Sunday, July 31, 2016

Comedy of Errors and Midnight Fantasy'sAbbas and the Palestinian Authority Sues History

Image result for Balfour declaration Sued

Comedy of Errors and Midnight Fantasy's Abbas and the Palestinian Authority Sues History

...So rather than merely a nonsensical diversion into fantasy, the Palestinian lawsuit illustrates the plain fact that their goal remains reversing the verdict of history altogether; not merely a demand for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank and Jerusalem. This reflects the state of Palestinian public opinion and the fact that their national identity has remained intrinsically tied to the century-old war against Zionism. Not until they give up this futile quest will peace be possible–something that the majority of Israelis already understand but which has eluded the U.S. government and many liberal American Jews.

This week, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority decided to take action. It wasn’t to reform their corrupt government, make progress toward genuine peace, or anything else that might improve the plight of their people. Instead, they’re going to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration. It’s no joke. The Palestinians are serious about legal action to undo a historical document. The plan is the brainchild of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and was announced by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki. They are asking Arab states to support them and plan to launch the suit in an as yet unnamed international court.

Is this a publicity stunt intended to buttress their campaign to get the United Nations to recognize their independence without first making peace with Israel? Maybe. Perhaps they think some court in an increasingly anti-Semitic Europe might actually rule in their favor. But though walking back a century of history is pretty much the definition of futility, this effort not only speaks volumes about the inanity of Palestinian politics, it also demonstrates why peace is not possible for the foreseeable future.

The Balfour Declaration was a brief statement issued in a public letter in which the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour said the following:
His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The text didn’t commit the British to building a Jewish state and also pointedly including language that protected the rights of Arabs living in an area that today encompasses all of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan. By 1917, Jews had already begun to return to their ancient homeland (from which they had never completely departed) in large numbers, but Balfour’s letter was the first formal recognition by a great power of the justice of the cause for which Zionists had been working the previous 20 years and for which Jews had prayed for 2,000 years.

It’s true that the British decision to back the Zionists was as much the result of London buying into anti-Semitic myths about Jewish power (that would presumably solidify U.S. support for the war against Germany as well as keeping Russia in the fight) as it was also philo-Semitism and sympathy for Zionism on the part of men like David Lloyd-George and Balfour. The British promise led to the creation of a Mandate for Palestine by the League of Nations after World War I that was tasked with facilitating the creation of a Jewish national home. That’s why Palestinians who rejected any idea of sharing the land a century ago as much as they do today regard the declaration as the start of all their troubles.

The irony is that while the Arabs are seeking legal redress against Britain for setting in motion the process that led to Jewish statehood, the truth is that they soon betrayed their promise to the Zionists. By 1939, Britain had shut the gates to Palestine to Jews fleeing Hitler, a move that might have destroyed the growing Jewish polity and doomed millions to die in the Holocaust.

But even if we ignore that historical fact, the real blame for the plight of the Palestinians (a term that only began to be associated with Arabs rather than Jews after the birth of the State of Israel in 1948) belongs to their own leadership. They rejected every offer of partition from the 1930s to the current day. Instead, they choose war and with each defeat their share of the country decreased. Nevertheless, they were still offered a state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem by Israel and rejected each one. If they are seeking intervention by the UN or international courts, it is only because they refuse to engage in direct negotiations with the Israelis. Doing so would require them to make peace and end the conflict for all time.

But there is more to this than just a diplomatic evasion. By focusing on Balfour and treating it as illegal, what the Palestinians are doing is rejecting the very legitimacy of the Jewish presence anywhere in the country. It is not for nothing that Abbas has often referred to pre-1967 Israel as being occupied territory rather than just the West Bank.
For years, those intent on pressuring Israel into making more territorial concessions to the Palestinians have tried to claim that “moderates” like Abbas truly want peace. But every peace negotiation or Israeli gesture such as Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal of every soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza in 2005 hasn’t budged the Palestinians from the same intransigent position they’ve held since they rejected Balfour, the Mandate, and the 1947 UN partition plan.

So rather than merely a nonsensical diversion into fantasy, the Palestinian lawsuit illustrates the plain fact that their goal remains reversing the verdict of history altogether; not merely a demand for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank and Jerusalem. This reflects the state of Palestinian public opinion and the fact that their national identity has remained intrinsically tied to the century-old war against Zionism. Not until they give up this futile quest will peace be possible–something that the majority of Israelis already understand but which has eluded the U.S. government and many liberal American Jews.

As the Obama administration and the Europeans plot their next move to pressure Israel into making the same mistake in the West Bank that Sharon made in Gaza, they ought to be paying attention to the signals Abbas is sending to the world. So long as the Palestinians are still trying to erase Balfour, the idea that they are prepared to accept the state of Israel is the real joke.

