Thursday, March 29, 2012

U.S. Has Unfortunately Never Recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

So there's a hubbub about an Obama admin State Department official refusing to say whether Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, saying "We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem." It is, as the author of the above article notes, an "amazing" (in the sense of bewildering) position, as the Knesset is well inside West Jerusalem, which is recognized internationally as within the boundaries of the state of Israel. However, despite what certain people like Adam Kredo might have you believe, this is not a new, radical position by the Obama administration.

Rather, it's the exact same position presidents and presidential candidates have been taking since Geula Cohen got the Basic Jerusalem Law passed in 1980. They have consistently pandered to the Jewish community (and perhaps these days, to the evangelical Christian community as well) regarding an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and yet their administrations have consistently refused to recognize Jerusalem (even West Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel.

The Reagan administration:

President Reagan, trying to calm Jewish fears about his Middle East policy, says he prefers to keep Jerusalem undivided under Israel rule but also favors a "Vatican-like solution" to preserve free access to the city's holy sites.

The White House said, however, that Reagan's views about Israeli control did not reflect official U.S. policy, which is for the future of Jerusalem to be determined through negotiations.

An administration official who asked not to be identified said Reagan's remarks represented "a viewpoint that the president is willing to express to Jewish leaders but not one he is willing to translate into policy for the United States.

"The policy is that we don't accept the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem." the official said. "We do not accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

Unsurprisingly, it continued during the George Bush Sr.'s administration.

Jewish settlers accused the State Department of interfering in their efforts to retain control of a housing complex in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

U.S. policy holds that Jerusalem's status must be determined through negotiations among all parties and does not recognize it as the Israeli capital.

To the Clinton administration.

During the campaign:

"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city accessible to all." Clinton said last summer, departing from the Bush administration's position that the city–holy to all three major monotheistic religions–must be determined by negotiations.

During his administration (being attacked by Newt Gingrich when that guy was taking a break from shaking hands with Arafat and cheating on whichever wife he was on at that point).

The question of Jerusalem, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians as their capital, is one of the most explosive in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Clinton administration, like most world governments, has held off recognizing the city as Israel's capital until its final status is settled in peace talks.

To George W. Bush. During the campaign:

Gov. George W. Bush today accused the Clinton administration of taking sides in last year's Israeli election and of trying to make Israel conform to American ''plans and timetables'' for peace. The governor said his own support for Israel was ''not conditional on the outcome of the peace process.''
Mr. Bush, who was repeatedly interrupted by applause, said little on the Middle East that he had not said before. Once again, he pledged that as president he would ''begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital,'' a reference to Jerusalem.

As president, he decided via a "signings statement" that he'd rather unilaterally ignore parts of a law he signed as "non-binding" than do anything to actual recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Bush administration on Tuesday ignored congressional instructions that it change the way it treats the city of Jerusalem, arguing that the instructions were merely non-binding recommendations.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem continued to report directly to Washington, not to the U.S. ambassador to Israel as specified by legislation President George W. Bush signed on Monday.

Neither has the U.S. government changed its documents, such as its consular information sheets, to identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Boucher told a daily briefing.
The law said that the consul general should report to the ambassador, that government documents should identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that Americans born in Jerusalem can insist that their place of birth be listed as Israel.

In an accompanying statement, Bush said the administration would interpret the provisions as advisory. "Such provisions, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the President's constitutional authorities to conduct the nation's foreign affairs", the president added.

To Barack Obama. During the campaign:

Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

and of course, the other day, his administration did the exact same thing all the previous administrations have done.

This fact led the not-at-all-pro-Obama (and presumably in her opinion [if, after this, perhaps not all that many Israelis'], very pro-Israel) Jennifer Rubin to not only defend Obama's administration's position as consistent with previous ones, but to even defend the position itself.

But the ham-handedness and unnecessary eye-poking aside, critics of the Obama administration should be careful on the substance. No American president has made — nor, I would argue, should make — a definitive judgment on the disposition of Jerusalem.

