President Bill Clinton Launches the Clinton Foundation E-Newsletter

September 30, 2009

Dear Friend,

I’ve recorded a short video to introduce our inaugural online newsletter, and tell you a little bit about the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which wrapped up in New York last week.

Please watch the video and check out the first issue below for a peek into our work around the world – none of which would be possible without you.

Bill Clinton


Earl Shugerman’s Corner: Hatzor

September 30, 2009

Earl Shugerman brings every week a serie of stories about Anglo-Saxon immigrants to Israel. This project is aimed to promote a more realistic view of life in Israel.

Forty years ago, I was a communications student at the University of New Mexico. The year was 1968 and like many youth of my era, I sought something rewarding and exciting to do with my life. I still had two years of studies to finish, but was unsure of my goals for the future. I volunteered to do a six month work/study program at a kibbutz in southern Israel, named Hatzor. The purpose of such programs was to promote Aliyah to Israel. Participants split the day evenly between work at the Kibbutz and Hebrew study in an Ulpan.

I soon discovered that sitting in a classroom was unsuitable. Conversely, my job as assistant Kibbutz caretaker was a perfect match. I delivered supplies throughout the settlement, did the gardening, collected the garbage, and did general maintenance. My supervisor, Shmuel, was a forty+ American born Kibbutznik. Shmuel was a short thin fellow with a moustache, slight limp, and ever-cheerful smile. Shmuel was very friendly but said little about himself. He mentioned that he had come to Israel in 1948 from New York as a volunteer, was married, and had a teenage son. He had studied journalism in New York and limped as the result as a car accident in “The Big Apple”.

My six months at the Kibbutz went quickly. I did not acquire a lot of Hebrew; nonetheless, I made many wonderful friends and learned to be a pretty fair maintenance man. The Kibbutz members were the most wonderful people. Many were survivors of the Holocaust. A number came as volunteers in 1948, primarily from The United States. At my “Going Away” party, I was stunned to learn that Shmuel and several of the other Kibbutz members were crew and passengers on the famous immigrant ship “The Exodus”. They had braved the British embargo. Some were interred in British prisons. For the first decade in Israel, they lived in treehouses and tents. The situation was further compounded by conflict with the Arab legions during the struggle for a Jewish homeland. Some of their comrades had died, or suffered serious wounds during their fight for freedom. Yet, they were warm, humble, and generous souls. Many of the volunteers had been members of Mahal.

The Mahalniks were mostly World War II veterans from American and British armed forces. Allied armies were reduced considerably after the end of the war and many soldiers were demobilised; moreover, the service experience became mundane and did not resonate with some servicemen, particularly pilots. In various circumstances they were invited, or heard of the Jewish state’s struggle for independence and enlisted. There were Jews and Christians, both ideological supporters of Zionism and mercenaries.

The Ha’apala movement, also called “Aliyah Bet”, which attempted to evade the 1939 and 1948 British Naval blockade restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine, was assisted by 236 Mahal former servicemen of the Allied Navies as crews of ten clandestine Jewish refugee ships, out of sixty-six participating vessels.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw approximately 3,500 foreign volunteers from forty-three countries among the Jewish forces, out of an estimated 29,677–108,300 total (its size grew considerably in later stages of the war owing to immigration into Palestine). A total of 119 Mahalniks were killed in battle.

One of the most senior Mahal personnel was Mickey Marcus, a Jewish United States Army colonel who assisted Israeli forces during the war and became Israel’s first Brigadier General. Marcus’s wartime experience was vital in breaking the 1948 Siege of Jerusalem.

As we commence The Jewish New Year, I want to remind the world of these unsung heroes who did so much to build this wonderful nation.

A New Year postcard depicts the illustrious Exodus

A New Year postcard depicts the illustrious Exodus


Alan Poseners Kolumne: Der Untergang der doitschen Sozialdemokratie

September 30, 2009

Der britisch-deutsche Journalist Alan Posener kommentiert wöchentlich das Zeitgeschehen in Politik, Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft und Kultur für HIRAM7 REVIEW.

Von Alan Posener
Die Welt / Welt am Sonntag  / HIRAM7 REVIEW

Unter den vielen Wrackteilen, die der Untergang des Tankers SPD an die Oberfläche spült, fand ich folgende Bemerkung von Wolfgang Thierse interessant: „Wir sind keine Wendehälse“, sagte er nach der Wahl des Verlierers Steinmeier zum vorläufigen Fraktionsvorsitzenden, „die heute ‚Hosianna!’ rufen und morgen ‚Kreuziget ihn!’“

Thierse spielt auf das Evangelium des Johannes an, dem zufolge (Joh. 12,12-19) „die Volksmenge“ Jesus von Nazareth beim Einzug in Jerusalem mit dem ruf „Hosanna!“ begrüßt hätten, und auf das Evangelium des Matthäus (Mat. 27,11-26), demzufolge „das Volk“, „die Menge“, das „ganze Volk“ wenige Tage später vom römischen Statthalter forderte: „Ans Kreuz mit ihm!“ Es folgt bei Matthäus jene berüchtigte Stelle, in der „das ganze Volk“ ruft: „Sein Blut komme über uns und unsere Kinder!“ Was sich die Christen nicht zweimal sagen ließen, sooft sie die Gelegenheit dazu hatten.

