Archive for June 6th, 2011

“OVER 30,000 TAKE PART IN SALUTE TO ISRAEL PARADE” by Fern Sidman

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Fashionable Fifth Avenue in New York City was transformed into a sea of blue and white on Sunday, June 5th, as tens of thousands participated in the annual “Celebrate Israel” parade, while hundreds of thousands of onlookers cheered on the litany of synagogues, schools and organizations that participated in the jubilant march. Reports indicate that the attendance was the largest in its 47-year history.

Former Soviet dissident and Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein served as the grand marshall and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg along with Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, led the parade down its route to 74th Street.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

A virtual repertoire of dignitaries made appearances including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) of New York’s 8th congressional district, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as leaders of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) representing various Jewish communities.

The flag of Israel was a ubiquitous site as well as “Old Glory” which were held aloft by participants in each group. Such schools as Yeshiva of Flatbush, Magen David Yeshiva, Shulamith School for Girls, Yeshiva Derech HaTorah, the Rambam Yeshiva, the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR), the North Shore Hebrew Academy, the Jewish Foundation School, the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, the Frisch School, the Ramaz School, the Joseph Kushner Hebew Academy, the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva of Edison, New Jersey, the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, the Westchester Hebrew High School, the Solomon Schechter Schools of Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Bergen County, Monmouth County, Raritan Valley and Westchester were well represented with their entire student bodies as were many others.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

A plethora of floats and marching bands were also on hand with sound systems playing Hebrew music and traditional Israeli songs relating to the cultural and religious legacy of the Jewish state. Float sponsors included El Al Airlines, Bank HaPoalim/Bank Leumi, American Friends of Magen David Adom, the 92nd Street Y, the Jewish National Fund, RAJE – Russian American Jewish Experience, the American-Israel Friendship League, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the UJA Federation of New York.

The predominant theme of each participating group was the centrality of Israel to the collective Jewish identity as well as calls to maintain the holy city of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal, united and undivided capital. The subtle undercurrent of geo-political realities also permeated the parade route as many remained shocked and outraged over the dramatic shift in US foreign policy as it pertains to Israel.

Salute to Israel Prade 2011

“I’m a black Christian woman who loves Israel and what she represents to the free world. I roundly condemn, in the strongest of terms, President Obama’s arrogant and hostile posture towards the only stable democratic ally we have in the Middle East. How dare he even entertain the ludicrous notion of Israel retreating to the clearly indefensible 1967 borders? It is clear as day that this president would love nothing more than to see Israel destroyed by her enemies”, declared Coretta James of the Christians United For Israel organization, as she stood on the sidelines watching the parade.

Approximately 50 pro-Palestinian apologists representing an alliance of left-wing politcal factions and Islamist movements along with other anti-Zionist agitators of the Chareidi Neturei Karta organization gathered on 5th Avenue between East 58th Street and 59th Streets to express their vitriol towards Israel. Rolling out banners and posters carrying the same hackneyed and mendacious slogans that have been used in previous years, the protestors accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian population and called for the establishment of a state called Palestine with boundaries running from the Jordan River to the Mediterrean sea, thus nullifying Israel’s existence.

Directly across the street stood pro-Israel counter demonstrators including Barbara Kaufman of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) who said, “If there are peaceful Islamists, why are they not here today at this parade? Why are they not actively involved in condemning radical elements of Islam who are responsible for terrorist attacks around the world? Today, we have people of all faiths and nationalities represented here who support the vibrant democracy of Israel. We have Hindus, Christians and Buddhists here who speak out vociferously against the purveyors of lies and grotesque falsehoods.” She added with a sardonic tone, “Perhaps these purportedly peaceful Islamists are busy building bombs and planning future terrorist attacks.”

Other parade goers and spectators carried signs calling for the release of Israeli Staff Sargeant Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists five years ago at the Kerem Shalom crossing near Gaza. Despite the fact that several human rights organizations have stated that the terms and conditions of Shalit’s detention are contrary to international humanitarian law, to date, the only contact between Sgt. Shalit and the outside world since his abduction has been three letters, an audio tape, and a DVD that Israel received in return for releasing 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

In addition to Shalit, calls for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard also took center stage. A former civilian American Naval intelligence analyst, Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 on charges of spying for Israel. Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States, nor was he indicted for compromising codes, agents or war plans and he was never charged with treason. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have lobbied for his release, but he has continued to languish in federal prison for close to 25 years and is in ill health.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Sixty-Seventh Anniversary of D-Day, World War Two Invasion of France

Monday, June 6th, 2011

As more and more of our World War Two vets pass away, join me, on this 67th anniversary of D-Day, in expressing our gratitude for the sacrifices they made to bring freedom to oppressed people all over the world.