Friends of Israel should not encourage irresponsible and unachievable pandering on the status of Jerusalem. The United States has signed multiple international agreements specifying that Jerusalem is a final-status issue. We only invite fights about apartment buildings and imperil our own ability to influence events by jumping the gun to declare as a matter of U.S. policy what we think the final disposition should be.

This is actually to my left, as I personally would not defend it. No city's municipal boundaries are set in stone. Atlanta (where I live), for instance, has annexed a good deal of territory in the last 60 years, most recently some territory in Southwest Fulton County outside of the Perimeter. And of course today's boundaries of Jerusalem are not the boundaries of Jerusalem 60 years ago (a significant amount of territory on nearly all sides of the city was annexed into the city in the intervening period) which were not the boundaries of Jerusalem 200 years ago (which were essentially those of today's Old City) which were not the boundaries of Jerusalem 2000 years ago when the Second Temple was still standing (if I recall correctly, it took in territory south of today's Old City and left part of today's Old City out). That being said, having a position that a city's municipal boundaries should be up for negotiation should in no way preclude recognizing that city as the capital of a country (Jerusalem, Israel's capital, to be clear) and moving your country's embassy there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Filling in the New Republican Haggadah

So the National Jewish Democratic Council had an amusing post in 2012 entitled The New Republican Haggadah.

However, the Haggadah was highly abridged and would not be suitable for any serious Republican Jews, and probably not even for RINO Jews. I wrote a more complete version in 2012, but could not quite finish it. This is the complete version.

Bedikat Chametz בדיקת חמץ

It is strictly prohibited for a Jew to own chametz (products of the five grains, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats) during the Pesach holiday. On the night before the first Seder, traditional Jews make a formal search for bread crumbs (that have been placed around the house immediately before the search), and then burn them along with any other leaven products the following morning, afterwards saying the "Kol Chamira," an Aramaic declaration that any other chametz that may have been missed shall be considered to be dust of the earth. Republican Jews should instead perform a bedikat aruchat tsohoraim בדיקת ארוחת צהרים. Instead of scouring their homes for leaven,

Kadesh קדש

The bracha (blessing) is the same (mekadesh yisrael v'hazmanim), but instead of reclining to the left while drinking the wine, Republican Jews of course recline to the right.

Urchatz ורחץ

Not only (as is traditional) is no blessing said (because we are not about to eat bread) during this washing of the hands, Republican Jews do not bother to get up to wash. Instead they wait for the water to trickle down (from the original)

Karpas כרפס

Traditionally, a green vegetable (such as parsley or lettuce) is dipped in salt water.
Republican Jews follow the ruling of the Rav Ronald Reagan that ketchup qualifies as a vegetable. Ketchup is (usually) not green, but green is the last thing any Republican would want to be.(from the original)

Yachatz יחץ

Most Jews break the middle matzah into two roughly equal pieces, replacing the smaller piece on the Seder plate and hiding the larger piece as the afikoman. At Republican Jewish seders, the leader (or in Republican parlance, the Seder CEO) to keep 99 percent of the matzah for himself and let the other participants share the remaining 1 percent.(from the original)

Magid מגיד

This is the part of the Seder where the story of Pesach (Passover) is told.

Ha Lachma Anya (Bread of Affliction) הא לחמא עניא

In this case it's technically this is the bread of the job creator so should be something like (Ha Lachma Borei Melacha) הא לחמא בורא מלאכה
"At more than 20 dollars a pound, this is the bread of the job creator . Let all who are hungry be declared ineligible for Food Stamps. Let all who are needy suck it up. This year we are in America. Next year may we demagogue Israel to all get-out. This year we are slaves to the income tax. May next year be entirely tax-free.

Four Question (Ma Nishtana) מה נשתנה

The child with the largest trust fund asks:

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights we eat food picked and processed by illegal immigrants that take jobs away from real Americans. Why on this night is our matzah watched in the field by old Russian ladies?

On all other nights we eat all sorts of vegetables except arugula; after all, we're not elitist organic-loving hippies. Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs (maror).

On all other nights we only dip once. Why on this night will we give Obama 100% of the blame for a potential double-dip recession?