Nur nebenbei sei erwähnt, dass – vermutlich wahrheitsgemäß – bei Markus, Matthäus und Lukas durchscheint, nur die Jünger beim Einzug Jesu in Jerusalem „Hosianna!“ gerufen haben (vgl. Mat. 19,28-40); und dass die Geschichte von Pilatus, der seine Hände in Unschuld wächst, während die blutdürstigen Juden nach dem Tod des Messias rufen, mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit apokryph ist, eine Anbiederung der frühen Christen an die Besatzungsmacht, die den Wanderprediger aus dem Hause David hingerichtet haben, weil er den Anspruch erhob, „König der Juden“ zu sein. So schrieben sie es ja ans Kreuz, und es blieb den Christen vorbehalten, diesen Sachverhalt umzudeuten und zu behaupten, die Römer hätten den „Hohenpriestern“ die Drecksarbeit abgenommen, die Jesus wegen Blasphemie hingerichtet haben wollten.

Dass die jüdischen religiösen Autoritäten keine Probleme damit hatten, dieses dreckige und barbarische Geschäft selbst vollziehen zu lassen, zeigt sich an der Steinigung des Stephanus (Apostelgeschichte 7,54-8,1a), bei der ein gewisser Rabbiner namens Saul aus Tarsus teilnahm, und an der Hinrichtung von Jakobus, des Bruders Jesu, einige Jahrzehnte später, von dem uns Josephus Flavius berichtet.

Nun gut, aber was sagt der Katholik Wolfgang Thierse? 1943 geboren als Sohn eines Rechtsanwalts („Rechts“anwalts, sollte man zu allen sagen, die in jener Zeit „Recht“ sprachen), sagt der Mann, der als Literaturwissenschaftler in der DDR tätig war (Literatur„wissenschaftler“): wir SPDler sind nicht wie „die Juden“. Wir praktizieren doitsche Treue.

Dass in einem Volk, das 1933 dem Führer zujubelte und 1945 plötzlich entdeckte, das es immer schon antifaschistisch war, oder das am 1. Mai 40 Jahre lang brav mitjubelte, um dann 1989 zu entdecken, dass es immer schon antikommunistisch war (aber nach wie vor gern die SED wählt) – dass ausgerechnet in einem solchen Volk ein Politiker zur Illustration von Prinzipienlosigkeit, Verrat und Blindheit auf die Juden zurückgreifen muss, wäre ein Skandal, wenn es nicht das Erwartbare wäre.

Die in HIRAM7 REVIEW veröffentlichten Essays und Kommentare geben nicht grundsätzlich den Standpunkt der Redaktion wieder.


Bundestagswahl 2009: Der liberale Herbst

September 27, 2009
 fdp

LEITGLOSSE ZUR SCHLIESSUNG DER JAGDSAISON BZW. BUNDESTAGSWAHL 2009

von Narcisse Caméléon, Ressortleiter Deppologie der HIRAM7 REVIEW

Wir alle sind Egoisten, aber nur wenige verstehen es, das Beste für sich daraus zu machen. Die meisten Menschen passen sich lieber der Mitwelt an. Sie tun alles, um geliebt, gelobt und anerkannt zu werden. Damit machen sie sich zu Marionetten allgemeiner Verhaltensklischees und verzichten darauf, ihr eigenes Leben zu leben. (Josef Kirschner, Die Kunst, ein Egoist zu sein)

Ein Egoist entscheidet für sich selbst, hängt keinen Moden nach und redet niemandem nach dem Mund. Klingt unbequem? Nur für die, die uns manipulieren wollen.

In dieser Hinsicht können wir uns  über den unumstritten Sieg der Liberalen sehr freuen, die ein hoffentlich endgültiges Ende der Rot-Grünen Bevormundung in Aussicht stellt. Endlich Schluß mit der Tyrannei der Besserwisser à la Rot-Grün, die die von Gott gegebene Freiheit des Menschen durch (Rat)Schläge und Verbote einschränken wollen, um ihre eigene willkürliche Macht zu sichern…

Der Clou dieses Wahlabends: Ausgerechnet der Erfinder von Agenda 2010 und von Hartz IV, der Spitzenkandidat der SPD, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, spricht von sozialem Ausgleich und warnt vor Schwarz-Gelb…zum Totlachen! So sprach die Stimme der Selbstgerechten und Heuchler der Prosecco-Fraktion.

Die SPD und die Kriegspartei Bündnis Verrat an den Wählern/Die Grünen bzw. die Toskana-Fraktion-Linke (sprich Wasser predigen, aber Prosecco trinken) sollen in der politischen Wüste für die nächsten 20 Jahre krepieren, das haben sie reichlich verdient, nachdem sie ihre Wählerschaft jahrelang betrogen haben. 

Sic transit gloria lupi.

