PA May Be in Violation of the Oslo Accords

No More Tax Funds from Israel to PA
Israel National News

Israel will be withholding tax funds destined for the Palestinian Authority following the UN vote last week. The PA’s status as a de facto “sovereign state” not only calls into question the legal basis of returning those tax funds, it calls into question the entire legal nature of the relationship between Israel and the PA. To wit:

It [the UN declaration] also circumvented the mandate for final status negotiations with Israel as required by the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords signed by the PA and Israel in the 1990s. By abrogating that agreement, there now exists a legal question as to whether or not the entire document is null and void – including the Paris Protocols, the section delineating economic agreements between Israel and the PA.

Somebody in the PA either didn’t think this through, or didn’t care. Perhaps because they believe this is the beginning of the end for Israel. It is nothing of the kind, of course, but this wouldn’t be the first time the Palestinians have miscalculated badly, would it?

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Been to Aish yet?

About Aish.com.

By the way, have I mentioned how much I love Aish.com? Along with Chabad.org and Torah.org, Aish.com is just a superb guide to those of us on our own walk-in-the-desert journeys to Teshuvah.

It all begins with learning, and Aish.org is all about education. If you haven’t seen the site yet, go and spend some time. If nothing else, check out the Window on the Wall, watching the Kotel 24/7.

I’m Boycotting Musicians Who Boycott Israel

Via Aish.com, a disturbing revelation prior to the world’s festive season: Stevie Wonder cancels a commitment to appear at a benefit for wounded IDF soldiers and the widows and orphans of those killed in the line of duty. Apparently, Mr. Wonder doesn’t think this humanitarian enough.

Unfortunately, Wonder is not alone. Fortunately, his misguided thinking is not shared universally in the music business.

One group called Creative Community for Peace says that although we “may not all share the same politics, we do agree that unfairly singling out Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, will not further peace.”

Yet musicians such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Jon Bon Jovi and Carlos Santana have all cravenly cancelled tour stops in Israel.

Appearing in Tel Aviv, pop icon Elton John took a swipe at the cowards: “Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.”

via Stevie Wonder Scorns the IDF.

I’m pulling all music from these musicians out of my collection and locking them away. I’m also done buying their music.

Until they have a change of heart, that is.

Carter and Israel

“The World According to Carter”
Alan Dershowitz

The New York Sun
November 22, 2006

As we take stock of the events of the past month in the Mideast, it is worth remembering that even intelligent, well-meaning American statesmen are taken in by a Palestinian party line that ignores or alters facts in support of its own version of history. Jimmy Carter has done much good in his life, but his despicable revisionism about Israel has threatened to overshadow his contributions.

Dershowitz suggests that Carter is outright anti-Israel. I am not yet ready to make such an assertion. Nonetheless, this article reminds us why Carter and those who follow his line of thinking deserve no credibility in the debate over the future of the region.

 

On Atheist Marriages

Atheist marriages: Should one nonbeliever marry another?
Jesse Bering
Slate
November 14, 2011

Okay, this one is a year old, but it is so brilliantly written and such a hoot that it is a must-read for believers and non-believers alike. Slate’s Jesse Bering (who now rates as our favorite gay atheist) probes with wit and sensitivity the question of whether degrees and nature of belief are criteria for long-term marital compatibility.

The conclusion he reaches is no surprise: your best shot at long-term happiness with a marital partner is a shared set of values. In all likelihood, the more closely beliefs and values are shared, the more compatible you and your partner will be.

Judaism has a lot to say about mixed marriages, mostly negative, and I understand why. No way would my wife and I have made it anywhere near this far without sharing our fundamental belief in Torah. In fact, that faith has held us together (and quite happily) despite the stresses and strains of a mixed-race marriage. Faith runs thicker than culture, to be sure.

The door should never be closed to interfaith unions – I’ve seen a quite few work out pretty well. But I’ve also seen disparate beliefs become the shoal on which many relationships foundered. Hunt first with your heart, then, but don’t forget your soul.

And as far as Mr. Bering is concerned, this article is proof that Theists and Atheists can have constructive conversations without falling into the gutter of kulturkampf.

Et tu, Maureen?

CDR Salamander: Maureen & the Subconscious Anti-Semite.

I try to stay out of politics on this blog. I spend enough time covering Chinese government and U.S. politics elsewhere that I try to leave this blog for musings on what it means to be Jewish.

But when one of the most prominent columnists in The New York Times, which has a history as a paper of record in the United States, begins to slide into rhetorical country that belies a subtle anti-Semitism, I have to raise the Chinese wall a bit.

I often find myself disagreeing with Maureen Dowd, but she has always been one of those voices I treasure because they she expresses herself so well. It was a disappointment, then, when naval blogger CDR Salamander caught Dowd apparently revealing an un-pretty bit of prejudice. The good CDR does an excellent job at explaining where the problem lies with Ms. Dowd’s rhetoric, especially when she appears to side with Israel’s enemies.

I respect Ms. Dowd for her opinions. I can only believe she must see the danger in overt Jew-baiting. I sincerely hope her rhetorical choices were meant as link-bait, and were not signs of a soul tainted with hatred of either Israel or Judaism.

Gandhi Gets It

While I prefer to quote Jewish sages, I tend to follow the course of Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin: I’ll quote wisdom wherever I find it, thank you, particularly when that wisdom reflects a core tenet of Judaism.

Today I have to drop this one from Mohandas K. Gandhi, who wrote:

“I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and that also that all had some error in them, and while I hold by my own religion, I should hold other religions as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we were Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu; but our innermost prayer should be that a Hindu should become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, and a Christian a better Christian.”

Swap “Judaism” for “Hinduism” and “Jew” for “Hindu,” and I agree utterly with the statement.

I think we Jews and the Mahatma are are on the same page…