God Save America from Donny T:...A global maternal figure in the mold of Golda Meir. Hillary’s latest incarnation: America’s tough but kind grandmother

God Save America from Donny T:...A global maternal figure in the mold of Golda Meir. Hillary’s latest incarnation: America’s tough but kind grandmother


Hillary Clinton was born an adult. Her mother told me so. Dorothy Rodham sent her 4-year-old daughter out to punch the neighborhood bully — another girl — in the nose. Hillary's right-wing father, a chief petty officer in the Navy and tradesman, taught her "Life is combat."

After this week, there should be no doubt that Clinton is a fighter. Or that throughout her long career, contrary to the preposterous Republican caricatures that she's out to undermine America and line her own pockets, she's chiefly fought for the rights of others.

Now that she is fully leaning into the political fight of her life — for her own right to serve in the most powerful and challenging job in the world, and do so as a woman - the question is: Will she dare to lead as a woman?

I believe she began to show what doing so would look like in her masterful speech closing the Democratic Convention: offering herself as a nurturing presence in the personal struggles of her constituents and a consensus-builder with the Congress who will build alliances but refuse to suffer fools on the international stage.

But that's not obvious to all. A protective mother who left dated notes for her daughter to read in Hillary's absence as the family's breadwinner, over the years, she has played as many stereotypically male as female roles. How will that pioneering identity play, particularly to all those insurgent white working-class men without a college degree who supposedly despise her?

As far back as 1994, Hillary expressed  her frustration in appealing to working-class white men: "It's not me they hate, it's the changes I represent. I'm the wife who went back to college and…" — she didn't dare finish the sentence, but we both knew what she had in mind: the wife who did get a degree and maybe ultimately landed a better job than her husband.

Veteran political analyst Bill Schneider says, "These men are furious about losing their cultural predominance. This isn't their world anymore."

They're right. Women have leapt ahead in college enrollment. A growing number are primary family breadwinners or single mothers. Their left-behind husbands see Trump as their savior, an action hero. He takes big risks. He talks a big game. Men like that.

But the "I alone can fix it" boast ignores his many failures and the penalties paid by his workers, investors and Trump U. "students."

Hillary, like many women, has always consciously chosen her identities to fit the cause at hand. At 16, she began unpacking the rigid Goldwater Girl role she'd assumed to please her father. Exposed to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, she turned herself into a fearless civil-rights activist. She even dissed a status-quo African-American speaker at her college graduation — demanding the politics of "making the impossible, possible."

She had a high tolerance for risk in those days. But she didn't feel comfortable being ambitious on her own behalf. Politicking in big crowds wasn't easy for her. From college, she wrote to a friend — John Peavoy, who shared her letters with me — that she might choose to be "an alienated academic" or a "compassionate misanthrope." She finally settled on "educational and social reformer."

Hillary was beloved by her male classmates at Yale Law School. Not for her female charms, hidden behind Coke-bottle glasses, but because she was supportive of them. She coached them, believing in their potential more than they believed in themselves. Her identity then: the ultimate Big Sister.

It took other identities, deliberately forged, to raise a child — and to help raise a President. Bill Clinton would be first to admit it. And to redeem the family name after her husband was impeached.

At age 53, for the first time, she dared to declare her independence and build her own public persona, becoming a political candidate and then a senator in her own right. In the Senate, she earned a reputation not as a showboat or press hog, but as a quiet and tireless worker. She learned to find common ground with Republicans — even curmudgeons like Orrin Hatch, who had tried to convict her husband.

As secretary of state, the identity evolved again, with the common threads of exhibiting toughness and quietly building consensus. She worked to affirm President Obama's instinct to risk going after Osama Bin Laden. She negotiated one of the rare ceasefires between Hamas and Israel that lasted. She wanted to arm rebels in Syria earlier than the President did, but had to accept Obama's reluctance to get involved.

What is the identity she presents today? A woman with empathy for those left out of the American Dream — and as someone who has followed her for 20 years, I can tell you that has been a constant throughout her life. A ready commander in chief with many partners in the military, she has the steely resolve to forge a global coalition to defeat ISIS.

Hillary has grown into a wise woman — a global maternal figure in the mold of Golda Meir. This President Clinton would aspire to be America's compassionate but no-nonsense grandmother.

It's true that the Hillary Clinton of today is more risk-averse than she once was. After 30 years of savage cuts, she says she's developed alligator skin, in stark contrast to Trump, whose skin is so thin he wants to hit "a very little guy," Mike Bloomberg, "so hard his head would spin."