The Normandy Landings were the first operations of the Allied Powers’ invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord, during World War II. D-Day for the operation, postponed 24 hours, became June 6, 1944, H-Hour was 6:30 am. The assault was conducted in two phases: an air assault landing of American and British airborne divisions shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 06:30 British Double Summer Time. It required the transport of soldiers and materiel from England and Wales by troop carrying aeroplanes and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. There were also subsidiary operations to distract the Kriegsmarine and prevent its interference in the landing areas.

D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

The operation was the largest single-day invasion of all time, with over 130,000 troops landed on June 6th 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel were involved.[2] The landings took place along a stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sections: Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword and Utah.

The order of battle for the landings was approximately as follows, east to west:

British sector (Second Army)

  • 6th Airborne Division was delivered by parachute and glider to the east of the River Orne to protect the left flank. The division contained 7,900 men.
  • 1st Special Service Brigade comprising No.3, No.4, No.6 and No.45 (RM) Commandos landed at Ouistreham in Queen Red sector (leftmost). No.4 Commando were augmented by 1 and 8 Troop (both French) of No.10 (Inter Allied) Commando.
  • I Corps, 3rd Infantry Division and the 27th Armoured Brigade on Sword Beach, from Ouistreham to Lion-sur-Mer.
  • No.41(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) landed on the far right of Sword Beach, where 29,000 men would land.
  • Canadian 3rd Infantry Division, Canadian 2nd Armoured Brigade and No.48 (RM) Commando on Juno Beach, from Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to Courseulles-sur-Mer, where 21,400 troops would land.
  • No.46(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) at Juno to scale the cliffs on the left side of the Orne River estuary and destroy a battery. (Battery fire proved negligible so No.46 were kept off-shore as a floating reserve and landed on D+1).
  • XXX Corps, 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and 8th Armoured Brigade, consisting of 25,000 men landing on Gold Beach,[6] from Courseulles to Arromanches.
  • No.47(RM) Commando (part of 4th Special Service Brigade) on the West flank of Gold beach.
  • 79th Armoured Division operated specialist armour (“Hobart’s Funnies”) for mine-clearing, recovery and assault tasks. These were distributed around the Anglo-Canadian beaches.
  • Overall, the British contingent would consist of 83,115 troops (61,715 of them British).

    25 Australian Infantry landed, none died. Over 3,000 Australians helped in the bombing and airborn invasion.

    U.S. Sector (First Army)

  • V Corps, 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division making up 34,250 troops for Omaha Beach, from Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to Vierville-sur-Mer.
  • 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions at Pointe du Hoc (The 5th diverted to Omaha).
  • VII Corps, 4th Infantry Division and the 359th RCT of the 90th Infantry Division comprising of 23,250 men landing on Utah Beach, around Pouppeville and La Madeleine.
  • 101st Airborne Division by parachute around Vierville to support Utah Beach landings.
  • 82nd Airborne Division by parachute around Sainte-Mère-Église, protecting the right flank. They had originally been tasked with dropping further west, in the middle part of the Cotentin, allowing the sea-landing forces to their east easier access across the peninsula, and preventing the Germans from reinforcing the north part of the peninsula. The plans were later changed to move them much closer to the beachhead, as at the last minute the German 91st Air Landing Division was determined to be in the area.
  • In total, the Americans contributed 73,000 men (15,500 were airborne).

