Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time For Some Humor.

Blacks, who were never slaves, are fighting whites, who were never Nazis, over a Confederate statue erected by southern Democrats because now Democrats can't stand their own history anymore......yet somehow it's Trumps fault!
Israel's Navy is small but important. (See 1 below.)
My friend and fellow memo reader, Ron Dolinsky, believes as I do.  Do not stay silent but also do not fight hate with hate. (See 2 below.)
More from Tobin regarding Trump and our bifurcated society. (See 3 below.)


The best response to hate. (See 3a below.)

The news lately has been heavy.  Humor is a good antidote. (See 4 below.)

The changing face of the Israel Navy

By Anna Ahronheim

Israeli warship
An Israeli warship arrives at an Israeli navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat July 15, 2009.
(photo credit:REUTERS)
Some 30 meters underground in the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv sits the Navy War Room, whence senior officers can see every wave crashing on the nation’s shores and every ship and plane in or over its territorial waters.
The Israel Navy is small compared to other IDF corps, and it has a large territory to protect since the expansion of the country’s Mediterranean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from 40 miles to 150 miles four years ago, a senior naval officer said on Tuesday.
“The expansion of the EEZ has changed the face of the navy,” the officer said before showing The Jerusalem Post the Naval War Room.
The expansion is also a “significant challenge” when the navy must use everything at its disposal to gather intelligence and keep the nation’s waters safe from any threat, including working with the air and ground forces, he added.
The navy is also tasked with securing the natural gas drilling rigs that are in Israel’s EEZ, clear targets for enemies to the north. The IDF believes that Hezbollah in Lebanon has long-range missiles that can hit the rigs, which fuel much of the electricity used in Israel.
Hezbollah is a “clear and major enemy” that continues to grow in terms of battlefield experience and its arsenal of advanced weaponry coming from Iran, senior naval officers told the Post.
Due to the threat posed by Hezbollah’s arsenal of Grad rockets and other, longer-range, projectiles, the navy is reported to have changed the design of the Sa’ar-6 corvette warships that are currently being manufactured for Israel in Germany to have two Iron Dome short-range defensive missile launchers instead of one.
Israel is economically dependent on the sea and has recently began to upgrade its entire combat fleet with Sa’ar-6 corvettes and Dolphin 2-class submarines, the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II. The existing Sa’ar-5 and Sa’ar-4.5 ships are being upgraded with the integration of new radars and electronic warfare systems. In November, the navy received three new Super Dvora Mk III-class patrol boats.
While the threat posed by Hezbollah remains the main focus of the navy and of the IDF in general, that posed by Islamic State to the south is just as real.
With shared interests in fighting Islamic State, Israel has in the past carried out drills in order to maintain force preparedness, and continues to have good cooperation with the Egyptians.
“The Egyptians are doing a really good job in fighting Daesh [ISIS]. They understand the importance of Sinai and how it can have an impact not only on tourism but also on the Gaza Strip,” a senior officer with knowledge of international cooperation in the navy told the Post.
“The threat posed by waterborne attacks from Sinai is a major threat,” he continued, stressing that while “it is different from rockets striking one of our ships, they won’t stop trying and we must keep it in our mind that they are capable. The group is under pressure in [its capital in the Syrian city of] Raqqa and they will need to release that pressure somewhere.”
In the Naval War Room, the senior officer told the Post that the navy has in recent years understood that sea-based terrorist attacks can also come from under the water.
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, five Hamas frogmen (naval commandos) tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim before they were engaged and killed by the IDF. In the three years since the war, Hamas has significantly expanded its naval commando unit with a reported 1,500 frogmen.
“The navy is 100% concerned about underwater threats, both on the northern border with Lebanon and from Gaza,” he said, explaining that this was not the case three or four years ago. “The state-of-mind of the navy has changed. In the past we didn’t think that an underwater threat existed, but now we do and we are fully prepared.”
In 2015, the navy began deploying dozens of sensors from a new system named Aqua Shield that can detect and report suspicious underwater movement. The sensors were placed on the sea floor near the Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s water borders with Israel.
The navy has also placed greater emphasis on training for underwater infiltrations and in the beginning of August its Salvage and Underwater Missions Unit held a wide-ranging, two-week drill in Haifa dubbed “Noble Melinda” with counterparts from the US and France.
The three navies drilled scenarios involving naval mines, underwater demolitions and sea-based terrorist attacks. The exercises also involved the use of antitank weaponry.
It was the first time that the French were invited to take part in the annual exercise, which for the past two decades only saw Israel and the US take part. According the senior officer with knowledge of international cooperation in the navy, the French have increasingly docked in Israeli ports and for the past two years have even surpassed the Americans in visiting Israel.
“We share intelligence, knowledge and drill with the French,” the senior officer told the Post, adding that the navy is “very happy” with the increase of French visits.
But it’s not only the French who are sharing experience and knowledge with the Israel Navy.
According to senior naval officers, the civil war in Syria and other regional challenges such as Islamic State, and the ongoing discoveries of offshore energy are making the eastern Mediterranean more interesting to Israel’s allies.
Several dozen ships from countries such as France, the United States, India, Great Britain and Italy have docked in Israeli naval ports over the past year, carrying out drills with the Israel Navy and coming ashore for cultural excursions.
But there are of course strong navies that officials do not foresee any increased cooperation with.
With fighting raging in Syria, the Russian Navy has increased its presence in the area over the past few years. Israeli officials have stated that while the navy does not plan to expand any sort of cooperation with the Russian Navy, there is clear communication between the two, for safety reasons.
Another regional power, Turkey, and Israel normalized ties last year after a six-year rupture that began when Ankara broke off relations with Jerusalem following a raid by Israel Navy commandos on the Mavi Marmara protest ship trying to break the blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Ten pro-Palestinian Turks were killed after they attacked the commandos. The two countries used to participate in annual joint navy and air force drills, but following the downgrading of ties Jerusalem turned instead to Greece and the Greek Cypriots instead for exercises of air, sea and ground forces.
“The Greeks are a major and natural strategic partner,” the senior international cooperation officer said, adding that “someone had to fill the empty spot when we stopped doing drills with the Turks.”
Though the IDF may also want to work with the Turkish Navy, officials don’t see that happening.
By Ron Dolinsky
Charlottesville was an orchestrated plot by subversive's who dominate the progression faction of the Democrat party, actually most of the Democrat party. There will be more of these white supremacist PR rallies, which could have been predictable, and will be an opportunity for the radical left under the guise of resistance to racism to use racism to try to squash the first amendment rights of the so-called white supremacists, as well as any group of "white" people who oppose their agenda, and support Trump's agenda. We must not under estimate what the subversives are willing to do to achieve their ends. The governor of Virginia, who plans to run for the presidency, and the Charlottesville mayor allowed the two groups to create a riot by withholding police control before and during the confrontation. Well that was just what the media wanted. 