Die in HIRAM7 REVIEW veröffentlichten Essays und Kommentare geben nicht grundsätzlich den Standpunkt der Redaktion wieder.


USA, UK and France Tell Iran to Open Nuke Site

September 26, 2009

The New York Times reports that U.S. President Obama and the leaders of UK and France will accuse Iran of building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel, saying the country has hidden the covert operation from international weapons inspectors for years, according to senior administration officials. 

The revelation, which the three leaders will make before the opening of the Group of 20 economic summit in Pittsburgh, appears bound to add urgency to the diplomatic confrontation with Iran over its suspected ambitions to build a nuclear weapons capacity. Mr. Obama, along with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, will demand that Iran allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct an immediate inspection of the facility, which is said to be 100 miles southwest of Tehran. 

U.S. officials said that they had been tracking the covert project for years, but that Mr. Obama decided to make public the American findings after Iran discovered, in recent weeks, that Western intelligence agencies had breached the secrecy surrounding the project.

On Monday, Iran wrote a brief, cryptic letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying that it now had a ‘pilot plant’ under construction, whose existence it had never before revealed. In a statement from its headquarters in Vienna yesterday, the atomic agency confirmed that it had been told by Iran that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country.

Read full story.


Alan Posener’s Column: German Election Blues – and Reds, Greens, and Yellows

September 24, 2009

by Alan Posener
Die Welt / Welt am Sonntag  / HIRAM7 REVIEW

With the German election drawing near, commentators have turned from castigating the politicians for the alleged lack of alternatives they present (bullshit, actually), to a more general wail of despair about an alleged crisis of democracy itself, as represented by the growth in the number of non-voters.

In the last election, we are told, non-voters were a bigger group than those who voted for Angela Merkel, and polls seem to indicate that the number of non-voters will be even higher this time around. Crisis! Bullshit again.

The point about democracy isn’t that everyone goes to vote. That’s what happens in dictatorships. The point about democracy is that I’m free to vote or not as I see fit. So if people don’t go to vote, that’s a sign that democracy is working.

The point about democracy isn’t that voting produces good governments. That’s patently not the case. The point about that democracy is that really bad governments can be voted out. (Good governments can be voted out, too.) Karl Popper once compared the democratic procedure to the procedure by which a scientific theory is defined. If a theory is scientific precisely because it can be falsified (J.B.S. Haldane’s famous “Precambrian rabbits” that would falsify Darwin’s theory of evolution), a government is democratic if it can be falsified – i.e. discarded – by the voters. If the voters choose not to – either by voting for the government or by not voting, i.e. not voting against it: well, that’s the way the democratic cookie crumbles.

As I said above, I don’t think the German election is boring at all. We have a clear choice: between Angela Merkel plus Walter Steinmeier and a continuation of the high-tax / high-spending CDU/CSU/SPD coalition, and Angela Merkel plus Guido Westerwelle and a CDU/CSU/FDP coalition dedicated to boosting growth through lower taxes. As a taxpayer, I know where I’m going to make my cross. It isn’t rocket science.

Ousting the Social Democrats from power will probably result in a putsch by the Left within the SPD, which will eventually lead to some form of rapprochement between the SPD and the “Linke”. This in turn will mean that in 2013 at the latest, probably much sooner, say 2011, a left-wing coalition will challenge Merkel’s right-of-centre government, and things will get really exciting again: How will the Greens react? Will they choose “Jamaica” in order to keep the extreme left out of power, or will they try to tame the left by joining a “Red-Red-Green” government?

And what will the electorate say? One good guess is: they won’t be staying at home.


American Jewish Committee’s Letter in NY Times on Goldstone Report

September 18, 2009

newyorktimes

Israel and Gaza: Which Standards Apply?

by Richard Sideman
President, American Jewish Committee
New York, September 18, 2009

To the Editor:
Re “Justice in Gaza” (Op-Ed, Sept. 17):

Richard Goldstone displays the same disregard for Israel and naivety regarding Hamas that permeates the report he wrote for the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Since its inception in 2006, the council has consistently demonized Israel while giving a free pass to some of the world’s worst tyrants, from Sudan to Iran. Mr. Goldstone largely neglects what prompted Israel to act militarily against Hamas.

Let’s be clear for historical accuracy. Israel’s military operation came after eight years of relentless rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli towns and villages. Indeed, thousands of rockets were launched after Israel transferred the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinians four years ago.

While the United Nations made no effort to stop the Palestinian rockets, Israel showed remarkable restraint over the years until it could not hold back anymore.

More disturbing, the Goldstone report has set a new standard for equating the behavior of democratic nations and terrorists.

He makes no moral distinction between Israel, a United Nations member state, and Hamas, a terrorist organization that violently seized control of Gaza two years ago from the Palestinian Authority.

The implications of this moral equivalency go beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, they undermine the United States and other democracies facing asymmetrical warfare from adversaries who care little for international norms of war and international humanitarian law.

In sum, Mr. Goldstone’s conclusions are a disservice to the credibility of the United Nations itself.