On all other nights we eat in whatever position we like, sitting up or leaning. Why on this night do we lean even farther to the right than usual?

The Pesach Story

We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt. When God brought us out of there with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, we didn't hold onto the plantation mentality. If the Holy One Blessed Be He, had not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we'd still be slaves to the Pharaohs in Egypt because private property rights are sacrosanct. Since God knows we're not wise or knowledgeable or familiar with constitutional law, it's required that we tell the story of how we left Egypt.

It is related that Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy and Dave Camp spoke all night in the Cannon House Office Building about cutting benefits for the poor until morning when their interns came in with coffee and said, "Sirs, the time has come for the vote to end Medicare as we know it."

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said "I am a seventy year old man, and all the days of my life I live in fear of having to go before the Obama death panels." Ben Zoma explains that "all the days of my life" refers to the fact that the death penal brigades may even fly to your house in their black helicopters and break down your door at night. The sages, however, say this refers to the fact that the Democrat party sheep saw Obama's election as the beginning of the times of the Messiah.

Blessed be the Omnipotent Invisible hand of the free market.

Four Candidates

The party speaks of four candidates: the "wise" candidate (Gingrich), the wicked candidate (Paul), the simple candidate (Santorum), and the candidate who does not know how to ask (Romney) (from the original)

The "wise" candidate, what does he say? "Where did Obama get his Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview?"

The "wicked" candidate, what does he say? "Why does the Israeli lobby play Congress like a cheap harmonica?"

The "simple" candidate, what does he say? "How do I fix the Google results for my name?"

The candidate who does not know how to ask? He says "Who let the dogs out? Who, who?"

In the beginning of our time in America our forefathers served the idols of socialism but now the GOP has brought us close to its service. As it is said, "Your forefathers used to live on the other side of the river in the Lower East Side, and they voted for Socialists for Congress."

Blessed is he that calculated the end of our bondage under the oppressive Obama regime, as God said to Abraham, "Your seed will be enslaved by oppressive regulations and will suffer for four years. But through the (non-Hispanic) Catholics on the Supreme Court I shall judge the Affordable Health Care Act to be unconstitutional, and within the year after that taxes on investment income will be slashed and you will end up with great wealth.

Vehi Sheamda והיא שעמדה

This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one Democrat alone has risen against us to destroy us. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who didn't bomb the railway lines to the death camps. To John F. Kennedy, who destroyed the hat industry, making men dress immodestly. To Jimmy Carter, the rasha [evil man], about whom no more need be said. To Bill Clinton, who defiled our precious daughters of Israel! To the current socialist Kenyan Muslim Hussein Obama, in every generation they rise against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hands.

Republicans have a minhag [custom/tradition] of refusing to read anything longer than three pages, and so they skip the detailed textual analysis and go right to the ten plagues.

Ten Plagues עשר מכות

In addition to taking ten drops out of the wine cups for the plaques, Republican Jews also take them out for ten types of taxation.

The income tax, the social security payroll tax, the tax on dividends, the gasoline tax, the property tax, the cigarette tax, the alcohol tax, the sales tax, the "fee" that is actually a tax by another name, and finally, the death of the super-rich parent tax.

Rabbi Yehuda put them in three categories: the consumption taxes (gasoline, cigarette, alcohol, salex, fee), taxes on income (income tax, payroll tax), and the worst of all, the taxes on wealth (dividends,property, death of super-rich parent).

Rabbi Yose the Galilean, said: How can you assert that the Egyptians were smitten with ten plagues in Egypt, and at the Red Sea they were struck with fifty plagues. That's fuzzy math!