If you want your country and the constitution to survive this onslaught you CAN'T be a bystander. Use Facebook, Twitter, emails, and phone calls to like-minded people and encourage them to do the same. These ARE the best weapons to fire the bullets of the truth. Then inundate media outlets with a strong statement opposing any activity by the anarchists to attempt to deny anybody in their free-speech rights at rallies and on college campuses.  The cockroaches are a relatively small number but they are enabled by progressives/Democrats that have been brainwashed for decades. 

Trump’s Moral Equivalence Trap

The moral bankruptcy of the ‘many sides’ argument.

Hate and terrorism don’t lend themselves to nuance. That’s why those seeking to parse President Trump’s various statements about what happened in Charlottesville, Va., in such a way as to validate his claim that the violence there was the fault of “many sides” or that there were “very fine people” among both those protesting a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and the counter-protesters are deeply wrong.
Even if there were some violently inclined left-wingers present in that college town that weekend, the correct response to a torch-light procession of neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members chanting anti-Semitic and racist slogans, followed by a vehicular terrorist attack that claimed the life of an innocent counter-protester can never be to assert moral equivalence between the two sides in Charlottesville. (The president disingenuously denied in an early morning tweet today that he had made such a moral equivalence.)
We live in an increasingly bifurcated society in which left and right have ceased viewing the other side as fellow citizens and see them instead as trying to destroy their liberties. In such an atmosphere, rational thinking disappears and is replaced by a willingness to demonize opponents answer any argument by pointing to bad behavior by opponents. Politics therefore becomes a form of warfare a zero-sum game in which either giving or receiving quarter from the enemy is both weakness and a betrayal.
Trump’s unwillingness to consistently single out neo-Nazis, the KKK or assorted alt-right extremists for opprobrium — even when they are clearly the guilty parties as they were in Charlottesville — is explained by some on the left as proof that he sympathizes with them. Trump is no anti-Semite or Nazi but, like many on the right, he thinks the liberal media establishment won’t tell the truth about left-wing extremism and is out to smear him by claiming alt-right haters were more than a tiny fraction of the nearly 63 million who voted for him. That’s why he instinctively rebels against efforts to get him to play the role of national healer since he views such pieties as surrender to a liberal narrative that is implicitly aimed at delegitimizing his presidency. The same reason explains why his fans dismiss all critiques of his behavior no matter how egregious it might have been.
But to understand what motivates him and others reflexively responding to Charlottesville by pointing out bad things the left has done is not to excuse it.
What happened in Virginia was started by far-right groups that have embraced a symbol of the Confederacy as an excuse to vent racism and anti-Semitism. They were the ones who organized the rally and staged a neo-Nazi parade. That and the subsequent murderous car attack render irrelevant the discussion about the merits of statue removal or whether some left-wing anarchists or Antifa (anti-fascist) members present among the counter-protestors might have also behaved badly.
There’s nothing wrong with Trump or anyone else calling out left-wing political violence and anti-Semitism. Both are, as we have seen in numerous recent instances and the rise of the BDS movement, real and deserve to be denounced. It is equally true that the debate about whether to purge public squares of Confederate statues raises questions about whether revisionists will demand the same treatment for slave owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson or even manifest destiny advocates like Theodore Roosevelt. Personally, I think a rational society is capable of distinguishing between monuments honoring patriotism and those erected to bolster racism but these are not taboo topics.
But when faced with Klan/Nazi incitement and violence, any hesitation in singling out those responsible for Charlottesville or efforts to change the subject are morally bankrupt.
In other contexts, most conservatives have little trouble viewing hate and terror with moral clarity. When friends of Israel read accounts of Palestinian terror that rationalize murder, ignore incitement or places the victims and the Israeli police and army seeking to stop the violence on the same moral plane with those perpetrating it, they rightly cry foul.
When Jews are slaughtered for being Jews, we have no patience for those who want to contextualize the discussion with talk about alleged Israeli wrongdoing in order to distract us from what has happened.
The same rules should apply to Charlottesville. When it comes to Nazi hate and violence, there should be no talk of “many sides” or the existence of allegedly “very fine people” who stand with the haters.
Jonathan S. Tobin is opinion editor of and a contributing writer for National Review. His column appears monthly. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