    D-Day

    D-Day

    D-Day

    Omaha Beach

    Elements of the 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division faced the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division, one of the best trained on the beaches. Allied intelligence failed to realize that the relatively low-quality 716th Infantry Division (static) had been replaced by the 352nd the previous March. Omaha was also the most heavily fortified beach, with high bluffs defended by funneled mortars, machine guns, and artillery, and the pre-landing aerial and naval bombardment of the bunkers proved to be ineffective. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landings to drift eastwards, missing their assigned sectors, and the initial assault waves of tanks, infantry and engineers took heavy casualties. The official record stated that “within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, [the leading] company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action. Every officer and sergeant had been killed or wounded […] It had become a struggle for survival and rescue”. Only a few gaps were blown in the beach obstacles, resulting in problems for subsequent landings. The heavily defended draws, the only vehicular routes off the beach, could not be taken and two hours after the first assault the beach was closed for all but infantry landings. Commanders (including General Omar Bradley) considered abandoning the beachhead, but small units of infantry, often forming ad hoc groups, supported by naval artillery and the surviving tanks, eventually infiltrated the coastal defenses by scaling the bluffs between strongpoints. Further infantry landings were able to exploit the initial penetrations and by the end of the day two isolated footholds had been established. American casualties at Omaha on D-Day numbered around 3,000 out of 34,000 men, most in the first few hours, while the defending forces suffered 1,200 killed, wounded or missing. The tenuous beachhead was expanded over the following days, and the original D-Day objectives were accomplished by D+3.

    D-Day

    D-Day

    The beaches at Normandy are still referred to on maps and signposts by their invasion codenames. There are several vast cemeteries in the area. The American cemetery, in Colleville-sur-Mer, contains row upon row of identical white crosses and Stars of David, immaculately kept, commemorating the American dead. Commonwealth graves, in many locations, use white headstones engraved with the person’s religious symbol and their unit insignia. The largest cemetery in Normandy is the La Cambe German war cemetery, which features granite stones almost flush with the ground and groups of low-set crosses. There is also a Polish cemetery.

    D-Day

    Normandy Landings – From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

    “ACTIVISTS DECRY CUNY AT JOHN JAY GRADUATION” by Fern Sidman

    Monday, June 6th, 2011

    On Friday morning, June 3rd, several dozen people gathered across the street from the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side to voice their outrage and indignation over the decision of the board of trustees of the City University of New York to grant an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner. The site was selected as it was the venue of the commencement ceremonies for the 2011 class of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; the same CUNY school that saw fit to bestow the honorary degree to the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for his literary accomplishments.

    A polemical firestorm erupted a month ago when CUNY trustee Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, (an investment adviser and one-time aide to former New York State Governor George E. Pataki), represented the lone dissenting voice at a CUNY board meeting on May 2nd in which he expressed his vehement opposition to the nomination of Kushner for an honorary degree.

    At the time, Mr. Wiesenfeld cited a litany of anti-Israel statements made by Mr. Kushner and spoke of the “disingenuous and non-intellectual activity directed against the State of Israel on campuses throughout the country, the West generally and oftentimes the United States as well.” Mr. Wiesenfeld also pointed to direct quotes that Kushner made to the media. Among them are:

    “[Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing, and that today is behaving abominably towards the Palestinian people.”
    — Yale Israel Review (winter 2005)

    “I’ve never been a Zionist. I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”
    — The New York Sun reporting Kushner comments made at a conference in NY (10/14/02)

    Ha’aretz reporter: But you are saying that the very creation of Israel as a Jewish state was not a good idea.
    Kushner: I think it was a mistake.
    — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

    “Zionism aimed as the establishment of a national identity is predicated on a reading of Jewish history and an interpretation of the meaning of Jewish history I don’t share. Insofar as Zionism is an idea that the solution to the suffering of the Jewish people was the establishment of a Jewish nation, I think it is not the right answer.
    — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

    “I am not a Zionist in case you haven’t noticed.” Kushner cited “the shame of American Jews for failing to denounce Israel.”
    – Chicago Tribune (4/10/02)

    “The Israeli-built security wall should come down, the homeland for the Palestinians should be built up, with a strictly enforced peace, not enforced by the Israel Defense Forces, but by the United Nations.”
    – Baltimore Jewish Times (6/4/04)

    “I deplore the brutal and illegal tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories. I deplore the occupation, the forced evacuations, the settlements, the refugee camps, the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people; Jews, of all people, with our history of suffering, should refuse to treat our fellow human beings like that.”
    – London Times (5/7/02)

    “[Israel is involved in] a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.”
    – New York Sun (10/4/02)

    Under routine circumstances, the CUNY board “rubber stamps” nominations of this kind, but subsequent to Mr. Wiensenfeld’s address, the trustees voted to deny Kushner a degree. Displaying obvious consternation, Kushner penned a critically worded letter to CUNY Chairman of the Board Benno Schmidt and the other trustees. Admonishing them, Kushner intoned: “Did any of you feel that your responsibilities as trustees of an august institution of higher learning included even briefly discussing the appropriateness of Mr. Weisenfeld’s using a public board meeting as a platform for deriding the political opinions of someone with whom he disagrees?”

