiots are joined on the International Advisory Council of NIF by the presi- dent of Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Aaron Panken, the largest Reform college in the United States, and the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of White Plains, one of America's pre-eminent conservative synagogues. Regardless of differences on certain issues, a boycott of Israel is extrem- ism, which must be rejected. There are many issues one can debate in the Jewish com- munity-endorsing a boycott of Israel is completely out of bounds. Leaders of Hebrew Union College and Temple Israel of White Plains must stand with Israel--and demand their leaders resign from the board of an organization, which boycotts Israel and endorses labeling. George Birnbaum is an international political con- sultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu. Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communica- tions, is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included formerpresident Bill Clinton. Ronn Torossian is a New York-based Public Relations executive and author of For Immediate Release. FOR SLIt TO SAVE ISLAM, THEY'D NEED TO SLDDENLY 8B.IEVE THAT BUT THAT WOULD JUST TURN THEM INTO A BUNCH Of: BRAINIAC EXPLAINS ",TIHAD" REALLY MEANS "SELF.--CRITIClSM" AND BECOMtNG A "SETTER P SON" LtBB ALS. DryBones.com