The Best Response to Hate

To fight or not to fight – that is the question.
A diverse variety of responses have been offered to the horrifying events in Charlottesville this past weekend.  We are a diverse nation, and while certain truths are deemed to be self-evident by the vast majority of us,  even amongst those who hold fast to the principles of liberty,  equality, and tolerance,  there are still variances in belief on how to assure and protect those virtues. 
But before we discuss the issues on which we disagree, it is worthwhile to begin with the things that the majority of Americans can commonly accept and admit about Charlottesville.
1) The perpetrator of the car ramming is a murderer and a domestic terrorist and should be prosecuted to the full measure of the law.
2) The victims deserve our prayers.
3) White supremacy is a racist ideology.  
4) It is important to identify hate groups and to make clear that their beliefs and tactics are unAmerican.
5) There is far too much hatred and violence in our country today, and we need to do something to de-escalate the current situation.
From this foundation of common sentiment, we can now identify some areas where we are less in sync.  First, there is a clear partisan divide when it comes to the roots and causes of the quagmire in which we find ourselves. 
The left will assign blame to Trump's own feelings of white supremacy, or  at the very least to his failure to distance himself  from the alt right.   The right will point to Obama's promotion of identity politics  and his stoking of the flames of antipathy between people of color and caucasians.
These are matters of opinion, and though each side will insist on its facts and obvious truths, it is futile to try to convince one another .  People are entitled to their perspectives, and the goal of productive dialogue is not to convert the other, but to hear the other and to consider our beliefs and opinions in the context of the new information that the other brings to our attention.  Perhaps that information will strengthen our convictions, or  it is possible that it will challenge us to reevaluate and reformulate our position. 
What is absolutely unhelpful is blaming and shaming those who have no affiliation to violent extremist groups but who have voted differently from ourselves.   Blame  forces the other into defensiveness and a further entrenchment in his/her position.  If we are genuinely looking to affect change, then blame is the last thing we should be offering to one another.
A more productive question than who is to blame is how we should address the situation now in order to de-escalate the current tensions.  What,  quite simply, is the most effective response to hate? 
Unfortunately, this is not so easy to agree  upon either.
The most natural and instinctive response to hate is reciprocal  hate.   Biologically, we are programmed to respond to aggression with defensive  force.  It makes sense.  But it does not necessarily make progress. 
Nevertheless, there are many at the moment who insist that we must fight back.  We must raise our voices to drown out the chants of those who scream and shout and threaten.  We must display the strength of our will and the extent of our conviction.  We must declare the inherent evil of those who declare us inherently evil.  Let them come, we’ll be ready for them! 
Yet others warn that this is precisely what hate groups want from us.  Such a response,  they will argue, is evidence that the incitement  of the extremists  is working like a charm.  They’re calling for a fight, and we’re responding with a hearty acceptance of their offer. 
But what else are we to do?  Shall we stand down and allow them to trample us in our cowed submission?  Shall we let them march forward and bolster their ranks while we pyrrhically refuse to sink to their level?  Does it benefit us to be more evolved if we will soon be overrun?
What are we to do if fighting feeds their bloodlust and passivity enables their incursion?
There is a third alternative that negotiates the fine line between violence and inaction. "Peace,” wrote psychologist and famed global practitioner of conflict resolution Marshall Rosenberg,  “requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek;  it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other.”
Our task, Rosenberg challenges us, is to actively engage those who hate, but not with brute force similar to that with which they engage and provoke us.   While they present us with fists and aggression, we receive them with ears and compassion.
It sounds almost ludicrous doesn’t it?  It certainly sounds dangerous and dubious.   How can we possibly respond to hate with patience and empathy?  How is that any less weak and passive than ignoring their provocation and/or turning the other cheek?  Aside of the risks involved, why should we believe for a moment that this type of response is any more effective than those we have already considered?
Perhaps we can accept the testimony of Arno Michaelis, a former Neo-Nazi who founded one of the most violent white supremacist gangs in the midwest before he left his former life behind to seek a new path and rescue others from violent extremism:
“My life changed because people demonstrated the courage and inner peace necessary to defy my hostility rather than reflect it,” Michaelis writes.  “People who I had claimed to hate - a Jewish boss, a Lesbian supervisor, black and Latino co-workers  - refused to lower themselves to my level, instead choosing to model the way that we human beings should treat each other. Examples of kindness, compassion and forgiveness changed the course of my life.”