After his hostile takeover of the Republican Party, Trump had to kill off every contender. He'd no doubt try to do the same with any senator or governor or world leader with the gall to challenge him.

Hillary, by contrast, embraced her worthy opponent and let Bernie's weepy supporters down easy, promising: "Your cause is our cause." She showed how she will dare to lead like a woman, surrounding herself with admiring military men and building a government of inclusion.

Her identity at this stage is totally integrated. It fuses the collaborative skills of a woman who listens and the confidence of a stateswoman who is the match of any man.

God Save America from Donny T ... Isser Harel ( The Mossad Chief) is a Prophet!!The DNC Hackers and their Backers

God Save America from Donny T ... Isser Harel ( The Mossad Chief) is a Prophet!!The DNC Hackers and their Backers by Mike Evans ( Guest)

It appears now that the Russians are making a bold attempt to get a finger in the US election pie. We will see who comes up with the plum when the polls close on November 8, 2016.

2016 Democratic National Convention, DNC. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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Confusion, last week thought to be a poster child of the Republican National Convention, has found a fissure in the Democratic Party this week in Philadelphia, aka the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Some of the brothers and sisters aren’t feeling so affectionate, as demonstrated by the pro-Sanders protests.

Why the turmoil? It was revealed just hours before the start of the festivities that 19,000 emails had been retrieved from Democratic National Convention (DNC) servers by Russian hackers.

Now, the question is being asked: just what ties do Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the presidential race have? Some of the emails released by Wikileaks indicate that the campaign of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders had been sabotaged by DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In the emails, Sanders’ religion, veracity and credentials as a Democratic candidate were challenged or maligned.

The hacking theft of DNC emails could be said to be a strategic state-sponsored attack against a major US corporation, ranking alongside Chinese hacks of the Office of Personnel Management and the incursion into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s website. What significance would be attached to the DNC raid? The answer to that question could raise hackles given the work of Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort for president Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian leader. The Trump connection is quickly gaining credence in the Obama administration.

The Clinton campaign has indicated it was likely an attempt by the Russians to bolster Republican nominee Trump.

Although the entire affair has proven to be another embarrassment for Clinton – following yet another recent email brouhaha – and a nail in the coffin of the plan to win over Sanders followers, what could the hackers have hoped to achieve? The tampering may be the result of a charge by Clinton that Putin’s intervention in Ukraine was akin to those of Adolf Hitler prior to World War II. The Russian leader responded with deprecatory remarks about Clinton’s ability as a female to handle political challenges.

There was certainly no love lost between Putin and her husband and former president Bill Clinton, who was intent on transforming Russia before his term in office ended. The idea that Hillary wanted to finish what Bill started is still circling out there.

Crowdstrike, a security research company, has been researching the DNC computer system for the past 12 months. Its representatives detected a substantial breach in the system.

Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch revealed that, “They infiltrated DNC’s network last summer and were monitoring their communications, their email servers, and the like.”

According to Alperovitch, the hackers seemed to be most interested in gaining access to files dealing with attempts to contain Trump’s campaign. Crowdstrike has indicated that two groups worked together, one for Russian military intelligence circles and the other an agency that was once under the direction of Putin. He has, of course, denied any connection with the hackers.

Is this the first time a foreign government has been implicated in trying to influence a presidential campaign? Certainly not. When incumbent Jimmy Carter was challenged by Ronald Reagan, the Iranian government purportedly had a finger in the election.

I am reminded of an encounter I had with Isser Harel, the head of Mossad from 1947-1963, at a dinner in his home on September 23, 1980. It was just a few months before the US presidential election. On that night I asked Harel, “Who do you think will be the next president?” Harel responded, “The word on the street is that Iranian terrorists might have a say about the outcome. They will attempt to influence the election by releasing the hostages precisely when Reagan is sworn into office. They want Carter out because of his challenges to Islam.” The former intelligence officer was referring to the Camp David accords and Carter’s insistence that Egyptian president Anwar Sadat give a speech in his home country stating that religion and politics must be separate.

Harel’s statement would become clearer when, on January 20, 1981, Ronald Wilson Reagan was sworn in as the fortieth president of the United States.

As the newly-elected commander in chief completed his 20-minute address to the crowd gathered in Washington, DC, the remaining 52 US hostages were released after having spent 444 days in Iranian captivity. At that moment my phone rang. It was Reuven Hecht, adviser to president Menachem Begin.

He shouted, “Harel is a prophet!” What few knew would later come to light: at 4:31 a.m. on the morning of the Reagan inauguration Jimmy Carter had $7.9 billion dollars wire-transferred through a series of banks, including the Federal Reserve, to the Bank of England. The funds to buy the hostages back were from money that had been controlled by the shah of Iran.