Dayenu דינו

If Obama increased sanctions on Iran, but not restored Israel's military edge, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration, but not increased security assistance to Israel, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had increased security assistance to Israel to record levels, but hadn't boycotted Durban II and Durban IIIit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had boycotted Durban II and Durban III, but hadn't increased U.S.-Israel military cooperation, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had taken U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels, but hadn't vetoed one-sided anti-Israel UN resolutions,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had cast his only veto in the U.N. against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution, but hadn't stopped unilateral Palestinian statehood,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, but not opposed Goldstone, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had vehemently opposed the Goldstone Report, but not stood with Israel against the flotilla, it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla, but not intervened to rescue Israelis with Cairoit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had immediately intervened to rescue Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy, but had not given orders to help with the Carmel fire,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had given orders to give Israel “whatever it needs” to put out the Carmel fire, but hadn't supported the policy of nuclear ambiguity,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had given 'unprecedented support' for the policy of ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear weapons, but hadn't condemned Palestinian incitementit wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had repeatedly condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel, but not pulled out of exercises with Turkey,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had pulled out of joint exercises with Turkey after Turkey excluded Israel, but hadn't pushed for more Iron Dome money,it wouldn't have been enough.
If President Obama had pushed for more money for Iron Dome to protect Israelis from Gaza rockets, but had never been to a Seder in his life,it wouldn't have been enough.

Of course, Obama has done all of those things, and has had a Seder at the White House every Passover, but it's still not enough.

Rabbi Rick Perry said, those who become president and do not eliminate three departments have not fulfilled their duty, namely Education, Commerce, and ... he can't remember the third one. The Sages say the third department is the Department of Energy, but Ron Paul says in the name of Rabbi Ludwig von Mises that above all things we must End the Fed.

The Department of Education, why do we cut it? Because only a snob like President Obama believes everybody ought to go to college.

The Department of Commerce, why do we cut it? Because it contains the Census Bureau, and who trusts the Acorn thugs with that kind of information.

As for the Department of Energy, we cut it so that we may, as it says, "drill, baby, drill."

In every generation, it is required for true red-blooded Americans to deny that their ancestors ever left the land of intolerance and poverty to immigrate to the United States.

Rachtza רחצה

One washes their hands again, this time with a blessing since bread will be eaten.
Blessed are you, Hashem our God, ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning washing our hands.

Motzi Matza מוציא מצה

Blessed are you, Hashem our God, ruler of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth; as for the poor, let them eat minei mizonot!

Maror מרור

Korech כורך

Shulchan Orech שולחן עורך

Tzafun צפון

Barech ברך

This portion of the Seder consists of the Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after the meal. The blessing generally begins with the zimun, the formal invitation to one's fellow diners to say the blessing. In traditional Judaism, this is done only if three or more adult males (or three or more adult females and no males) are present. Republican Jews believe that if the meal was eaten on corporate property, one may count the corporation as one of the three, because, as it said, "corporations are people, my friend" and you, your friend, and the corporation make three. However, if one is including a corporation, one must be sure to say ברשות איחוד האזרחים נברך אלוקנו שאכלנו משלו (with the permission of Citizens United we will bless our Lord from whose food we have eaten)

Hallel הלל

Please Hashem, save us from Obama.
Please Hashem, save us from Obama!
Please Hashem, give us success this November.
Please Hashem, give us success this November!

Nirtza נרצה

Echad Mi Yodea

Who knows one? I know one. Number One is the only guy I look out for.
Who knows two? I know two. Two is the only amendment in my copy of the Constitution.
Who knows three? I know three. Three are Newt Gingrich's wives.
Who knows four? I know four. Four are the candidates still running for the GOP nomination.
Who knows five? I know five. Five are the Supreme Court justices who will do our bidding.
Who knows nine? I know nine. Nine-nine-nine is the tax plan for me.
Who knows ten? I know ten. Ten grand is what Mitt Romney bets on a whim.

Chad Gadya

Chad Gadya, Chad Gadya! Which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, Chad Gadya.
Then came the cat and ate the kid, which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, Chad Gadya
Then came the dog and ate the cat which ate the kid, which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, chad gadya
Then came Barack Obama who ate the dog that ate the cat which ate the kid which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad gadya, chad gadya.

Update: Praise for the New Republican Haggadah by Jewish Republicans.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary and editor of the New York Post: "a witless parody of conservative thinking."

armchair conspirator, future Republican Governor: "this is my haggadah"