Those who hate are mired in pain, Michaelis attests.   They are subjects of their upbringing and their difficult life experiences.  As hard as it is to admit in this moment of shock and outrage,  these are people like the rest of us.  They are not animals any more than we, who they accuse of being subhuman, are animals.
While we are justified in our rage, anger and violence do not benefit us or make our society more safe.  On the contrary,  as Michaelis asserts about his life as a white supremacist,  “we lived for violent opposition. We thrived on it. Violence of any sort, no matter how it may be rationalized, is the bread of hatred.”  On the other hand,  “human warmth and compassion,” he writes, “has the capability to crush everything the “alt-right” is about.”
Within the past days there has been an effort to identify the people who marched with the alt-right in Charlottesville, to post their names and make them accountable to their friends, families and employers.  It seems to be a reasonable action – after all, those who assembled did not hide their identities and should not mind being identified.  Furthermore, they should know that there are consequences to their actions.
But Michaelis responded to this intiative with a rare sensibility that reflects both his empathy and his pragmatism:
“Be mindful that people with nothing to lose are the most dangerous.   Someone getting fired and publicly humiliated can easily become the next Dylann Roof or Wade Page. I'd be all for this if it led people to dialogue,  learning,  growth,  and ultimately,  love.   If this just leads to punishment it will only make things worse. You can't punish the suffering out of people.”
We all suffer.  We all have our biases and our imperfections.  Some of us are more damaged and wounded than others, and some of us inflict more damage and pain than others.  Our goal at this time of crisis must be to mend the rifts that are threatening to tear us apart.  The anger and hatred that is mounting throughout the country may be countered by more of the same, but it will only be diminished and resolved by something quite different.
It is difficult to transcend our innate emotions, particularly in the heat of passion and a moment of great tension and trepidation.  But it is time to hold ourselves to a higher standard and call forth our higher potential. 
As Abraham Lincoln famously said at a time in our history when the very existence of our union was at stake, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
All of this is not to say that our duty at this moment is to seek out our nearest KKK klavern and go embrace a Klansman.  While we have spoken here primarily of the response to the type of hatred that is perpetrated by violent extremists,  and while Lincoln was speaking in context of a war that literally pitted Americans against one another on the battlefield, the “better angels of our nature” that he alludes to will be more commonly applied today to daily interactions with those who are not nearly as threatening to our physical well-being.   
Unfortunately, the rage that is spreading through out the country at this moment is often directed at those whose sole offense is the possession of beliefs and perspectives different from our own.   Our scorn and antipathy is being stoked by those who would have us subscribe to an ‘us vs. them’ mentality that pits us not against extremists, but against our fellow citizens who differ with us not in their general morality or basic decency, but in their  political persuasion and their opinions on how liberty, security, and stability are best manintained.
The hatred that we must address and counter is not simply the explicit racism and exclusionism that is manifest by fringe radicals, but even more commonly and importantly the subtle divisiveness and blamefulness that is creeping into our daily discourse and driving a wedge into the heart of our social cohesion.
While it is difficult to imagine  empathic engagement with those who marched for the alt-right in Charlottesville, at least we can, and must endeavor to,  practice the type of compassionate communication that Rosenberg, Michaelis, and Lincoln advocate in the context of our quotidian relationships. 
Whether it is our family members, our friends, our co-workers, or casual acquaintances  that we encounter in the course of our daily routine, we can all benefit from a more patient and generous attention to the commonality that binds us as citizens of our country and our world.  With such a consciousness we will greet aggression with restraint and respond with the composure that will enable us to transform tension into communion and productive collaboration.
In response to the tragedy of Charlottesville,   there are those calling for revenge, there are those calling for impeachment,   there are those casting blame , shame, and ire in every direction they are able.  They point to our failings and exacerbate and exaggerate our differences. 
But there are also those calling for forebearance and reconciliation, who recognize this moment as an urgent cry for a return from the brink and an opportunity to celebrate both our diversity and our commonality.   Now is the moment to enhance the bonds of humanity that transcend race, creed, and class. 
The most appropriate response to Charlottesville is to exploit every chance we have to display the generosity and magnanimity of our best selves,  to seek opportunities for collaboration and cross-communal outreach, and to demonstrate to those who are mired in anger and hate that there is an inherent and inevitable kinship that we all share which no amount of incitement or antagonism can ever  eradicate or overrun.
4)A lovely Jewish story 