At the same time, the president signed the Algerian Accord, committing the United States to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and not to attack it. That little stroke of the pen still haunts and fetters the US in the Persian Gulf region.

The Iranians worked to foil Carter’s plans for reelection, apparently seeing Reagan as a weakling, an actor with little political savvy. The thought a man such as that in the White House would bode well for them.

It appears now that the Russians are making a bold attempt to get a finger in the US election pie. We will see who comes up with the plum when the polls close on November 8, 2016.

God Save America from Donny T ....In historic nomination, Clinton vows to protect Israel and enforce Iran deal

God Save America from Donny T ....In historic nomination, Clinton vows to protect Israel and enforce Iran deal
In the biggest speech of her more than 25-year-old career in the public eye, Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination for the Nov. 8 election.
Hillary Clinton
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton accepts the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The first woman with a good chance of winning the presidency accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday night, setting off a general election contest between two larger-than-life forces in American politics.

“It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States,” Clinton said, acknowledging her success as the first female nominee of a major party in US history as a “milestone” in the country’s long march toward fulfilling its founding principles.

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“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she said in her landmark speech in Philadelphia.

The city that hosted the signing of the Declaration of Independence 240 years ago became a symbol in her speech, as Clinton accused her opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, of demonstrating illiberal tendencies rarely seen in American political life.

Clinton’s speech offered a hopeful vision of America’s future, meant to contrast with Trump’s nomination speech the previous week in which he depicted a country and world in chaos.

Trump has campaigned on a promise to “Make America great again,” and on Wednesday night doubled down on his message that the country has much work to do to get there: “Our country does not feel ‘great already’ to the millions of wonderful people living in poverty, violence and despair,” he wrote on Twitter.

Responding to the charge, Clinton repeatedly channeled a darling of the Republican Party: Former president Ronald Reagan.

“America is great because America is good,” she said, charging that Trump had taken the GOP from its promise of “morning in America to midnight in America.”

“Out of many, one,” she said, translating the country’s Latin motto of e pluribus unum. She noted that in 1776, America’s founders debated the wisdom of declaring independence from the United Kingdom – whether to stick with its king, or to form a government of, by and for the people. The US now faces a similar “moment of reckoning,” she warned.

Because of his lack of experience and his explosive temperament, Clinton said Trump could not reasonably be trusted to handle America’s nuclear arsenal.

“Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign,” she argued.

In a speech heavy on large domestic policy themes, few foreign policy specifics were given mention. But Clinton did re-up her support for the nuclear deal reached with Iran last year and underscore her support for Israel’s security.

“I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot,” she said. “Now, we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.”

After thousands of balloons dropped in the Wells Fargo Center here, Clinton and Trump – two New Yorkers – officially entered a race cast by Democrats as far more consequential than your typical election.

The Republicans, too, have warned that a Clinton presidency will make permanent the liberalization of American life – and of its Supreme Court – which they staunchly oppose.

They suspect Clinton is corrupt, motivated, not dissimilar to Trump, by self-interest, and seek to break a system in Washington they no longer recognize as their own.

But on a more fundamental level, it is the fate of American democracy in question in 2016, Clinton argued, faced with the prospect of a strongman “demagogue” who seeks to “restore order” through unspecified executive powers.

The two candidates have historically high name recognition– upwards of 95 percent of the American people knew of both Clinton and Trump at the start of the race – as well as exceptionally high unfavorable ratings, both hovering at roughly 50 percent.

God Save America from Donny T: What We Can Learn About a Hillary Clinton Presidency From the Experience of Women Rabbis

God Save America from Donny T: What We Can Learn About a Hillary Clinton Presidency From the Experience of Women Rabbis By Danya Ruttenberg (Guest)