    Regarding his views on Israel, Kushner wrote in the same letter, “I believe that the historical record shows, incontrovertibly, that the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes as part of the creation of the State of Israel was ethnic cleansing, a conclusion I reached mainly by reading the work of Benny Morris, an acclaimed and conservative Israeli historian whose political opinions are much more in accord with Mr. Weisenfeld’s than with mine.”

    Several days later Mr. Schmidt released a statement saying the trustees had made a “mistake of principle, and not merely of policy,” in withholding the degree for Mr. Kushner from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In an attempt to quell widespread criticism, CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein urged Mr. Schmidt to convene a board meeting on May 9th at which time the trustees reversed their previous decision and voted to approve an honorary degree for Kushner.

    In an op-ed article that appeared on May 5th in The Alegemeiner newspaper, Mr. Wiesenfeld wrote of Mr. Kushner, “If his libelous statements against Israel were made by anyone outside the Jewish community, that person would be correctly labeled an anti-Semite. When you spew libel against our sole regional democratic ally for “crimes” concocted by delegitimizers, you are an anti-Semite.”

    He continued, “Every nominee that has been brought before the board, during my 12 years at least, has been approved by the full board. Mr. Kushner, however, was opposed because he is an extremist. No extremist from any quarter is a good face for any University – from far left or far right.”

    Today’s rally was sponsored by such organizations as the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI), the Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Action Alliance, American For for a Safe Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    Introducing the speakers was Dr. Marvin Belsky, a retired internist and board member of HRCARI who said, “Tony Kushner and others of his ilk are just the tip of the iceberg. He represents the ongoing academic attacks against Israel and the rising anti-Semitism on college campuses. The fact that CUNY has seen fit to bequeath Kushner with an honoray degree is wedded to President Obama’s appeasement dictrine that calls for Israel to retreat to the 1967 boundaries, better known as “Auschwitz borders”. In essence, the President is promoting the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their homeland. Let’s not forget that there are 500,000 Jews living in the areas that he would like Israel to relinquish.”

    Extending plaudits to Mr. Wiesenfeld as a “courageous Jewish leader who faced a tsunami of hatred for speaking out against CUNY” was Rabbi David Algaze of the Chavurat Yisrael synagogue in Forest Hills. Condemning the CUNY board for reversing their decision regarding the honorary degree for Kushner because of “political pressure”, Rabbi Algaze said those professors who supported this decision have “blemished their own academic honesty”. Of Kushner he said, “He is not only following the Arab narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but is ignoring history and history will come back to haunt him.”

    “I am not afraid of Tony Kushner, but I am afaraid of Jews who don’rt realize what we’re facing”, declared radio talk show host and long-time Jewish activist, Barry Farber, who was the featured speaker at the rally.
    Also heaping accolades on Mr. Wiesenfeld for “speaking the truth in the face of hatred and death threats”, Mr. Farber said, “Hashem wants us to know who are enemies are.” He said that there are two kinds of Jews in the world; those who are “Jews of comfort” that lend their support for Israel and “Jews of combat” who espouse positions that are “anti-Judaism and anti-Zionist”.

    Addressing the existential dangers that the burgeoning growth of radical Islam represents to humanity, Arish Sahani, founder of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum said, “if we don’t unite for Israel today; if we don’t join Israel in his fight for survival, we will lose the battle with radical Islam and all of us will pay the price.”

    As a Hindu who was born in India Mr. Sahani spoke his his personal encounters with radical Islam. “When my family was pushed out of my ancestors land of 1000 plus years, now called Pakistan, do you know who came to kill my father? It was his own long time best friend who happened to be a Muslim.” Challenging Tony Kushner and those like him, Mr. Sahani intoned, “Who are supporting these radicals? The well educated, the famous and intelligent writers, performers and reporters. Don’t they know anything about Islamic history? They are paid to tell lies or they are afraid to tell the truth.”

    Unable to be there in person, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an Arutz Sheva op-ed contributor said, “Western intellectuals and progressives refuse to understand that Islam has a long and tragic history of colonialism, imperialism, racism, slavery, intolerance and no tradition of dissent without torture and death. Having a Hindu speaker there who understands; whose people have been persecuted by Muslims for 800 years should serve as a warning sign for all those like Tony Kushner.”

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    Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
    We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.