Moishe, a Jewish actor is down and out. He is ready to accept any acting gig that he can find. Finally, he gets a lead. A classified ad states, "Actor needed to play an ape." "This I can do!," shouts Moishe, with delight.

To his surprise, the employer turns out to be the Central Park Zoo in New York. Owing to recent budget cuts and the current recession they can no longer afford to import an ape to replace the recently deceased ape. So, until they can raise sufficient funds to import another ape they decided to place an actor in an ape suit instead.

Out of sheer desperation, Moishe accepts the offer. At first, his conscience keeps nagging him that he is being dishonest by fooling the zoo visitors. Moishe also feels undignified in the ape suit, stared at by the attending crowds who watch his every move.

After a few days on the job he begins to enjoy all the attention and starts to put on a decent show for all the zoo visitors. Moishe hangs upside down from the branches by his legs, swinging about on the vines. He then climbs up the cage walls and roars with all his might whilst beating his chest. Soon, he's drawing a large crowd.

One day, whilst Moishe is swinging on the vines showing off his prowess to a group of school kids, his hands slip and he goes flying over the fence into the neighboring cage, the lion enclosure. Terrified, Moishe backs away as far as possible from the rapidly approaching male lion, covering his eyes and praying at the top of his lungs, he shouts "Shama Yisroel Adonoi Eloheinu, Adonoi Echud!"

The lion opens his powerful jaws and roars "Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuso! L'olam Va'ed"!

From a nearby cage, a panda yells "Shut up you schmucks, you'll get us all fired!”

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