For one, not to underestimate the impact of her just getting there

For one, not to underestimate the impact of her just getting there

This fall, Hillary Clinton may very well be chosen to be our nation’s biggest boss. If it happens, the historic nature of this event is likely to impact people of all genders in a lot of different ways, both consciously and not. How will America deal with a female commander-in-chief? What might be in store for Clinton, and for us, if she wins the election? Perhaps another sector still grappling with patriarchal notions of leadership can illuminate some of these questions. So: What can we learn about having a female president from women who’ve broken the stained-glass ceiling?
A number of friends—female rabbis, male rabbis, and congregant-types of many genders—to hear about their experiences of female rabbinic leadership. I didn’t tell most of them that I was working on a piece about the possibility of a woman POTUS. It didn’t surprise me that a lot of the things people mentioned are things I’ve had to deal with myself, but as the answers came in, it was hard to miss the parallels to the criticism that Clinton’s faced over the years, too.
Excessive attention to gender presentation, including a refusal to take a leader seriously if she’s read as too “feminine” and criticism of her whole personhood if she’s read as too “masculine”? Check. Inappropriate discussion of weight and body shape? Check. Gender tokenism (“We tried having a woman rabbi once, that didn’t work out.” “We couldn’t possibly have two women on the ticket!”)? Check. Dismissal of an issue as simply a “women’s issue” if a woman leader is raising it? Check.
Issues of authority, power, and respect are complicated for women in leadership. To take a pretty minor example from my personal experience: My first job after ordination was at Tufts University, at the Hillel where Rabbi Jeffrey Summit has been executive director for decades. He’s smart, energetic, enthusiastic, gray-haired and bearded, and known to every single Jewish (and non-Jewish) student on campus as Rabbi Summit. The most frequent question I encountered during my first year on campus by those same students? “Can I call you Rabbi Danya?” Often they wouldn’t even ask. Sometimes they just called me Danya.
True confession: I debated whether or not I should even share this story, even though it’s a microaggression that many, many of my female colleagues also deal with all the time. Of course, most rabbis I know, including myself, are happily referred to as different things in different contexts; the issue here was the leap in assumptions that the students made about how it was appropriate to refer to the female rabbi, even with a strong honorific precedent for the male rabbi. And yet, I wasn’t sure if it was blatant enough to convince the skeptics and scoffers. (But let’s face it: Much of the crap women leaders face comes in the form of microaggressions—almost too subtle to name, but effective nonetheless). Because we’re all supposed to be complicit in the story that gender doesn’t matter, not one bit—and when we breach that unspoken agreement, our stories have to be indisputably clear, beyond reproach.
But gender matters. And it’s the gap between the reality on the ground and the story that so often gets told about how sexism doesn’t exist (or isn’t relevant in this situation, whatever “this situation” is) that makes talking about this so complicated.
Those of us who are women leaders manage somehow to not be taken as seriously as our male counterparts and at the same time are somehow expected to go above and beyond on every front, whether in displaying our business acumen or in the time we devote to hand-holding. When my friend Rabbi Andrea London was interviewing for the senior rabbi position at the synagogue where she had been serving as the associate rabbi, a few people complained to the search committee that she hadn’t cared for them to the degree that they would have liked their time of need. London asked one of her female congregants about this, and was told, “I wouldn’t have expected more attention from Rabbi Knobel, but with you being a woman and all.”
It was striking that when I asked about women’s rabbinic authority on Facebook, most people—rabbis and congregants alike—responded to me privately, via email, phone, or direct message, rather than commenting on the original, friends-locked, post. For a lot of us, in different ways, talking about the complexities, ambivalences and, yes, outright sexism encountered by women leaders still feels fraught. Most of what people wanted to tell me didn’t involve telling a story in public about someone who’s currently their congregant—even general comments or stories about some unnamed rabbi they knew about were DM’d, with exhortations to please check in before quoting the respondent by name.
It feels like a lot of us are somehow expected to behave in public as though we live in a postpatriarchal world, in which gender equality is already a fait accompli—despite the obvious fact that, while the road is increasingly drivable, it’s still under construction and full of open potholes. Because talking about these issues even in a general way can open us up to being perceived as complainers or whiners, or worse—as the mentions of any even moderately well-known feminist on Twitter can attest.
Rabbi London mused, “Men are given authority immediately and women have to prove their competence and intelligence.” She feels taken seriously in her role now, as a senior rabbi, but it took time; one of the ways she got there, she said, was “by making men my allies. … When I have support from men, then I have more legitimacy.” For example, when she was interviewing to become senior rabbi at her synagogue, “having a strong cohort of men support my candidacy was crucial to my getting the job.”
Indeed, I finally got students to use the same language to refer to me that they used for my male colleague by asking him to go out of his way to refer to me as Rabbi Ruttenberg whenever he spoke about me in their presence. (Eventually they started calling me RDR—the acronym for Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg—which I found to be a wholly endearing mix of respectful and affectionate.)
“A rabbi has to be accepted by powerful men in the community to be successful,” London reflected. “If a rabbi is popular amongst women, but not men, that’s a death knell.”
Hillary Clinton knows all this, even if many of her critics—and some of her supporters—don’t. And fortunately, 30 years in politics and an emphasis on building relationships has made it possible for her to draw on critical endorsements from men who can help her cause—President Barack Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders among them. I have no doubt that Clinton will continue to make use of relationship-building as a coalition-building and acceptance-garnering technique—and I have no doubt that, despite this, her leadership style will continue to be misunderstood. Perhaps—until one day, maybe it isn’t.
This too is a chronic problem. “I lead a highly selective fellowship programs for rabbis called Rabbis Without Borders,” said Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu. “Each year a couple of male rabbis come to me and say variations on, ‘Rebecca, the program is great. I am learning so much. Why don’t you speak/teach/lead more? I want to hear your voice.’ In every case, I know that they mean this as a compliment. They want to see me as a leader in the front of the room. I am always curious that they do not see what I do as leadership. At the same time, I hear from the female participants, ‘Rebecca, the program is great. I am so impressed with your leadership skills. You do a great job facilitating the group/managing the speakers/choosing reading/making this a holistic experience’.”
Clinton’s leadership style, too, in some ways could be understood as more “female”: She’s known for listening rather than talking, and for transforming the deep work of her “listening tours” into legislative action. She’s sometimes described as “empathetic,” and is said to “work hard at personal connections.” (Of course, men might be described as being great networkers.) Like Sirbu, many of her criticsmisunderstand her style as a weakness—if she’s not being charismatic at the front of the room, what on earth could she be doing?
And yet it’s exactly this gap that gives me hope. If it’s true that Clinton’s popularity is higher when she’s holding office, perhaps her ability to offer others the mic will be given more and more positive media coverage, and pave the way for less frontal modes of leadership to be finally understood—even by the most resistant men—as legitimate. If it happens, it probably won’t be a transformation of which anyone is consciously aware. I imagine positive coverage of Clinton, coupled with her emphasis on listening, relationship-building, and a half-female cabinet could simply, slowly but surely, penetrate people’s consciousness, until a different way of doing things just seems normal.
Which isn’t to say that the fact of Clinton’s gender, and what it represents, won’t also manifest in concrete ways. All of us who rabbi while female have moments in which our gender becomes a symbolic access point in good, privileged ways. The examples are myriad, and many of them are amazing and heartbreaking and powerful. My favorite recent one is, in the grand scheme of things, kind of small and sweet—though it also speaks to a deep trust that might not be so small after all. Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin recently got the following text: “S will not be able to make it for her Bat Mitzvah meeting today. She got her period for her first time.” I don’t know what the presidential equivalent of a first-period text might be, but there’s no doubt in my mind that there would be important, boundary-transcending moments if Clinton makes it to the White House. Perhaps they would evoke, in their own way, the iconic photograph of the black child feeling President Obama’s hair, just like his own, and all that it represents to so many little boys like him.
Jaclyn Friedman, feminist activist and host of the podcast Unscrewed, wrote eloquently about growing up as a congregant of Sally Priesand, the first woman ordained by a rabbinical seminary—Hebrew Union College—in 1972. As she watched Priesand in action throughout her childhood, she says, she absorbed some key messages about her own potential. Priesand on the bimah taught her that “women are authoritative. Women are holy. Women do things men tell us we can’t do.”
If seeing a woman in a leadership role at shul can do this, how much more when there’s a woman holding the highest office in the land? Obviously, it matters if that woman is a good, strong, competent leader, but the impact of seeing her there at all shouldn’t be underestimated.

Cameos From Zion: God Save America from Donny T.... Donald Trump's M...

Cameos From Zion: God Save America from Donny T.... Donald Trump's M...: See a larger version by clicking on the below linked to Fusion Magazine

God Save America from Donny T.... Donald Trump's Map of the World even Sarah Palin got it better or less wrong . Either or God help America if Donny T is the 45th

See a larger version by clicking on the below linked to Fusion Magazine

George Stephanopoulos awkwardly corrects Donald Trump when he says Putin 'is not going into Ukraine'

Donald Trump in an interview on "This Week." ABC

ABC host George Stephanopoulos corrected Donald Trump after the Republican presidential nominee claimed that Russia was "not going to go into Ukraine."

In an interview on ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday, Trump asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not going to invade Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels — and some Russian special forces — have been operating for several yearsdespite Putin's reluctance to acknowledge any role.

"He's not going into Ukraine, just so you understand. He's not going to go to Ukraine," Trump said.

"Well, he's already there, isn't he?" Stephanopoulos replied.

Trump responded by simultaneously criticizing the US' decision not to intervene to stop the annexation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, and noting that many citizens of Crimea were allegedly supportive of Russia's decision to invade.

"Well, he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there. You have Obama there," Trump said. "And frankly that part of the world is mess, under Obama. With all the strength that you're talking about, and with all the power of NATO, and all of this, in the mean time, [Putin] takes Crimea."

He added: "You know the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were, and you have to look at that also."

Earlier in the interview, the real-estate magnate shrugged off his campaign's influence inremoving a provision of the Republican Party platform that would've advocated providing arms to Ukraine to defend itself from Russian aggression.

"I was not involved in that. I'd have to take a look at it, but I was not involved in that," Trump said of the decision to alter the platform.

Trump's relationship with Russia and favorable statements about Putin have come under scrutiny in recent days following his suggestion for Russian hackers to find emails that Hillary Clinton deleted after serving as secretary of state. The Republican nominee responded to criticism of his comments by claiming he was being sarcastic.

Cameos From Zion: God Save America from Donny T:....How Donald Trump...

Cameos From Zion: God Save America from Donny T:....How Donald Trump...: How Donald Trump Made the U.S. a Target For Russia’s New Brand Of Warfare by Simon Schuster ( guest) “Your Republicans have now become ...

God Save America from Donny T:....How Donald Trump Made the U.S. a Target For Russia’s New Brand Of Warfare

How Donald Trump Made the U.S. a Target For Russia’s New Brand Of Warfare by Simon Schuster ( guest)

“Your Republicans have now become our Putinists.”

One afternoon in the fall of 2014, Konstantin Sivkov, a well-known strategist in Russia’s military and intelligence circles, invited me out to a Russian eatery in the north of Moscow, the sort of place a salary man might go for a plate of stuffed cabbage and a glass of vodka. He chose a quiet booth with a view of the street and ordered a cup of black coffee that he didn’t seem to need. He was already jittery and excited, like many of Russia’s security wonks were at that time. In Ukraine, the Baltics and elsewhere, they were finally seeing President Vladimir Putin put into practice a long-discussed theory of “hybrid warfare” that relied more on dirty and clandestine tricks than the overt use of force.

Sivkov, who had served as a strategist for the Russian General Staff between 1995 and 2007, was keen to tell me all about the theory, which the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, had set out in 2013 as a strategic vision for wars of the future. “Hybrid warfare,” Sivkov began, “relies on the use of the enemy’s own internal resources against him.” Against an adversary with “a wobbly political base” and a “fractured moral core,” Russia could use disinformation, cyber attacks and other means of covert political influence to make the enemy “devour itself from within,” Sivkov said.

Russia executed such a strategy in Ukraine — and, much less successfully, in Estonia — in 2014 by using its media channels and local agents to encourage ethnic Russian minorities to rise up against their governments. But could the same sort of strategy work against Russia’s bigger adversaries in the West? “We’ve obviously thought about that,” Sivkov said. In Europe, the resurgence of far-right politics, combined with widespread angst over globalization and mass immigration, had created “a very convenient atmosphere for foreign agents to interfere,” he said. But the U.S. was a harder target. Its political system was too stable, too tightly controlled by the establishment for hybrid warfare to have much of an effect.

That may have been the case in 2014, but a lot has changed since then. Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party has upended the Washington establishment and tilted the axis of the U.S. political system. For the first time, the nominee of a major party has questioned the U.S. commitment to defend NATO allies from a Russian attack. He has promoted the use of torture and called for a ban on Muslims coming into the country. Most recently, during a press conference on July 27, hesuggested that he would even “look into” recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and lifting the sanctions subsequently imposed on Russia.

Read more: This Is How the Trump Campaign May Have Interfered With Russia Policy

Taken together, these shifts appear to have created the nascent conditions – the wobbly political base, the fractured moral core – that would make the U.S. a fitting target for Russia’s new approach to conflict. And if cyber security experts and U.S officials are to be believed, Russia has already launched one salvo in this war by hacking and leaking a trove of emails from the Democratic National Committee. Trump and his staff dismissed these claims as an “absurd” conspiracy theory.

But the methods and impact of that intrusion seem to fit squarely within the parameters of hybrid conflict: It played on existing political divisions – in this case, deepening the rift inside the Democratic Party and weakening Hillary Clinton’s campaign on the eve of the party’s convention – and it allowed Russia to maintain plausible deniability throughout.

Asked on July 26 whether Russia was behind the DNC hack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he could not respond without using “four letter words.” But in a half dozen interviews this week, Russian military experts, Putin associates and members of Moscow’s intelligence community told me that Russia has both the means and the motive to carry out such an operation. They just weren’t sure whether it would serve Russia’s interests, or hurt them in the end.

Let’s start with the means. At least since February 2013, when Gen. Gerasimov published his manifesto on hybrid warfare, the Russian armed forces have been pouring resources into what he called “nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals.” That has included the creation of a new cyber warfare directorate two years ago, one of several units within the armed forces working on Gerasimov’s plans for “informational actions, devices, and means that are constantly being perfected.”

On a small scale, Western officials felt the sting of these devices during the crisis in Ukraine. Among the more famous examples came in February 2014 when Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, was secretly recorded complaining to the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, that European diplomats were not doing enough to mediate an end to the country’s violent uprising, at one point saying, “F-ck the E.U.” When that conversation was posted online and spread by Russian media, she remarked to the BBC that the “tradecraft [was] really quite impressive.”

Maybe it was. But such operations always come with a price for the agents that carry them out, says Alexander Golts, a Russian military expert and visiting scholar at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. “Each time they have to weigh what’s more valuable in any given situation,” he told me. “Do we nail someone to the wall with some kind of revelation? Or do we keep our capabilities a secret? You can’t do both.”

In other words, when spies go public with a piece of intelligence they also reveal how they obtained it. Their targets then have a chance to build defenses against another breach of that kind, making the trick a lot harder to repeat in the future. In orchestrating a hack of the DNC’s email system, the risks of this sort of exposure would have been enormous, says Gleb Pavlovsky, who served as Putin’s adviser on political affairs and propaganda between 2000 and 2011. “This is a one-off action that destroys its own usefulness in the future,” he says. “All the intelligence agencies in the world hate to do this, and the Russian ones, which are in their culture inert and risk averse, would doubly hate it.”

That may help to explain why the hackers tried to cover their tracks after the DNC hired a cyber security firm to study the intrusion. But they clearly failed; three investigations conducted by experts in the U.S. have confirmed that the hack seems to trace back to two separate spy agencies working independently of each other: the FSB, which is the main successor to the Soviet KGB, and Russia’s military intelligence service, which is known as the GRU.

In order to proceed with such an operation, these agencies would have needed “approval from a very high level,” says Pavlovsky. “And you would need to be sure that this will work. As is, it merely creates a major scandal, and little else. It does not give any guarantees.”

Partly for that reason, sources in Russia’s intelligence community say U.S. officials are wrong to think that either agency would have gone for it. Not only would they risk exposing Putin to the backlash once the scheme was exposed, they would also come out looking like amateurs. “How would this be perceived? The mighty Russian intelligence services stealing emails? That looks pretty silly,” says Yuri Kobaladze, a retired major general of another of Russia’s spy agencies, the Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.

The political benefits also look questionable at best, in this case. The DNC emails published so far have mostly confirmed what many in Washington had long assumed to be true: that the Democratic Party was playing favorites in the primaries by trying to undermine Clinton’s rival in that race, Senator Bernie Sanders. Although the specifics of that effort rattled the party’s sense of unity – and forced the DNC chairwoman to resign – it was not the kind of bombshell that would “change the balance of power inside the U.S.,” says Kobaladze. “Yes, they’ll howl about it for a while. But in the end it will not influence the elections in the least.”

That’s not to say the Kremlin has no interest in supporting Trump’s insurgency. If he makes good on his foreign policy pledges, Russia would be able to achieve several of the strategic aims that Putin has been pursuing for years. He would weaken the relevance and resolve of NATO. He would end Russia’s isolation from the club of Western leaders. And he would see the U.S. turn inward, roll back its military and political commitments around the world and create power vacuums for Russia to fill.

All of that sounds pretty tantalizing to observers in Moscow. But there’s just one catch. They don’t have much confidence in Trump keeping any of his promises on Russia. “On the whole, we work on the assumption that our countries are systematically opposed to each other, and that will hold regardless of who’s the head of state,” says Fyodor Lukyanov, the chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a think tank with close ties to the Kremlin. Around Trump, he says, “there would be people who would determine the course of foreign policy, and his slogan, Make American Great Again, does not foresee any kind of capitulation or compromise with anyone.”

Sivkov is not so sure. The type of isolationism that Trump has been preaching strikes the Russian military strategist as exactly the type of compromise that Russia would like the U.S. to make. For one thing, it would mean an end to the principle that human rights and democracy should be promoted – or as the Russians like to put it, “exported,” – to authoritarian regimes around the world. As Sivkov said when we spoke again on Wednesday, “Your Republicans have now become our Putinists.” And that in itself is a comforting thought to the Kremlin elites.

Trump himself has stoked conspiracy theories he is in league with Putin, in characteristically confrontational style. While insisting on Wednesday that he has “nothing to do with Russia,” Trump invited Moscow to release more of Clinton’s emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he told a press conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Such a leak would have huge influence in November. But would the Kremlin really order their intelligence services to go to bat for Trump in these elections? “There’s no proof of that whatsoever,” says Sivkov. “It can’t be proven in a way that you could hold up in court.” And that, of course, is part of what defines the tactics in a hybrid war. As the U.S. election season rolls along, the Clinton campaign may yet see more of what Gen. Gerasimov called “informational actions.” And if they are embarrassing enough, the leaks might just succeed in shifting the course of U.S. political history.